"The new president needs to be supportive of that and needs to get faculty behind it," Bilsky said. "It was up to the student when they saw an adviser, but there's a better chance a student will succeed if they follow a plan."
Fleck wants to graduate, but she hasn't decided on a major because none of the classes have sparked her interest. She said she doesn't visit the academic advising office because she's embarrassed to admit to the student assistants, who are her age, that she's lost.
If someone much older approached her to give guidance on future classes, Fleck said, she would meet with an adviser more often.
"I would just ask them where am I supposed to go from here," she said.PRICE OF CREDIBILITY
FSCJ's reputation is still sensitive after financial-aid officers wrongfully awarded Pell grants to more than 1,300 students last year. When the mistakes were found, leaders initially said students would have to pay back the
In the midst of financial-aid woes, the Times-Union found that President
FSCJ's board decided not to renew Wallace's contract and hired Holcombe as interim president.
Holcombe has done some of the toughest work to repair FSCJ, including reorganizing the college, balancing the 2013-14 budget and playing host for the college's accreditation visit this month. He said the college has adopted all the suggestions from Scheu's report, and the
There's still one piece of information FSCJ must give the education department, Holcombe said. The department wants to review the transcripts of certain students from 2010-11 and 2011-12 to make sure those students didn't change or drop out of an academic program that warranted receiving financial aid.
If some did, it would mean the college could owe more money and the new college president would have to decide how and when to pay. But for now, it will take months for the education department to finish that review, Holcombe said.PROFS PUSHING FOR PAY
The average FSCJ professor earns
Professors at every FSCJ campus are teaching one or two more classes than their required 10 classes a year to supplement these salaries, said
"I watch my colleagues pushing themselves to the wall just to make some money," Morian said. "People are still pushing and pushing and pushing, but there's only so many papers you can grade, so many students you can have in your office hours."
Morian said she hopes the new FSCJ president will make higher professor salaries a priority. She said making salaries competitive with other
Gibson added a second issue that faculty face.
"Our students are underprepared," said Gibson, FSCJ's faculty senate president.
About 65 percent of students enrolling at FSCJ need remediation classes. Gibson said he's looking for the new president to come up with a plan to bring struggling students up to speed, particularly in reading and math.
"If I were the new president, I would be thinking 'How can we get our students prepared for college classes?' Because that will ripple throughout this institution."WORK INSIDE AND OUT
While FSCJ awaits the education department's review, there are some internal fixes to make, including upgrading technology, hiring new campus leaders and deciding how to expand dual enrollment.
The college's 15-year-old computer software for managing records, named Orion, will be scrapped. The college set aside
FSCJ is behind on the upgrade because, with limited dollars, the previous administration put technology upgrades in the classroom.
"To their credit, they put students first, but Orion touches students, too," Bilsky said. "Now, and clearly we're behind, it's time to pay attention to upgrades on our business systems."
The college also has about 60 positions to fill before
Off-campus, the new president also must build relationships with the business community, local superintendents, university presidents and legislators. Hanna, the system chancellor, said the key is listening carefully during those first few months and being visible around campus.
"Being honest, transparent and ethical is critical," he said.
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