New College Embarks on Transformative Growth Plan
by David Gulliver
New College of Florida has announced a transformative plan for its future, where it will expand the number of students it provides with its unique and world-class education by 50 percent over six years, while maintaining the small class sizes and close interaction with faculty that are a hallmark of the College.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s signing of the 2017-18 state budget approves $5.4 million to New College for the first phase of a growth plan, unanimously approved by the State University System Board of Governors in November 2016 and endorsed by a vote of the Florida Legislature in May.
“This growth plan will elevate New College from a top small, public college, to a place among the very best of all American colleges and universities,” said President Donal O’Shea.
This first phase will allow New College to begin recruiting 15 new faculty in 2017-18, beginning three years of hiring that will add 40 new professors. That will bring the College’s total full-time faculty to 120 by 2020-21. At the same time, New College will begin to gradually expand its enrollment, to an estimated 900 students by 2018-19 and 1,200 by 2022-23.
Both enrollment and faculty would grow by 50 percent over that time, allowing the College to maintain its 10:1 student-faculty ratio and close faculty-student mentoring. Staffing would grow by about 20 percent, to accommodate the admissions and student support positions needed for the larger enrollment.
The growth plan will bring New College’s size in line with the nation’s other top small liberal arts and sciences colleges, such as Swarthmore and Haverford. Studies show when colleges reach enrollments of 1,200 or more, their student retention and graduation rates improve. While New College has the third-highest graduation rate in the State University System, improving those rates is one of the College’s chief goals.
New College will work with its partners in the regional College Consortium to expand infrastructure and explore public-private partnerships for housing and infrastructure needs. Any necessary funding will be requested in later years of the plan.
The resulting synergies with consortium partners will create enormous opportunities for students, which in turn will make New College even more attractive to prospective and current students.
“Our growth plan will allow New College to do more of what it already does so well – offering students the chance to partner with brilliant faculty members to learn, conduct high-level research and become prepared for the challenges of the 21st century,” President O’Shea said.
For more details on the growth plan, visit ncf.edu/growth-2024/.