BlueWave News

Florida State College at Jacksonville
ATD Town Hall 2

FSCJ Hosts Town Hall on Defining Student Success

Written by Dr. Angela Browning, Director of Outcomes Assessment and Strategic Planning

At the beginning of 2016-17, FSCJ joined Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national reform network of more than 200 community and state colleges focused on improving student success, with an emphasis on the use of data to inform decision making. We intend to leverage the resources that ATD provides to help FSCJ organize our efforts to close achievement gaps and improve our students’ success and economic opportunities. 

Early in the process, we noted a need to have a clear understanding of student success given the breadth of our institutional mission and the students we serve. As a first step in the process, departments and units began discussions of student success definitions and we surveyed students, faculty, staff and administrators for their individual definitions of student success. The top three themes identified in students’ definitions of student success were “achieving goals / fulfillment,” “completion / degree / graduation,” and “job preparation / purpose.”

These efforts culminated in a December Town Hall meeting to share the results and discuss 1) qualities and practices of successful students; 2) qualities and practices of an institution that promotes student success; and 3) key indicators of student success. The mood of the group was energetic and positive, with many participants expressing an appreciation for having the opportunity to engage with and hear from their colleagues. 

As we begin the new year, we will continue these ongoing discussions about our students and how we can recognize and support their personal growth and academic success. Stay tuned for further updates. Please contact Dr. Angela Browning, Director of Outcomes Assessment and Strategic Planning, to find out more or share your ideas. 

To view more pictures from the Town Hall, visit the FSCJ Flickr album.

Open Forums with President Bioteau and Dr. Angela Browning

Mark your calendars for the upcoming open forums with Dr. Bioteau and Dr. Browning to discuss the College's efforts with Achieving the Dream. The forums will provide an open conversation that will allow questions and interests surrounding Achieving the Dream.

Open forum eblast 2017 full_Rev5

TEDxFSCJ Announces Upcoming Salon: “Vaccinating the Future”

Salon_January_VaccinatingTheFuture_720x720Tonight, January 12, we encourage our faculty, staff and students to attend TEDxFSCJ’s latest salon, “Vaccinating the Future,” which will explore the critical role vaccines play in promoting public health. Join the conversation with cutting-edge researchers and dedicated public health workers committed to growing healthy communities.

Co-hosted by professors Dr. Dianne Fair and Dr. Lourdes Norman-McKay, the salon will provide insight into how a vaccine is brought to market, how vaccines are tested for safety, the challenges of getting vaccines to the public and new hope for using vaccines to fight cancer. 

Recent advances in vaccine research have laid the groundwork for addressing many of the key public health issues of the 21st century. Yet vaccines have also proved a source of popular misunderstanding, and ever-new outbreaks of infectious disease challenge researchers and practitioners alike to keep pace with a globally interconnected health environment.

The evening includes a panel discussion with Dr. Keith Knutson, a leading cancer researcher at the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Pauline Rolle, the medical director of the Florida Department of Health in Duval County.

The salon takes place at the Deerwood Center Performance Theatre, Room G-1709, from 6 – 8 p.m. If you’d like to attend, you can register at TEDxFSCJ Eventbrite. For more information, visit


FSCJ Hosts FAFSA Completion Labs for Students

The College continues its efforts to ensure our students receive the assistance they need regarding receiving financial aid. This month, FSCJ will host three additional Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Labs to provide in-person guidance to any student wanting help with filling out the financial aid form. FSCJ staff will be on hand to offer assistance and answer any FAFSA-related questions.

The labs are scheduled for the following dates and times at the Urban Resource Center:

  • January 11, 2017, 5 – 8 p.m.
  • January 21, 2017, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • January 25, 2017, 5 – 8 p.m.

Students who attend will also have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win a $500 book scholarship. We encourage you to pass this information along to your students. In doing so, please remind them to bring the following information:

Students and parents should bring the following with them:

  1. Social Security Number, driver’s license or alien registration card
  2. 2015 IRS 1040 or latest tax return & W-2 statements
  3. Federal Student Aid ID (click here to create an FSA ID)

Students can find more information on how to register for any of our upcoming FAFSA Completion Labs at this link.

Deadline Approaching for FSCJ Student Research Conference Submissions

We ask that faculty and staff please remind students of the upcoming deadline to send submissions for the FSCJ Student Research Conference. Submissions are due by January 17, 2017. The third annual conference, which will highlight the diversity of student work from all disciplines across the College as many of our students showcase posters, papers and presentations, takes place on Friday, April 14, 2017. Current FSCJ students are encouraged to participate.

The FSCJ Student Research Conference serves as a great opportunity for students interested in presenting unique research and improving on their presentation skills. Additionally, it serves as a chance to work with a faculty mentor from the appropriate discipline to enhance their research abilities as well as their resumes.

Suggested panel topics include:

  • Religious Communities in Literature, Film, and Popular Media
  • Romanticism and the Monster
  • Politics and the Evil Other
  • Class, Race, Media
  • Gender and Sexuality in Film and Media
  • Human Rights, Civic Engagement, & Public Policy
  • Net Neutrality
  • Julian Assange & Wiki-Leaks: Is the Evil Hacker Now a Hero?
  • Xenophobia in America
  • Resettled Refugee Communities in America
  • Evidence-Based Practices in Healthcare

We encourage you to inform students that the panel topics are recommendations to give them a target for their writing, but submissions that fit into other topics will also be accepted. Students are able to send their submissions at the link provided here.

For more information about the event, contact John A. Woodward at (904) 997-2703.

Human Rights Awareness Upcoming Events

Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) continues to raise Human Rights Awareness throughout January. We encourage our faculty, staff and students to participate in the upcoming events we have scheduled this month.

  • A screening and discussion of the documentary, “Six Words,” will be held on January 12 from 6 – 8 p.m. at South Campus, G-101. The documentary explores gay rights in Jacksonville, which is one of the largest cities in the country without job and housing protection for LGBTQ citizens.
  • The College will be giving back to the community for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. It will take place at Kent Campus on January 16 from 8 a.m. – noon. Those interested in volunteering should sign up by contacting
  • On January 17, join us at the Kent Campus Art Gallery for the “Irrevocable Chain” Student Photo Project. The photos will tell the story of how silence can be the greatest threat to our human rights. Contact Ashlie Empleo for further details.
  • From now until January 18, FSCJ will host a Diaper and Baby Formula Drive for infants in need. Drop-off sites are located Collegewide. New, unopened items such as bottles, baby shampoo, baby lotion, diapers, wipes, formula, diaper ointment, blankets and clothes for up to 24 months will be accepted. Your donations will be made to the Women’s Help Center on behalf of the College.
  • The Downtown Campus Auditorium will host a Spoken Word event featuring spoken word performer Love Reigns. It will take place on January 19 from 6 - 8 p.m.

FSCJ and MOSH Partner for Voices of Hope Initiative

FSCJ and Jacksonville’s Museum of Science & History (MOSH) have partnered to provide coordinated Collegewide activities centered around Voices of Hope, a community-wide initiative that brings Anne Frank’s optimism and vision for a better world to life, to our community and FSCJ. During the weeks of January 17 - February 27, 2017, FSCJ is hosting events and activities on the related themes of discrimination, immigration, violence and structural racism.

Click here to view all upcoming Voices of Hope Events. 

FSCJ Celebrates African-American History Month in February

Join us next month for the following events that pay tribute to the historical and cultural contributions made by African-Americans in the past, present and future. 

  • Opening Event: “The 13th” Documentary Screening and Discussion

    Join us for a screening and discussion of filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s documentary as it explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. 

    • February 1, 2017, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. 
    • Florida State College at Jacksonville, South Campus, Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts, Lakeside Room 
  • Sanctuary on 8th Street Service Project

    FSCJ students will be volunteering with young adults in the Springfield neighborhood to help encourage and empower Jacksonville’s youth and families in need. 

    • February 10, 2017, 2 - 6 p.m. 
    • Sanctuary on 8th Street, 120 8th Street East, Jacksonville, FL 32206
  • Boys 2 Men

    Be a part of a lunch and learn about prevalent issues impacting young men of color. 

    • February 15, 2017, 12:30 - 2 p.m.
    • Florida State College at Jacksonville, Kent Campus, E-104
  • TEDxFSCJ Salon on Gender/Race
    Don’t miss this TEDxFSCJ Salon featuring discussion on the intersection of race, gender and politics.
    • February 16, 2017, 6 - 8 p.m.
    • Florida State College at Jacksonville, Downtown Campus, A-1068

Campus Art Gallery Reopens with New Exhibit

FSCJ saw two great changes last month. Immediately following the dedication of the Dr. Lois D. Gibson Building, the North Campus Art Gallery held its grand reopening on December 8.

The reception in the gallery served as both a celebration of the building dedication and an introduction to a month-long exhibit entitled “Vibrant Visions:  Vital Signs.”  The mixed media works by local artist Vicky Lennon is a collection of bright, colorful abstract and non-objective pieces inspired by the experiences surrounding the artist’s heart attack and rehabilitation as well as a six-month boating adventure she took prior to that life-changing event.

Vicky holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) from the University of North Florida.  Her works can be found in several private and corporate collections throughout the state. 

Vicky Lennon-Art Gallery Artist

FSCJ Gallery Coordinator Lynn Lewis was key in securing and hanging this special exhibit.  She was also instrumental in creating the vision for the gallery’s new look and feel. After a complete renovation, the art gallery has been transformed into a beautiful space replete with new paint and flooring, special lighting and bench seating.

North Campus Art Gallery

To give the space a twist which broadens the gallery’s potential, the area is also referred to as the “Center for Holistic Engagement.”  Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to use the space for classroom visits, lectures, meditation and yoga sessions as well as Socrates Café events.

The gallery, located in Building C-122, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Special events and/or receptions can be scheduled by contacting Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences Dr. Dana White at (904) 766-6601.

FSCJ Hosts LEGO® League Challenge

FTC robot repairsTeams representing For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®) LEGO® League Robotics as well as FIRST® Technology Challenge (FTC) students participated in a qualifying tournament at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) on December 17.

More than 400 middle and high school students, coaches and parents represented 35 teams. The FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge required teams to develop innovative solutions for some of the real-world challenges facing animals, both in their natural habitats and in man-made environments. Teams worked with table-mounted courses and floor-mounted courses for the much larger robots.

To design these challenges, FIRST® LEGO® League staff worked with experts in fields such as rescue biology, veterinary medicine and ecology from the University of New Hampshire, National Geographic, the Biomimicry Institute, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the New England Aquarium Animal Care Center.

Students and parents got an extra treat when the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) arrived with their bomb squad and SWAT team robots. Click here to see more photos from the event.


Each month, this column will highlight the supporting initiatives that are intended to help FSCJ achieve the goals identified in our Strategic Plan.

Initiative Supporting Strategic Plan Goal #3: Increase Retention and Completion

  • Strategic Initiative Supporting Retention and Completion: “Accudemia Tutor Monitoring System”

In an effort to improve student success and retention, the Office of the Provost allocated special funding to the Library and Learning Commons (LLC) to support the implementation of an enhanced tutoring service tracking and reporting system known as Accudemia. Accudemia is a web-based academic center management system that offers many benefits including: student visit tracking, appointment management, feedback collection, student-faculty interactions and much more. Tracking and assessment of tutoring services offered via Accudemia helps the College document the importance of tutoring and other LLC services on student success.

Accudemia provides the College with detailed self-reported student login information. The data collected is much more robust than what was previously available through manual student log-in records kept and tabulated at each campus/center LLC.

The Library and Learning Commons successfully completed implementation of the new Accudemia student tracking in August 2015. The data results from the Accudemia system indicate that for the 11-month reporting period August 2015 – July 2016:

  • 185,184 students logged in for LLC services at all College campuses and centers
  • 21,584 unique student users logged in to the LLCs
  • 56,103 students logged in to receive tutoring services

Using the Accudemia time and attendance data, staff have been able to accurately monitor students’ usage of tutoring services and, more importantly, to correlate the data to student success.  Preliminary data provided by the Office of Institutional Analytics and Research for gateway math courses reveal a positive correlation between students’ use of tutoring and course success.

In Spring 2016, students who were enrolled in gateway math courses (MAT 1033, MAC 1105, MGF 1106, MGF 1107) and who utilized tutoring, attained higher course success rates, with “success” defined as the attainment of a “C” or higher, than peers who did not receive tutoring.  The most significant difference was noted in MAT 1033 and MAC 1105, math gateway courses that prepare students for a STEM-focused academic pathway. 

LLC graph

The LLC plans to build upon the preliminary findings of gateway math courses, and conduct much more extensive research to validate the identified correlation.

In addition to tutoring services recorded within the Accudemia system, students were provided 24/7 online tutoring support through another LLC service known as Smarthinking. Over the reporting period, July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016, students engaged in 6,491 Smarthinking online tutoring sessions.  Student satisfaction feedback data provided through the Smarthinking system indicates that students are extremely happy using the online tutoring service.

To date, information provided by Accudemia and Smarthinking has given the LLC greater insight into student usage of tutoring services, as well as the impact of those services on student success.  As the system gathers more critical data, the LLC will be better able to document and report the correlations of student success and tutoring support for other College courses and programs.  For additional information, please contact Tom Messner at or (904) 646-2175.


#iamfscj: Somalia Jamall

Somalia ScreenshotSomalia Jamall knew that Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) was the right place to take the first step toward her education. This is where she really discovered her love for computers. Last spring, she completed her bachelor’s degree at UNF and is currently working at her first job.

Somalia will be the first to tell you that FSCJ gave her the start she needed to her career, because sometimes the first step to something great is the most important one.



Get to Know Your Fellow A&P Colleagues –Bill Allen

BillAllenThe Administrative & Professional Collaborative (APC) is the representative voice for the Administrative & Professional employees of FSCJ. In an effort to build cohesiveness, awareness and collegiality, each month we put a “spotlight” on one of our members.

January’s Administrative and Professional Collaborative (APC) Spotlight shines on Bill Allen, director of development for the FSCJ Foundation, which cultivates relationships and raises scholarship, program and capital improvement dollars in support of the College.  Each year, the FSCJ Foundation provides approximately 1,000 students with financial support.

Since early April 2016, Bill has been leading the Foundation’s development of a five-year initiative called FSCJ Works.  Under the banner “Our Graduates. Your Workforce,” FSCJ Works will be a comprehensive fundraising initiative focused on raising $50 million from corporate, foundation, individual, alumni and employee donors.    

From 1995 to April 2016, Bill was co-founder of ByrneAllen Corporation. Under Bill’s leadership, ByrneAllen raised tens of millions of dollars for chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and Habitat for Humanity affiliates to fund critical programs and projects in 14 states. Some notable clients include the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, Florida Tax Watch and Martin County Habitat for Humanity.

Prior to 1995, Bill practiced corporate and bankruptcy law with the Atlanta-Washington D.C. law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan and worked in financial management roles for Management Science America, Dun & Bradstreet Software and AT&T Paradyne.   He earned his undergraduate degree in finance (magna cum laude) from Iona College and his Juris Doctor degree (cum laude) from Georgia State University College of Law.

Bill and his wife, Jeanne, live on St. Simons Island and are the proud parents of two daughters, Kimberly and Laura.

Our spotlight shines on each campus/center at least once a year.  Nominations for the spotlight may be directed to your campus representative or any officer.  Learn more about APC on our website,


FSCJ Grad Dedicates Life to Those Dealing with Death 

We’re always proud to see our FSCJ graduates go on to pursue careers that positively impact the lives of others. Kandice Jacobs-Armstrong, who earned her Associate in Science (A.S.) in Funeral Services, got her first exposure to the world of funeral directing upon the passing of her grandmother five years ago. It was the last career path she ever imagined pursuing, but Kandice said, “It chose me.”

She returned to college, coming to FSCJ two years after earning her bachelor’s degree in general studies from Texas Woman’s University. She then became a licensed funeral director and embalmer at the Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home, Cemetery and Cremation Center.

In addition to her work as a funeral director, Kandice also runs her own business, Kandice Jacobs Creations Inc., selling items including personalized memorial objects and programs. Kandice is also a public speaker and writer, having recently published an excerpt in Think Magazine titled “Weep with Those Who Weep: The Practical Dos and Don’ts of Ministering to the Bereaved.” In 2008, Kandice published a book of poetry, “On Creating Kandice: A Poetic Journey of Spirituality and Discovery.”

Kandice currently lives on Jacksonville’s Northside with her family and continues to help others through her life’s work. To learn more about Kandice and her contributions to the community, visit her website

Tips For Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

New Year's Resolutions 2017At the beginning of every new calendar year, many people are eager to set goals and make life changes. Unfortunately for most, the best intentions are often met with roadblocks and resolutions end up altered or even broken.

Here are eight tips that may help:

  1. Avoid making multiple, extreme resolutions. Begin with making one change at a time and write it down to hold yourself accountable.
  2. Make a plan for success. Do some research to find out what resources you will need to help you achieve your goals.
  3. Allow yourself to adjust when you meet bumps in the road so you will be prepared for the next challenges as they arise.
  4. Pick a start date and prepare yourself by allowing yourself to rest.
  5. Recognize your successes and allow yourself a reward (within reason).
  6. Keep track of your progress to better visualize your path to success.
  7. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to motivate you and support you along the way.
  8. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Weight Watchers at Work

One of the most popular resolutions is weight loss and we’re here to help! The Weight Watchers at Work Meeting Series is coming to FSCJ for all employees. Through this series, you’ll learn how to eat healthier, live happier and lose weight. 

Join us for a free information session on Tuesday, January 24, at 12:30 p.m. It will be held at the Downtown Campus Advanced Technology Center, Room T-140. Please email by January 17 to express your interest and to RSVP for the information session if you have not already done so.

Weekly meetings will be hosted at Downtown Campus beginning in January. Each meeting will be 45 minutes long with a 15-minute confidential weigh-in and 30 minutes reserved for the meeting and open discussion. The cost of the program is $132.60 per person for the 12-week series with several payment options. Registration is free.

For more information, email

FSCJ faculty and staff are leaders, not only within the College, but outside the College as well. We are proud to recognize and honor their achievements and successes.

  • Professor of Astronomy Dr. Mike Reynolds recently wrote a guest blog on late astronaut John Glenn for Astronomy Magazine. In “Memories of John Glenn,” Mike fondly recalls the time he was able to meet the space pioneer in 1985 after being selected as a finalist for NASA’s Teacher in Space Program. You can read his article by clicking here.
  • Professor of English Dr. Tim Gilmore recently spoke to local artist Walter Whetstone about his walk-through collage, titled “the Whetstonian,” located on Jefferson Street. You can read more about Walter’s artistic contributions to our area by reading Dr. Gilmore’s article on
  • FSCJ's Vision Education and Rehabilitation Center students and staff were spotlighted in the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum biannual Spyglass magazine for the success of the new partnership together. To read the article, click here.

The following list includes FSCJ employees who left or are preparing to leave their positions with the College. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors!

Employee Title 
Edith Conte Administrative Assistant II
Richard Dowling   Senior Supervisor Campus Plant
Curtis Loftis Professor
Thomas Mcmath Professor
Chris Pemberton Senior Support Specialist
Ophelia Pemberton Clerical Specialist
Jennifer Schmidt Lead Business Office Specialist
Dave Schmoll Campus HVAC Facilities Manager
Sekou Smith Academic Tutor
Marcella Washington    Professor
Chelsea Whiteman Retention Specialist

FSCJ's faculty, staff, students, programs and leadership are often highlighted by local and regional media outlets-online, on-air and in print. Read all of the recent articles regarding important activities happening with the College.

Bob Klausner; TEDxFSCJ Vaccines; Cole Pepper
Published on on January 9, 2017. Learn more »

Ron Littlepage - There’s reason for local optimism
Published on on January 3, 2017. Learn more »

Jacksonville bringing college life back to downtown

Published on on December 15, 2016. Learn more »

FSCJ Artist Series Presents Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID
Published on on December 15, 2016. Learn more »


Human Trafficking-Jan. 19



FSCJ QHS newsletter 2-6_358x208_FINAL


Did you know that Information Technology Services has just launched the new and improved service site? With its new user-friendly redesign, it is now easier than ever for staff and students to search the knowledge base, submit tickets for technical assistance or chat with a representative. The site is also responsive, which means you can get help from the convenience of your mobile device. Visit to explore the new site. 



BlueWave News has unveiled a new section: FSCJ in Action. This is your chance to provide a glimpse into life at FSCJ. Each month, we encourage our faculty and staff to share active and fun photos of your experiences at the College. This could include anything from working with students on unique classroom and lab activities to your everyday interactions with colleagues.

Be sure to keep an eye on this section to see if your photo is featured! You can send your submissions to

Test your knowledge. To ensure all faculty and staff have an opportunity to submit answers, the quiz winners will be selected at random from all entries that have all four questions correct. You have until 6 p.m. on the day the newsletter is distributed to email your answers to The three winners will receive a BlueWave promo pack!

Please note: Previous quiz promo prize pack winners, while eligible to submit answers, are not eligible for additional prizes for six months.

  1. When is the upcoming TEDxFSCJ Salon event discussing "Vaccinating the Future"?
    1. January 12
    2. February 12
    3. February 18
    4. March 1
  2. The College will be celebrating what during the month of February?
    1. Cancer Awareness 
    2. Human Rights Awareness
    3. African-American History
    4. Women's History
  3. What series is FSCJ offering to employees to help keep the popular new year's resolution of weight loss?
    1. Jenny Craig
    2. Slimfast
    3. Weight Watchers
    4. Biggest Loser
  4. What do students have the chance to enter to win if they attend a FAFSA Completion Lab?
    1. $200 book scholarship
    2. One semester of tuition
    3. $500 giftcard to Chartwells
    4. $500 book scholarship