PBSC Goes Bold for Gold

Palm Beach State College achieved gold level in the Florida College System’s performance-based incentive program this year, garnering an additional $1.2 million.

PBSC is among seven of the 28 colleges that attained gold level. Fifteen colleges earned silver, and six reached bronze. This year, none of the colleges landed in the purple category, which would require a plan for restoration.

The extra dollars for reaching the highest level brought PBSC’s total performance funding to $4.1 million, up from $2.9 million last year. That is the College’s slice of $60 million in state performance funding allocated by the Florida Legislature, including $30 million in state performance funding and $30 million in institutional performance funding.

The achievement is a result of concerted, collegewide efforts to help students succeed. After earning silver level for the first two years of the high-stakes, performance-based incentive program, the College administration launched a “Go Bold for Gold” initiative. It galvanized faculty and staff to do more to assist students. Initiatives included enhanced advising and communication, faculty interventions, strategic scholarships and improved class scheduling.

“It was a team effort to get to where we are,’’ said Richard Becker, vice president of administration and business services.

“We’re trying to be much more proactive in anticipating a need before it is requested by students,’’ said Dr. Peter Barbatis, vice president of student services and enrollment management, noting that he worked closely with Academic Affairs, IT and other departments on initiatives. “It does require all of us working together because everybody has a piece of this puzzle.”

All institutions in the Florida College System receive a share of the institutional performance funding, but only the colleges at the gold and silver levels receive a portion of the remaining $30 million in state performance money. The gold level schools also receive shares of the state funds that would have gone to the bronze schools.

The state divvies up the funds based on four measurements: retention of students, student completion, job placement and salaries of graduates. The Florida Board of Education approved the new performance metrics this summer for the incentive program that became law three years ago. PBSC achieved a total performance score of 38.56 and saw the highest gains in the areas of completion and wages.

“I’m honored to lead this institution during this exciting period in its history,” said PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D. “Our faculty and staff stepped up to the plate to be the best and do the best for our students, and I appreciate all of their work to get us to the top. Everything we are doing today for our students will have long-lasting, positive impacts for them and generations to come.”

Becker said the College has set aside a portion of its performance funding to pour back into student achievement initiatives and to help the College maintain its gold level status. “We don’t want to lose the gold status if we can help it.”

“It’s important for us to reinvest the money to help our students succeed and improve our metrics,’’ Barbatis said.