The New College Student Alliance (NCSA) met with student representatives from Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF-SM) on Monday, Nov. 9 to discuss future collaboration between the three schools. One of the meetings objectives was to brainstorm ideas for an event that would include students from all three schools.
“It’s kind of like our first introduction between the schools so we can get to know each other and try to instigate some more collaboration,” NCSA Chief of Staff and Catalyst editor Caitlyn Ralph said at the start of the meeting.
Some of the topics discussed were a Battle of the Bands event, the Relay for Life race, completion of the trail between USF-SM and the NCF bayfront and collaboration between USF-SM and the Jane Bancroft Cook library. NCSA President Paige Pellaton also suggested a dodgeball tournament that could expand to be a field day.
“The meeting with the three schools is something that we have been working on for a while,” Pellaton, who was unable to attend the event, said in an email interview. “I met with USF-SM SGA President Alex B. in the middle of spring semester 2015 to discuss ways our colleges could work closer together. Additionally, Caitlyn Ralph and I Skyped with Ringling SGA heads mid-summer to address the same thing. The natural progression was for this in-person meeting to take place to sit down and make sure we’re all on the same page.”
The NCF, USF-SM and RCAD event is anticipated to be a kick off between the three schools. One setting suggested for this event was the Ringling Museum, where Ringling Underground is held. Some of the activities were local bands, arts, lots of food, booths, an open mic and other entertainment. The event is projected to take place next semester around April.
The Jane Bancroft Cook library is also hoping to develop stronger ties with USF-SM. The staff is eager to support students with any resources they need and already the paperwork necessary for USF-SM students to check out a book from the NCF collection has been cut down. One common goal is to try to extend the USF-SM campus hours past 10 p.m. so students can access the library, which is open until 1 am on school nights.
One major point of connection between the three schools is the Cultural Consortium, an opportunity for students to attend classes at other institutions. While the cross-registration is open, it is still in its pilot phase and has not yet been promoted in order to figure out any kinks that come along. The first cross-registered NCF student took a course at RCAD last spring and a few students have taken RCAD classes this semester.
The “Cultural Coast” institutions involved in the consortium are RCAD, Eckerd, SEF, USF-SM and the FSU segment at the Ringling Museum. However, so far cross-registration has been mostly between NCF and RCAD.
The class options available for students to take at other schools is dependent upon faculty discretion. If an NCF student wants to cross-register they are directed to the registrar here. When a student from a foreign institution is interested in taking an NCF class their registrar will send them to Dean of Students Robert Zamsky.
“The first thing I do is ask that student what classes they might be interested in,” Zamsky said. “Then I contact the faculty of the classes and ask them if they are willing to take in a cross-registration student in the class. It’s entirely up to them, if the class is capped they are not likely to do it and they don’t have to if they don’t want to.”
The politics of cross-registration rest on a “home rule” basis. This means that the learning and evaluation process of the school which a student cross-registers at will apply to the class. For example, if an RCAD student attends classes at NCF they will receive a written evaluation from the professor and four credits for the class. On the other hand, NCF students who take classes at other institutions will receive a letter grade.
An exception to the “home rule” is NCF students who cross-register will still receive four credits on their contracts and retain the ability to drop the course without penalty before the appropriate deadline.
“We think that this is a great opportunity for students because it expands the resources that are available,” Provost Stephen Miles said. “I think everybody recognizes that the cross-registration piece [of the consortium] has the most transformative potential.”