9.1 Program Content

Educational programs (a) embody a coherent course of study, (b) are compatible with the stated mission and goals of the institution, and (c) are based on fields of study appropriate to higher education.   (Program content) [CR]

 Compliance   ____Non-Compliance


St. Petersburg College offers educational programs that (a) embody a coherent course of study, (b) are compatible with the stated mission and goals of the institution, and (c) are based on fields of study appropriate to higher education. Program content for degree programs is developed to meet program learning outcomes and does not vary based on course modality or for dual-enrolled students.

Compatibility With Mission and Goals

As an institution within the Florida College System, all programs at SPC align to the College’s mission, vision and values and are based upon degrees appropriate to higher education per State Board of Education Administrative Rule 6A-14.030.

  • Associate of Science (A.S.) and Baccalaureate degree programs focus on providing students with the necessary skills to enter the workforce.
  • Associate of Arts (A.A.) degrees are considered transfer degrees, preparing students for admission into Baccalaureate programs.
  • College Credit Certificate programs are designed to be embedded within A.S. degrees and provide students with stackable credentials to earn along their degree path.
  • Applied Technical Diplomas are stand-alone certificates that are aligned to a specific workforce need, such as Emergency Medical Technicians, and are usually embedded within an Associate’s degree. These can be credit or clock-hour.
  • Advanced Technical Certificates are designed for students who have completed a two-year degree and are looking to upskill to meet specifically identified workforce needs that do not require a full degree.
  • Certificates of Professional Preparation are designed for baccalaureate degree holders to prepare for licensure, certification, credentialing, examinations or other competency demonstrations for entry into professional occupations.
  • Career Certificates (previously known as Post-Secondary Advanced Vocational PSAV) are clock-hour programs designed to prepare graduates for entry into employment. Note: The content of these programs is defined by State Board of Education Administrative Rule 6A-6.0571 and codified in the Curriculum Frameworks. These programs are designed to meet agency requirements and lead to state certification in their associated fields. They do not follow the SPC credit program development process discussed below, but rather utilize agency-designed curriculum for their programs.

Since 2019, all programs offered by the Florida College System focus on improving student economic mobility through job attainment at mid to high-wage jobs per the Governor’s focus on Workforce Education, including tracking A.A. transfer through baccalaureate completion.

Table 9.1.1 — St. Petersburg College Mission, Vision Statements and Program Types

Mission and Vision Statements
Mission: The mission St. Petersburg College is to empower our students and community to achieve success and economic mobility through academic excellence and engagement

Vision: A premier college enriching and strengthening lives through a community of care.

Corresponding Curriculum-Program Type
• Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) (9 programs)
• Bachelor of Science (BS) (8 programs)
• Associate in Arts (AA) (1 program)
• Associate in Science (AS) (34 programs)
• College Credit Certificates (CT) (60 programs)
• Advanced Technical Certificates (ATC) (6 programs)
• Applied Technical Diploma (ATD) (1 program)
• Certificates of Professional Preparation (CPP) (5 programs)
• Career Certificates (CC – previously PSAV) (6 programs)

The mission of the College serves as the foundation of the latest Strategic Plan Goals, which highlight the three key mission elements of economic mobility, academic excellence, and community engagement as strategic pillars:

SPC Pillars
  • Academic Excellence – includes building clear educational pathways.
  • Economic Mobility – includes aligning programs to workforce needs and enhancing job placement and workforce readiness.
  • Community Engagement – includes increasing opportunities for community impact (embedded into courses).

Based on Appropriate Fields of Study

The Florida Department of Education Division of Career and Adult Education is responsible for developing educational programs that prepare individuals for occupations that are important to Florida’s economic development. Curriculum frameworks for Associate of Science and embedded certificate programs are grouped within career clusters. Florida College System Institutions who are seeking to add baccalaureate degrees are asked to identify the workforce need/demand and submit a letter of intent, followed by a program proposal that meets high-demand, high-wage areas within these career clusters. As part of its Guided Pathways work, SPC similarly aligned all of its program offerings to 10 Career and Academic Communities, enhancing student understanding of program focus and potential job attainment upon degree completion. Each program webpage includes updated job and salary data (see Computer Programming and Analysis AS). Updates to the program websites and job information occur annually as a part of the Program Viability Report process (step one of two that assesses program viability and successful attainment of program learning outcomes – see Standard 8.2.a) using the Viability Report Checklist. Once identified, these changes are shared with the Marketing Department to make any required updates.

Embody a Coherent Course of Study

State Regulations Supporting Coherency

The requirements of all degree programs can be found in the College Catalog and on the programs of study located on the degree webpage under the course tabs (see Paralegal A.S.).  All A.S. and Certificate programs meet the program requirements defined within the Florida Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks.  These frameworks, which dictate credit hours (as well as clock hours for Career Certificates) and learning outcomes expectations, were developed through a state-wide process with K-20 representatives and approved by the Florida Articulation Coordinating Committee.  This process ensures ease of articulation for students, a comprehensive review of programmatic requirements, and the adoption of appropriate postsecondary program outcomes.  All baccalaureate degrees have been approved by the state and further submitted to SACSCOC for approval of program outcomes and programs of study. SPC does not have any programs of study that are highly unusual or unique outside of those offered at the various Florida Colleges or Universities.

In addition, as a Florida “2+2” institution, all of SPC’s degree programs (associates through baccalaureates) include a robust core of general education courses (Florida Statute 1007.25 and Administrative Rule 6A-10.024).  The general education requirement for the A.A. degree program is met by a minimum of 36 semester credit hours.  This requirement is supplemented with a minimum of 24 credit hours that build knowledge and competencies in increasing levels of complexity (see elective bucket in the A.A. degree program of study). Coursework is determined by the State Mandated Prerequisite Manual to meet lower division program requirements for ease of transfer and admission into a baccalaureate program.  The general education requirement for AS degree programs is met by a minimum of 15 credit hours. The remaining 45 credit hours are satisfied through State Mandated Prerequisites, Curriculum Framework skill expectations, Employer/Stakeholder needs, and institutional-determined priorities.

Finally, all courses within programs utilize the leveling procedure provided by the Florida Statewide Course Numbering System (SCNS) as defined by Administrative Rule 6A-10.0242.  Any proposed new courses have their content reviewed by state-wide faculty disciplinary committees before a determination of level and number to be used is assigned.  This process and established taxonomy ensures that courses build competencies across the levels, while also supporting transferability.

SPC Internal Curriculum Processes Supporting Coherency

Curriculum & Instruction Processes

In addition to meeting state regulations pertaining to program structure and coherence, SPC Board of Trustees Rule 6Hx23-3.04 and Procedure P6Hx23-3.04 on Course Descriptions and College Programs establishes the process for approving new degree programs. Requests for new programs may come from faculty, business and industry leaders, Deans and other administrators, the Board of Trustees, or members of the community; however, the development of the curriculum is the responsibility of the faculty. Every credit course and program, regardless of modality, is approved by faculty and recommended through the Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) Process. Each request is subjected to a rigorous and comprehensive vetting process and a thorough needs analysis. New programs must be approved by faculty, the Deans of the College, the VP of Academic Affairs, the President of the College, the Board of Trustees, and SACSCOC. In addition, programs must be approved by the Florida Department of Education and must meet statutory requirements codified in Florida Statute 1004.03. Finally, many of our programs must also meet the standards of national accrediting agencies.

St. Petersburg College uses META, an electronic curriculum management system, to better facilitate the review, approval, and management of curriculum proposals. The existing approval processes were built into the system as curriculum workflows and enables submitters and reviewers to follow a curriculum proposal through every step of the approval process. The level of approval required depends on the classification of a proposal, which is initially determined by the submitter. Curriculum proposal classifications include:

  • Create New Program;
  • Program Modification (includes deactivating programs);
  • Create New Course;
  • Course Modification (includes deactivating courses).

Alterations to programs and courses can involve both major and minor modifications. Examples of major modifications include: adding a new subplan to an existing program; adding a prerequisite to a course that is shared by multiple programs; requesting to increase the number of credit hours associated with a course due to content changes; or changing program outcomes or course outcomes due to changes in State Frameworks (for AS degrees and certificates). Minor modifications typically involve changes that have little or no impact on programs outside of the academic department that is submitting the request, such as updating language in a course outline to reflect advancements in the profession (e.g., technology), or changing the name of the program administrator on a course of study. Major modifications go through the C&I Process, whereas minor modifications are handled within the Curriculum Services office.

Each committee, group, and individual who has an approval role is responsible for reviewing curriculum submissions against four tenets that directly support SPC’s curriculum philosophy of promoting student success: academic quality, structural integrity, articulation assurance, and student focus. Faculty members develop and revise curriculum according to these standards, and program Deans review curriculum submissions against these standards. The Curriculum Services Office, which processes all curriculum submissions, conducts a preliminary review of proposals, paying specific attention to structural integrity and articulation assurance. The C&I Committee, which is comprised of a broad faculty representation, all of whom are credentialed in their field, reviews submissions with a close eye on academic quality and student focus.

Academic Pathways at SPC & Course Sequencing

Since 2014, SPC has created and maintained Academic Pathways for all of its programs.  These pathways provide a listing of all courses within a credential-bearing program in the recommended, chronological order (see Health Science A.S. pathway example).  Faculty, Deans, and student services staff collaborated to produce Academic Pathways that build students’ knowledge and skills in a coherent manner throughout the duration of their programs.  In addition to sequencing courses in a progressive manner, the Pathways also identify milestones that can be obtained as a student moves through an academic program, such as: qualifying to sit for an industry certification exam; satisfying requirements for a college certificate; or preparing a resume for employment.  Students may access Academic Pathways through a link on the bottom of each program of study (see Hospitality and Tourism Management AS), through the SPC Pathways website, or by contacting an academic advisor.  SPC has received State and National recognition for its work in the area of Academic Pathways and previously participated (by invitation) in the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Pathways Project. SPC is now part of an invited cohort participating in the Aspen Institute/ Community College Research Center Unlocking Opportunity initiative, which will further enhance and track student program progression to outcomes of high-wage job attainment or transfer to a baccalaureate program.



Part I: Signatures Attesting to Integrity

Part II: Institutional Summary Form Prepared for Commission Reviews

Part III: Fifth-Year Compliance Certification

Part IV: Follow-Up Report (not applicable)

Part V: Impact Report of the Quality Enhancement Plan