Rollins recently launched the new general education system called rFLA. This new system is proving to be more expensive than the old gen ed program. Dr. Claire Strom, the College Director of General Education stated “Because it is a more deliberate curriculum, and because it involved more co-curricular activities, it is certainly a more expensive program than the previous Gen Ed,” in regards to the rising cost of the program.
Neighborhood classes are more time consuming, which is why professors are receiving an additional stipend as an incentive to teach these courses. By the time the neighborhoods are in effect for the entire college, each professor will be teaching an average of one neighborhood or RCC class per year. The neighborhood system also emphasizes community events and speakers, which are an added expense that the old general education system did not entail. Each neighborhood has 122 students and its own small budget to host events.
“At the end of the day, if it’s better for us, if it’s better for the students, it’s money well spent,” said Interim President Craig McAllaster, who says that he would want to be in the Mysteries and Marvels neighborhood.
Since last year the college had a four million dollar deficit and every department was asked to make cuts, the questions of sustainability and funding for the neighborhoods are obviously important. “The sustainability is hard to assess, because if it does what it is meant to do, we will see increased retention, presumably that will offset the costs,” said Strom.
“We have funded [the neighborhoods] going forwards,” said Jeffrey Eisenbarth, Vice President for Business and Finance Treasurer. He added, “It’s sustainable.” Despite the costs that the old general education system did not have, the neighborhoods were launched at a relatively low cost this year. Strom’s budget to start the program was $12,000. “The neighborhoods aren’t wealthy,” said Strom.
The neighborhoods are named after famed Rollins Alumnus, Mr. Fred Rogers. His wife attended the launch for Innovate Create Elevate (ICE) and helped to hand out T-shirts. A grant from the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, supported by the Rogers Family, paid for the shirts that were handed out later at the rFLA launch.
Strom said, “We’ve really launched it at very low expense, so I am hoping as we move forward and get a better idea of what it needs each year, we’ll be able to devote more budget to it.”