Miami-Dade: Not Good Enough

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Miami-Dade College, despite being a favorite of both local and national politicians due to its vast size, intense diversity, and reasonably high completion rates, is in danger of losing accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits the Florida community college, issued an accreditation warning late last month.

According to an article by Scott Travis in the Sun Sentinel:

Miami Dade College, the largest public college in the country, has been warned it could lose its accreditation because it does not have enough full-time faculty.

Although the school strongly disagrees with the finding, some inside and outside MDC fear this could be the first sign that all of Florida’s public colleges could be in jeopardy, as each deals with dwindling state dollars and surging enrollments.

The college has apparently been addressing funding shortages (community colleges in Florida have about $100 million less in state funding than they enjoyed in 2008) by employing a lot of adjunct professors to teach classes.

While the college has some 146,060 students, it only has 658 full-time professors. That’s about the same number of professors Boston College, which only has 6 percent of Miami-Dade’s enrollment, employs.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has no formal ratio for the number of full-time professors per student needed to maintain accreditation but it must be “adequate for the school’s mission.”

The president of the community college, Eduardo J. Padron, objected: “Based on the budgetary constraints affecting Florida public higher education institutions, as well as my conviction that the college has sufficient and adequate faculty to maintain the highest quality programs, I express my strong objection.”

Padron earned $548,459 last year.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer