Evening Program at Flagler College Paying Off
Deputy Ricky Domingo and Michael Banks, students in Flagler College’s public administration program, won grants totaling almost $1 million for St. Johns County. [Photo: Kelly LaDuke]
A Flagler College evening program for working professionals started five years ago is already making an economic impact in the county. Students in the school’s public administration program have generated nearly $1 million in grant money this year for St. Johns County.
Emergency systems engineer Michael Banks landed $850,000 basically doing his homework for his Finance Development and Grant Writing class. The grant will fund a new 911 emergency communications system for the county. Another student, St. Johns County sheriff’s deputy Ricky Domingo, landed $1,000 in grant money to buy his department seven tracking bracelets.
Those payoffs underscore the importance of high-quality evening programs that give working professionals access to higher education, says Don Berglund, director of the public administration program.
A small, private college in St. Augustine, Flagler is a liberal arts school that caters to “traditional” college students — many of whom live on campus. But five years ago, Flagler also began offering an evening track in public administration for local professionals who need a bachelor’s degree to move up in government careers such as law enforcement, public health and education. Berglund says about half of the students are law-enforcement officers or firefighters who need the credential for a promotion. They must have an associate’s degree and 60 hours of college credit to transfer into the program, which takes another 60 hours over 2½ years of nights and Saturdays.
“We really like teaching this group of students,” says Berglund. “They really appreciate what they’re learning.”