Back in 2007 when we started SQLSaturday we had the good luck to leverage an existing relationship between Seminole Community College and ONETUG, the local .Net user group. In other words, it just took some meetings and a few messages to get things going, it wasn’t the often months long search some cities go through. Things have run smoothly since then, and this year we’re hosting our fourth event with them (and they host Code Camps as well).
In 2009 SCC changed names and focus, becoming Seminole State College (another SSC!) and becoming a four year college. Part of that change as I understand it was to take some of the load from the University of Central Florida (UCF) which is across town from Seminole State. This change was also a chance for me to look into a world I don’t see much, and that’s degree programs being proposed and going through the approval process. SSC wanted to begin offering a BSIST (Information Systems Technology) degree, one that UCF was planning to phase out (I think both to focus and knowing that SSC would take it, not due to lack of demand).
Tons of paperwork from what I could see, and then they invited 40 or so local IT/business leaders to attend a presentation about the proposed program and ask questions. Good discussion followed, and then we were asked to consider the value and if we supported the degree, write a letter of support. I wrote one, as I imagine most did, and all of those were included in the application that goes off to State of Florida for review. Finally, after a long process, we were recently notified that the degree has been approved.
It was an interesting experience, and another illustration of networking. None of us knew back in 2007 that one day they would need a lot of community support to launch a four year IT degree. They supported SQLSaturday as a good thing to do and as a result I was one more person in their network when they needed their network.