Welcome to Polk State College
Since its founding in 1964, Polk State College has served the higher education needs of Polk County. Over the years, Polk State College has undergone significant growth and change.
The first academic year started with 1,107 students and 33 faculty members in temporary quarters on the Bartow Air Base. Today, under the leadership of President Eileen Holden, Ed.D., over 100 full-time faculty serve the higher education needs of over 12,000 credit and 9,000 non-credit students in locations throughout Polk County, including two modern campuses in Lakeland and Winter Haven, the Airside Center south of the Lakeland Airport, and the JD Alexander Center in Lake Wales. Since opening in 1964, Polk State College has awarded over 30,000 degrees.
On all Polk State College campuses, students have access to high-quality academic programs supported by modern equipment and facilities including:
- Libraries with more than 93,000 volumes and numerous online electronic resources available on campus and by remote access.
- Teaching/Learning Computing Centers (TLCCs) equipped with qualified tutors, the latest software, personal computers, CD burners, printers, video editing equipment, and scanners.
- Fully equipped computer and multimedia classrooms.
As Polk State College strives to accomplish its educational mission, it continues to integrate technology into the classroom. All computers in the TLCCs and computer classrooms are networked and provide access to various software and CD-ROM reference materials. Both campuses are linked via fiber optic cable. Major emphasis is placed on distance learning using a wireless cable system. Auditoriums can host teleconferences and are equipped for Internet access and multimedia usage. Approximately 70 percent of the graduates receive associate in arts (AA) degrees. The AA courses are parallel and equal to courses offered in the Florida State University System. Polk State College’s AA degree credits are transferred easily to all universities in the Florida State University System. Additionally, Polk State College offers numerous associate in applied science (AAS) and associate in science (AS) degrees that can lead directly to employment. The College changed its name to Polk State College in July 2009 to reflect the creation of its first bachelor's degree program. Polk State College's Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Supervision and Management program began in January 2010. Polk State College has also been a leader in partnering with the community to meet critical needs in nursing, health care, law enforcement, and information technology. The name change means a new beginning, but Polk State College remains committed to serving the community's educational needs.
Polk State College will be a world class college and Florida's leader in workforce development.
Polk State College is a quality-driven educational institution, providing access to affordable associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates, and workforce development programs, delivered by diverse, qualified faculty and staff who are committed to student learning and achievement through the consistent practice of collaboration and focus on excellence.
Polk State College fosters and supports creative, innovative, and positive learning experiences within an atmosphere of academic excellence and continuous improvement. The goal is to provide personalized services to assure that every student acquires the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes necessary for success in advanced education, careers in a global economy, and participation in a diverse and changing society.
As an active partner within our community, Polk State College is an open-access state college whose programs and services reflect the diversity of its students and the vital needs of its dynamic community. A wide choice of programs is available for students who plan to pursue an associate’s or bachelor's degree. Students can complete either an AA or an AS degree and then transfer to another four-year institution, or they can complete a bachelor's degree at Polk State College. For career entry, students can earn a specialized certificate, an associate in science degree, or an associate in applied science degree. In addition, Polk State College offers career institutes and numerous continuing education programs for the enhancement of career skills. Through a variety of learning experiences, students acquire problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and computing skills that are fundamental to all degree and certificate programs.
Polk State College’s Core Values are Collaboration, Commitment, Diversity, Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, and Service.
- Collaboration - the pursuit of shared goals and a sense of urgency and commitment, open communication, mutual trust and respect, and accountability to others and oneself.
- Commitment - demonstrating in words and actions a strong belief in, and acceptance of, the organizational vision, mission, core values, and strategic goals.
- Diversity - respecting and appreciating the many distinct characteristics people bring to the organization, and creating an environment that honors those differences.
- Excellence - working to one’s full potential, aligning words and actions, and striving for continuous improvement.
- Integrity - the adherence to a code of high moral values and ethical conduct.
- Leadership - a dynamic relationship based on shared purposes between leaders and collaborators, in which both are moved to higher levels of motivation as they affect real, intended change.
- Service - the daily work performed on behalf of students, employees, and the community. It serves as a fundamental part of the college culture and drives the quest for excellence.
Where to Begin
This catalog contains a wealth of information. Another way to navigate Polk State College is to visit the website at www.polk.edu. At the website, students can view information about the admissions requirements, student services, the student registration process (PASSPORT), maps, and faculty, as well as Polk State College clubs, athletics, student and cultural activities, and much more.
- The General Information section gives an overview of Polk State College. For help navigating the campuses, students should refer to the maps in the back of this catalog.
- The Admission, Advising, Registration, and Records section is where a student should start the Polk State College educational journey. This section explains everything students need to know about being admitted to Polk State College and registering for classes.
- The Financial Aid section explains how to apply for the many financial aid opportunities available.
- The Resources and Activities for Students section provides information about the support services and clubs available.
- The Regulations section lists rules in effect at Polk State College.
- The Programs of Study section gives details about the many degree programs available at Polk State College.
- The Course Descriptions section lists a summary for each course offered at Polk State College and provides information regarding prerequisites and corequisites.
- The Personnel Directory section lists the members of the District Board of Trustees (the Polk State College governing body), as well as the full-time members of Polk State College's administrative and instructional staff.
Polk State College has two full-service campuses in Lakeland and Winter Haven, an Airside Center located south of the Lakeland Airport, and the JD Alexander Center which was established in the historic Lake Wales City Hall in 2009.
The Winter Haven Campus, located off Lake Elbert Drive, was established in 1968 and has eight permanent buildings.
The Lakeland Campus, open since 1988 and located on Winter Lake Road in South Lakeland, shares facilities with USF Polytechnic. The campus has three academic buildings and a maintenance building.
The Airside Center is home to the Corporate College and the Medical Imaging Complex, which brings together the Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Cardiovascular Technology, and Radiography programs.
Polk State College also offers classes at Ridge Community High School in Davenport.
Polk State College is committed to the “one college” concept, with requirements and rules that are the same at all its locations; however, some activities such as athletics, music, and drama are available only on the Winter Haven and Lakeland Campuses.
Polk State College Foundation
The Polk State College Foundation, Inc. (PSCF) is a tax-exempt corporation whose purpose is to provide Polk State College with resources for the advancement of the College, its students, faculty, staff, and other constituencies in fulfillment of the College’s mission. Through contributions from donors, scholarship opportunities are provided to qualified students. Information about PSCF scholarships and the application process is accessible through the PSCF website at www.polk.edu/foundation.
The Polk State College Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of business and professional leaders in Polk County. The PSCF exists to help provide the “Margin of Excellence,” enabling Polk State College to offer county residents advanced educational programs promising academic excellence, personal growth, cultural development, and meaningful employment. To fulfill this commitment, the Polk State College Foundation continually searches for donations of cash, securities, and property, as well as deferred gifts. More information on donations can be found at www.polk.edu/foundation.
Equal Access and Equal Opportunity Mission
The Polk State College District Board of Trustees' equal access and equal opportunity policy is in accordance with the provisions of the Florida Educational Equity Act and all other relevant State and federal laws, rules, and regulations. Discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender, religion, race, color, national origin, veteran status, or marital status against a student or an employee is prohibited.
Polk State College is dedicated to providing equal access and equal opportunity for all services made available by the College and to conduct all programs and activities without discriminating against a person because of age, disability, gender, religion, race, color, national origin, veteran status, or marital status.
The Equity Officer serves as the point of contact for complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender, race, national origin, or religion. The Director of Equity and Diversity serves under the direction of the President and may be reached at 863-297-1095.
Security and Safety
Polk State College continually strives to provide students, faculty, staff, and visitors with a safe and secure environment. Security officers are on duty 24 hours a day and continually patrol the campus.
A security officer can be reached by calling ext. 5059 from any Polk State College phone on campus, dialing 863-297-1059 from off campus, or by using one of the emergency phones located throughout both campuses. With security and safety in mind, all Polk State College employees are fingerprinted and are subject to a criminal background check. Employees who appear to pose significant security issues shall be terminated.
Polk State College provides parking at all facilities for its students, faculty, and staff. Restricted area parking is controlled on all campuses through parking tags or decals issued to the faculty and staff. General parking areas are provided for students. Students with exceptional needs should visit the Student Services Office for additional consideration. The College does ticket vehicles that are parked in violation of the designated/restricted areas on each campus.
The parking restrictions are as follows:
- Lakeland Campus: Areas identified by signage and yellow lines are restricted to faculty and staff, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The President’s parking space is reserved at all times.
- Winter Haven Campus: Areas identified by signage and yellow lines are restricted to faculty and staff, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The President’s parking space is reserved at all times.
Polk State College provides handicapped parking spaces for those with proper vehicle identification.
Students ticketed for violating parking regulations are fined in accordance with Polk State College Board Rule 2.18. Fines can be paid to the Cashier on either campus. Unpaid parking fines shall prohibit the student from receiving grades or obtaining a transcript.
All students completing any level of school-based field experience or observation must be fingerprinted before entering a public or private K-12 classroom. This policy includes students taking lower-division prerequisite courses, such as Introduction to Education (EDF 1005) and Teaching Diverse Populations (EDF 2085). For Polk County public K-12 classrooms, students are fingerprinted by the Polk County School Board. The current cost for fingerprinting is $81. This cost is subject to change. It is the student’s responsibility, not the College’s, to pay this fee. Students who are completing field experience at an accredited private school must follow the fingerprinting procedure established by that institution.
Fingerprinting and background checks are required for students in selected programs. Specific information relating to such requirements is available in the specific program section of the catalog.
A vast quantity of information about Polk State College is available on the Polk State College website at www.polk.edu. The website contains information and facts about Polk State College including program information, the College Calendar, course descriptions, and detailed instructions about application and registration. College news, event schedules, campus locations and maps, and information about various departments can also be found on the website.
The Polk State College website provides links to many resources, including the library’s electronic catalogs, databases, and research tools; financial aid; the bookstore; Windows Live for the student-assigned Polk State College e-mail account; PAL (Polk Access to Learning) for online instruction; and PASSPORT for student registration and grades. Additionally, students attending distance education courses can find information about their Internet courses, hybrid courses, telecourses, and other distance education courses though the College website. Students can also find phone numbers and e-mail addresses for their instructors and information about PAL, Polk State College’s learning management system. Students can use PASSPORT to register, change classes, pay tuition, view transcripts and degree audits, and change personal information.