Florida Gulf Coast University – Southwest Florida’s Emerging Institution

Florida Gulf Coast University, or FGCU, is one of the newest universities to make its debut in academia, opening its doors in August 1996. Much of the impetus for its creation was the overwhelming desire of Southwest Florida residents to house a world-class university in their midst. Not surprisingly, the allure of a mild climate, plenty of sunshine, and nearby beaches has helped FGCU more than double its student enrollment every year since its inception to more than 10,000 students for 2008-09. In an era of college educations costing more than $40,000 per year in tuition, FGCU is a relative bargain with annual tuition averaging $17,000 out of state.

Located on 760 acres in the heart of Southwest Florida, FGCU has carefully planned its site to maximize the surrounding wildlife and natural preserves and to provide a “living laboratory” for students, faculty and alumnae. True to this mission, FGCU is recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly campuses in North America. The University recently acquired a waterfront property in Bonita Springs with the intention of developing a marine research laboratory to further take advantage of the coastal location and abundance of marine and bird life.

FGCU is a coeducational institution accredited for four years to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. As of fall 2008, the university offers 51 undergraduate and 31 graduate programs in arts and science, business, education, and healthcare professions. With the abundance of resorts and restaurants in the area, the Resort and Hospitality Management program is one of the most popular majors. Students can participate in an active internship program at some of the world’s premier resorts located just minutes from campus. Biology and criminal justice are also growing programs. The Department of Justice Studies offers a first-year Master of Science in Criminal Forensics, paving the way for future CSI investigators.

Students praise the small class sizes and individual attention, with a teacher-student ratio of 18:1 at the elementary level. FGCU is also one of the most technologically advanced campuses in the world with a campus-wide high-speed internet network. All classrooms have full-featured multimedia teaching systems that include internet access, cameras, and audio and video presentation facilities. The FGCU uses its know-how and has been organizing an information technology (IT) forum for eight years, bringing subject matter experts together with MBA students in Germany.

While many students have little tolerance for dormitories or off-campus life during their undergraduate years, the 2,400 students who live in FGCU’s campus housing enjoy a comparatively luxurious existence. The residences are apartment style, fully furnished and wired for high speed internet access. Large kitchens, spacious living rooms with lake views, and automated laundry facilities are additional touches that add new meaning to the college experience. Other amenities include a swimming pool, BBQ areas, beach volleyball and easy access to water sports on the lake.

Athletics is an increasing part of the FGCU program and includes Baseball, Men’s Basketball, Men’s Golf, Men’s Soccer, Men’s Tennis, Softball, Volleyball, Women’s Basketball, Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Golf, Women’s Soccer, Women’s swimming and diving and women’s tennis among other things. The women’s teams have done particularly well, despite the newness of the program, as the women’s basketball team ended its 35-1 season with a loss in the Division II National Championship. Beginning with the 2007-2008 academic year, FGCU transitioned to Division I sport.

Despite the sunny climate and relaxed atmosphere, FGCU offers a solid teaching experience. While undergraduates can take courses in paradise, graduates are well-prepared to thrive in today’s tech-savvy and increasingly green environment.

Thanks to Mark M Washburn | #Florida #Gulf #Coast #University #Southwest #Floridas #Emerging #Institution

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