At Florida Gulf Coast University, student success is paramount
Established in 1997 to meet demand for comprehensive higher education in the southwest region of the state, Florida Gulf Coast University has grown into a diverse community of more than 14,500 undergraduate and graduate students. College basketball fans came to know FGCU as “Dunk City” during the 2013 NCAA men’s tournament, but the University is also known for its faculty’s innovative research, using Southwest Florida and the Gulf of Mexico as its laboratory.
Student success is the University’s No. 1 priority. With 1,200 faculty and staff, FGCU is committed to providing personalized attention for students who come to Fort Myers from 48 states and the District of Columbia as well as 95 other countries. Full-time faculty has more than doubled in the last 10 years, growing in concert with academic programs, which include 52 undergraduate, 24 master’s, 1 specialist and 2 doctoral programs.
Led by President Wilson G. Bradshaw, FGCU recruits and retains students with the potential to succeed in a challenging academic environment and aims to fulfill the academic, social and career expectations of those students. The University ranked No. 1 in the State University System (SUS) of Florida for 2011-12 bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients securing jobs or continuing their education within the state within a year of graduation.
Nearly 60 percent of FGCU alumni reside locally in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, taking their knowledge, skills and experience into the local marketplace. FGCU’s economic impact has been documented by the Regional Economic Research Institute, which accounted for $422 million in local expenditures, 3,723 jobs and $154 million in labor income in 2012-13.
In addition to strong academic programs in the humanities, social sciences, business and health professions, FGCU has built rigorous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula that prepare students to excel in the rapidly changing global arena. State-of-the-art facilities, innovative teaching and interdisciplinary learning across the University develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that enable all graduates to anticipate and adapt to evolving practices in their fields of study.
FGCU’s Renewable Energy Institute blends educational and research programs as a means to partner with industries, utilities and governments to develop technologies and a trained workforce for the next generation of clean energy. A 15-acre solar field provides 85 percent of the power for three academic buildings and reflects FGCU’s commitment to sustainability. Recently completed academic buildings and residence halls have been certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which saves energy, increases water efficiency, reduces carbon dioxide emissions, improves indoor air quality and demonstrates stewardship of resources.
A well-rounded university experience does not consist solely of academics. FGCU’s award-winning service-learning program gets students involved in the community on campus and off, where they provide more than 160,000 hours of service to hundreds of community organizations and projects annually.
FGCU is situated on 800 lush acres in the heart of coastal Southwest Florida, where the climate is mild, the air is clean and the sunshine is abundant. The University has carefully preserved its natural setting, providing a living outdoor classroom and a campus interwoven with wooded trails, tree-lined boardwalks and tranquil lakes.
Campus activities abound, with 14 NCAA Division I athletic teams and more than 200 student clubs, organizations, fraternities and sororities. Some 4,700 students live on campus or in nearby University-owned housing.
Research and sponsored programs have grown steadily, with awards totaling approximately $200 million since the University opened. The FGCU Foundation has raised more than $300 million, with funds going toward buildings, programs and scholarships.
Off campus, the University reaches approximately 10,000 community members through its Renaissance Academy lifelong-learning courses at sites in a five-county service area. FGCU also offers a variety of for-credit and continuing education courses at centers in Fort Myers, Naples and Charlotte County.
The University acts as a rich cultural and entertainment resource for members of the community who come to campus for the art exhibitions, theatrical productions and musical performances of faculty, students and visiting artists.