News | August 31, 2015


President Bradshaw reflects on new year, new initiatives

The following message from Florida Gulf Coast University President Wilson G. Bradshaw, Ph.D., was submitted to local media Aug. 26:

President Wilson G. Bradshaw
President Wilson G. Bradshaw

Last week was the beginning of our 19th academic year at Florida Gulf Coast University. As we welcomed nearly 15,000 new and returning students and a talented and dedicated faculty and staff, I paused to reflect on the promise of the new year at FGCU.

Our students will have an exceptional educational experience that includes developing life-long learning skills and receiving informed assistance with their career decision-making. The living/learning community that we have created and nurtured at FGCU exposes our students to an environment that encourages the attainment of new knowledge, self-discovery, independence, individual responsibility and service to others. There also will be the formation of new and enduring friendships.

The high-quality educational and transformational opportunities we offer would not be possible without the strategic support of Gov. Rick Scott and our Southwest Florida legislative delegation. Their strong leadership and resilient efforts on behalf of FGCU during the regular and special legislative sessions were remarkable. Because of their unwavering commitment to FGCU, we received new resources that will allow us to remain laser-focused on meeting the educational and professional needs of Southwest Florida and beyond. They include the following:

  • Academic and Career Attainment and Per Student Support: $4,456,423.
  • South Access Road: $6,800,000.
  • Remodeling/Renovation/Repair/Maintenance: $412,389.
  • Performance Based Incentives: $3,291,743 in recurring revenue. This funding was a result of FGCU’s outstanding performance on a set of student-centered metrics established by the State University System Board of Governors and supported by the FGCU Board of Trustees.

Included in the Academic and Career Attainment and Per Student Support funding are three key initiatives designed to expand our continuing investment in the success of our students. These important initiatives are intentionally woven into FGCU’s structured work plan and include: greater focus on return on investment; leveraging new resources to improve graduation rates; and further enhancements to post-graduation employment success. These funds will be directed toward the development of a comprehensive and integrated “student academic life-cycle model,” beginning with the high-school-to-university transition, followed by targeted student support to promote academic success, and culminating with an expanded and customized job placement system. 
This innovative “life-cycle” approach will include the creation of a centralized internship office designed to provide more skill-building opportunities by systematically matching our students with local businesses and organizations. A new program, “Co-Op 6,” will expose students to an extended co-op experience with local businesses and corporations.

Collectively, these new initiatives are designed to provide students with the necessary experience and knowledge to make successful transitions at each phase of their academic career and successfully join the workforce or continue their education at the graduate/professional level.

The funding of the south access road will provide for a much-needed thoroughfare for the southern part of our campus. This part of campus currently is home to more than 2,500 students who occupy five multi-floor residence halls. It also is the area where we plan to build an academic wellness and life fitness center. Once completed, the new road will be a direct route for vehicular traffic (including emergency vehicles) from Ben Hill Griffin Parkway to the South Village residence halls, thereby enhancing the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff who live and work on that part of campus.

Finally, FGCU will continue to promote student success as measured, in large part, by performance metrics established by the Board of Governors of the State University System and the FGCU Board of Trustees. These performance-based metrics are vitally important measures of accountability for FGCU and the member institutions of the State University System, and are designed to ensure an appropriate return on investment to students and the taxpayers of Florida.

I sincerely appreciate the work of all our elected officials and their dedication to FGCU and the success of our students. It is because of their collective achievements and the support of the Southwest Florida communities we serve that FGCU will continue to thrive and produce exceptionally prepared, career-ready graduates in Southwest Florida.

I look forward to working with Gov. Scott and the Legislature again during the upcoming legislative session to continue to advance FGCU for the benefit of our students and the vitality of Southwest Florida.

Go Eagles!