“If you’re looking for an institution where you can be a scholar in the true sense of the word—teach the theory, apply the practice and further it through research—FGCU provides a low-pressure, low-stress environment to produce that result.”
Michael came to FGCU because of his desire to help students further their careers, through both teaching and administration. As the assistant dean at FGCU’s College of Education (COE), Michael leads programs that cultivate students and prepare them for their careers in K-12 education and beyond.
The community partnerships the college maintains with the five school districts of Southwest Florida create the heart of Michael’s work. Exposure to COE begins while students are still in high school. He works with the school district’s education academies, holds open houses and hosts an education camp where kids spend a week on campus absorbing the college experience. In turn, the community’s “Grow Your Own” initiative provides incentives for participating students, such as guaranteed employment upon graduation.
The students that matriculate at FGCU will shadow teachers and administrators in local schools, go to educational conferences and spend their entire senior year in a robust undergraduate internship program—co-teaching in the surrounding community. Because the need is so great in Southwest Florida, and because the college prepares its teachers so well, there is a 100% graduate employment rate for K-12 teachers from FGCU.
Few schools can boast the success rate that Michael helps facilitate in his role. As he says, “FGCU gives you the opportunity to do the big things you want to accomplish as an educator—and feel good about it. We get so much feedback here from our alumni and community. It’s not only a boost to your esteem, it helps you shape a program to really serve your audience.”
Summing things up, Michael says, “I have taught, done research and helped cultivate students’ careers. Now I want to create the future of education.” It seems like his role at FGCU has given him a pretty good start.