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May 22, 2018

Higher Education in Florida

New programs on Florida campuses

Colleges and universities around Florida are trying new programs tailored to a changing workforce and student needs.

Mike Vogel | 6/4/2012

Indian River State College

The Fort Pierce college recently opened its $21.5 million Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which partners with businesses to provide training in energy and technology. The center includes three fields of study: Power plant technology, alternative energy and sustainable building design.

Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University launched a three-year pilot social engagement program for a handful of its Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College students in Jupiter who will take courses in social entrepreneurship and work with an existing non-profit to learn about making social projects sustainable. The students also get a seed grant to initiate a project. A faculty panel will choose the most promising for more funding to launch it. The program was funded from a $295,000 gift from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach launched a bachelor’s degree program in drones. The degree in “unmanned aircraft systems” will qualify students for jobs as pilots, observers, sensor operators or operations administrators. Forty-five students have signed up for the inaugural year.

Embry Riddle
Embry-Riddle’s new program trains students to operate unmanned aircraft like the Predator drone above. [Photo: Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/U.S. Air Force]

Florida International University

Dodgeballs and colliding cars have helped Florida International University quadruple its number of physics majors. Its physics department uses “modeling instruction” to engage students. For example, they use magnets to generate voltage for study.

» FIU has just finished its first year of a master’s in global governance to prepare students for careers in the public and private sectors, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and non-profits.

» FIU also created a master’s in health informatics and management systems.

Students use magnets as part of FIU’s “modeling instruction.”

Flagler College

Through a program begun in 2000, Tallahassee Community College students complete a two-year associate’s degree through the community college and then roll into private Flagler College’s branch campus there as they pursue a bachelor’s in accounting, business or teaching. Tallahassee alumni now make up 11% of St. Augustine-based Flagler’s 12,800 total. Flagler in Tallahassee graduated 50 teachers in 2011 and 72 this year, a fraction of Florida State’s output, but one 2005 grad was Leon County’s teacher of the year in 2012.

University of West Florida

To teach science and math to aspiring teachers, the University of West Florida created the USS Argo, an “aviation classroom experience” learning lab. It’s part of the National Flight Academy, which in turn is a subsidiary of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. UWF led development of the curriculum, which includes game-based learning and the use of science and math to solve real-world situations [“Target: STEM”].

UWF’s “aviation classroom experience” learning lab

Tags: Education

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