November 25, 2022


Leading FGCU

Art Levy | 7/1/2008
Ron Roberts
FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw introduces himself to students. [Photo: Garth Francis]

Wilson G. Bradshaw became Florida Gulf Coast University’s third president
in November amid rapid growth both in enrollment and facilities. Bradshaw, 57, grew up Florida and came to FGCU from Minnesota, where he was president of Metropolitan State University. Bradshaw, who holds a doctorate in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, talks about the challenges of running the state’s fastest-growing public university.

» Budget Challenges — “We’re looking at where we can make appropriate cuts and which positions we need to keep open because we cannot afford to fill them. The overriding principle is to bolster the academic exercise, and that will not suffer. But there are things we’re not going forward with. We have three new baccalaureate degree programs that were very far along in being developed that I decided to suspend. ... Journalism was one. One was in the area of engineering and one in mathematics education.”

» Rapid Growth — “The campus that we’re building is not for the 10,000 students that we’ll have this fall, but for the 18,000 to 20,000 students we’ll have in the not-too-distant future. We certainly won’t have 20% or 22% increases in enrollment, but this fall we’ll have about a 13% increase in enrollment over last fall.”

» Research — “We fully expect as we become more comprehensive that you’ll see greater research output from our faculty.”

» Economic Impact — “We have a small-business development center that is just exceptional in providing services to business startups and existing businesses wanting to expand. We have a very fine college of business that has faculty and others involved in the various economic development councils in the region. We really see ourselves increasingly as not a disinterested broker, but as a convener for economic development interests within the region. We want to help bring everyone to the table and serve as a catalyst for developing and expanding the economic climate in southwest Florida.”

» Learning Curve — “I am learning the governance system here, the state university system. It’s a very different structure than Minnesota. Frankly, it’s a very different structure than most places in the country. I’m learning by being involved and watching my very distinguished colleagues, like President T.K. Wetherell (FSU), President Bernie Machen (UF), Frank Brogan (FAU) and all of the others.”

Tags: Politics & Law, Southwest, Education, Government/Politics & Law

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