Vision Mission and Guiding Principles

2015-2016 Catalog Year

Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles


Florida Gulf Coast University will achieve national prominence in offering exceptional value in high-quality educational programs that address regional and statewide needs. Our programs, firmly grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, will employ emerging instructional technologies. Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, graduates will be well prepared for productive lives as civically engaged and environmentally conscious citizens with successful careers, ready to pursue further education.

Approved by the FGCU Board of Trustees September 8, 2015.


Florida Gulf Coast University, a regional comprehensive institution of higher education, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs of strategic importance to Southwest Florida and beyond. FGCU seeks academic excellence in the development of selected programs and centers of excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, health professions, business, and marine and environmental sciences. Outstanding faculty and staff supported by a strong community of advisors prepare students for gainful employment and successful lives as responsible, productive and engaged citizens. FGCU emphasizes innovative, student-centered teaching and learning, promotes environmental sustainability, embraces diversity, nurtures community partnerships, values public service, encourages civic responsibility, and cultivates habits of lifelong learning and the discovery of new knowledge.

Approved by the FGCU Board of Trustees September 8, 2015.

Guiding Principles

The founding of Florida Gulf Coast University at the advent of a new century is a signal event. It comes at a moment in history when the conditions that formed and sustained American higher education are fundamentally changing, and at a time when rapid shifts wrought by technology and social complexities are altering the very nature of work, knowledge, and human relationships. As a public institution, Florida Gulf Coast University eagerly accepts the leadership opportunity and obligation to adapt to these changes and to meet the educational needs of Southwest Florida. To do so, it will collaborate with its various constituencies, listen to the calls for change, build on the intellectual heritage of the past, plan its evolution systematically for the twenty-first century, and be guided by the following principles:

Student success is at the center of all University endeavors. The University is dedicated to the highest quality education that develops the whole person for success in life and work. Learner needs, rather than institutional preferences, determine priorities for academic planning, policies, and programs. Acceleration methods and assessment of prior and current learning are used to reduce time to degree. Quality teaching is demanded, recognized, and rewarded.

Academic freedom is the foundation for the transmission and advancement of knowledge. The University vigorously protects freedom of inquiry and expression and categorically expects civility and mutual respect to be practiced in all deliberations.

Diversity is a source of renewal and vitality. The University is committed to developing capacities for living together in a democracy whose hallmark is individual, social, cultural, and intellectual diversity. It fosters a climate and models a condition of openness in which students, faculty, and staff engage multiplicity and difference with tolerance and equity.

Informed and engaged citizens are essential to the creation of a civil and sustainable society. The University values the development of the responsible self grounded in honesty, courage, and compassion, and committed to advancing democratic ideals. Through service learning requirements, the University engages students in community involvement with time for formal reflection on their experiences. Integral to the University's philosophy is instilling in students an environmental consciousness that balances their economic and social aspirations with the imperative for ecological sustainability.

Service to Southwest Florida, including access to the University, is a public trust. The University is committed to forging partnerships and being responsive to its region. It strives to make available its knowledge resources, services, and educational offerings at times, places, in forms and by methods that will meet the needs of all its constituents. Access means not only admittance to buildings and programs, but also entrance into the spirit of intellectual and cultural community that the University creates and nourishes.

Technology is a fundamental tool in achieving educational quality, efficiency, and distribution. The University employs information technology in creative, experimental, and practical ways for delivery of instruction, for administrative and information management, and for student access and support. It promotes and provides distance and time free learning. It requires and cultivates technological literacy in its students and employees.

Connected knowing and collaborative learning are basic to being well educated. The University structures interdisciplinary learning experiences throughout the curriculum to endow students with the ability to think in whole systems and to understand the interrelatedness of knowledge across disciplines. Emphasis is placed on the development of teamwork skills through collaborative opportunities. Overall, the University practices the art of collective learning and collaboration in governance, operations, and planning.

Assessment of all functions is necessary for improvement and continual renewal. The University is committed to accounting for its effectiveness through the use of comprehensive and systematic assessment. Tradition is challenged; the status-quo is questioned; change is implemented.

Approved by the Deans Council June 18, 1996