FGCU, Edison State College Partner to Promote New Access to Higher Education in Charlotte County
FORT MYERS, FL - Today, President Kenneth P. Walker of Edison State College and President Wilson G. Bradshaw of Florida Gulf Coast University announced a bold new synergistic partnership that will promote greater access to higher education opportunities in Charlotte County. The two schools are forging a partnership to offer bachelor's and master's degrees on the existing site of Edison State College Campus in Charlotte County.
This partnership is a special alliance between a state college and a university in Florida.
FGCU and Edison State College (ESC) plan to use existing infrastructure on the ESC-Charlotte County Campus to bring bachelor's and master's degree opportunities to students in Charlotte County.
The option for public higher education in Charlotte County is limited. Commissioned by Charlotte County, the 2007 Wadley-Donovan study revealed a pressing need for an advanced workforce in Charlotte County. The study showed a need for elementary and secondary school teachers, registered nurses, entry-level management, computer specialists, and sales representatives. It also revealed a need for training programs, especially for health care professionals.
Currently, Charlotte County residents must drive to Fort Myers to FGCU for bachelor's or master's degree programs, or to Edison State College - Lee Campus for bachelor opportunities. Distance, time and fuel costs make these options prohibitive for many in Charlotte County.
This innovative partnership proposes an ambitious agenda for program expansion that will add 12 bachelor's degree programs and two master's degree programs within five years. Proposed program expansion includes:
• Establish bachelor's degree programs in Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Public Safety Management, and Supervision and Management for academic year 2009-2010.
• Establish bachelor's degree programs in Legal Studies, Psychology, Secondary Education in Mathematics and Biology for academic year 2010-2011.
• Establish bachelor's degree programs in Communication and a Master of Public Administration in academic year 2011-2012.
• Establish bachelor's degree program in Nursing and Biology and an M.S. in Criminal Justice in 2012-2013.
• Increase enrollment by 100 percent by the year 2020. Current enrollment at the ESC Charlotte Campus is approximately 2,400.
• Create a student life environment that meets the academic and extracurricular needs of students pursuing high school, associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degrees or those fulfilling lifelong learning goals.
The partnership will request funding to support an increase of 1,400 FTEs for the year 2009-2010. Edison State College will generate 70 percent of the 1,400 FTEs and FGCU will generate 30 percent.
The joint partnership is the result of collaboration between Edison State College and FGCU and is dependent upon the support of the community and legislators. The two schools plan to go before the state legislature to ask for a total of $3.5 million dollars to help support this proposal.
Increasing the education level of the population will serve as a catalyst for economic development for the county and region.
For more information, media representatives should contact Associate Vice President for Community Relations and Marketing at FGCU Audrea Anderson at (239) 590-1083, or District Director of Communications and Marketing at ESC Catherine Bergerson at (239) 489-9460.