Dr. Madelyn Isaacs, Counseling Chair & Professor, Reflects on Career at FGCU
What year did you start at FGCU?
I began as the Director of Student Affairs with USF in Fort Myers in 1987 and became a faculty member in late 1990. I had the opportunity to watch then Governor Chiles sign the bill into legislation on the Lee County courthouse steps in 1991. From there it was being part of the selection of a site and a name, driving down a dirt road that became Treeline and then Ben Hill Griffin Road for a groundbreaking and hiring colleagues in 1994 -96 to get to opening day. We moved into trailers initially, which has now been converted into Ben Hill Griffin Hall in 1997, as part of the School of Education where I was the founding Assistant Director. Two years later we were an independent college of Education and I was Associate Dean.
What are your two proudest contributions to FGCU?
I am proudest of the department we have created and the almost 400 graduates in our two programs who serve school students and community clients throughout our region and in many places throughout the nation. I have been a faculty member, faculty leader, licensed counselor, administrator and leader, scholar and provider of service throughout my career but it is teaching and watching students grow and thrive that has been my guiding passion.
What will you miss most about FGCU after you retire?
I will miss the graduates and my colleagues most of all. On that day in May of 1991, I could not have envisioned what 29 years forward would look like but I remember being as excited then as I am now for the future to unfold. Over the years I have watched us grow, morph into a more complex institution and evolve to meet education trends, community and student needs, and raise our standards and standings. My fondest memories are nostalgic for earlier times when every day we invented some policy, process or procedure because we started largely from scratch.
What do you see as the future of Marieb College?
Our new leadership of our Department of Counseling and its new Community Counseling Center, its revamped curriculum that includes Relationship and Family Counseling as a focus, and the potential it has to develop more training in crisis and trauma work, play counseling and interprofessional scholarship and programs with our colleagues in Marieb College are going to expand what has become a long-term tradition in southwest Florida.