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University efforts transform how we educate students

University efforts transform how we educate students

June 20, 2017 at 12:00am

From the editor

“People are the key to success or extraordinary success.”

—Azim Premji, businessman, investor, philanthropist

This past April, my niece graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from a Florida public university. My daughter and I joined several family members in cheering her on as she walked across the stage beaming, triumphant in this latest accomplishment in a university career filled with them.

Emily worked hard while at university, graduating in four years and hustling, always hustling, to gain the skills and experience that have earned her a coveted internship this summer with The New York Times.

Familial pride aside, my niece’s journey has brought into sharp focus for me Florida’s efforts to graduate young men and women who are prepared to meet the challenges of an adult life. How can our institutes of higher education and those who work for them best prepare today’s graduates for life after university? By supporting our students so they graduate sooner rather than later, with less debt and with real-life experiences in their chosen disciplines already under their belts. From the mentorship our faculty and advisors provide to university leaders who enact policies and encourage change, I am reminded that it all boils down to people. People willing to look at a problem from a different angle. People willing to step outside their comfort zone. People willing to give of themselves so that others might be lifted up.

As I was interviewing FIU employees and students for this issue’s cover story about the university’s efforts to transform the way we educate our students, it continually amazed me how the personal touch is all around us — despite our being one of the largest public universities in the country. Sending emails, calling students, letting them know that someone cares even as we remind them it is their responsibility to do what’s necessary to move forward in their journey from student to college graduate. President Mark B. Rosenberg continually speaks of FIU as being a “high-tech, high-touch” university. To the uninitiated, such a phrase may seem incongruous, but it has never been more true at our FIU. This issue’s cover story explores some of those efforts of FIU faculty and staff to be more intentional in the way we educate our students.

In other stories, we take a look at the latest changes in our football program, beginning with new head coach Butch Davis, and learn more about the man behind a transformational gift to FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing. These stories remind me, as Azim Premji said, that people are the key to success or extraordinary success.

Always Blue and Gold,

Karen Cochrane