I have spent a good chunk of the last three decades on college campuses, and it has become clear to me over that time that one of the universal aspects of higher education – and one of the most powerful reasons why universities are so critical to a successful life – is that the classroom experience is just one part of how students benefit from their college experience.
It is up to each university to carry out that ‘impact beyond education’ credo however it sees fit, but at Florida Tech, we have three areas that we focus on.
Of course it all begins with education. That is and will remain the cornerstone of the experience and the driving force for young men and women to enroll. At Florida Tech, our classes and curricula are among the best anywhere, as Times Higher Education agreed in naming us one of the best universities in the world with 5,000 students or fewer on our main campus.
We believe your Florida Tech education should help make possible a lifetime of success, and a recent study from PayScale found that our graduates, 20 years after earning their diplomas, post a nearly $500,000 return on investment, among the best in the nation.
Part of the success Florida Tech graduates see in the workplace is due to the experiences they receive before they graduate. Whether seeking killer crabs in Antarctica, studying ecosystems in Cuba, inspecting bridges using a drone or trying to figure out how to grow vegetables on Mars, the research underway here will always deepen our understanding and often reshape the world for the better.
That’s the second facet we focus on here: research to benefit humankind. We have done it, we continue to do it. The power of learning beyond the classroom.
And the third element of the Florida Tech experience also goes beyond the classroom. You can hear it on our campus, as students walk by speaking Mandarin or Farsi, English or Spanish. You can taste it in our dining hall, where international dinners draw students and community members alike. You can see it in our enrollment, with students from 100-plus countries sharing our campus every semester.
All of this and much more powers our third achievement: preparing global citizens.
With technology shrinking boundaries, with economies blurring and international issues at the forefront, having an understanding of other cultures is a requisite for success. But at Florida Tech, we go beyond that just by the nature of our incredibly diverse student body. Factor in the events and programs I mentioned, and the many I didn’t, consider the accolades praising our diversity from U.S. News and others, and you can see how it is that we are able to develop men and women who are comfortable with and cognizant of multifaceted international issues.
As we head into our fall semester, I am eager to hear those different languages on campus once again, and to offer our students knowledge and success both on campus and well beyond.