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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU Selected to Participate in First National Science Summer Institute

FORT MYERS, FL – The Association of American Colleges and Universities has chosen Florida Gulf Coast University to participate in the AAC&U’s first Summer Institute designed to take to scale the national comprehensive dissemination program, Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities. FGCU is one of 46 preferred schools from across the nation selected for the institute on Aug. 3-7 at Santa Clara University in San Jose, Calif.

According to the AAC&U, the Summer Institute is the first institute of the five-year project, which is supported by the National Science Foundation. SENCER connects science education and civic engagement by teaching rigorous science through the study of complex, capacious and unsolved public issues.

The initiative will develop and disseminate models for teaching science in a social context that can be implemented at a wide array of institutions. Participants at the first institute will learn about these new models for undergraduate science education, join in a national conversation on improving science education in the context of vexing civic challenges, and learn about resources to support continuing development and improvement of science education.

By participating in the Summer Institute, FGCU is expanding the University’s ambition to be a major leader in the field of undergraduate science. Earlier this year, FGCU announced that soon it will be the premier state university in Florida for a degree in undergraduate biology and the program has the potential to attain national recognition in less than a decade.

“The best that students can get in the state of Florida is here at FGCU,” said Donna Price-Henry, Associate Dean in Physiology, referring to the forthcoming combination of current and new program faculty, existing and planned curricula, and the new $10 million Whitaker Hall for Science, Math and Technology Education. “If I were to do my undergraduate experience all over again, I would hope to find a program in the sciences like we have at FGCU.”

The AAC&U also says some degree of scientific literacy is a requisite part of a liberal education. That is an education that seeks to develop abilities in critical thinking, analysis, numeracy and inquiry that involves discovery and exploration.

The SENCER Summer Institute is a team-based, intensive, residential program. FGCU is one of only two Florida universities chosen to participate in the national program. In June, FGCU was one of only 23 schools nationwide – and the only Florida university – invited to the AAC&U’s 11th Annual Asheville Institute on General Education cosponsored by the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

FGCU is an accredited comprehensive public university created to address the higher educational needs of Southwest Florida and is dedicated to providing a learning-centered environment that offers high quality educational opportunities. By participating in such prestigious yet innovative and rigorous initiatives, FGCU is achieving academic excellence in the classroom and helping to mold tomorrow’s leaders.

For more information, contact:
     Debra Humphreys, AAC&U Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs (202) 387-3760 or
     Dr. Brad Bartel, FGCU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
(941) 590-7001 or
     Dr. Donna Price-Henry, FGCU Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (941) 590-7158 or

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