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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


Annual Swiss Teachers Summer Institute Attracts Other Nationalities This Year

FORT MYERS, FL - What started two years ago at Florida Gulf Coast University as a small summer conference for Swiss teachers to hone their technology skills, practice their English and learn about economics and ecology issues, has turned into something a little more this year. From July 14 to August 10, educators and facilitators, not only from Switzerland - but also South Africa, Canada and the United States - are converging at FGCU for the third annual Swiss Teachers Summer Institute 2002.

“What a wonderful international presence on our campus and in our community!” dean of the College of Education Larry Byrnes exclaimed. “This year we will have 42 Swiss, six South African, three Canadian, and one American teacher staying in FGCU's residence halls during the Institute. It is a superb program that continues to grow in complexity as our teacher participants and Swiss sponsors request additional programming.”

A custom-designed experience, teachers engage in intense daylong study primarily designed to improve their knowledge of economy and ecology issues, the use of technology as a learning tool, the use of the English language, and participation in quality team building and problem solving activities. The Institute builds on FGCU’s growing international report as a learning center because of its use of contemporary technology, as exhibited last month when FGCU hosted the rector from the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional in Bogota, Colombia.

Yet, the traveling teachers see it as much more than a fun trip to America to learn how to integrate new and exciting lessons for their classrooms. They believe they can bring much to the people of Southwest Florida.

“It’s not all one-way. They have a lot to offer because they are very sophisticated and well-traveled educators,” Byrnes says. “There are a lot of logical spin-offs that not only benefit the University, but the school districts as well. For example, the STSI 2002 is devoting an entire day to discussions, presentations and sharing with area school teachers. This has become an important international program for the University and a flagship summer event for the College of Education.”

The Institute certainly helps the economy of Southwest Florida. The demanding schedule includes multiple classes, workshops and seminars on the FGCU campus and allows time for field trips to local schools, and planned interviews and appearances on local television and radio stations. Participants also interact with many people in the community during receptions, meetings and weekend trips, visits to local museums, attractions, shops and restaurants, and during free time for travel and exploration.

The Institute is primarily a collaborative effort between FGCU, the Canton of Zürich’s Ministry of Education, Swiss businesses, which sponsor the Institute, and additional sponsors this year for the other nationals. The Institute’s first year attracted 30 participants. Last year, the College of Education capped attendance at 60 after it received 89 applications.

For more information, contact Byrnes at (941) 590-7822 or

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