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FGCU discusses School of Pharmacy and Dentistry

FGCU discusses School of Pharmacy and Dentistry
(EN Photo / Kelli Krebs)

There are several new projects in the works for FGCU, from a new road connecting Ben Hill Griffin to South Village to a recently approved Physician’s Assistant program. The two most pivotal, however, are the possible creation of a School of Pharmacy and a School of Dentistry.

“These are what we call strategic aspirations,” President Wilson Bradshaw said. “We have developed a strength in reputation in the health sciences, and we’re looking to build upon those.”

The idea was first introduced in a meeting that Board of Trustees members attended with state senators in April. Bradshaw said that since the BOT seems to be in favor of the idea, the university might go forward with the implementation of two new colleges in the future, but there is no official timeline for development.

“Down the road, it may be important to develop those programs,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said that not only is it important for students to be aware and involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math but the local community as well.

“Not only are students needing to be aware, but we are also constantly trying to assess the needs here in Southwest Florida and how the institution’s meeting those needs,” he said.

Since the development of a School of Dentistry and a School of Pharmacy will require entering students to take basic level courses, current STEM professors will be included in the creation of the programs.

Bradshaw and the BOT are also working on further developing the Honors Program into a full-fledged Honors College.

“Hopefully, we can get that implemented by next fall,” Bradshaw said.

According to Bradshaw, there are enough equipped professors already teaching at FGCU, so there won’t be a dire need for more faculty in the Honors College.

“What we’d have to do is get more coordination,” Bradshaw said.

As for space, Bradshaw said that in regards to the Honors College, the current building space available would do. For the School of Pharmacy and the School of Dentistry, however, an additional building will be needed.

“For the Honors College, there won’t be space needed; I think we can do that without any additional space,” Bradshaw said. “But, dentistry and pharmacy, absolutely. Those are highly specialized degree programs that will require specialized facilities that we don’t have now.”

Before the two colleges start up, a 60,000 square foot building and a 30,000 square foot community clinic will be needed. This was discussed during the April 21 roundtable discussion. The community clinic will have room for classrooms, a research complex and a laboratory.

Talk about construction of a new academic building, Academic Building 9, has also surfaced and resurfaced during a handful of BOT meetings. The creation of this building was originally intended for a School of Water Quality and Resource Management and will require approximately $36.3 million dollars.

Despite the focus that the BOT has on STEM, Bradshaw said he believes that FGCU will be known for more than just health sciences.

“I certainly think that FGCU is well on the road of extinguishing itself in the health sciences as well as entrepreneurship and business-related facilities,” Bradshaw said. “The Bower School of Music is exceptional, so we have areas that are strong now and getting stronger.”

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