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FIU opens 2 new sites in areas ‘where the students are’

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 PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:54 am   
Golden Panther

Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 12:46 pm
Posts: 800
Location: Miami Fl
By Amy Sherman

Florida International University has 46,000 students enrolled this fall, the most in the school’s history since it opened in 1972. but it is not resting on its laurels.

The school is opening two new facilities in Miami-Dade — in Brickell and Miami Beach — as part of its effort to attract more students.

FIU Downtown on Brickell will house several graduate programs in business, public administration and global governance as well as The Metropolitan Center, an existing public affairs center.

The Miami Beach Urban Studios on Lincoln Road will provide space for architecture, music, visual arts and other programs.

The two centers will have opening celebrations on Friday and Tuesday.

The university, which has long-term leases on both sites, expects to add 2,000 students a year for the next five years.

“As an anchor institution in South Florida, FIU needs to be where our students are,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg in a prepared statement. “Our growth strategy focuses our teaching, research and creative energies in service to and engagement with our community. Both Brickell and Lincoln Road are key engines of community creativity.”

The two new locations are in addition to campuses in West Miami-Dade and North Miami, centers in the Sweetwater area and Pembroke Pines and The Wolfsonian-FIU in Miami Beach — plus a site in China.

FIU’s strategy mirrors other universities nationally that open multiple campuses to attract additional students.

Nova Southeastern University, headquartered in Davie, has multiple sites throughout Florida as well as sites in other states and the Bahamas. It recently celebrated the opening of a larger facility in Palm Beach Gardens. Starting in January, the 75,000-square-foot site will offer two new nursing programs, a master’s in family nurse practitioner and a doctorate of nursing practice program. The site currently offers courses in pharmacy, business and other programs.

Miami-Dade and Broward colleges also have multiple sites.

It is common for commuter universities to try to expand residential enrollment, said Tony Pals, a spokesman for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

In addition to multiple locations, colleges are offering more classes at night, weekends and online, Pals said.

“Consumer demand for flexible academic programs that appeal especially to adult learners is growing,” Pals said in an e-mail. “Adult learners are more likely than traditional-age students to look for convenient locations, flexible scheduling, relatively quick completion times, and online components.’’

FIU’s 32,000-square-foot Brickell location offers a new degree this fall: master of arts in global governance (MAGG) offered through the School of International and Public Affairs.

The Miami Beach Urban Studios, a 16,000-square-foot space, will house graduate design studios for architecture, landscape architecture and interior architecture students, practice rooms for music students, exhibition and graduate studios for visual arts students, performance spaces for theatre students and classrooms for communication arts students.

“We are moving from circumstances of being focused on the traditional student to opportunities to work with more and more non-traditional students,” Rosenberg said in an interview. “With the churning of the economy, there are more and more people realizing that learning is lifelong’’ and they would like to have access to university sites, he said.

Brickell is an epicenter because of its transformation from a downtown area that isn’t only a place where people work but also live, Rosenberg said. And South Beach gives students an opportunity to work alongside “shoulder to shoulder some of the most creative people in the world,” he said.

FIU has a financial incentive to expand graduate programs. In 2010, the Florida Legislature approved a change allowing state schools to charge market-rate for certain graduate programs.

Rosenberg said the new sites will cover their own costs.

“I’m very happy to tell taxpayers this works from a financial perspective,” Rosenberg said. “But we are not in the business of generating profits – we are in the business of trying to recover our costs.

Miami Herald staff writer Michael Vasquez contributed to this article.

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