The economic success of a state is directly determined by the quality of its educational policies. Hence, ensuring quality education is very essential, especially during the pursuit of higher studies. It is about making sure that appropriate and effective teaching, support, assessment, and learning opportunities are provided for them. “Transforming students’ lives and enriching our diverse community through academic excellence, innovation, and meaningful career opportunities,” highlights the mission of Broward College, which is committed to providing the highest quality education in affordable and accessible approaches.
Established in 1960, Broward College is one of Florida’s largest public colleges. Originally named the Junior College of Broward County, Broward College was created as a part of a network of the country’s two-year colleges. It was further renamed Broward Community College afterward. In 2008, the college was finally named ‘Broward College’—when it was granted the approval to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees. The college is spread across three campuses and various centers throughout Broward County. Currently, it is home to over 60,000 students on an annual basis with a huge faculty and staff composed of more than 2000. In 2021, University HQ ranked Broward College the most affordable college in Florida from more than 100 higher education.
Abundant Academic Opportunities
Broward College is committed to fostering a learning-centered community which celebrates diversity and inclusion by empowering and engaging students, faculty, and staff. Be it a traditional or a non-traditional student, a first-generation college student, or a student from a low-income community, the college couples its commitment with immense support to guide students towards success.
Broward College offers several academic services to its students through the following initiatives:
Academic Success Center (ASC) – Provides a variety of quality support services in a comfortable, collaborative atmosphere. Services provided by the ASC include certified tutors and online tutoring services, collaborative project space, laptop loans, and open computer centers with printing and scanning access.
Accessibility Resources – Ensures seamless access to all Broward College programs, activities, and services and promotes college-wide access that leads to an inclusive and equitable opportunity for students with disabilities.
Career Center and the Career Services Team – Helps with choosing a major, exploring career pathways, advice on resumes, job searches, internships, practice interviews, and other career-related activities.
Seahawk Outreach Services (SOS) – Provides wrap-around services and holistic support to students by connecting them to key campus resources and referring them to community organizations. Its goal is to help reduce food and housing insecurities, stress/mental health challenges, homelessness, and financial obstacles among the student population.
Enriched College Experience
Every higher education institution must strive to produce graduates by offering opportunities for personal development and civic engagement—transitioning students into responsible and active citizens. Broward College offers an encompassing teaching experience which goes beyond what is taught in classrooms.
Broward College constitutes a rich student life network offering abundant opportunities such as community outreach initiatives, and fun activities. The college also provides students the option to participate in events it hosts such as the annual Hackathon, most of which were available even during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, the college adopted a remote learning environment by hosting events via zoom and other streaming and interactive platforms. Broward College highly believes that college is a time to broaden horizons and build real-life experiences, and offers a plethora of activities for the students. These are namely—student government, clubs, volunteering and philanthropy, cultural presentations, civic dialog, and study abroad programs.
Supervised by Idealistic Mindset
At the core of Broward College, Dr. Nichole Vaughan (Dean of Science and Wellness) works collaboratively with the faculty to develop high-quality academic programs. Being a senior-level administrator, she beholds experience in areas of curriculum development, assessing institutional effectiveness, managing department resources including budgets, facilities and physical assets, faculty development, and performance reviews.
People at the college work together to accomplish its goals and missions. Dr. Vaughan supervises the associate deans for the department, and also works in collaboration with other deans and district directors at the college as well as institution leadership to maximize opportunities for ensuring student success.
‘STEM Education’ for Academic Benefits
As a critical aspect to the nation’s ongoing economic success, Broward College emphasizes STEM Education in its curriculum as it drives innovation and the generation of new ideas. STEM education involves a seamless integration of four cornerstones—computer technology; mathematical science; engineering; and natural, physical, and life science. Although employment in STEM education has grown over the years, a shortage of STEM professionals graduating from programs continues to exist.
To promote and strengthen STEM education, the Department of Education, in general, has invested more than $500 million. The investment aims to provide avenues for curriculum development and access to materials, to recruit and train innovative STEM educators, as well as investment in attracting more diverse representation. To thrive in the global competition, the STEM investment must bear varied and diverse results in the STEM curriculum in elementary schools. This should further incorporate hands-on learning and real-world applications in order to promote STEM education to children at an early age.
Leveraging Potentials of STEM
Leveraging the potentials and possibilities of STEM Education, Broward College offers more than 33 programs inculcating STEM. These include eight programs at the associate degree level and four at the baccalaureate degree level along with varied technical certificates. These are namely—Spatial Computing, Information Technology, Cloud and Virtualization Analyst, Cybersecurity Analyst, Information Technology Management, Web Development, and many more.
Broward College looks for two important areas prior to enrolling students for STEM education. These are—interest in discovery, and the ability to engage in an inquiry to find its solutions. To do this, students need to be problem solvers and possess strong analytical and critical-thinking skills. STEM students also need to be able to communicate well and work collaboratively with others toward a common goal. Additional skills such as being adaptable, creative, and persistent are also important.
Escorting through Vast Opportunities
With an abundance in the availability of engineering colleges around the world, students should emphasize three important areas before opting for a college to pursue higher studies. The first one is the available academic majors. Students should enquire whether the concerned college is offering their preferred major and a strong network for placement in internships or career counseling.
Secondly, students should seek for affordability and availability of scholarships at their desired institution. They should keep looking out for the availability of work-study or jobs on campus in accordance with their financial situation. The third important aspect is the diversity of the campus. Students should keep in mind whether the campus feels inclusive and provides important services to them while deciding whether they feel represented or not.
Adapting to Changing Educational Spheres
Dr. Vaughan states that she expects a renewed push to return to normalcy for the 2021-22 academic year and on-campus learning. She adds that students will have to adapt to the new normal of learning in new ways, by merging lessons learned from remote learning with on-campus experience. “Faculty and students will need to be creative in how they can safely interact with each other, which may lead to novel methods of engagement.” Says Dr. Vaughan.
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