How universities in South Florida are playing a critical role in catalyzing Miami-Dade’s vibrant economy

Dr. Mark Rosenberg President – Florida International University

What impact does Florida International University (FIU) have on the Miami-Dade community?

FIU hires the best and brightest faculty, who excel in advanced research. We are identifying key challenges in the community. Our community sees us as a solutions center and we like that. We want our community to know that we are agents of good and change. For example, we started a teacher preparation program that identifies ninth graders who want to be teachers and monitors their performance throughout high school. Meanwhile, we created FIU EMBRACE, a program to provide medical and behavioral health care for adults on the autism spectrum or who have other neurodevelopmental disorders. To address the needs of students aging out of foster care, we launched an initiative that provides opportunities to succeed academically and graduate from college. We are building partnerships around important issues like closing the education achievement gap, solving health disparities, dealing with transportation gridlock or undertaking the challenge of sea-level rise.

How does FIU cater to its diverse student population while meeting the needs of Miami’s highly international market?

Diversity is a core part of our strength that we cannot take for granted. To make our curriculum relevant to a globalized society, recently Steven J. Green, his wife Dorothea Green, daughter Kimberly Green and the Green Family Foundation gave $20 million to make the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs one of the world’s top academic centers dedicated to international understanding, economic development, peace and security. With policy, history, languages and social science courses, the school plans on enrolling over 9,000 students. We already have funding from the European community and plan to work in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Thanks to technology’s global reach, we are learning to be more efficient at delivering education online.

How has FIU adapted to technology’s disruptive impact on higher education?

Technology has been a major driver in breaking down the monopoly universities had on education. Before, we monopolized what product was offered, when it was offered and where it was offered. Technology has disrupted those three elements, so we have to be better at being 24/7 providers of quality education. We also have to be consumer-centric. That doesn’t mean students will be spoon-fed, or that there won’t be rigorous standards. Our challenge is to figure out how to effectively deliver our product as a consequence of the reach technology now gives us.