PLTW Announces Florida Gulf Coast University as New Affiliate Partner

INDIANAPOLIS (March 18, 2014) – Project Lead The Way (PLTW) announces Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers, Fla., as an affiliate partner to support PLTW Engineering and Gateway programs in the state. FGCU joins approximately 50 other colleges, universities, and research institutions providing support for PLTW and its network of more than 5,000 schools in the United States.

“Project Lead The Way welcomes Florida Gulf Coast University to the affiliate network with great excitement,” said PLTW President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram. “STEM education has never been more crucial for our country, and FGCU’s strong commitment to students and teachers aligns with PLTW’s vision and values.”

As an affiliate partner, FGCU is an integral part of the PLTW experience. Affiliate partners host PLTW professional development training programs, which are required for each course a PLTW teacher instructs. Affiliates also host annual conferences for school administrators and counselors, as well as provide ongoing support to PLTW schools. In Florida, FGCU and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which was announced as an affiliate in December 2013, join forces to grow PLTW programs in the state.

“It is a distinct privilege to have the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University working in partnership with the College of Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to serve as joint university affiliates for Project Lead The Way in the great state of Florida,” said Richard Behr, dean of U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering at FGCU. “We look forward to fostering improved teacher preparation for engineering courses at the high school and middle school levels. PLTW is a very well-regarded national organization, and we are honored to be a part of the PLTW team.”

FGCU’s U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering was established in 2005 and has since grown to more than 800 students and 23 faculty and staff. The school offers degrees in bioengineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, and software engineering. “Our FGCU engineering college is young, and I would like to see our PLTW affiliation lead to enhanced exposure of our college to top quality future engineering students,” said Dr. Behr. “We anticipate that K-12 teachers who come to FGCU to train in our facilities will depart with a highly favorable impression of our college, which should lead to increased enrollments in our college from well-prepared high school students from throughout Florida and beyond.”

Lisa Zidek, associate dean and PLTW affiliate director added, “We are most excited about getting to work with the teachers and helping them become comfortable with applied math and sciences so that they are more comfortable engaging their students.”

FGCU places a strong emphasis on high-quality teaching and learning and has a track record of involvement in engineering education initiatives. FGCU hosts a STEM summer camp for students to introduce them to the field, conducts outreach with local schools, and engages in several projects with external partners, such as the National Science Foundation.

Please join PLTW in welcoming FGCU as its newest affiliate partner.

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About PLTW

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the nation’s leading provider of STEM programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy. More than 5,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.