University forms alliance with Florida college
A university in the region has announced an alliance with a college in Florida.
Western Michigan University’s partnership with Florida SouthWestern State College will allow WMU to use FSW’s Punta Gorda campus in Charlotte County for health science and flight programs that FSW doesn’t offer, pending Higher Learning Commission approval.
The deal will support and may create additional jobs in Kalamazoo and also may create jobs at FSW’s campus. WMU will invest in renting aircraft and associated equipment, which will be funded by tuition fees.
Flight time and seniors
Timothy Greene, WMU provost and VP for academic affairs, said the plan is to use the Sunshine State to provide WMU aviation students more time in the air.
“The alliance is going to allow us to use FSW college facilities and aircraft hangar space at the Punta Gorda airport,” he said. “You can look out your window and see the gray skies of Michigan. During the winter, the wonderful weather of Florida will allow our students additional flight time.”
Greene also said it makes sense for WMU to expand its health science programs to Florida, which has the nation’s highest population of seniors, especially in Charlotte County.
“Our ability to bring our clinical operations down there will help a wonderful population of people that need our services,” he said.
The reciprocal part of the relationship, Greene said, is that FSW will become a feeder school for WMU, sending its associate’s and bachelor’s degree graduates to bachelor’s and graduate programs at WMU.
“We are so appreciative of the friendship that the Florida SouthWestern State College and the Punta Gorda community has made possible,” he said.
WMU is known for its academic programs in aviation, wellness, business and environmental studies. The university also works with industries and businesses to customize educational offerings and credentialing certifications.
Florida SouthWestern State College is ranked in the top 15 percent nationally for its two-year degree programs in dental hygiene and radiology. In addition to offering 20 associate’s degrees, FSW offers 10 primarily STEM- and education-related bachelor’s degree programs.