KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University today held its first Industry Partner Summit bringing together nearly 90 leaders from 40 innovating companies to help shape the university’s future curriculum. Representatives from companies like Cisco Systems, Harris Corporation, Boeing Spectrolab, Staples and Prolexic engaged in roundtable discussions to define priorities for degree concentrations including Big Data, Cloud Virtualization, Health Informatics, Cyber Gaming, Machine Intelligence and Nanotechnology. The Summit culminated with a keynote address by John Couch, Apple’s Vice President of Education, to more than 200 attendees.
“We are Florida’s high-tech jobs university, and we know it’s because of partnerships like these that we’ll be successful,” said Ava Parker, Florida Polytechnic’s chief operating officer. “Applying STEM education to real-world challenges creates innovation. By inviting industry leaders to join us in designing effective programs for learning, internships and other real-world experiences, we are creating added value for our students and for the organizations that will want to hire Florida Poly graduates.”
The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Frank Bourne, Harris Corporation’s chief scientist for government communications systems. Following the working session, John Couch, Apple’s vice president of education, delivered a keynote address about the importance of technology in advancing education.
“This is a generation of students who are unwilling to live in a consumption world; they want to live in a creation world,” said Couch. “If students are engaged, they’re going to learn. That’s what challenge-based learning is about.”
Couch was one of Apple’s early leaders and is a widely recognized authority on using technology to revolutionize classroom learning.
“Apple products and systems will be critical to ensuring our students, faculty and staff have some of the most innovative and integrated technologies available for education and collaboration,” said Parker.
Part of Florida Polytechnic’s mission is to prepare students to assume available technology leadership positions by emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in an innovative, technology-rich, interdisciplinary learning environment and by collaborating with industry partners to offer students real-world problem-solving, work experience, applied research and business leadership opportunities.
“We want to build a university that responds to the needs of the industry and the community,” said Dr. Ghazi Darkazalli, Florida Polytechnic’s vice president of academic affairs. “Working closely with business partners now and into the future will guarantee our curriculum prepares students to fill jobs and address real-world needs as soon as they graduate.”
The summit was sponsored by Florida High Tech Corridor, Harris Corporation, Prolexic, Liberty Capital Advisors, Protected Trust and Bob and Carmen Stork.
Florida Polytechnic’s board of trustees recently approved a scholarship program for the university’s first class of undergraduate, transfer and graduate students, and the admissions process is currently underway. Inaugural classes begin in fall of 2014.