Nova Southeastern University (visited 2/21-23/2018)
This feels like a massive school even though they only have 4800 undergraduates, primarily because of the immense graduate population (17,000 nationwide including online). This creates a nice balance for undergrads who want a larger-feel school without being lost in the shuffle or sit in larger lecture halls. The undergrad division started in the 1980s (shifting from graduate-only): their freshman class increased to 994 in 2017 with plans to be at 1500 by 2020!
NSU has good ethnic, geographic (50% from outside of Florida), and religious diversity but it is still heavily female (about 2/3). “It’s a great community. There’s a great deal of respect, even for people who hold different views,” said a rep. One student on the panel said, “It’s a respectful campus in how we respond to each other. There are people from both sides of the political spectrum.” They’ve been seeing more political involvement recently, “maybe because of what’s going on in the country.”
They’re located in a quiet suburban community near Fort Lauderdale and Miami with a range of things to do. The university runs shuttles downtown, to the airport at breaks, and even to the Miami Dolphins stadium (15 minutes away) where they can attend home games for FREE which more than makes up for no football team on campus!
Because of their extensive medical graduate programs, NSU offers Dual Admissions: if admitted and eligible, students have a reserved spot in one of 30+ professional Masters or Doctoral programs. They can only apply to 1 program: “the idea is that they know what they want to do.” It is NOT binding; they can relinquish their spot if they change their minds. Students can also apply to the Farquhar Honors College: The 400ish students in the program get plenty of mentoring, priority registration, and access to research opportunities.
The flagship academic program at NSU Experiential Education and Learning (see the ExEL YouTube video here). “Experiential education is nothing new; we’re just embedding it. ‘I reflect and I learn’ is what sets us apart. We want to ask them the right questions at the beginning of their education, let them understand what they’re learning and what it’ll look like at and after graduation.”
- Students complete 6 units including FYS and Senior Capstone. The other 4 can be study abroad, internships, designated experiential courses, faculty-mentored research, community engagement, etc.
They start career development early through coaching, internships, job search action planning, and over 1000 internship placements a year. They’re increasing visibility of social sciences/humanities research.
- They created a Success Team. All schools provide academic advisors; what’s unique are the certified Career Advisors, “Advisors on steroids,” who plan out a 4-year journey based on the student’s needs. The 2 advisors meet every couple weeks to talk about the 250-student cohort assigned to them.
- Students work with the professional schools: Health Advocacy Law cases, create lip gloss at the pharmacy school, dissect pig feet at the Health Sciences, examine teeth at dental school.
Beyond that, there are multiple Razor’s Edge (Premier) Programs, the umbrella “organization” allowing students to earn a specialized 16-credit minor; most are open to students from any major. These require a supplemental application and interview. Students can apply to two programs but can only participate in one (they’re all 4-year residential programs) but can combine the program with Honors and/or Dual Admissions.
- Leadership and Civil Engagement: They look for people who’ve had leadership positions, who’ve led or started an organization. Students complete 7 leadership credits and 9 more across the curriculum as well as a “legacy” project for the benefit of the community.
- Shark Teach (Teacher Leadership): participants have had experience in tutoring, camp counseling, teaching in Sunday School, etc. and demonstrate a passion for helping students. Educationally-focused community service in expected.
- Shark Cage: Students do sales pitches, growing in length as time goes on. A group is traveling to Cuba to see how they do it there with heavy government restrictions and almost no money.
- Fischer Academy: 3+1 Masters in Education, guaranteeing an education job in select Florida counties. There is some flexibility including hybrid online components and modules in a learning center. Students get a free international travel component in the 2nd year and a paid internship as a tutor or SI leader.
- Global Program (Global Engagement): students do local, state, national, and international projects (usually in that order).
- Shark Talent (Arts Leadership): They learn how to be arts administrators and promote events, create marketing plans and materials.
I asked the student panelists what their favorite classes have been and why:
- Sport Supplements for Athletes: “It’s only 7 students taught by the university researcher for the year. I got a certificate and letters behind my name.”
- Genetics: “It’s pretty cool; I use my own DNA and figure out where I’m from.”
- Courts and Corrections: “the prof required us to go to federal criminal court. Even though I was in NY, I could do the class and it was really personalized.”
- Spanish for Business/Health/Legal professions: “They taught a lot of specific stuff, and I had professors from different countries so it was more like a cultural environment.”
- Microbiology: “We took skin samples and we’re growing our own bacteria. That came from me!”
Just over 1/3 of the incoming class majors in STEM fields, but Business (with 6 specialties to choose from including Sport and Recreation Management) and Arts &Sciences (especially Criminal Justice) have strong showings. Their strong graduate health sciences programs in health sciences leads to strong undergrad programs including:
- Public Health (the first undergrad program in the College of Osteopathic Medicine) which looks at health from the community level: health of people and communities; track disease outbreaks; disaster emergency management. Students gain expertise in global health, social and behavioral health sciences, epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, and healthcare. The degree allows for flexibility to enter the work force or can segue into Masters programs or dental or med school. They offer the 1st 7-year (3+4) public health/Med degree dual admission in the nation.
- Speech-language Pathology: they start clinical experiences in the first year for some programs, often in the on-campus speech clinic.
- Medical Sonography, Cardiovascular Sonography, Respiratory Therapy, and Exercise and Sport Science are also of note.
Dorms are spacious and have private bathrooms! Students are allowed to move off campus; the housing office will help students find apartments, many of which are right off campus. There is Greek Life which is fairly popular (but “smaller than at some other places”) and no Greek Housing. This is the first university (especially of this size) that does not have an actual dining hall! Students said that this is something they want fixed. There are food courts; in 2018-19, they’re going to try a hybrid for dinners/weekends where they’ll swipe for a buffet. Students would also like to see money spent on dorms and to buy out houses on SE side of campus.
International Students are considered for all scholarships and programs. They do NOT need test scores for admissions if they have been in the US from 10th-12th grade but must send in scores for scholarship consideration OR if they spent all 4 years in the US.