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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Everglades University: An Institution Ahead Of Its Time

Jun 02, 2014 02:30PM ● By Linda Sechrist

During times of change, institutions of higher learning must do more than simply adapt. To thrive, they must also support the changing environment by developing innovative teaching models and progressive curriculums that serve students as well as the business needs in any new economic climate. This type of action, which is a step toward the ever-changing landscape of the future, was taken by Belinda and Dr. Arthur Keiser in 1998, when they purchased American Flyers College, in Fort Lauderdale. Since 2000, when the Keisers created Everglades University (EU) and relocated the main campus to Boca Raton, two branch campuses have been added—Sarasota and Orlando.

At EU, adult learners of diverse backgrounds are provided quality education in a collaborative environment where each individual has the opportunity to achieve personal growth via small class sizes and innovative programs. The university supports the academic endeavor through research, scholarly contribution and service to deliver graduate and undergraduate program on campus and online. The university is known for its degrees in Alternative and Renewable Energy, Crisis and Disaster Management, Construction Management, Aviation Technology and Aviation Management, as well as Entrepreneurship and Alternative Medicine. “Alternative Medicine, which we offered nearly from the beginning, is now attracting a different type of student,” comments Allied Health Department Chairperson Dr. Deborah Faust.

Individuals that enrolled in the online Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Alternative Medicine when it was first offered in 2004 indicated that their interest in this area derived from a positive personal experience. They were also often curious about Traditional Chinese Medicine, a course offered within the curriculum, as a viable option to allopathic medicine. Today, according to Faust, a large percentage of students matriculate from traditional areas of medicine. “We are seeing a trend in students who intend to leave their professions or who want to add alternative medicine to their current practice. This particularly applies to the nurses, who were drawn here to learn how to treat the individual from a mind, body, spirit perspective,” says Faust, who left traditional healthcare to join EU.

Richard Delewsky, director of student services and affairs, keeps in touch with students after they graduate to learn if they are working in their chosen field. “Since the inception of our Alternative Medicine program, we have had 776 graduates, who have gone on to do independent consulting, as well as clinician work. Others have enrolled in a Master of Science degree in the medical field or nutrition. Now that wellness programs are being integrated into allopathic medicine, students on a career path to become a doctor come here to learn about alternative medicine before entering medical school,” explains Delewsky.

“The mainstreaming of alternative medicine has helped EU graduates. Since high-profile physicians such as Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Mehmet Oz have been educating the general public about alternative and integrative medicine, we’ve had hospitals and clinics approaching us with job opportunities for our graduates,” advises Delewsky.

Regarding student demographics, Faust notes that the four-year on-campus and online program appeals to fulltime students whose ages range from late 20s to 60-plus.“Overall, we are very appealing to the mature individual who works full-time and manages a family. Many students have their own yoga studio or own their own wellness center and are looking to round out their knowledge of alterative medicine,” explains Faust.

The EU curriculum’s national appeal attracts students not only from the U.S., but also from many countries around the world such as Saudi Arabia, England, Australia, Peru and Canada. “Class content and weekly assignments reside on a web server for online students to complete at their convenience,” advises Faust, who is proud of the university’s accreditation by the Southern Association for College and Schools Regional accreditation, a difficult certification to earn and maintain. A regional accreditation is the highest level that any school can achieve. “From our perspective, credit hours are valuable time and financial investments that students have already made in their education and we honor that concept by considering transfer credits from nationally accredited schools, provided that students are able to fulfill certain equirements,” says Faust.

For more information, contact Everglades University, 888-772-6077. Visit EvergladesUniversity.edu.

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