The President's Report: 2018-19
As the spring semester began, brightly colored toy scuba divers popped up at various spots around campus, including the fountain outside Sachs Hall and the Fraser Dining Hall. As curious students picked up the little figures, they read two messages written in black Sharpie: “internship expo” and “DIVE.” It was part of a fun, creative campaign led by student leaders to promote an important new emphasis.
I love what DIVE stands for: Discovering Internships as Vocational Exploration. With this acronym and the feature stories inside this President’s Report we highlight a comprehensive program on internships — a remarkable, structured tool in experiential learning.
Of course, internships for college students isn’t a new idea. But internships are not all created equal, explains Dr. Kimberly Ladd (See page 3, below.) She and the Career Development staff work with faculty to help students find meaningful internships where they learn about themselves as they learn about the professions they are “sampling.”
You’ll understand the value of these internships as you read about the students we’ve featured. When students take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it working as interns, they grow tremendously in skill and confidence and they see doors of opportunity opening wide.
Across the nation there’s empirical data to back up our anecdotal evidence. A study by Strada Education Network (www.stradaeducation.org) and Gallup shows the link between relevant, engaged learning experiences and the long-term benefits of a successful, satisfying career. Promoting that engaged learning environment is one of PBA’s strategic themes.
The Strada/Gallup study also points to the importance of supportive relationships during college. Students flourish with the help of professors and mentors who care about them and encourage them to pursue their goals and dreams.
Those caring relationships are a big part of why Palm Beach Atlantic shines so well in an analysis done by The New York Times and the Urban Institute’s Center on Education Data and Policy. (See page 9, below.)
We’re so thankful for the caring, dedicated faculty and staff at PBA and also for the many employers who provide internship opportunities. Studying in one of the few urban Christian universities in the nation, many of our students find appropriate internships nearby, often in walking distance.
In the 50 years of PBA’s existence, students in internships have proven their worth. Employers rate our students high in what some call “soft skills”: things like communication, self-management and teamwork. Kimberly Ladd calls these essential skills, not only for getting hired, but for succeeding in the workplace.
Business owner Mark Campbell (page 6), a PBA grad himself, has mentored and hired PBA students and appreciated their quick learning and solid character. He’s among a growing team of PBA alumni who give back to the University in that way.
Thanks to the whole PBA community — alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and supporters — the University has concluded its 50th year in fine fashion. Admission numbers continue to soar upward, and we see exciting growth in programs, facilities and accolades.
We’ve added our sixth Center of Excellence: the Center for Biblical Leadership, which is headed by World Vision veteran leader Dr. Sam Voorhies. And we’ve gained two more Fulbright students, James Davisson and Allison Rice (page 14). Meanwhile, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has reaffirmed the University’s accreditation through 2028.
On page 16 you’ll see the architect’s rendering of a beautiful, 510-bed residence hall to be built at the corner of Pembroke Place and South Dixie Highway. And we’ve acquired the building that many will recall as the Benjamin Moore Paint store on South Dixie. It’s being completely renovated to become a visual arts studio.
Throughout the pages of this report you can read details about the academic year’s accomplishments and growth throughout PBA’s schools and departments. God has blessed us tremendously. We pour out our thanks to Him and to the donors and all those in the PBA family that allow us to move into the next 50 years with confidence and great joy. The DREAM of our founders is very much alive.
William M. B. Fleming, Jr. President