Year five at Vancouver brings celebrations and more floor space

FDU-Vancouver students Aldo Rodriguez and Ronaldo Martins take a seat next to Campus Provost Cecil Abrhams during the welcome barbecue and anniversary celebration. (Photo courtesy of Jobin Mojtabavi).

By Kenna Caprio

FDU-Vancouver is expanding — literally. And that’s just one of the reasons the five-year-old campus is celebrating.

“Year five is a critical year in any start-up. You have about five years to prove that you can survive. Not only are we going to survive, but we can choose our direction,” says FDU-Vancouver Campus Provost Cecil Abrahams. “We’re enthusiastic and excited, and very grateful to the late President Michael Adams, Interim President Sheldon Drucker and University Provost Christopher Capuano for their support.”

Anniversary festivities kicked off with a symposium on “the university in modern times” and the campus’ annual barbecue in Stanley Park, Vancouver.

About 150 students plus faculty and staff attended the late-September celebration, sharing food and fun. “Students also had an opportunity to look through a display chronicling the University’s past and present, including pictures of the campus’ original construction,” says Jobin Mojtabavi, associate director of student services.

Campus Provost Abrahams spoke, as did alumna Ruvimbo Mavhunga, a native of Zimbabwe. “It is exciting to see how the campus has grown over the years. Still, the exuberance and cultural diversity that make the campus such an exciting place to be a part of have remained the same,” says Mavhunga, who now works for FDU-Vancouver.

But the biggest five-year milestone comes a little later in the 2012-2013 academic year.

The University recently reworked its lease, signing an extension and expansion agreement for the Vancouver site. “In effect, we’re doubling the size of our campus in Vancouver,” says Capuano. Come spring 2013, FDU-Vancouver students, faculty and staff will have access to an additional 18,590 square feet on the second floor of the building on Cambie Street.

Since the campus opened in 2007, FDU-Vancouver has taken off — the size of the student body is increasing, more program and degree options are being added, and now the campus space is growing.

“We started slowly with 18 students in 2007,” says Abrahams. “After enrolling our fourth class, we’re looking at a total number of about 535 students on campus.”

This additional learning space supports continued growth at FDU-Vancouver, with enough room to accommodate up to 1,000 students.

Upgrades and construction began October 18, with an expected completion date of February 14, 2013, says Director of Learning Resources and Support Programs David O'Reilly, who is overseeing the expansion project.

“Renovations to the first floor will create more social and study space for the students,” says Capuano. “We’re going to knock down offices to create more space.”

Some of these offices, including admissions and enrollment services, will relocate upstairs. Marketing and recruitment will remain on the first floor.

“We need larger classrooms and seminar rooms, more offices, a lunchroom for the staff and a library,” says Abrahams.

Currently, the campus does not maintain a full library. The campus expansion will feature a full library and student learning center combination, with space for tutorial services. Academic capacity will increase to include seven more classrooms.

With the more space and rising enrollment also comes the development of additional degree programs. Likely, the next programs available at FDU-Vancouver will be a Master of Science in Computer Science and, eventually, an MBA. Abrahams notes that the city is well-known for hospitality and tourism, indicating that perhaps the hospitality concentration will become a full degree program soon.

“It's one of the most meaningful things we've done in expanding global education at FDU,” says Capuano of the creation of FDU-Vancouver. “We are extending our reach to more international students and creating an outpost that they can afford.”

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

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