Naples Woman Becomes new FGCU President

Jeff lytle

A veteran Naples educator has been named the fifth president of Florida Gulf Coast University. Ayşegül Timur, Ph.D., a native of Turkey, was promoted in May by the FGCU Board of Trustees and confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors in June.

Dr. Timur, specializing in economics, came to FGCU in 2019 as vice president and vice provost for Strategy and Program Innovation after 20 years at Hodges University as a teaching assistant, professor dean and senior vice president.

Her community connections include the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, Leadership Collier and its foundation, Greater Naples Chamber, the Partnership for Collier’s Future Economy –Opportunity Naples, and the Uncommon Friends Foundation.

Aysegul Timur, Ph.D
President of FGCU

This is the first part of a question-and-answer for Life in Naples. Part Two will be published in December.

FGCU has made advancements in developing non-degree programs to strengthen professionals’ skills in data and technology, for example. Please explain the advantages of these initiatives?

As FGCU continues to grow and evolve at a fast pace, we are striving to meet and adapt to the needs of our students, our local communities and the global society. Our goal is to prepare FGCU students for not only today’s workforce, but tomorrow’s.

The best way for us to do that is by getting first-hand information by talking to our employers. We are constantly engaging with regional employers to learn about the new jobs being created in the various industries and the type of skills that are necessary for students entering our workforce to be successful. This helps us understand where the skills and competencies gaps are and where the needs are so that we can reflect it in our programs here, such as academic programs or in other programs like micro-credentials and digital badges.

Pamela McCabe, coordinator of university communications and media relations in the president’s office, provides context: “FGCU offers a variety of digital badges and micro-credential programs in collaboration with employers to address gaps that exist in an ever-changing workforce. These non-credit programs are designed for current students and working professionals who are looking to upskill or reskill so they are better prepared for job sin related areas.” For more information, go to www.fgcu/digitalbadges/conedskills

How can FGCU maintain enrollment and stay effective and efficient as pressure mounts on tuition? Will the outcome of thefederal loan forgiveness issue impact FGCU?

FGCU’s preliminary headcount on the first day of the fall term was 16,169 – our highest enrollment to date. As we plan to grow about 1 percent a year, it is important for you to know that we are one of the most affordable public institutions. If you look at our tuition and fee structure, we have not had any increases in our tuition and fees over the past 10 years. Also, most of our students graduate debt-free because our financial aid office assists students with finding programs and scholarships that make college more affordable.

FGCU has strong ties to Naples via the Lutgert School of Business, named for a Naples family and whose dean is a Naples High School graduate; the Bower School of Music, whose founding donors were from Naples; and various leadership positions. Will your background in Naples become part of that bond?

Absolutely. When I moved to the United States in the late ‘90s, my husband and I planted our roots in Collier County and we never left. We have two kids – our son has since graduated from college, and our daughter is now in high school. Being involved parents meant we are connected with the happenings of Collier County Public Schools, but the connection was also to the business community. As an economist working in higher education, I built valuable connections with the area’s business community through the Greater Naples Chamber and the Collier County Economic Development Office. I am very proud of my association with the Leadership Collier program, and I’ve enjoyed supporting many initiatives and nonprofits in Collier County, such as the Immokalee Foundation, Healthcare Network and the Naples Children & Education Foundation. I am focused on strengthening the bond between the business community of Southwest Florida, especially Collier County, to what we do here at the university.

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