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George L. Hanbury II | Ph.D., President and CEO | NSU

Nova Southeastern University: Beyond Education—Building Legacies

In the sprawling landscape of education, Nova Southeastern University exists as a haven of knowledge, a bastion of intellectual growth and a sanctuary for innovation. It is an institution that stands as a beacon of enlightenment, offering transformative education and shaping the future leaders of tomorrow.

A bustling campus, abuzz with the energy of curious minds, where the pursuit of knowledge knows no bounds. Here, amidst the corridors of learning, students find not just classrooms but gateways to new worlds, expanding their horizons and nurturing their passions. It’s a place where the spirit of exploration is celebrated, where students are encouraged not only to question but to seek answers that have the potential to change the world.

We spoke with George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., President and CEO of NSU, in an exclusive interview in which he shared valuable facts about NSU.

Could you highlight some of the university’s most innovative programs or initiatives aimed at enhancing student success and career growth?

The NSU Alan B. Levan | Broward Center of Innovation is a public-private partnership that functions as an economic development engine for South Florida. Broward County’s population is projected to surpass two million in 2025 and 25% of those residents will be between the ages of 20-39. These are the future startup founders that the Levan Center attracts to help them develop their innovative ideas and learn how to scale their businesses.

Another innovative program is the Jerry Taylor and Nancy Bryant Trading Floor, which is currently under construction at our Fort Lauderdale Campus and set to open in 2024. The trading floor will give students hands-on experience in managing investments, with help from an advisory board of experienced investment professionals.

Finally, I would note that our dual admission programs allow students to enter NSU at the undergraduate level and leave with a doctorate and ready to work as physicians, optometrists, psychologists, dentists, and other rewarding professionals.

How does the university foster collaborations with industries to create opportunities for students?

There are many spaces where NSU is active and building ties with organizations that are beneficial to our students. The Levan Center is helping to expand the growth of the hi-tech and biotech industries in South Florida. Tech workers are high in demand here and grew nearly 8% as a segment of the workforce between 2016 and 2021. The Levan Center also runs a military-grade cybersecurity range that can train professionals at all levels, including industry, government, and academia.

Health care is a major area for NSU, and we established a partnership with HCA to have their University Hospital, located next to our Fort Lauderdale Campus, serve as a teaching hospital for our students. We are also building an advanced Interprofessional Simulation Complex, or SimCom, that will allow students to simulate real-life healthcare environments. The university is developing a comprehensive cancer treatment center with a hotel and conference center. This complete package will make the university a destination not just for Florida but also for Latin America.

Could you share some remarkable success stories of alumni who have excelled in their careers after graduating from university?

We have so many alumni who have built impressive careers in a variety of fields. One example is Lenny Comma, a graduate of our MBA program who was at the Jack in Box burger chain in various roles for 18 years, including as COO for four years and later as CEO for six years.

Another example is Gordon Weekes, the Broward County Public Defender, and an alum of the NSU Shepard Broad College of Law. He made history in 2021 as the first person of color to be elected as Public Defender in the state of Florida. Other NSU alumni have gone on to become judges and legislators, achieving change at all levels of government.

How does the educational establishment assist students in identifying career paths and accomplishing their goals?

NSU’s Center for Academic and Professional Success provides students with resources and advice throughout all four years of their academic journey and beyond. Undergraduate students have access to advisers who help with choosing courses and majors, optimizing resumes and cover letters along with mock interviews.

Students can also find internships and shadowing opportunities with local and national employers that recruit our graduates. The Center maintains a database of available jobs and students take advantage of its digital career development software.

The Center is also available to graduate students and alumni where its success speaks for itself—approximately 90% of NSU students have taken advantage of the Center. Here, 85% of students secured post-graduate plans within six months of graduation.

About 60% of our undergraduate students go on to graduate programs and most of our Honors undergraduates are taking advantage of dual admissions.

How does your educational institute promote mentorship and guidance for students throughout their academic journey?

Our graduate students serve as mentors to undergraduate students in various ways, including at the NSU Write from the Start Writing and Communication Center, an innovative workspace where trained peer consultants help students with academic writing and communications projects.

Graduate students also mentor students in online programs and at our regional campuses. This is an unparalleled advantage that grants undergraduate students access to superior mentorship.

I would also point to our accredited M.S. in Anesthesia program offered at four locations including Denver, which has the most clinical rotation sites of any Anesthesiology Assistant program in the country. Additionally, the program is structured to provide one-on-one faculty mentoring so that students always have individualized support.

In today’s rapidly changing job market, what efforts does the university make to equip students with future-ready skills?

Our students have a long-term focus on their careers. Biology is our number one undergraduate major, as students come to NSU with a future in health care in mind. Many of those students take advantage of our dual admissions options to continue their graduate studies at NSU.

Seventy percent of our student body is graduate and when they leave NSU, they are well-equipped for success in high-demand careers like Anesthesiology Assistants. NSU’s student loan default rate is also far lower than competing public/private universities, which means our graduates can start careers that let them thrive financially and pay down their loan obligations.

NSU is always looking forward to the future of education. The Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine is our newest college and we designed it from the ground up to be a completely modern medical school, down to our selection process for students and, of course, the curriculum.

The students in our M.D. program engage in problem-based learning where they work in small groups under faculty supervision to hone their diagnosis skills. They also use the latest in 3-D anatomical software and learn alongside students from other health professions. Our goal is to educate physicians who can solve complex problems by working in interdisciplinary teams, going far beyond the old model of memorizing material in a textbook.

How do you engage students in research projects and industry-specific initiatives to enhance their practical knowledge and skills?

NSU undergraduate students are required to earn six units in Experiential Education and Learning, which includes an introductory course and a capstone senior project. This program can take many forms, including participating in marine research, studying abroad, community service, model UN, and more.

Students are also encouraged to participate in NSU’s Undergraduate Student Symposium, which has been hosted annually by the Farquhar Honors College for more than two decades. The symposium gives students the opportunity not only to conduct research in a subject that interests them but also to hone their speaking and presentation skills.

Our undergraduate students also engage in research in their discipline in their first year, compared to other universities. We have undergraduate students partnering with faculty members on graduate-level research and are listed as first authors and/or present research posters at national conferences. This invaluable experience prepares them for their future careers.

How do you measure the success of its initiatives in driving student success and career growth?

NSU measures its success in various ways, including our ranking in publications like U.S. News and World Report, or being recognized as a Military Friendly University. We also look at the reputations of our alumni, who are 210,000 strong globally and growing.

An NSU Shark’s connection to the university doesn’t end when they walk the stage and receive their diploma. Many programs track student career outcomes as part of their accreditation process and that data is invaluable for shaping our curriculum to ensure that all our students are best prepared for success in their chosen fields. NSU offers resources to all alumni to help them with career development, job searches and networking opportunities.