By Mia Alfonsi

The College of Design, Construction and Planning (DCP) continues to reach new heights as University of Florida Online (UFO) rises to No. 4 in the 2020 online bachelor’s rankings by U.S. News & World Report. DCP’s very own Fire and Emergency Services program (FES) is one of the 25 degrees offered by University of Florida Online.

This year the Fire and Emergency Services Bachelor program celebrated its 20th anniversary and received an industry accreditation with the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). According to Keith Collins, the FES admissions officer and academic advisor, the program is continuing to recruit highly qualified students thanks to the exposure and support from UFO and DCP.

Though this program was always characterized as “distance learning,” it was an independent distance learning program before moving into UFO in the Fall of 2017, and in the past 3 years our enrollment is up over 200 percent.

Dr. Jeffrey Lindsey, the director of the FES program, restructured the program about seven years ago and designed a degree for career advancement with three distinct specializations: Fire Management, EMS Management and Emergency Management.

“In the past three years, we’ve hit program milestones with students succeeding in the program at record rates due to the changes made by Dr. Lindsey as well as an increase in our enrollment due to our partnership in UFO,” Collins said. “Since Dr. Lindsey designed this program for career advancement, we have students that are a lot more engaged with the material and as a result our graduation rates have increased from 112 graduates in the first 17 years to 120 graduates in just the past 3 years. While increasing the enrollment over the same period from 118 active students in the Fall of 2017 to 255 active students as we celebrate the top 4 ranking of UFO.”

Not only are students interested in the FES program because they are able to participate universally, the program reaffirms their standing as a DCP student no matter where they may be. “We are proud of UFO’s #4 ranking because it will attract more students to our program and we look forward to helping them reach their professional goals at the University of Florida,” Collins said. “It’s a great time TO BE an FES Gator!”

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