Distance Learning Takes On New Meaning

Many have overcome great obstacles in the pursuit of higher education. At International College, many students work through scheduling conflicts and life’s demands which can make it difficult to earn a college degree. One student, though, has found a way to overcome the obstacle of distance – over 5,000 miles!

Alen Savatic, a Foreign Service National employed by the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, was eager to advance his education. While serving in the Office of Public Affairs there he met Ed Moore, President of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF). “I was working with citizen groups in Bosnia in an effort to help establish a citizen-driven political agenda for the government that was to be elected last fall,” said Moore. “I was charged with assisting the non-governmental organization groups to be more involved and policy driven. Alen was one of the Bosnian Embassy workers assigned to work with me.”

When Moore learned of Savatics’ passion for continuing his education, he contacted Dr. Terry McMahan, President of International College. “We worked very hard to get him connected to our College in order to help him fulfill his dream of a Master’s degree in Information Systems Management,” said McMahan. “Alen is an excellent example of what can be accomplished by utilizing today’s technology. The fact that he is so far away has not hindered the educational process in the least bit. And I understand he is an excellent student!”

According to Dave Rice, Computer Information Program Chair at IC, Savatics’ quest for a Master’s degree demonstrates the evolution of distance education programs for the College. “Alen is our first international distance learner in the CIT program. It shows how the educational process is moving from a geographically-based to a web-enabled presence,” said Rice. “We currently offer 65 undergraduate and 22 graduate courses online which has allowed our local students to use distance education as a supplement to their course schedule. For students who wish to be full time but can only attend two classes per week, they can take the third class online through our web portal. It’s what makes IC truly unique and our students are very grateful.”

For Savatic, International College offers the right mix of curriculum and scheduling flexibility. “With the online MIS program, I am able to keep my current job and continue supporting my family and at the same time obtain a Master’s degree,” said Savatic. “Everyone at IC made an extra effort to make me feel welcomed even though I was several thousand miles away from Florida.”

Higher education is something that Savatic cherishes most in his life. “After spending four years of my life in a bloody war, I can really appreciate the value of education more than I used to,” he said. “I have learned that a house, a car and other worldly possessions can be easily taken from us, but no one can take my college degree!”
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