Programs move to BBC due to lack of space

Kinesiology exercise space in Bayview. Image courtesy of Charmaine DeFrancesco

By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director


The Modesto Maidique Campus doesn’t have enough space for all of the growing programs at the University and that’s where the Biscayne Bay Campus steps in.

Two programs have moved to BBC in recent years: Kinesiology, and Health Services Administration.

Dr. Charmaine DeFrancesco, program leader of Kinesiology, exercise science and physical education, told Student Media that her field has grown greatly in the last 30 years, and that their place at MMC just wasn’t cutting it.

Originally, DeFrancesco and her colleagues were once part of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation in a program called exercise science. As social issues changed more towards healthcare and elite sports performance, her discipline became more focused in kinesiology and that program grew, according to her.

The growth of the program at MMC was met with setbacks, however.

“With the growth of our sports program at MMC we lost our laboratory space, fields and gyms, which made it virtually impossible to do what we do,” DeFrancesco said. “Recognizing the importance of what we do, the University provided us a wonderful space at the Biscayne Bay Campus.”

The kinesiology program began migrating to BBC in 2017, and this fall 2018 is seeing the first full class of students taking all of their program-related classes at that campus.

A similar situation happened with the HSA program at the University.

Salvatore Barbera, department chair for HSA for the past six years, told Student Media that his program moved to BBC due to concerns with the management of space within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“Our program is the only one within the College that is not directly clinical, we’re administrative, so we were chosen to be the one to move our program to BBC to help with the space issue,” said Barbera.

Space wasn’t the only driving factor in this move, according to Barbera. The placement of BBC in North Miami makes it a perfect hub for health services administration due to the concentration of businesses around it.

“We’re more in the mainstream of healthcare at the Biscayne campus. There’s Aventura Hospital and Broward Health North close by and we’re near Broward County where students are coming from,” said Barbera. “As far as networking within healthcare, this location is better.”

The kinesiology program has also benefited from its location at BBC according to DeFrancesco, as North Miami is a hub for elite athletics, and there are many opportunities for research here. The program also has a new lab in Bayview 128.

“The lab isn’t state-of-the-art just yet, but it is useable and we’re still working on it,” said DeFrancesco.

The move hasn’t been totally easy for these two programs, as students have shown some resistance to traveling to BBC from MMC.

“One of the problems is being split between two campuses due to transportation. Our students are starting to migrate north, but traveling between is very expensive. It costs students $5 a day round trip and faculty $10 a day round trip,” said DeFrancesco.

Barbera echoed the sentiment, attributing some of the difficulty in moving students to the distance between the two campuses. He said that many of the students in their program live closer to MMC, and it takes one hour to get from one campus to the other, which has upset some students.

Barbera also said that he misses MMC because of the atmosphere there.

“Personally I miss MMC, I miss the energy of a big college campus with students walking around. We don’t have that same feel at BBC, most of the time you see high school kids here,” he said.

Despite the setbacks, both program leaders said that they’re optimistic about the future of their programs at BBC after the first years there.

DeFrancesco said that the kinesiology program is looking forward to using their new lab and that they have hired additional staff like sports and exercise psychologist Jason Kostrna.

She’s also aiming at encouraging people to maintain exercise after Jan. 1 when everyone makes their New Year resolution to stay fit.

Barbera said that as new incoming classes from North Miami and Broward County join the HSA program, be it on their bachelor’s or master’s tracks, the population will start to rise.

This year they maintained a master’s course at MMC for students who couldn’t travel, but in 2019 the program will be fully at BBC.

“Even though I miss MMC, it’s a hassle over there with the parking, it’s a rat race. I don’t miss that at all,” said Barbera. “And from a student and faculty perspective, this location is much better.”

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