What is your current job title and responsibilities?
Associate Vice President, Regional Campuses Cocoa and Palm Bay
What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
My first job (1990) at UCF was Director of International Studies (and teaching in the gerontology program.) I was soon recruited to Academic Affairs by Frank Juge due to my background in program and curriculum development, evaluation, academic policy development, enrollment and strategic planning, and state level policy. At that time UCF had five colleges and about 18,000 students. I had the privilege of developing many new UCF programs, processes, and services over almost 20 years. In addition to international programs, I worked on new degree program development, accreditation, program review, Board of Regents/Governors issues, three strategic plans (including budget specials that started the FCTL, Math Tutoring Lab, and the Writing Center), and staffing the first local BOT academic program committee. I served on multiple state level committees and UCF’s President’s Blue Ribbon Diversity Committee chaired by Dean Fernandez. I started the Provost’s Faculty Fellows Program and the Interdisciplinary Emeritus Teaching Fellows. I also had oversight of Institutional Research and related analysis units and helped establish university level management data and the data warehouse at the request of President Hitt. The most enjoyable part of my AA job was “special projects” due to the variety of tasks and need for creative problem solving. Provost Whitehouse used to call me the “Jill of All Trades”. About five years ago, after heading up a second successful SACS ten year accreditation effort, I decided to focus my energies on access by developing our branch campuses and currently head the campuses in Brevard County. It has been a ‘fun ride’ helping UCF grow to 60,000.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
My favorite memory isn’t a specific incident; it is the spirit that we can do new and innovative things that drew me to UCF in the first place. Due to this spirit I decided to work at UCF despite opportunities at larger (back then!), more traditional places like UF and FSU. My best memories of UCF came from that spirit. I continue to enjoy that aspect of UCF and hope we never lose it.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
The obvious need is a lower faculty-to-student ratio. However, in addition to the obvious I would like to see us create experiences that help all employees feel like a vital part of the institution as active contributors to the UCF mission. For instance, the President’s Roundtables provide opportunities for a wide cross section of employees to spend time hearing President Hitt’s vision and developing a clear sense of why their work is important to UCF, its goals, and the success of our students.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Develop relationships that make your work more effective, relevant, and enjoyable, including actively mentoring others.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
As a vegetarian and health food person, I face some creative food challenges when eating out, but in general I prefer fresh, whole foods that are HOT HOT HOT as in spicy, so I lean toward Thai and Indian. The perfect dinner includes friends and vino tinto!
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I don’t like being in the spotlight in that way, Kabuki theater is my style. I would find it more enjoyable to have something significant to UCF’s academic life named after a colleague who made a unique and strategic contribution to UCF, like we did with the Karen Smith Faculty Development Center. I think it would be nice to name something after Martha Hitt who has made countless contributions to and sacrifices for UCF with grace and enthusiasm.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
The founding faculty, to discuss their impressions of UCF over the years.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Frank Juge has been a mentor and friend since my Board of Regents days, and he has helped me in many ways during my years at UCF. There are scores of others I won’t name, but you know who you are—since most of my work has involved collaborative work, most of my successes were group successes.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
At the graduate level, my major professor Robert T. Blackburn, at the University of Michigan inspired me by conducting research aimed at improving conditions for faculty members and students. On a professional level, we did research that documented unequal treatment of the TBI universities in several southern states and he testified before the Department of Justice, based on our results. On a personal level, when he selected a student, you became his family. As an undergraduate I was also inspired by the Director of Advising, the Dean of Students, and the Financial Aid Director–all of them helped me succeed.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
Two undergraduate research classes with Virginia O’Leary (one of the only female psychology professors) had a huge impact on me. She addressed issues pertinent to women that weren’t discussed elsewhere, and required rigorous research projects—design, data collection, & analysis similar to a senior or honors thesis. She taught me about the thrill of academic research and data as an undergraduate and was my first female mentor in college.