Jo Ann Smith
What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Research Administration (MRA) Program. I designed and developed the fully online MRA program that began in 2011, the first of its kind, and teach graduate courses in the program. The MRA is one of several programs in the School of Public Administration within the College of Health and Public Affairs.
What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
My first, full-time position at UCF was as a Proposal Administrator from 1988 to 1992. My responsibility was to review grant proposals to ensure they met submission requirements from all the different colleges and assist in preparing proposal budgets. I returned in 1999 as a graduate student, and in 2001 became the Director of the Center for Research and Educational Development in the College of Education. My primary responsibilities were to assist faculty in identifying and applying for external funding and provide administrative support of the research and program grants within the College. During that time the College of Education experienced phenomenal growth in grant funding, going from approximately $4M to approximately $20M of active grant funding. The College was the top-funded UCF College for four of the five years while I was the Director. It was an exciting time! I returned as a full-time PhD student and received my PhD in Instructional Technology in 2006. In 2007, I was hired as an Associate in Research Development in the Office of Research & Commercialization working with faculty across the campus on developing grant projects and proposals. I become an Assistant Professor and Program Director of the MRA Program in 2010.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
There have been many memories from meeting my husband at UCF, the first football game in the new stadium, and working on proposals with some incredible UCF faculty over the years! There are too many. I can’t really name a favorite.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
Have an innovative UCF K-12 Charter School on campus or at the Lake Nona campus. I think it would be great for UCF and the community. The school would give young people a chance to participate in research and discovery early on in their education.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
UCF really is a place of opportunity. Take advantage of all the opportunities and don’t forget to enjoy all the wonderful people along the way!
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
A scholarship or fellowship. It would give a student the chance to experience UCF first-hand.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?President Hitt. I am amazed at how much UCF has grown over the past several years under his leadership. I would want to know what he thought were the most significant events over that time that moved UCF forward.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Without a doubt, Dr. Michael Hynes in the School of Education. He gave me the opportunity to attend graduate school and taught me how to build great partnerships with people and organizations. He provided the opportunities to hone my grantsmanship skills, work with faculty researchers in multiple disciplines, and even be an NSF Fellow in STEM Program Evaluation.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
My dissertation chair, Dr. Stephen Sivo. He encouraged me through the tough times and he was my advocate and mentor. His passion for teaching and most important, structural equation modeling, is inspiring. I owe Dr. Sivo a great amount of gratitude.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
I went through the PhD program as part of a cohort model. Working with other students over multiple years was helpful and the excitement about what we were learning and working on was contagious. I still have a special bond with many of my fellow PhD students today.