Karen Biraimah

Professor and Director of International and Special Programs, College of Education 2014 Womens History Month

What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
(2012-present):  Professor and Director of International and Special Programs, College of Education and Human Performance

What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
(2010-2012):   Professor and Co-Director, School of Teaching, Learning & Leadership
(1996-2010):   Professor and Chair, Educational Studies Department
(1990-1996):   Tenured Associate Professor, Educational Foundations Department
(1985-1990):   Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations Department

What is your favorite UCF memory?
My most enduring memory of UCF continues to focus on the excitement of UCF students embarking upon their first international study abroad experience through programs that I helped to design and facilitate in Botswana, Bulgaria, England, Ireland, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, Singapore, South African, and Spain.

If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
If I could change one thing at UCF, I would expand current short-term study abroad programs to span an entire semester or academic year.   The current short-term study abroad programs are an invaluable first step, but there is so much more that can be experienced and learned when students and faculty are immersed in a country for a more extended period of time.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Follow your dreams, but remember that they will not be achieved without enormous amounts of dedication, perseverance and hard work.

If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I would like to be honored through a scholarship fund designed to enable underrepresented students to participate in UCF study abroad programs.  My passion has always been focused on issues of equity regarding educational and world experiences.  I am dedicated to bringing enriching international experiences to all students, but especially to those who normally would never have the opportunity.

If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
I would like to have lunch with Provost Waldrop.  I greatly appreciate his vision and support of internationalization activities at UCF.   He has supported my continued interest in expanding the quality and scope of international programs at UCF.  I would like the opportunity to express my thanks for his support, and to share some of the extraordinary experiences and knowledge gained by faculty and students who have participated in international grants, research, partnerships and study abroad programs at UCF.

Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I am fortunate to have worked with many colleagues who have helped me to achieve multiple goals (especially related to international grants that have brought the world to UCF, while providing UCF’s students and faculty with equally enriching experiences overseas).   However, without the sustained support of my Dean, Sandra L. Robinson, few, if any of these goals would have been actualized.  Thus, my thanks and gratitude go out to Dean Robinson, whose cogent leadership has provided me an opportunity to pursue my goals.

Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my Pre-Calculus teacher at David Douglas High School in Portland, Oregon.  His unwavering faith in my ability to achieve, and his refusal to allow me to settle for second best have guided me for a half century!  His examples of unconditional patience and support have encouraged me to never give up on myself or my goals when faced with substantial challenges.

What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
I have drawn my greatest inspirations, as well as my greatest academic challenges and rewards, from the development of the Graduate Certificate in Global, International and Comparative Education.  It was intrinsically rewarding to develop this program, and with it the opportunity to expand current educational programs to include a worldview.

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Linda Walters, Director of the UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty
Linda.Walters@ucf.edu

Fran Ragsdale, Administrative Assistant
Fran.Ragsdale@ucf.edu

Phone: 407-823-4240

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University of Central Florida
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