Mary Ann Feldheim
What is your current job title and responsibilities?
Director of the School of Public Administration
In this role I am responsible for the stewardship of our students, our programs, our faculty members, and our staff. My goal is to strive to create a supportive environment, where we provide each individual with the support they need to function at their peak level of performance. I believe my most important contribution has been the fostering of a collaborative, supportive, vibrant, and engaged culture where faculty and students collaboratively conduct research, publish, and impact public service in the region.
What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
Visiting Instructor in Public Administration – (1996-97) Cocoa Campus
Assistant Professor & Regional Campus Coordinator – Cocoa Campus (1997- 2004)
Associate Professor & Regional Campus Coordinator – Cocoa Campus (2004- 2005)
Interim Public Administration Department Chair – (2005-2006)
Public Administration Department Chair (2006 – 2011)
Director School of Public Administration (2011 – present)
What is your favorite UCF memory?
On holiday season the Cocoa Campus held a holiday party for all the faculty and staff, and at the event I met one of the Librarians. We began talking about our new online Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management brainstorming ways to improve the experience for students. The result of our lunch discussion was that for the last 11 years we have had a librarian embedded in our key online nonprofit management courses enhancing the student experience.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
That we would be able to compensate our faculty members at a competitive level reflective of the wonderful things they are doing.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
My advice to colleagues would be to follow your passion and to appreciate the contributions of all in achieving their goals.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
My favorite food is the “egg.” I could eat eggs every day and be happy. In fact in my youth when I was on a limited budget saving for my first trip to Europe, I did eat eggs every day for an entire summer to save money. The remarkable thing is that I still love them.
What is your favorite book or movie or song?
My favorite movie is “Lost Horizons” staring Ronald Coleman. This movie describes a mythical Shangri La lost in the Himalayas, where peace and tranquility are the accepted way of life. This movie conveys a universal yearning for a better world, and it has inspired me to strive for the creation of that better world both professionally and personally.
What is your dream vacation spot?
My dream vacation is visiting with good friends in the south of France, which we have done several times. This summer my husband and I are planning another trip to Provence to spend time with our friends sharing good food and good company.
What is your favorite sport to watch or participate?
Yoga is my favorite form of exercise and relaxation. During the postures the cares of the world drift away, and I focus only on “being in the moment.”
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be?
A Meditative Garden: I believe that UCF needs a meditative garden where faculty and students could find quiet and solitude to refresh them for the remainder of their day. This beautiful space would offer places for seated mediation and for walking meditation, and I would be thrilled to have such a space named in my honor.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF, who would you choose and why?
President Hitt – I would choose to have lunch with President Hitt so that I could share all the wonderful things that our alumni, our students, and our faculty members are doing in Central Florida.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I would like to thank the faculty members of the School of Public Administration for their collegiality and their support. These individuals have made our School into a national leader in public administration, and they have made it an outstanding place to work.
Name and describe a teacher from you past who truly inspired you.
During my doctoral program, Dr. Charles Washington, took the time to facilitate a discussion with me where together we mapped out my career goals. This act of caring and concern for my professional development has served as an inspiration for me as a teacher and as an administrator. My personal goal is to provide this same mentoring opportunity to our faculty members and to our students.
What undergraduate class/program inspired you the most and why?
Our nonprofit management programs inspire me the most, primarily because of the passion and commitment our students demonstrate in making a difference in the world. The volunteer management class focuses on creating a professional setting to help individuals stay committed to the cause they are volunteering to assist, and the passion of the students to serve is humbling.