Jennifer Sumner

Director, Academic Support Services, UCF Regional Campuses Administration 2015 Womens History Month

What is your current job title and responsibilities?
I am fortunate to serve as the Director of Academic Support Services for UCF’s Regional Campuses Administration. The mission of UCF’s Regional Campuses Administration is to extend UCF’s high-quality and exceptional services to those students located at our ten Central Florida sites, and to develop collaborations with our state partners for increased student success and completion. In my role, I get to assist in developing and implementing projects and initiatives that benefit our regional students, including the very distinctive DirectConnect to UCF program. It is a very creative and exciting position!

Also through UCF’s Regional Campuses Administration, in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Studies, I serve as the Director of the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) major, which is designed to give those students that currently hold an AS degree an opportunity to complete their Bachelor degree.

Finally, I serve as a Co-Lead, along with Dr. Chanda Torres of SDES and faculty member Dr. Manoj Chopra, for the University-wide initiative known as Foundations of Excellence, which is a program designed to work with faculty, staff, and students in order to review the transfer student polices of UCF, and to recommend institutional improvements leading to higher levels of transfer-student academic success, learning, satisfaction, and graduation.

Though I wear several hats, it is such a rewarding position and opportunity, and I am grateful to all of the colleagues that I work with and collaborate with each day!

What is your history at UCF and before UCF?
In a word, I am a UCF “lifer”! I started my academic career by transferring to UCF from the College of Central Florida, and, after obtaining my undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees from UCF, decided to stick around and, hopefully, make a difference in the lives of the students that I teach and colleagues with whom I work. Previously, I served as Director of the Pre-Clinical major, faculty member in and Director of the Health Services Administration major, Director of Internships for the Department of Health Management and Informatics, and now currently as the Director of Academic Support Service for UCF’s Regional Campuses Administration. As I often tell students, U Can Finish, but, in my case, I just can’t leave UCF!

What is your favorite UCF memory?
Watching my twin sister being hooded at her UCF doctoral degree commencement was a great day…. graduating with my own doctorate degree a few months later was almost as good.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Stay enthusiastic, and always have fun! We are fortunate to work in an exciting environment where we get to shape the lives and the futures of the students that we serve. What an awesome opportunity! It is a challenging, rewarding, sometime-exhausting-but-never-dull atmosphere, and I hope that we continue to find the joy and the excitement in what we do.

If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
Since Bright House Networks already has the stadium, and CFE has the arena, I guess I have to cross those off my list! I often get messages from former students; when they tell me that they are now excelling in their chosen careers and in their passions, then I have already been honored.

If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
Knightro! Or, since mascots won’t talk, the student(s) that perform as Knightro. What a fun lunch conversation! We would chat about favorite moments and performances as a nationally recognized mascot, what it takes to wear the coveted costume, and what it is like to be such a visible feature of UCF. Of course, my real motive would be to find out what strings I need to pull to get the gig.

Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
While I have been fortunate to have wonderful family, teachers, colleagues, and mentors who have contributed to my success here atUCF, I would like to acknowledge and to thank Dr. Jeff Jones, Vice Provost for Regional Campuses. Dr. Jones exemplifies leadership with the guidance and support that he gives to his team, with his devotion to students and to their successful completion, and with the partnership-centered vision that he has for UCF Regional Campuses.

I would also like to thank Dr. Pam Cavanaugh, Assistant Vice Provost for Student Services and Advising for Regional Campuses. Dr. Cavanaugh is an ardent and tireless advocate for students and of providing them with the services that they need for an excellent and successful collegiate experience. Dr. Cavanaugh is also an inspiration as a passionate supporter and mentor of her colleagues and team members, and selflessly works hard to ensure that they have the tools necessary to reach their own level of successes.

It is a pleasure to work alongside Dr. Jones, Dr. Cavanaugh, and the rest of the talented staff of Regional Campuses. It truly is a wonderful team!

Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why:
There are many that have inspired, but there are even more who continue to inspire. Our students that are working hard to earn their degrees, and who truly want to be better–academically, personally, and professionally–are everyday inspirations. The colleagues that work to pave the way for those students, and who hold students’ success as the foundation of their own, are even more inspiring.

What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
The doctoral dissertation experience was one that taught me a lot; though it didn’t quite reach the lofty heights of ‘inspiring,’ it was certainly a challenging exercise where both patience and perseverance were needed, and having mentors and support systems were critical.

What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Pumpkin. I am a sucker for anything made with pumpkin.

What is your favorite movie, book or music?
There are four authors who I keep at the top of my must-read list: (1) Robert Fulghum for his interesting perceptions on everyday things, (2) Andy Andrews, especially The Traveler’s Gift and The Noticer, (3) Paulo Coelho for The Alchemist, and (4) Ayn Rand for her brilliant novel Atlas Shrugged.


Our Location

Contact Us

Linda Walters, Director of the UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty

Fran Ragsdale, Administrative Assistant

Phone: 407-823-4240

Mailing Address
Center for Success of Women Faculty
University of Central Florida
P.O. Box 160955
Orlando, FL 32816-0955

Physical Address
4000 Central Florida Blvd. Orlando, FL 32816

Internal Mail (UCF)
Center for Success of Women Faculty
CL1 Room 207