Taking the Opportunity to Envision our Academic Future

Update – Aug. 31, 2017: The university community can track the task forces’ progress and its members via web updates.  

July 31, 2017 – from Dr. A. Dale Whittaker, Provost and Executive Vice President:

As a new academic year approaches, we have two unique opportunities to rethink what structure will best meet the needs of our students and achieve our ambitious Collective Impact strategic goals. With recent state approval for the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center and our new downtown campus, the time is right to consider how our academic programs align and what we can do to elevate the programs, faculty, staff, and students in the colleges involved.

That’s why I am pleased to share with you the launch of two new task forces charged with exploring new innovative academic structures around health and clinical professions and programs advancing new media and urban innovation.

The first task force will explore how we create an Academic Health Science center that will bring together our expertise in health and clinical fields ranging from nursing to physical therapy while focusing on Central Florida’s distinctive needs and opportunities. I have asked Vice President for Medical Affairs and College of Medicine Dean Dr. Deborah German to lead this task force in an open, transparent visioning process with faculty and staff from several units and develop a plan for which academic programs should be included in establishing the Academic Health Science center, which will eventually be located in Lake Nona.

A second task force will build upon the work of our downtown academic planning committees who have imagined which academic experiences will be made better because they’re located in an urban environment. Together, this group will identify a cohesive academic structure and alignment among programs at the new campus. Driven by the campus’ goals of access, innovation, and impact, this task force will be led by Thad Seymour, Vice Provost for UCF Downtown, and Elizabeth Dooley, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies, with faculty from the downtown planning groups.

The College of Health and Public Affairs plays a unique role in both opportunities because its talented faculty and staff are key drivers in health and clinical professions and community-facing programs for an urban environment. Dean Michael Frumkin and I have decided now is the time to initiate this visioning process. After consulting with Dr. Frumkin, he will take a two-semester leave beginning this fall to develop a plan to serve our community using his expertise as an executive-in-residence with a local organization.

Beginning this semester, I have asked José Fernández to step in as interim dean of COHPA while we go through this visioning process for the Academic Health Science center and UCF Downtown. As you may recall, Dr. Fernández was involved in a similar transition when UCF’s College of Arts and Sciences split in 2005 and will support COHPA throughout the visioning process.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Frumkin for his leadership and for being a strong advocate of COHPA’s people and community partnerships.