UCF’s Innovation is Proven

by Michael Georgiopoulos, Ph.D., Dean, UCF College of Engineering & Computer Science

In September, the University of Central Florida was recognized along with Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Duke as one of the nation’s most innovative universities in U.S. News & World Report’s Best College’s 2016 guide. And a front-page Washington Post story Sept. 20 noted that UCF is “storming higher ed” as a model for “a nation in desperate need of a better-educated workforce.” (Scroll to the end for links to the two stories.)

The proof of our innovation is everywhere. It’s in our provost’s investment in six faculty research clusters, designed to leverage UCF’s existing strengths and foster interdisciplinary teams to solve society’s most challenging problems. UCF College of Engineering & Computer Science faculty work in all six cluster and lead three. They are: Cyber Security and Privacy; Energy Conversion and Propulsion; Genomics and Bioinformatics; Prosthetic Interfaces; Resilient, Intelligent and Sustainable Systems; and Sustainable Coastal Systems.

The proof is knowing that UCF is the nation’s No. 1 workforce supplier to the aerospace and defense industry, according to Aviation Week.

The proof is in our STEM retention programs, such as EXCEL. Since 2006, STEM retention has increased at UCF by more than 40 percent and at higher percentages for women and Hispanics. Our innovative peer mentoring programs for women within EXCEL (GEMS and WISE) can be credited for our remarkable success in retaining women.

The proof is in our Engineering Leadership & Innovation Institute (eli2), which is delivering curriculum around creativity, emphasizing the delivery of world-changing solutions with accountability, and distinguishing our students from others in the workplace.

The proof is hearing what our alumni and industry friends tell us. For example, Facebook leaders recenlty told me how impressed they were with how UCF is pioneering innovative STEM programs to increase the success of diverse students.

The best proof of our innovation is our students’ success, such as our two-time national champion Cyber Defense Team, the UCF Programming Team that’s ranked #8 in the U.S. and 28th in the world, and Limbitless Solutions, a team providing free 3D-printed bionic limbs for children worldwide.

In our college, we push the envelope every day on behalf of our 9,000+ engineering and computer science students.

We continue to rise to the great challenge of addressing the needs of UCF’s diverse student population. As dean, my belief is that if we create the right environment that fosters pockets of excellence, then those successes will flourish and inspire our entire student body. The ultimate result will be that our students will get the outstanding education that they deserve and their professional success will impact the good fortune of many more generations of students that matriculate through our great institution.

– CECS –

Click here for U.S. News & World Report ranking story.

Click here for UCF summary of The Washington Post’s Sept. 21 story (UCF Storms Higher Education).