The Division of Teaching and Learning builds partnerships across UCF to enhance student-learning outcomes. In collaboration with UCF’s colleges, the Division of Teaching and Learning facilitates an integrative approach to learning by offering academic experiences that take learning beyond the classroom. The units that comprise the Division of Teaching and Learning are Academic Advancement Programs, EXCEL, Experiential Learning, Pre-Health and Pre-Law Advising and Undergraduate Research.
Academic Advancement Programs
Michael Aldarondo-Jeffries, Director
Academic Advancement Programs (AAP) prepares UCF students – particularly underrepresented, low-income, and first-generation college students – to pursue advanced degrees. AAP works in collaboration with faculty, staff, local, and national partners to provide a range of graduate school preparation programs and services. Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of initiatives designed to increase their awareness and knowledge of the graduate school application process, graduate funding, summer research programs, and fellowship opportunities.
AAP coordinates the McNair Scholars Program that assists participants gain admission to graduate programs leading to a doctorate. They also oversee the UCF Research and Mentoring Program (RAMP) that provides undergraduate students interested in pursuing advanced degrees with research experience and the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor.
Melissa Dagley, Director
EXCEL strives to increase the number of students receiving baccalaureate degrees in STEM disciplines from UCF. The program strives to enhance EXCEL students’ experience during the first two years of college through improved student learning in math and science courses, block housing shared by STEM-focused students, a tutoring center, and early engagement in research experiences. EXCEL participants also work in cohorts, making it easy for them to team up with study partners in required courses that may have several hundred students.
Jason Jude Smith, Director
Experiential Learning (EL) provides students with the opportunity to apply what they are learning in the classroom to real-world settings. In collaboration with UCF colleges and faculty, employers, and community leaders, EL prepares students for academic and career success through experiential learning courses such as internships, co-ops, and service-learning opportunities. Through these experiences, students gain essential skills, such as leadership, communication, and critical thinking.
Pre-Health and Pre-Law Advising
Erin Myszkowski, Director
Pre-Health and Pre-Law Advising (PHPL Advising) guides and supports students interested in pursuing careers in the health and legal professions that require academic study in professional school settings beyond the baccalaureate degree. The PHPL Advising mentors guide students through the multiple aspects of their preparation and application, with the ultimate goal of helping them become a competitive professional school applicant.
Kimberly Schneider, Assistant Dean and Director
Undergraduate Research (OUR) provides students with the opportunity to engage in academic research, scholarship and creative work. Working closely with faculty, these students gain knowledge and build skills, such as critical thinking, communication and problem solving. This experience prepares them for success in graduate or professional school or their career. OUR provides peer advising, as well as a “How-To” workshop series, for students interested in research, as well as those who want to make the most out of their research experience. They also have the opportunity to present their work at an annual on-campus research showcase and UCF’s Undergraduate Research Journal.
Karen L. Smith Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning
Melody Bowdon, Associate Dean and Executive Director
The Faculty Center staff and resources support faculty and student success at UCF. The many programs we offer are co-designed with the faculty and provide opportunities to improve the effectiveness of teaching, to meet and share ideas about increasing student engagement and preparing students for their future lives and careers, to develop course and program materials, to learn about innovative pedagogies and classroom technologies and to develop research and professional enrichment plans. Our office hosts three major faculty development conferences each year as well as a variety of semester-long programs and several one-day events. We create and distribute a number of publications and offer one-on-one consultations, department-focused trainings, and other services.
Operational Excellence and Assessment Support
Patrice Lancey, Assistant Vice President
The Operational Excellence and Assessment Support (OEAS) supports UCF’s efforts to improve the quality of student learning outcomes and the effectiveness and efficiency of university operations through assessment and analytics. OEAS contributes to data-driven decision making across all academic programs and administrative units through integrated processes that include continuous quality improvement, analytical and survey studies, technology integration and guidance in assessment. OEAS also acts as independent external grant evaluators for various state and federal grants and works with the principal investigators to assure that the evaluation and research components of the grant are in concert to yield meaningful information.
Quality Enhancement Plan
Director: Anna Maria Jones
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a component of UCF’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Each QEP involves developing and executing a university-wide, multi-year initiative seeking to improve student learning outcomes. The mission of UCF’s current Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), What’s Next: Integrative Learning for Professional and Civic Preparation, is to prepare our graduates to successfully enter and participate in the next steps of their professional and civic lives. What’s Next seeks to help students plan for their futures post-graduation: to not only set goals but to identify the knowledge and skills necessary to reach those goals. The initiative encourages students to connect their classroom knowledge and skills to real-world contexts and, thereby, to develop the ability to transfer knowledge and skills from one context to another. Finally, this initiative promotes opportunities for students to reflect on their experiences, to communicate their knowledge and experiences, and to develop the ability to successfully advocate for themselves in their lives beyond the university.