Faculty member ends successful 24-year career
Published: Sunday, July 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 22:04
When Consuelo Stebbins first came to UCF, it lacked what many other Florida colleges already had: programs that promote cohesiveness within the global community.
Since she came to UCF in the fall of 1987, Stebbins, who retired at the end of summer A, has played an integral role in the university’s interconnectivity with the international community.
“The increasing interest from students and faculty in developing joint international programs reflects the need for UCF to graduate students who have the skills to work with a multinational workforce,” Stebbins said.
On June 28, Stebbins’ immense contribution to UCF was celebrated in the Barbara Ying Center.
Roughly 70 UCF faculty members and students packed into the small recreation room to commemorate Stebbins’ achievements throughout her duration at UCF.
For the past 21 years, Stebbins has held administrative positions at UCF. She came to UCF in 1987 to establish the Center for Multilingual Multicultural Studies. In 1995, she successfully developed a graduate program for teachers of English as a second language and later, she became chair of the modern language department. In 2003, Stebbins was appointed assistant dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and several years later, she was promoted to associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. In fall 2007, she was appointed assistant vice president of internationalization for the university.
Stebbins said one of her greatest accomplishments was the creation of the CMMS, which offers international students an intensive English language-proficiency service. The program originally started with 13 students. Currently, more than 450 students are enrolled per semester.
The fairly new Office of Internationalization serves as a centralized system for making active agreements with other institutions abroad. Collaborations in research and learning with other universities were made much easier with Stebbins’ assistance.
Stebbins also has embarked on many study abroad trips, with her most recent being an excursion to Nerja, Spain, for a course in conversational Spanish.
Although most students do not directly interact with Stebbins, they are still in some way affected by her.
“They’re more confident and more importantly, they understand and appreciate a culture which is different from their own,” Stebbins said.
Longtime friend and colleague Diane Chase, executive vice provost for Academic Affairs, praised and thanked Stebbins for everything she has done for UCF and its students. Under the many nations’ flags hanging from the ceiling of the Barbara Ying Center, Stebbins was gifted a wicker basket with a few bottles of wine in it and a foot stool, as Chase jokingly explained, “she never relaxes."
Chase explained how Stebbins helped bring international learning to UCF.
“Frequently, what would happen before is someone might be interested in working somewhere abroad but they may not necessarily be involved with other people in a partnership,” Chase said.
The CMMS and Office of Internationalization are prepped to excel, all thanks to Stebbins.
“What she did is she gave all these offices a jump start so that they could grow and flourish,” Chase said.
Most of the guests in attendance at Stebbins’ retirement party were close friends or colleagues. Monica Fishkin, an instructor for CMMS, benefited greatly from Stebbins. A former student under Stebbins, Fishkin was one of the first people to earn a master’s degree in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program.
“Dr. Stebbins started us on a great path and helped us to become a gateway to global opportunity,” Fishkin said.