Deans 'excited' to possibly move UCF schools downtown
UCF's downtown expansion planning committees are discussing which academic programs may potentially relocate downtown.
The College of Health & Public Affairs (CHPA), the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) and the Nicholson School of Communication (NSC) were among the recommendations made by UCF's consultant group, CannonDesign, as to which colleges would best be suited to move downtown, though the decisions are not final.
"There have been no decisions made about which programs are going to be moving downtown," said Christine Dellert, UCF's senior director for internal communications. "The plans are contingent upon funding."
After meeting with Senior Adviser to Arizona State University President Michael Crowe, more than 30 UCF faculty and staff, and more than 20 representatives from partner organizations, such as the city of Orlando and Valencia College, CannonDesign released a feasibility report that included the recommendations.
Dean of the CHPA, Michael Frumkin, said that the possibility of relocating is exciting.
"The opportunity for the university to be downtown and the ability to impact the economy downtown, plus upgrade the quality of life for the residents of Parramore, and having the university bring resources to the table to help meet those needs is really, really exciting," Frumkin said.
UCF and Valencia College plan to work with the Parramore neighborhood on a kindergarten through eighth grade school, Dellert said.
Social work and nonprofit management are among CannonDesign's recommended programs within CHPA. Frumkin said social work students may benefit from increased linkages with social agencies downtown, and students studying to pursue health professions may benefit from downtown's Florida Hospital and Orlando Health.
The consultant group recommended programs such as NSC's journalism, radio/television and advertising/public relations and CAH's studio art, film and digital media as programs that may be beneficial to relocate.
Dean of the CAH, José Fernández, said the possibility of CAH relocating will be more of an "expansion," since UCF already has art-related programs located downtown, such as the Center for Emerging Media and the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy,
"It will take work, but I think it will be worth it," Fernández said. "It will take a degree of preparation — if everything is prepared well and run efficiently it will be a dynamic opportunity."
Fernández said he is looking forward to the possibility and stressed the importance of supporting the existing arts programs.
"The arts are a reflection of our human experience," he said.
Dellert said a website will be launched next month providing updates about the downtown expansion project, along with a space for students, faculty and staff to provide input about the process. She added that final decisions on academic programs' relocations will be announced in late spring 2015.
"What we're trying to do is develop ways to ensure that faculty, students and staff across campus can provide feedback … in regard to the downtown campus moving forward," she said.