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May 13, 2020

As businesses and other entities across the state begin bringing back employees, UCF soon will as well, with a phased-in approach for faculty and staff returning to campus.

Since last month, teams from across the university have been working on what our return to the workplace, research labs, classrooms and campus life would look like. In all of our planning, we are prioritizing the safety of our entire campus community and following guidance from public health officials and Governor DeSantis’ plan for reopening Florida.

These measures will begin later this month for researchers who require access to their labs. They will receive detailed direction from the Office of Research with updates on how they and others will be able to operate in labs across campus and in the Central Florida Research Park. While it is critical that our research enterprise continues, we must do so safely with new procedures and physical distancing practices.

Over the next two weeks, campus leadership and supervisors will receive additional guidance for how we will pilot a slow return to work across campus beginning June 1. Working with your supervisor, individuals who are at a higher risk, have dependent-care responsibilities or can effectively work remotely can continue to do so.

More information about safety precautions, including educational trainings, wearing facial coverings, physical distancing, encouraging virtual meetings and increased cleanings of frequently touched surfaces, will be shared soon.

As we phase in our return to campus, we will remain vigilant through the summer and into the fall. Together, we will continue to adjust our practices based upon the latest available guidance from local and state officials, always with the goal of creating a safe environment for everyone at UCF.

Our teams continue to plan for how and when we will welcome back our students into classrooms, residence halls and campus activities and are working closely with the Florida Board of Governors. We hope to share decisions about the fall semester in June.

Leadership Updates

When I became president, I knew that managing the challenges from COVID-19 would be my No. 1 priority. I also believe that UCF’s long-term stability and success come from having strong leaders at every level of the university who empower everyone to perform to their highest potential.
We have been fortunate to have interim leaders who have helped the institution through the transitions of the past two years. It is time to begin building a permanent cabinet that will guide UCF’s future. The pandemic has proven it is more important than ever to focus on greater efficiencies and effectiveness in everything we do.

That is why we will be launching national searches for a chief financial officer and chief operations officer. Both will be critical to ensuring our operational excellence and helping us to strategically invest in the university’s academic enterprise moving forward.
More information about both searches will be shared soon. In the meantime, I am grateful to our interim CFO Joe Trubacz and interim COO Misty Shepherd for their continued leadership. I also appreciate the dedication and hard work of the people in each of their areas who have led UCF’s financial and administrative operations through a turbulent time.

Our people drive our greatness. The optimism and energy with which you face challenges demonstrate our strong commitment to our mission – even as the ways we work, teach and conduct our research change. I know UCF is full of talented and creative people who will continue to “Charge On” to new heights, building our future together.

All the best,

Alexander N. Cartwright, Ph.D.