Excited about the opportunities that an expanded University of Central Florida downtown presence would offer students, UCF Board of Trustees members unanimously approved the downtown campus concept on Thursday.
The UCF Downtown campus, proposed on about 15 to 20 acres in Orlando’s Creative Village, would build from the strengths of UCF’s other academic programs in the area. UCF’s Center for Emerging Media and its graduate video game design and development school, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, are across the street from the Creative Village site.
Board of Trustees members Thursday approved a working proposal for the new campus, which included information about likely academic programs, student support services and staffing and anticipated costs.
“Around the country, many great metropolitan downtowns have strong higher education presences,” the proposal said. “This opportunity in downtown Orlando – the nation’s 13th fastest-growing city according to Forbes – will connect students with diverse businesses, government entities, and nonprofits.”
Proposed in several phases over multiple years, UCF Downtown could first incorporate academic programs focused on the Center for Emerging Media’s existing strengths – arts and digital media.
University leaders and the UCF Downtown Academic Programs Team have also recommended programs from the Nicholson School of Communication and WUCF TV and WUCF-FM relocate downtown, with a desire to add programs in the areas of health and public affairs, which could also benefit from synergies in the downtown location. Final decisions about which programs would relocate downtown are expected by the end of the semester.
The downtown campus also would be home to the region’s first-of-its-kind inclusive education program allowing students with intellectual disabilities to take courses and fully participate in college life.
UCF leaders are scheduled to provide further information about the downtown campus to the Florida Board of Governors in February.