The new dean of UCF’s College of Community Innovation and Education is the second-ranking executive at a large university and an accomplished scholar.

Grant Hayes joins UCF Aug. 1 from East Carolina University (ECU) in North Carolina. He has served as ECU’s interim provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs since 2019 and spent four years as dean of the school’s College of Education. Hayes is also familiar with UCF, where his leadership roles over 17 years included interim dean, executive associate dean, assistant dean, department chair, and professor in the former College of Education and Human Performance.

Grant Hayes

Hayes’ appointment by Michael D. Johnson, UCF’s provost and executive vice president of Academic Affairs, follows a national search. Hayes will oversee CCIE’s efforts to advance academic excellence, research and the success of students from all academic backgrounds while bolstering community partnerships.

Besides its presence on the main campus, CCIE helps anchor the UCF Downtown campus, which serves more than 7,500 students. The college hosts the departments of Counselor Education and School Psychology, Criminal Justice, Educational Leadership and Higher Education, Learning Sciences and Educational Research, and Legal Studies, along with three schools: Global Health Management and Informatics, Public Administration, and Teacher Education. The college’s many specialized centers and institutes include the Center for Nonprofit Management, the UCF Marriage and Family Research Institute, and the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities.

“Dr. Hayes’ considerable experience as a top academic leader dedicated to inclusive excellence, student success, interdisciplinarity and community collaboration will help elevate CCIE as UCF advances,” Johnson says. “His leadership will help the college continue its rise to national prominence.”

As ECU’s second-ranking leader, Hayes has overseen academic quality, operations and administrative policies for a public university with 28,000 students, 12 colleges and 2,000 full- and part-time faculty. During his tenure as dean and distinguished professor of ECU’s College of Education, the college increased philanthropic support and research funding while significantly growing its underrepresented faculty in tenure and tenure-track positions.

A professor in counselor education, Hayes has published and researched extensively on areas that include counseling children and adolescents, technological applications in counselor education, and character education and moral development in schools and youth settings. He previously taught at James Madison University and the University of South Carolina.

His professional honors include being a fellow of the American Counseling Association and a past board member of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. He is a past president of the Counseling Association for Humanistic Education and Development and recipient of the association’s Humanistic Processes Award.

Hayes says he is eager to engage with CCIE’s students, faculty and staff along with other campus leaders and community stakeholders to benefit UCF and its goals.

“I am honored and excited to lead the College of Community Innovation and Education as dean. CCIE is well-positioned to drive meaningful impact, and I sense a real commitment to advancing a culture of research and innovation,” Hayes says. “I look forward to working with faculty and staff to envision innovative ways to address complex social problems in service to communities and beyond, by contributing to ways that will enhance individual and community well-being.”

Hayes holds doctoral, master’s and educational specialist degrees from the University of South Carolina. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Limestone College in South Carolina.