The UCF Forum opinion series will begin its seventh year Wednesday with a panel of columnists offering their opinions on topics that are close to home, international issues, and everything in between.
Ten columnists – faculty, staff and one student – on a rotating basis will share their commentary on Wednesdays through the next 12 months.
They are replacing the current panel of columnists who have covered such topics as: “Adoption Has Been the Most Wonderfully Difficult Thing We’ve Ever Done,” “Brainstorming Should Not Be a Team Sport,” “Want Preschoolers to Become Successful? Allow Them to Play More,” “Engineering Profession Must Re-establish Relationship of Trust Following Catastrophes,” and “It Has Taken Me Years to Understand What it Means to be Latino.”
For their time and contributions to the UCF Forum this past year, thank you to: Manoj Chopra (Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering), Jim Clark (Department of History), Joan McCain (Nicholson School of Communication and Media), Adam Meyer (Student Accessibility Services office and Inclusive Education Services), Kim Nassoiy (Creative School for Children), Christal Peterson (DeVos Sport Business Management Program and a member of the President’s Leadership Council), Fernando I. Rivera (Department of Sociology), Lisa Roney (Department of English), and Barbara E. Thompson (Office of Diversity and Inclusion).
For the coming year, new commentary will be by a panel of columnist with backgrounds in psychology, legal studies, English and other fields.
Here are the new columnists:
Michele Gregoire Gill is program coordinator of the University of Central Florida’s education doctorate in curriculum and instruction. She also is a professor of educational psychology in the Department of Learning Sciences and Educational Research and serves as director of the Center for Creating and Sustaining Innovative Schools. She is passionate about school reform, is co-editor of the International Handbook of Research on Teachers’ Beliefs and was recognized by the American Psychological Association for her efforts to reform public schooling through her volunteer work as board chairperson for a K-8 charter school she founded in Sanford in 2011. She earned her bachelor’s degree in humanities at New College of Florida. After teaching at public schools she earned her master’s degree and doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Florida. She is married with two boys and has one squirrel-obsessed goldendoodle. In her personal time she likes to sink into prayer, watch mourning doves eat the birdseed in her feeder, and lift weights. She can be reached at Michele.Gill@ucf.edu.
Stephen M. Kuebler is an associate professor of chemistry and also optics and photonics in a joint appointment at the University of Central Florida’s Department of Chemistry and the College of Optics and Photonics. He earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and German from Tulane University, and was awarded a Marshall Scholarship and National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to pursue chemistry research at the University of Oxford, where he earned his doctorate. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech and the University of Arizona before joining UCF in 2003. In 2008 he was awarded an NSF Career Award. His interests include the physical and chemical properties of optical and electronic materials and their development for new technologies. His research has been supported by the NSF, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Petroleum Research Fund, Lockheed Martin, Prime Photonics, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Florida Space Institute, and NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium. He can be reached at Stephen.Kuebler@ucf.edu.
Jonathan Beever is an assistant professor of ethics and digital culture in the University of Central Florida’s Department of Philosophy and the Texts & Technology doctoral program. He is as the immediate past chair of the Engineering Ethics Division of the American Society of Engineering Education and secretary for the International Association for Environmental Philosophy. His research focuses on questions of ethics, science and representation, and is supported by UCF to understand the way ethics work at the university. His latest book, Understanding Digital Ethics (Routledge Press, 2019), is co-authored with UCF colleagues. He can be reached at Jonathan.Beever@ucf.edu. (Kuebler and Beever will co-write columns.)
David James Poissant is an associate professor in the University of Central Florida’s MFA program in creative writing. He is the author of The Heaven of Animals: Stories (Simon & Schuster, 2015), currently in print in five languages, winner of the GLCA New Writers Award and a Florida Book Award, longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize. His stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, One Story, Ploughshares, The Southern Review and in numerous textbooks and anthologies including Best New American Voices and Best American Experimental Writing. He lives in Orlando with his wife and daughters. He is currently completing a novel, also forthcoming from Simon & Schuster. He can be reached at David.Poissant@ucf.edu.
Curtis L. Proctor is the associate director for advancement for the University of Central Florida’s College of Community Innovation and Education, where he leads fundraising efforts with community and corporate partners. He is a three-time graduate of UCF, earning a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, master’s degree in educational leadership K-12, and a doctorate in higher education and policy studies. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and previously worked as a faculty member at Bethune-Cookman University and public schools in Orange and Volusia counties. He and his wife Zonovia have three children, Hope, Carter and Zoe. He can be reached at Curtis.Proctor@ucf.edu.
Cynthia Schmidt is director of the University of Central Florida’s Center for Law and Policy in the Department of Legal Studies. She is a former criminal defense attorney turned educator and is excited about moving from her office on UCF’s main campus to the new UCF Downtown campus. She looks forward to partnering with the people of Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood and the legal community in the downtown corridor. She is a past president of the Orange County Bar Association Foundation. She has co-taught the Law Club at the Parramore Kidz Zone, and has led Know Your Rights seminars in the Parramore, Holden Heights and Rosemont communities. She can be reached at Cynthia.Schmidt@ucf.edu.
Katherine Torres is the facilities scheduler at the University of Central Florida’s Recreation and Wellness Center, overseeing scheduling at 14 recreational sites. She earned her bachelor’s degree in health services administration with a minor in health informatics and information management at UCF in 2016. She has presented at National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association conferences about serving students with disabilities and was presented with the 2015 Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Impact Award. She is from Orlando, is an Orlando City soccer fan and has always had a love for sports and visiting all the local theme parks. She can be reached at Katherine.Torres@ucf.edu.
Alvin Wang resumed his role as a professor in the University of Central Florida’s Department of Psychology last year after serving 11 years as dean of the Burnett Honors College. He joined UCF in 1986 after earning his doctorate from State University of New York at Stony Brook and teaching in the University of Maryland’s European division. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and former president of Psi Chi, the international honors society in psychology. He has been recognized on numerous occasions for his involvement with undergraduate education, including three UCF Teaching Incentive Program Awards, the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology (presented by the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning), and Psi Chi’s National Faculty Advisor Award. His favorite pastimes include reading, traveling and cooking (terroir is good). Whenever possible he tries to find experiences that combine all three. He can be reached at Alvin.Wang@ucf.edu.
Anjella Warnshuis is the coordinator of administrative services for the University of Central Florida’s Department of Political Science. She has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary humanities from the University of West Florida and a master’s of nonprofit management from the University of Central Florida. She completed UCF SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), the UCF Leadership Empowerment Program, and the UCF Leadership Foundations Program. She has worked at the university 12 years and is a past president of the UCF Black Faculty and Staff Association. She was a 2018 recipient of a UCF A&P Recognition Award, and a member of the League of Women Voters and the Leaguers in Action committee. She loves to volunteer and work with organizations such as Black Girls Run!, UCP of Central Florida, and Equality Florida. She has a daughter, Bethany. She can be reached at Anjella.Warnshuis@ucf.edu.
Nicole Wills is a University of Central Florida junior studying advertising-public relations, political science, and writing/rhetoric. She is a member of the Burnett Honors College and the corresponding student organization, Honors Congress. She has been writing as long as she can remember and hopes to someday pursue a career in publication or media. She is editor-in-chief of Her Campus at UCF, an online magazine for college women. When she isn’t busy proofreading and fact-checking, she loves to blog about all things Orlando – especially the local theme parks. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The UCF Forum is a project of UCF Communications and Marketing and is posted each Wednesday on the UCF Today website. Columns also appear on various other platforms locally and nationally, are broadcast on WUCF-FM (89.9) on Sunday mornings between 7:50 and 8 a.m., and are archived as podcasts by the radio station.
All of the UCF Forums since they began – more than 300 by individuals from all over the university – are maintained in the UCF Libraries’ STARS digital repository. The chronological list can also be searched by author or topic.