The University of Central Florida will receive $16.2 million of new state dollars this year as a reward for leading all state universities in performance measures that include graduation rates and graduates’ employment and wages.

The additional money will enable UCF to create 45 new faculty positions, bringing to 245 the number of new faculty positions established in the past three years with state performance funds.

“These hires address disciplines in which UCF is experiencing high enrollment growth, including areas of strategic emphasis in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” UCF President John C. Hitt told the Florida Board of Governors this week.

“We are hiring full-time instructors to address our teaching mission, but a majority of these new hires are tenure-track faculty members. They will teach, serve and support our second priority, which is to increase research and graduate activity.”

The performance funding model from the Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s public universities, rewards institutions based on their performance on 10 metrics critical to students, families and taxpayers – from student retention rates to the cost per degree awarded. The performance funds awarded to each institution are subject to confirmation Thursday by the full Board of Governors.

UCF, which tied for No. 1 this year with Florida Atlantic University, is the only university ranked in the top three during all four years that performance-based funding has been awarded.

“Each year, our universities are demonstrating remarkable improvements, raising the bar on their commitments to student success and the success of our graduates,” said Board of Governors Chair Tom Kuntz, who was key in developing the metrics. “Thanks to the support from the Governor and Legislature, the service to our students, our employers, and our state is unprecedented.”

The performance metrics have yielded huge successes for the State University System, including a 30 percent increase in the number of students pursuing STEM degrees and a graduation rate that is the best in the country among the 10 largest states.
Several of UCF’s new faculty members are part of six new interdisciplinary faculty teams, which include cybersecurity and privacy, renewable energy, bioinformatics, energy conversion, sustainable coastal systems and prosthetic interfaces.

Performance funds also support hiring programs that recognize inclusiveness and enhance UCF’s recruitment of nationally and internationally recognized scholars.

With the 245 new faculty hires over three years, UCF will increase the number of tenured and tenure-track positions by 25 percent.

UCF also is using performance funding to implement new student success programs based on predictive analytics. These programs will use student data to help identify which students are struggling so that academic advisers can reach out to those students and offer them services, from tutoring and counseling to help applying for financial aid.