Note: The following was published in the Fall 2010 issue of “UCF at Work,” a newsletter for UCF staff and faculty members.

Our front page story shares the news that we have enrolled more than 56,000 students this fall. I imagine that some of you have two questions: Why are we growing? And how large can UCF become?

Why are we growing?

We are growing to transform the lives of as many Central Floridians as possible. I know firsthand how higher education can change a life. I was among the first in my family to graduate from college, and it has made all of the difference for me.

Every day on campus, I see staff and faculty members transforming the lives of our students, and I’m reminded of my college experience. I greatly appreciate your dedication to the success of our students and your commitment to our university.

How large can UCF become?

Our goal is not to be the largest university in the country, but to provide access to a world-class UCF education for high-quality students.

There is no magic number at which enrollment must stop, but the Orlando campus does have limits on how many students it can serve. With that in mind, our growth will rely upon:

1) a system of regional campuses and joint-use facilities throughout Central Florida

2) stand-alone UCF campuses, such as the Rosen College, the College of Medicine at Lake Nona, and the Center for Emerging Media in downtown

3) and growth in Web, blended, and video-based courses

Growth does present challenges. That is why we are committed to hiring more tenured and tenure-track faculty members, to supporting our university’s administrative and operational staff members, and to funding additional facilities.

Our commitment to access and growth with quality energizes us to work together to expand opportunities for our community. Your continued dedication to our students and to our university has made UCF one of the great metropolitan research universities in the nation.

In future issues of “UCF at Work,” I will consider other goals of our university and discuss the means to achieve them. I hope you will find the newsletter to be informative and useful.

Cordially yours,

John C. Hitt