As we like to say at UCF: If there’s a better way, we should do it. We know that successful 21st-century institutions must evolve as rapidly as the environment around them.

Embracing change is in UCF’s DNA.

In August, I charged academic leaders, faculty and staff to make recommendations that reimagine how we leverage our collective strengths in key areas where UCF excels, among them health care, urban innovation, education, communication and new media.

The task forces focused on two areas: academic health sciences at Lake Nona and urban innovation at UCF Downtown. Both of these locations are experiencing rapid growth and investment from the university and community.

Based upon the task forces’ recommendations, UCF will create an Academic Health Sciences Center (AHSC) at Lake Nona and a new college and new interdisciplinary, inter-college school that will anchor UCF Downtown.

I see these changes as opportunities for UCF to be a national leader in inventing 21st-century higher education and best preparing our students for the world after graduation.

Academic Health Sciences Center

The AHSC will bring together related academic, clinical and research programs and services to grow our research, education, patient care and community engagement.

The task force unanimously recommended a new organizational structure for AHSC that includes the College of Medicine and College of Nursing and creates a new College of Health Professions and Sciences.

This new college will include programs and their affiliated centers or institutes currently in the College of Health and Public Affairs and the College of Education and Human Performance. These existing programs are:

• School of Social Work

• Sports and Exercise Science (to be renamed Kinesiology)

• Physical Therapy

• Athletic Training

• Communication Sciences and Disorders

The task force recommended creating a new School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy and School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

We also will create a new department of Population Health Sciences in the College of Medicine that incorporates its current Division of Population Health Sciences and the Health Sciences program, currently in the College of Health and Public Affairs.

Eventually all of these programs will relocate to Lake Nona.

Lastly, Student Health Services will report to the Academic Health Sciences Center, with a dotted-line report to Student Development and Enrollment Services. This change will enhance services for students and expand faculty practice opportunities.

Urban Innovation and UCF Downtown

I enthusiastically supported the task force’s recommendation to create a new college of urban innovation and education focused on the pillars of thriving 21st-century cities, such as civic engagement and governing, safety and justice, and health and well-being — all of which are grounded in transformative education.

The new college will include programs and their affiliated centers or institutes from the College of Health and Public Affairs, College of Education and Human Performance and College of Arts and Humanities. These existing units are:

• School of Public Administration, including nonprofit management, urban and regional planning, research administration, and public administration

• School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

• Educational Sciences (currently a component of the Department of Educational and Human Sciences)

• Child, Family, and Community Sciences

• Health Management and Informatics

• Criminal Justice

• Legal Studies

• the Public Affairs Doctoral Program

Previously, Architecture was going to realign here, but now will stay in the College of Arts and Humanities.

Additionally, we will create a new interdisciplinary, inter-college school with programs that redefine content creation, digital art and communication for the 21st century. It will include programs in the Nicholson School of Communication (Journalism, Radio-Television, Advertising-Public Relations and Communication) and digital media, film and the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy.

When the downtown campus opens in 2019, we will have a critical mass with the following programs relocating downtown first:

• School of Public Administration

• Health Management and Informatics

• Legal Studies

• Public Affairs Doctoral Program

• Digital Media

• Communication

What’s Next

All of these organizational changes will take effect July 2, 2018. Over the next several months, transition and leadership teams will develop the organizational and leadership structures for these new colleges and schools.

Additional resources and “frequently asked questions” about these changes are available on the Provost’s website, and we will continue to communicate information about these changes with you.

These changes mean that our College of Education and Human Performance and College of Health and Public Affairs will no longer exist. This restructuring aligns our strengths in areas of opportunity and organizational changes that will better position our students, faculty and staff for the future.

Finally, I wholeheartedly thank our task forces for their extraordinary work and commitment to this bold vision. I look forward to seeing the impact of their work in the days, months and years ahead.