UCF’s nationally ranked Department of Public Administration has been designated as a school, a reflection of the department’s accomplishments and excellence.

Provost and Executive Vice President Tony Waldrop informed the university’s Board of Trustees of the new designation on Wednesday.

Public Administration offers 22 graduate and undergraduate programs and serves nearly 1,000 students. The school’s areas of focus include nonprofit management, urban planning and emergency management.

The school’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Management has earned about $4 million in external funds and helped more than 200 nonprofit organizations.

“This is an amazingly innovative department,” College of Health and Public Affairs Dean Michael Frumkin told the trustees.

Public Administration is one of eight UCF graduate programs nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Also at Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting:

— President Hitt expressed “great sadness” that Nancy Burnett, a longtime friend and benefactor of the University of Central Florida, passed away last week.

Nancy and Al Burnett have donated $15.5 million over more than 30 years to support UCF students and programs. The Burnett Honors College and Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences are named in their honor, as is the president’s on-campus home.

“Their gifts have benefitted thousands of students in our classrooms, in our research labs and on our athletic fields, and their generosity will continue to benefit Central Floridians for many years to come,” Hitt said. “Please keep Nancy’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”

— Board members approved Chairman Emeritus status for Rick Walsh and Vice Chairman Emeritus status for Tom Yochum. Yochum attended the meeting, accepted a plaque and said he was thankful for the opportunity to serve the university for 10 years.

— The board welcomed newly appointed trustee Robert Garvy, chair and CEO of INTECH.

— The board heard an update on the university’s progress on developing a new policy governing academic integrity and misconduct. The Academic Integrity Task Force is in the process of receiving feedback from the university community.

— The board learned about a proposal to attach a large screen to the outside of the UCF Arena that could be used to showcase movies, away sporting events and university programs along with advertisements. Additional feedback about the concept will be accepted.

— Joel Hartman, vice provost for Information Technologies, was lauded for his selection as the 2011 Sloan Consortium’s A. Frank Maydas Leadership Award winner. The award acknowledges and celebrates leadership in online education.

— The board recognized Professor Linda Walters for being named one of the best biology professors in the country by The Coastal and Estuarine Research Foundation. She also earned the 2011 Florida Campus Compact Service-Learning Faculty Award for her excellence in linking UCF courses with community needs.

— Associate Professor H.G. Parza of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management was applauded for earning the John Wiley and Sons Lifetime Research Achievement Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education.

— The board lauded the volleyball team for earning the 2010-11 Team Academic Award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The award honors teams that have matched their dedication to the sport of volleyball with excellence in the classroom.