UCF’s Doctoral Program in Public Affairs has returned to the Orlando campus after being housed at a facility in the Central Florida Research Park for the past five and a half years.

The program’s offices are now located in Health and Public Affairs building I, Suite 220. A student technology lab is located nearby.

The program is the largest doctoral program in the College of Health and Public Affairs, with more than 100 students enrolled.  It also is the “flagship” academic program of the college, said Dean Michael Frumkin.

“The program is central to the college’s mission of ‘strengthening communities, changing lives,’” Frumkin explained. “It prepares students to view societal needs from an interdisciplinary perspective, creating new ways of understanding and new solutions to impact community life.”

To date, 76 students have completed the program since it was established in 1998.

Both Frumkin and Interim Program Director Ronnie Korosec think the program’s relocation to HPA I will enhance interactions between students and faculty members, as well as provide new opportunities for networking and research.

“The move should increase everyone’s ability to translate knowledge into action,” Frumkin said.

“We anticipate this coming year to be one of great promise and progress,” shared Korosec, who also serves as the college’s associate dean for technology and graduate studies. “We’re welcoming 24 new students, including several from other countries, who are certain to contribute to our already diverse mix of full-time, part-time and practitioner students.”

The program will unveil some changes to its curriculum this fall. Previously, students followed a broad, “generalist” course of study in public affairs or chose to specialize in a discipline. Now students must declare a formal track in criminal justice, health services management and research, governance and policy research, public administration, or social work.

Korosec said the program plans to hold a sixth Public Affairs’ Research Conference early next year. “This signature event lets us showcase the talents of our students, faculty and community partners within the realm of public affairs’ research,” she added.

Earlier this year, public affairs’ students published a second volume of Public Affairs Review, a professionally produced electronic journal on contemporary issues in public affairs (see http://tiny.cc/2hbof).

This fall, the college will resume a national search for a permanent director for the program. Thomas T. H. Wan, associate dean for research for the college, served as director of the doctoral program from 2003 to spring 2010.

For further information about UCF’s Doctoral Program in Public Affairs, see  www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu/programs/ and under “Health and Public Affairs” select “Public Affairs PhD.”