In the Collective Impact Strategic Plan, UCF committed to developing and leading a major initiative to help address a significant community challenge. By drawing upon the strengths and assets of the institution and our partners, this initiative is designed to achieve measurable improvement on a local problem that can also have national or global implications, so it can be scaled or replicated to increase our impact.
Fall 2017, we solicited ideas from faculty and staff for a community-based project that would be recognized as a UCF Collective Impact Community Challenge Initiative. From those applications, five finalists were selected. Each finalist presented their project at the 2018 Summer Faculty Development Conference, and the UCF community had the opportunity to vote to identify which would receive the Community Challenge designation.
Collective Impact Community Challenge Initiative
View our finalist selection criteria.
Nearly 800 UCF faculty and staff participated in the selection process. Earning a combined 54 percent of the votes, the following two projects both received the UCF Collective Impact Challenge Initiative designation and will help UCF lead the charge to address these significant issues.
Florida Prison Education Project
The Florida Prison Education Project is a desistance-based program that provides multi-modal education to the 30,000 people incarcerated in Central Florida. Florida has America’s third-largest prison system, with 100,000 people behind bars and 3 million residents with criminal records. Each year 33,000 people are released from Florida prisons, and many settle in Central Florida, which has one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. Correctional education is the most effective way to make a meaningful impact in the lives of ex-offenders, their families, and our community, because it reduces recidivism by 43% and increases post-release employment by 58%.
Collectively Confronting and Resolving the Injustice of Human Trafficking
John Bersia and Martin Dupuis
In February 2018, the UCF Center for the Study of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery was established. While this was the culmination of 15 years of progress by campus and community partners to raise awareness of the problem, it was also just the beginning. Although human trafficking now garners significant national and international attention, the need to fortify and expand our efforts is more important than ever. With our existing infrastructure, we are well positioned to continue leading and innovating much-needed solutions, and eventually create national and international models of excellence to address and prevent this scourge on humanity.
The following three projects were selected as finalists from a highly competitive pool of nearly 20 submissions from across the university. While not ultimately selected for the UCF Collective Impact Community Challenge Initiative designation, these outstanding projects deserve special recognition.
Energy Efficiency for Affordable Housing in the UCF Community
America’s affordable housing crisis is, in part, why we have a homelessness crisis. The affordability equation includes rent/mortgage AND utilities. In Metro Orlando, affordable housing energy bills consume 7.5-11.5% of annual income compared to 4% for all households. Root causes include poor house conditions, financial restraints, and technical challenges. The gap will expand as high-efficiency market-rate housing and renewable energy become mainstream. Affordable housing, energy efficiency, and renewable energy will be addressed through classroom, community, and research activity by UCF (students, faculty and staff) with affordable housing, utility, renewable energy, home energy, and community action entities in Metro Orlando.
Equine-Assisted Therapies for Veterans at McCormick Research Institute
While PTSD interventions are available, attrition rates remain high, with less than half of military veterans who could benefit receiving intervention. With 16 veterans committing suicide daily, addressing their mental health needs remains critical. Equine-facilitated therapy, grounded in the cognitive processing therapy (CPT) model that the VA endorses as first-line intervention, appears to be a viable alternative for those disinclined to engage in office-based interventions. The McCormick Research Institute is dedicated to advancing the science regarding these interventions and producing rigorous evidence to support policy change that would open access and deliver valid models for providers across the nation.
UCF Comprehensive Medical Care Outreach Team
Farmworkers in Central Florida and their families often do not access healthcare due to time constraints, fear of bias based on immigration/language status, transportation, language barriers, poverty, and low health literacy. The UCF Comprehensive Medical Care Outreach Team (UCF CMCOT) is dedicated to the care of vulnerable populations grounded in interprofessional education and scholarship. UCF CMCOT works with the Farmworkers Association to provide large multidisciplinary quarterly clinics to serve the farmworkers and their families in the Apopka Community.
The clinic is innovative in its impact and its scale in community outreach, and interprofessional service learning for undergraduate and graduate students.
| Questions? Contact Dr. Lisa Guion Jones at