More than 200 educators and education policymakers attended the 2016 Florida College Access Network conference on May 11 – 12 which focused on increasing postsecondary access and success for all Florida students. Metro Center Director Diane Trees moderated the “Goal 2015 Think Tank: Is College in Florida Affordable?” panel discussion which delved into what college affordability means to today’s students and families and how policy changes can make higher education more accessible for Floridians. Panelists included Cheryl D. Blanco, vice president for postsecondary education, Southern Regional Education Board; Rachel Fishman, senior policy analyst, Education Policy Program, New America; and Nate Johnson, owner and principal consultant, Postsecondary Analytics, LLC. Additional event photos can be found here.
A delegation of more than 50 Central Florida business and community leaders traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 19, as part of Capitol Connection 2016. Congressman John Mica served as the host for the visit, and gave the group a personal tour of the Library of Congress and the U.S. Capitol. Several members of Congress addressed the group at a congressional issues forum, including Rep. Pete Sessions (TX), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Rep. Randy Forbes (VA), and Rep. Virginia Fox (NC). The attendees, who were members of several area chambers of commerce (East Orlando, Oviedo-Winter Springs, Greater Sanford Regional, and Winter Park), sat in on a vote on the House floor and were also able to meet one-on-one with representatives from Florida. Additional photos from the trip can be found here.
On April 15, approximately 200 community and university leaders gathered for a special reception at the UCF Celebrates the Arts festival at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Provost A. Dale Whittaker, College of Arts and Humanities Dean Jose Fernandez, and UCF School of the Performing Arts Director Jeff Moore spoke about arts at UCF and thanked patrons for their support. The UCF Jazz Chamber Group performed, and guests interacted with live student art exhibits displayed throughout the Dr. Phillips Center. Continue reading
On April 6, UCF President John C. Hitt and Senior Associate Vice President for University Relations Fred Kittinger welcomed more than 200 UCF faculty, staff, donors, alumni, and other community leaders in celebrating the launch of UCF Downtown, a public-private partnership with Valencia College, Creative Village and the City of Orlando. UCF Downtown will offer degrees in digital media and communication, health information technology and administration, and community-facing programs such as social work and legal studies, connecting highly-skilled talent with industry needs. The new campus will place more than 7,000 students within walking distance of jobs and internships. Florida Governor Rick Scott approved $20 million in state funds for the project in March. Continue reading