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Partners in Academic Success

The fall semester is in full swing. I hope you are settling into the rhythm of the term and are attending classes, completing assignments, and participating in social activities. You are not alone in your pursuit of your bachelor’s degree. UCF and College of Undergraduate Studies faculty, staff, and advisors are here to help you succeed. 

In this newsletter, we’re introducing you to three new CUGS lecturers, providing tips to be academically successful, and sharing engagement opportunities. I encourage you to take advantage of all that UCF has to offer. 

Remember, our college is built on the commitment to innovation, excellence, and distinction. You are part of this community of scholars.

Go Knights! Charge On!

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Theodorea Regina Berry, Ed.D. 
Vice Provost, Division of Student Learning and Academic Success
Dean, College of Undergraduate Studies

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Make the Most of Every Semester

By Wayne Bowen, Ph.D., Interim Associate Dean, College of Undergraduate Studies, and Director, Interdisciplinary Studies  Many years ago, when I was a new assistant professor, a senior faculty member welcomed me to my first academic job with the comment: “I love beginnings, and I love endings. Every semester, we have a chance for both. Make the best of it.” 

I encourage you to take these words to heart. No matter how last semester went, what struggles you had over the summer, or how the many challenges of the past few years have caused turmoil, remember this is a beginning. Every semester, each student has the opportunity to start new, not just to survive but to overcome. If you’ve been a solid ‘C’ student, challenge yourself to rise to ‘B’s in your classes. If you’re doing well in your classes, now is the time to add academic experiences, such as internships, service-learning, undergraduate research, or study abroad, to your resume. 

Each semester will also have an end. What goals do you want to accomplish by December in your UCF career? Imagine them, then write them down. Thoughts can fade as our minds move to other things, but a tangible reminder – a Post-it Note on your mirror, a bookmark in the textbook you use every day, or a calendar reminder in Outlook – can keep you focused on what you want to achieve. 

Embrace this opportunity to start strong and finish strong. Make Fall 2021 your semester! 

Go Knights! Charge On!

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8 Tips for Academic Success

By Luisa Cintron, Coordinator, Academic Advising Services, College of Undergraduate Studies

Earning your bachelor’s degree requires preparation and action. The following are proven tips to help you make the most of your time at UCF, earn your degree, and become a competitive graduate school or job applicant.

Meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester to discuss your academic plan and make sure you graduate on time. Plan to take 30 credit hours each academic year. Review your myKnight Audit (degree audit) to make sure you’re fulfilling your degree program’s requirements. Be aware of important deadlines by checking the academic calendar.  Prepare to register for classes and use mySchedule Builder to create a class schedule that works for you. Check your myUCF Portal for holds that may prevent registration.  Check your Knights Email accounts regularly. All official UCF communications are sent to your Knights Email address. Be proactive and contact your professors if you are struggling in a class and have questions. Take advantage of academic resources such as the Student Academic Resource Center (SARC) and the University Writing Center (UWC). Ask for help. UCF believes in you and has resources dedicated to fostering a caring community. For information about services available 24/7, contact UCF Cares and UCF CAPS.

College of Undergraduate Studies – Interdisciplinary Studies advisors are our partners in academic success. Call (407-823-0144) or email (is@ucf.edu) the office with questions and to schedule an appointment.

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New Lecturers Bring Diverse Talents and Knowledge

The College of Undergraduate Studies (CUGS) welcomes three lecturers. They are innovative teachers and researchers who are passionate about student success. 

Leah Gaines, Ph.D., joined CUGS this fall as a new lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her research interests are structural inequities, urban education, student experiences, African American Language, Black women and beauty, race, and identity. She received her doctorate in African American and African Studies, with a concentration in Urban Education, from Michigan State University. She earned her master’s at Morgan State University and her bachelor’s from Towson University.

Devon Cadwell Bazata, Ed.D., a CUGS lecturer for the Integrative General Studies program (BGS), joined the IDS team in 2013. During that time, she served as a visiting instructor and lecturer and played a pivotal role in designing the BGS degree program. Her research interests include the intersection of organizational culture and strategic communication related to equity in opportunity in higher education; and interdisciplinary/integrative teaching, learning, and assessment. 

Michael Gilbrook, Ph.D., a lecturer for Environmental Studies and GIS, has been part of the CUGS teams since 2003. He has served as an adjunct faculty member and created the GIS Certificate program. He has 30 years of experience using GIS for environmental planning, facility siting, and environmental impact analyses for public and private sectors. 

“Dr. Bazata, Dr. Gaines, and Dr. Gilbrook bring with them a wealth of knowledge in a range of disciplines,” said Wayne Bowen, Ph.D., Interim Associate Dean, College of Undergraduate Studies, and Director, Interdisciplinary Studies. “Along with the outstanding CUGS faculty, they will support our efforts to ensure that every student will succeed academically and earn their college degree.”

To learn about CUGS faculty, visit the faculty and staff webpage.

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New Lecturers Bring Diverse Talents and Knowledge

The College of Undergraduate Studies (CUGS) welcomes three lecturers. They are innovative teachers and researchers who are passionate about student success. 

Leah Gaines, Ph.D., joined CUGS this fall as a new lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her research interests are structural inequities, urban education, student experiences, African American Language, Black women and beauty, race, and identity. She received her doctorate in African American and African Studies, with a concentration in Urban Education, from Michigan State University. She earned her master’s at Morgan State University and her bachelor’s from Towson University.

Devon Cadwell Bazata, Ed.D., a CUGS lecturer for the Integrative General Studies program (BGS), joined the IDS team in 2013. During that time, she served as a visiting instructor and lecturer and played a pivotal role in designing the BGS degree program. Her research interests include the intersection of organizational culture and strategic communication related to equity in opportunity in higher education; and interdisciplinary/integrative teaching, learning, and assessment. 

Michael Gilbrook, Ph.D., a lecturer for Environmental Studies and GIS, has been part of the CUGS teams since 2003. He has served as an adjunct faculty member and created the GIS Certificate program. He has 30 years of experience using GIS for environmental planning, facility siting, and environmental impact analyses for public and private sectors. 

“Dr. Bazata, Dr. Gaines, and Dr. Gilbrook bring with them a wealth of knowledge in a range of disciplines,” said Wayne Bowen, Ph.D., Interim Associate Dean, College of Undergraduate Studies, and Director, Interdisciplinary Studies. “Along with the outstanding CUGS faculty, they will support our efforts to ensure that every student will succeed academically and earn their college degree.”

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IDS Student Society-General Body Meeting

By Sharon Woodill, Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Undergraduate Studies If you are a student in Interdisciplinary Studies, Diversity Studies, Environmental Studies, or BIGS, you are invited to join the IDS Student Society! There will be a general body meeting on Wednesday, September 29, at 3:30 p.m. in Room 202 of Trevor Colburn Hall. If you cannot attend in person, please join us via Zoom. 

Planning for this year is underway, and leadership positions are available. 
For more information and virtual meeting information, please contact Leah.Gaines@ucf.edu


UCF News

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Boosting Transfer Student Success

This fall, UCF launched its Transfer Connect program, which provides comprehensive support, engagement and resources to prospective and enrolled transfer students, both in-person and virtually. Transfer students will also have access to UCF Connect’s new Transfer Center, which opened its doors on August 23. It is the academic home for transfer students to get assistance, meet with their Success Coaches, interact with fellow transfer students to collaborate, develop a sense of community, and attend information sessions. Its temporary location is at Ferrell Commons in suite 132 on main campus. The permanent location in Trevor Colbourn Hall in suite 215 will open in the spring. Students can email transfercenter@ucf.edu to learn more about the program.

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Get Ready for Major Exploration Week!

Do you have questions for academic advisors? Are you curious about certificates or minors? Interested in exploring one or many majors? Want to learn more about available academic resources on campus? Well, Major Exploration Week (MEW) has answers and can help clarify! Whether you’re already declared and curious to explore additional programs, or haven’t figured out your path, Major Exploration Week will help you take a step in the right direction. Take charge of your academic journey! This once-a-semester event will highlight the more than 100+ majors and certificates offered by the academic colleges at the University as well as various campus resource offices that provide support in achieving your academic goals.  Sessions are open to all current UCF students. 

Click here to check out all the live-streamed sessions, recorded sessions, and program specific information.  Registration is now open: RSVP now  For additional questions or inquiries regarding the Major Exploration Week, please contact kmetcoutreach@ucf.edu or call 407-823-3165   

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Exciting Year for Knights Football

The Knights football season is underway! This year’s roster includes 27 College of Undergraduate Studies majors!

UCF joins the Big 12 Conference and is the youngest school among the Power 5 conferences.

On October 2, the Knights take on Navy. Join us and cheer our team to victory. Go Knights! Charge on!

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