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By Jenna Nobili | December 9, 2022

The Office of Professional Development (OPD) provides academic advising, career coaching services, and study abroad resources to 8,500+ students in the UCF College of Business (COB). Under the leadership of Dr. Darrell Johnson, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies & Executive Director of Graduate Programs, two new director roles were added to the College of Business, OPD Leadership Team in 2022.

Nina Leonard, Director of Advising and Retention Services

Nina Leonard is the Director of Advising and Retention Services for OPD. Leonard has over 11 years of experience in higher education, primarily in academic advising. Prior to her tenure at UCF, she worked at the University of Florida, the University of North Florida, and the University of South Florida. Leonard holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Florida and a Master of Education in Elementary Education from the University of North Florida. Leonard is a graduate of UCF’s 2019-2020 Leadership Empowerment Program and was selected as the 2020 UCF Pegasus Advisor Award recipient, earning her national recognition by NACADA, The Global Community for Academic Advising. She is currently pursuing the Ed.D. in Higher Education program at UCF.

Leonard joined UCF in 2014, where she advised students in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, leading several of the college’s programs including orientation, academic probation, and the BS-MS program. In 2021, she transitioned to the College of Business as an Assistant Director, before transitioning into the Director role during fall 2022. In this role, Leonard oversees all advising and study abroad services. This includes supervision and leadership for six professional advising staff members plus the A-Team, the college’s peer advisor program. The Advising Team assists students with schedule planning, university resources, and understanding degree requirements. The Study Abroad Team engages students with the importance of co-curricular activities such as the study abroad GAP program or traditional Exchange program. Her responsibilities also include teaching a section of SLS 1501- Strategies for Success, for Business students.

Denise McFadden, Director of Professionalism Programming

Denise McFadden is the Director of Professionalism Programming in the College of Business. She is a business professional with more than 15 years of experience in all aspects of business, including leadership, training, development, HR, sales, and process improvement/implementation. She has experience in both the private and public sectors, as well as with start-up organizations. McFadden earned her Salesforce Administration Certification, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management, and her MBA with a concentration in Leadership from Belhaven University. Denise has been with UCF since 2016. Her most recent role was Associate Director, Student Success and Employer Outreach until she transitioned into the newly created Director role in the College. In this role, she is the Salesforce/Knightline guru for both undergraduates and graduates, providing employment, internship, and experiential learning opportunities for the COB student population while collaborating with administrators and faculty to ensure opportunities, occupations and industries are related to COB academic offerings. She develops, manages, and oversees the college’s 4 Undergraduate Career Professional Series courses including facilitating the first in the series with approximately 1800, 1400, and 800 students in Fall, Spring, and Summer, respectively.

McFadden also manages the professional Career Development and Employer Relations Career Coach team within the Office of Professional Development. She is a part of the Higher Education LinkedIn Advisory Board, UCF SAS Faculty Advisory Group, and Ex Officio for UCF Faculty Senate Admissions and Standards Committee to aid in students achieving Career and Student Success

The Office of Professional Development focuses on supporting students’ academic and professional careers through an expert Advising Team (A-team), Career Coaches, and Study Abroad Advisors who help set students up for success after graduation. Together, Leonard and McFadden are focused on elevating the student experience and assisting College of Business students “Get to the ONE!” – the one who gets the internship, the job or promotion.