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A Family of Knights

Last week was difficult for me, as I am sure it was for you and our campus community. 
 
Faculty are the backbone of this university. What you do as faculty has always mattered, and now it matters even more. We are here for our students, to see them succeed and realize their dreams. As we move forward, I am here for you. My staff is here for you. Faculty Excellence will continue on its mission to support and strengthen faculty through recruitment, development and retention of outstanding scholars and educators.
 
I will work closely with provost Dooley to ensure your voices are heard throughout the process of searching for our next president. As provost Dooley wrote in her email last week, “The world is watching, and now is the time to demonstrate our greatness as Knights! We are better together than we are apart.”

Charge On,

Xiaofeng Feng has been named a Sloan Research Fellow, the first for the University of Central Florida.

The award recognizes early career scientists that demonstrate high promise. Past Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to do big things. Collectively they have received 47 Nobel Prizes, 17 Fields Medals in mathematics, 69 National Medals of Science and 18 John Bates Clark Medals in economics.

“It is a great and humbling honor to receive the Sloan Research Fellowship as a recognition of my research efforts at this stage in my career,” Feng says. “Being named a Sloan Research Fellow is a strong encouragement to my research efforts and interests in electrocatalysis at UCF. The fellowship has provided me the confidence to pursue my goals in tackling scientific challenges on renewable energy conversion.”

Congratulations! 

Women Faculty Farm-to-Table Lunch

Join other women faculty at the UCF Arboretum for lunch and cooking class. You will harvest our greens together in the garden, then cook a delicious and healthy meal together. Eat what you cook and bring your leftovers home. You'll meet other women faculty and learn how to fit healthy foods into your busy lifestyle. The lunch is Friday, March 1, harvest begins at 12:30 p.m. in the UCF Arboretum, and the cooking class is 1 to 2 p.m. The menu is a no tun, tuna melt with vegan and non-vegan options available. Cost is $10, per person. 

Register
UCF Chosen to Participate in National Effort to Develop Diverse STEM Faculty

UCF is part of a new national cohort to increase the diversity of science, technology, engineering and math faculty through recruitment and retention.
 
The National Science Foundation-funded project Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty aims to help reform teaching practices, increase the diversity of STEM faculty and promote inclusive teaching.
 
The alliance is partnering with UCF and 14 other institutions to launch its Institutional Change Network. As part of the national cohort, UCF will begin with self-assessment of current practices and continue on a three-year path to increase underrepresented STEM faculty.

Learn more
New Endowed Professorship
 
Endowed faculty positions help us recruit more aggressively, and is a significant step towards preeminence, and we have recently vested a new faculty member in the Philosophy Department.
 
Philosophy Professor Cyrus Zargar is the new Al-Ghazali Endowed Distinguished Professor. The position recognizes Zargar’s accomplishments and will allow him to advance his research, pedagogy and community outreach in the area of Islamic Studies. For Zargar, this means furthering his long-term goal of building connections among students and faculty to talk about religion, theology and social issues.
 
“I hope to make UCF a center of discussions—a center of learning where scholars and artists from around the U.S. and the world are heard by a curious and participating campus community,” says Zargar.

Learn more
Anthony Major, an associate professor of film at UCF, has spent more than four decades creating films that depict slices of the African-American experience in the United States.
 
As an actor, producer, director, documentary filmmaker and professor, Major has worked with well-known actors such as Brad Pitt, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Redd Foxx of Sanford and Son fame.
 
One of his most important contributions since arriving at UCF in 1995 has been the impact he’s had on Hollywood. Some of his students have graduated and now are actors, producers, directors and talent agents in the film and theatre industry. One even has her own popular YouTube show shot in Australia.
 
Read more about his secret to success
Pauline Heinz-Strauss, Coordinator, Promotion, Tenure and Awards

Pauline has been with FE since June 2017 as a coordinator for promotion, tenure and awards. She is the go-to contact for P&T and award questions. She works with the promotion and tenure system and the faculty awards, which are all done online through PeopleSoft. Pauline is quite the adventurer, she recently hiked the Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland, the largest glacier in Europe.
 
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