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Project Title:DirectConnect to UCF: A Powerful Partnership to Impact Access and Bachelor Degree OutcomesInstitution Name:University of Central Florida Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Joyce Dorner, Vice Provost for Regional CampusesContact Information:(407) 823-1582, jdorner@mail.ucf.eduWebsite:http://www.regionalcampuses.ucf.edu/directconnect
Project Description:

The demand for higher education in Florida has increased significantly due to a convergence of a number of factors, including population growth, increased high school graduation rates, and a state scholarship program designed to keep students in-state.  

The Central Florida Higher Education Consortium of UCF and four community and state colleges, branded DirectConnect to UCF, provides guaranteed admission to UCF for students with an A.A. or A.S. degree, expansion of shared-use facilities on the community and state college campuses with additional academic programs, combined financial aid resources, and a regional infrastructure for workforce development programs, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math, (STEM) disciplines.

  • Provide guaranteed admission and intrusive academic advising leading to more degree completion.
  • Merge five models of admission and advising into a business and communication model that best serves students.
  • Expand facilities and programs by providing more upper division classes and complete academic programs on the community and state college campuses through joint-use facilities and the expansion of the UCF regional campuses.
  • Establish a regional infrastructure for workforce development programs, especially in STEM disciplines.
  • UCF consortium enrollment percentage has increased from 40.6% (UAPS, 2003) to 51.5% (UAPS, 2009).
  • Curriculum alignment in math, physics, chemistry, and biology (2007-2010), and computer science (2010-2011).
  • Facilities and program expansion:
    • Two new shared facilities have been completed and one more will be opened in 2012.
    • UCF regional campuses has extended program offerings at all off-campus sites including, UCF Valencia West from 3 to 12 and UCF Sanford/Lake Mary from 4 to 9. 
Challenges/Problems Encountered:
  • Melding processes and procedures from five institutions into a cohesive workflow from admission, advising, enrollment, student services, and student financial aid.
  • Getting five marketing representatives to consensus on a name that could be used without infringing on their institutional brands.
  • Developing a comprehensive five-institutional communication plan consensus.
  • Data sharing mechanism for tracking students through the community and state colleges into programs at UCF.
  • Common definition - work groups continue to create a lexicon for DirectConnect to UCF.
  • Internal and external communication - marketing and presentations to external and internal audiences impacted by DirectConnect to UCF.
Evaluation Approach:The major outcomes and data elements needed to indicate success were determined jointly with community and state college partners. The evaluation process includes a number of routine reports including student identification, program admissions, number of students advised, and graduation rates. The process calls for quarterly meetings with community and state college partners to review data and make any necessary process revisions.
Potential for Replication:Key to the success of replication at other institutions would be the appreciation for, and acceptance of, the institutional differences of the partners, with a focus on the strengths of partnering institutions. Buy-in from all partners is essential as well. Clearly defined lines of communication and communication plans are essential to keep the partnership and goals moving forward.   
Additional Resources:

Community college DirectConnect to UCF links:

Brevard Community College:

Lake Sumter Community College:

Seminole State College:

Valencia College:

College Access Summit:

CEO-to-CEO Contact:John C. Hitt , Presidentjhitt@mail.ucf.edu
(407) 823-1823