After 24 years of service to UCF, Florencio “Eloy” Hernandez, the College of Community Innovation and Education’s associate dean of research and innovation, has accepted a dean position at the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.
With Hernandez’s departure, Pegasus Professor Naim Kapucu has been appointed to serve as interim starting Feb. 1. Kapucu is also a Pegasus Professor in the School of Public Administration.
Hernandez began his career at UCF in October 1998 as a visiting research scientist in the College of Optics and Photonics before becoming an assistant professor of chemistry and optics in April 2002, and an associate professor in April 2008. He attained full professor status in April 2016 and was a Provost Faculty Fellow from 2017 to 2018.
Hernandez’s focus on research excellence continued with his appointment as our college’s associate dean of research and innovation in July 2020 after serving as interim for one year. Under his tenure, he promoted transformative and interdisciplinary scholarship and fostered strong partnerships with private and public organizations and community engagement.
A proven academic leader, Hernandez continued to demonstrate his dedication to enhancing the research culture within the college. He achieved this by developing and facilitating interdisciplinary and cross-college research activities to form successful collaborative research groups, encourage faculty to pursue diverse external funding sources, and promote integrating research activities into community practices to contribute to public good.
Kapucu first joined UCF in August 2003 as an assistant professor in the former Department of Public Administration and has served in numerous roles since then, including as founding director of the Center for Public and Nonprofit Management. He attained full professor status in April 2012. He was honored with the Pegasus Professorship in 2019. He served as director of the School of Public Administration from 2015 to 2020, and as interim chair of the Department of Criminal Justice from January to August 2022.
Kapucu is joint faculty with the College of Science’s School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs, as well as with the Resilient, Intelligent and Sustainable Energy Systems cluster. He also served as a member of the UCF Strategic Planning Group for the current university strategic plan. He is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, member of the board of directors for the Florida Policy Institute, and recipient of a Fulbright Distinguished Chair award.
His core research interests are network governance and leadership, decision-making in complex environments, organizational learning and design, and social inquiry and public policy.
“Dr. Kapucu brings with him a wide range of leadership experiences that will make for an extremely smooth transition,” says Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Community Innovation and Education. “I have complete confidence in Dr. Kapucu as a leader, and I look forward to working with him.”
Kapucu’s primary focus is to continue supporting collaborative, interdisciplinary, and innovative research and scholarship within the college and across the university.
“Our college houses unique academic programs, centers and institutes that address critically important strategic research themes, policy concerns and create positive impacts,” Kapucu says. “The college also has a very strong Research Administration Services Team (RAST) that supports research and creative activities with external funding. I look forward working with faculty, students and community partners at this capacity.”