At the College of Community Innovation and Education, we believe in performing research with a purpose — to advance groundbreaking ideas that result in social impact. Through our innovative, interdisciplinary research teams, partnerships with private and public organizations and community engagement, we work together to develop solutions to complex social issues that affect our local, national and global communities.
The College of Community Innovation and Education Office of Research provides a safe, diverse and inclusive space for UCF faculty members to brainstorm disruptive ideas capable of challenging the status quo of the academic enterprise, advancing scholarship within our diverse disciplines and directly impacting our community.
Sejal Barden, associate professor of counselor education and executive director of the UCF Marriage and Family Research Institute, and Dalena Dillman Taylor, associate professor of counselor education and senior implementation director of the institute, received a $7.5 million five-year grant from the Department of Health and Human Services – the Administration of Children and Families. COVID-19 increased interpersonal stress and created unprecedented challenges for couples and families. Barden and Taylor plan to further their research on increasing coping through Project Harmony 2.0 and educating couples on communication and conflict resolution skills. Project Harmony 2.0 is an evidenced-based program that has the potential to make a positive impact for couples and families in Central Florida.
Trey Vasquez, professor of exceptional student education and director of the Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute, received the Project Social Code: Stepping up for Technology Award for $2.5 million across five years. This award will explore how social robots can impact social, STEM and behavioral skills of children with autism in STEM settings.
Yue Ge, assistant professor of emergency management, and Naim Kapucu, Pegasus professor of public administration, received a $1,225,000 award from the National Science Foundation to study community resilience. Their project “Leveraging Smart Technologies and Managing Community Resilience through Networked Communities and Cross-Sector Partnerships” is part of the UCF Urban Resilience Initiative. Their research will examine existing community partnerships and resources as well as evaluate information technology applications aided by artificial intelligence to study community resilience management in Central Florida.
Bethany Backes, assistant professor of criminal justice, received a $1 million grant from the Office on Violence Against Women to fund her five-year project, “Safe Transitions: Longitudinal Examination of Domestic Violence Transitional Housing Models on Survivor Outcomes.” The project is a collaboration with other UCF Violence Against Women Cluster members including Erica Fissel (assistant professor of criminal justice), Julia O’Connor (assistant professor of social work), Jacqueline Woerner (assistant professor of social psychology) and Alison Cares (associate professor of sociology).
Lisa Dieker, (Pegasus professor of exceptional student education and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar chair), Rebecca Hines (associate professor of exceptional student education) and the UCP of Central Florida received one of the two Stepping Up for Technology Awards, a $2.5 million five-year grant. As the research partner, UCF accounts for $1 million of the grant. Their work, titled Project Raise, will research if robots and artificial intelligence improve social skills of elementary students with disabilities.