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. In addition to Dieker and Hines, Charles Hughes (Pegasus Professor of computer science) will be working on the project. Dieker and Hughes are the co-directors of the Center for Research in Education Simulation Technology at UCF.

Trey Vasquez (professor of exceptional student education and director of the Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute) and Matthew Marino (professor of exceptional student education) received a $2.5 million five-year grant from the Center for Innovation, Design and Digital Learning. This center award provides technical assistance and support for faculty and personal preparation programs with best practices in the use of education technology.

Matthew Marino, professor of exceptional student education, and Michelle Taub, assistant professor of learning sciences and education research as well as a core faculty member of the UCF Learning Sciences Cluster, received the Model ME award for $1.4 million from North Carolina State University through a National Science Foundation grant. The grant will aid the development of a mathematics video game to teach fractions.

UCF principal investigator (PI) Sarah Bush (associate professor of K-12 STEM education), co-PI Janet Andreasen (associate lecturer and secondary education academic program coordinator for mathematics education) and co-PI Farshid Safi (assistant professor of mathematics education) received almost $1 million from the NSF to study the use of a professional development framework (PrimeD) to guide teacher preparation programs and improve teacher candidates' classroom practice. Their project entitled “Collaborative Research: Transforming Undergraduate Mathematics Teacher Preparation Programs using the Professional Development: Research, Implementation, and Evaluation Framework” is part of a national effort to improve undergraduate education in STEM and of a collaborative initiative between the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Berea College, the University of Central Florida and the University of Kentucky.

A UCF research team lead by Su Gao, an assistant professor of science education, recently received a National Science Foundation award for $300,000 to conduct their project titled “Developing a Practice-based Interdisciplinary Teacher Preparation Program at the Intersection of Science, Second Language, and Literacy Acquisition.” The grant is part of an effort to improve undergraduate STEM education; it focuses on scientific research, foreign language teaching and science literacy to better prepare secondary and preservice teachers to instruct middle and high school students. Co-PIs are Haiyan Bai, professor of methodology, measurement, and analysis; Joyce Nutta, professor of world languages education; and Vassiliki Zygouris-Coe, professor of reading education.

Christopher Hawkins, a professor of public administration, received a $115,380 grant from the National Science Foundation. Hawkins will be working with faculty from the University of Kansas and George Mason University on a project titled “Collaborative Research: Assessing the impact of lead agency cross-functional authority on city sustainability outcomes.”

Yara Asi, a lecturer in the health management and informatics department, received a Fulbright US Scholar award. Starting in January 2021, she will travel to the West Bank to study the effects of movement restrictions on healthcare delivery and outcomes.

Jill Viglione, assistant professor of criminal justice, secured $105,467 (FY 2020-2021) from the National Science Foundation for her project titled, “RAPID: Examining Community Corrections Agencies During COVID-19.” This is the college's first NSF RAPID grant on COVID-19 related research.

Laurie Campbell, assistant professor of instructional design and technology, and Florencio “Eloy” Hernandez, interim associate dean of research, were recently awarded, as co-PIs and in collaboration with lead principal investigator Ronald DeMara from the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the first Hispanic Serving Institution-related grant ($1.8 million for four years) from the National Science Foundation through its Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (NSF IUSE) program. This interdisciplinary research project aims to develop, evaluate, and refine a novel, scalable, and transportable educational ecosystem for building STEM capacity at Hispanic Serving Institutions.

The American Academy of Health Behavior unanimously voted Samuel Towne, assistant professor of health management and informatics, as a new fellow due to his academic record of publications, grants and presentations.

Original research by Barbara Andraka-Christou, assistant professor of health management and informatics, was cited by the US Government Accountability Office in a January 2020 report to the US Congress.

Sejal Barden, associate professor of counselor education and executive director of UCF Marriage and Family Research Institute, as well as Dalena Taylor, associate professor of counselor education and senior implementation director of the institute, recently received their notice of award ($1,925,524) for Project Harmony (Year 5) from the Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Family Assistance. Project Harmony offers relationship education and skills related to success in the workplace. Participants in this program learn effective communication strategies, gain tools to cope with stressful situations, learn to listen and be heard, and improve conflict management skills to positively impact their careers and relationships.

Roger Azevedo, professor of learning sciences and educational research as well as the co-cluster lead for the UCF learning sciences cluster, was interviewed by WFTV ABC about his research on intelligent tutoring systems and artificial intelligence to improve student learning.

The Orlando Sentinel highlighted Megan Nickels, assistant professor of mathematics education, as one of the 10 people who make Orlando a better place to live.

Kelly Stevens and Thomas Bryer, associate professor and professor (respectively) of public administration, were recently granted as Co-PIs of an NSF-SES grant titled “CPS: Medium: A Secure, Trustworthy, and Reliable Air Quality Monitoring System for Smart and Connected Communities” (PI: Dr. Xinwen Fu, CECS; total amount: $1,198,111; time: three years). Stevens and Bryer will lead the social science components of the project through survey research, focus groups and action research methodology.

Su Gao, assistant professor of science education, secured $72,032 as PI from the Florida Department of Education for the State Science Fair FY 2019-2020. State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) provides an opportunity for our state's students (6-12 graders) to compete at the highest academic levels in STEM. The annual SSEF of Florida encourages youthful researchers to pursue STEM-related careers.

Mary Rain, Florida Institute of Government, received $85,000 as PI for the 2019-2020 John Scott Daily Florida Institute of Government (FIOG). The UCF FIOG is an affiliate of the FSU FIOG and serves as the agent for the FIOG in all the programs and activities sponsored in East Central Florida.




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