Even from its beginning the College of Education at UCF stood out from the rest. A bunch of young, talented faculty and enlightened administrators began to gather in a commercial building downtown Orlando, eager to lay out plans for what was to become one of America’s leading institutions of educator preparation, a place where highly regarded professionals teach, conduct research and devote service to their community. For nearly 50 years the college has delivered on the promise of excellence in the preparation of teachers, administrators, counselors and education specialists.
One of the five original colleges to comprise Florida Technological University in the late 1960s, the college’s faculty, staff and alumni have excelled in delivering the highest quality learning and leadership experience to individuals, schools, civic institutions and commercial enterprises.
Today, the College of Education and Human Performance makes visible to all a commitment to prepare professionals who demonstrate understanding of and skills required for impacting human performance and affecting measurable, positive change in the performance of others.
In its earliest days, in 1968 the college faculty and staff occupied offices in the university’s newly constructed library and classes were held in a few brick buildings that together served all of the university’s academic disciplines on the nascent campus in East Orlando. As the site matured in form and shape the Education Complex building, opened in August, 1977, became the college’s identity and new home. The building underwent major renovation from 2001 through 2003 during which time the college operated out of a temporary trailer complex, holding classes throughout the campus until the newly constructed UCF Academy for Teaching, Learning and Leadership, now named the UCF Teaching Academy, opened in October, 2003.
The Education Complex has enjoyed a storied lifespan, including receiving the Governor’s Design Award in 1981, for outstanding achievement in the development of public facilities, awarded by then Florida Governor Bob Graham. It saw the earliest installation of technology in the form of computer labs that served the entire college. The building houses the university’s first “arena,” now named after legendary UCF basketball coach Torchy Clark, in the form of a gymnasium that was the site of some of the university’s earliest graduation ceremonies as well as fiery athletic competitions.
UCF Teaching Academy
Growth in both the university and the college’s enrollment and in educational programs, mirrored by the advance of technology and the ever-changing face of the field of education augured the development and construction of the UCF Academy for Teaching, Learning and Leadership. Now known as the UCF Teaching Academy, the building opened in 2003, reflecting award winning architecture and innovative technology that set the tone for future building design and composition throughout the campus. The Teaching Academy serves to foster lifelong learning, partnership and the development and implementation of proven and promising practices in education. Home to the Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute, the Academy hosts a wide range of inclusive constituencies reflecting the diverse face of the Central Florida community and beyond.
Morgridge International Reading Center
In 2005, in what remains the largest philanthropic contribution to the college, the Morgridge Family Foundation pledged $2.5 million for the construction of the Morgridge International Reading Center, dedicated to the establishment of a professional learning environment and home to a collective international effort to enhance literacy acquisition and instruction. Opened in 2011, the Morgridge International Reading Center has become an internationally renowned focal point for collaboration, communication, learning and research in advancing the cause of literacy.
Today the College of Education and Human Performance stands on a foundation of excellence conceived and nurtured to fruition by a cadre of faculty, administrators and staff whose legacy continues to grow along with the college they helped establish. Over the years since the college’s founding many of these leaders, mentors, innovators and friends have completed their service. Many have gone on to serve at other institutions of higher learning, secure in the knowledge they helped create a heritage reflective of lifelong learning and compelling education. Many remain in service to the college, where they continue to create new and innovative pathways, explore uncharted fields, and guide the next generation of professional educators toward careers of excellence in service to others.