Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

UCF’s Ph.D. Program in Public Affairs: An Update

Filed under: Health and Social Policy — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:04

Dr. Robyne Stevenson, the Interim Director for UCF’s Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Program in Public Affairs (of which, I am a proud Alum), released a program update last week. Take a look at the changes, happenings, and updates to the program:


Begun in 1998, the Doctoral Program in Public Affairs is entering a significant new phase. While we celebrated graduating over 15 new doctoral students during the previous academic year, we are also refocusing our mission and refreshing our curriculum. Complementing the college’s mission of Strengthening Communities. Changing Lives., PAF has adopted a community problem-solving focus. While this can mean building knowledge in our local area communities, it also means building research for communities of the world.

New partnerships are being established with local organizations such as the Florida Hospital Institute for Translational Research and the Orlando VA hospital. These partnerships will enable our doctoral students to have a presence in the community to conduct meaningful research. Also, students will now complete a community practicum beginning in fall 2016. Through this practicum, our students will apply their research skills to real-time issues in the field to address community needs while honing their skills. Alumni are invited to host practicum students for a semester to take on an issue in an organization, agency or community. Alumni involvement will be instrumental in the success of this part of the PAF program.

Additionally, new faculty will complete the implementation of an updated and refocused curriculum begun in 2014. The following four new joint faculty will begin this fall and each bring a diverse background to the program:

  • Thomas Bryer from the UCF School of Public Administration will focus on nonprofits, volunteerism and social media aspects of community problem solving.
  • Kim Anderson from University of Missouri will bring her social work expertise in working with resilience and family violence.
  • Su-I Hou from the University of Georgia will bring a public and community health perspective with expertise in HIV and cancer patient behaviors in communities in the U.S. and Taiwan.
  • Matt Nobles from Sam Houston State University in Texas brings a GIS perspective to understanding violence and interpersonal crimes in communities.

This fall, we will welcome 15 new students! Learn more about one of our newest students, Atalie Ashley West.

We invite you to come meet the new students and faculty at our PAF Welcome Back Knight on Thursday, Aug. 20. More details on this complimentary, evening event are forthcoming.

We look forward to staying connected and hope you are enjoying your summer!

Best Regards,


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