My Ten Predictions for 2015

It’s back. Not sure it is by popular demand, but last year’s post on what we could expect for UCF and it’s College of Business in 2014 was one of my most viewed entries. Before I gaze into my crystal ball (and throw down the gauntlet in a few instances), let me take a page from Colin Cowherd and review what I got right and wrong from last year.

What I got Right Last Year: (1). Thanks to Verizon and a recovering economy, it was a banner year for accounting and finance job seekers; (2) The college welcomed ten new faculty; (3) We created a new major for people wanting to work in small and medium-sized business. It will see its first students in Spring 2016; (4) Our Blackstone Launchpad broke the record for student business ideas in a year by any Launchpad. Frankly, it crushed that record by a factor of five; (5) The semester vote in our failure competition exceeded one thousand. In the Spring we hit 1500, in the fall over 2200; (6) Lines at our testing center during final exams melted away this fall; And (7) something I didn’t see coming impacted us in a big way: We got a new Provost and a big increase in our budget thanks to a better economy and Dr. Hitt’s great work.

What I got Wrong Last Year: (1 We didn’t get into the Big 12, despite our Fiesta Bowl win; (2) We didn’t get another Pegasus Professor; (3) Direct Connect has yet to slow down. Although in fairness I stated that might not happen until 2015 or 2016; and (4) Our Big Data program did not launch in Fall 2014, The bureaucracy slowed us down. It will launch this fall.

So, I went 7 out of 11 by my count. Not too bad. Now on to 2015……

1. UCF and Cincinnati will be invited into the Big 12: Yes,I got this wrong last year. The Big 12 didn’t expand and our Bitcoin Bowl performance won’t help our case. But, the Big 12 needs to add two teams. The failure of TCU and Baylor to get one of those coveted playoff slots underscored their need for a conference title game. The Big 12 should want a team in Florida for a variety of reasons and West Virginia would like a regional rival. This all adds up to UCF and Cincinnati in my mind, unless Texas is just too chicken to play us.

2. The Common Areas in BA 1 Get a Facelift: To foster a culture of engagement we need common areas for people to sit and talk one-on-one and in small groups. BA 1 needs to be a place that welcomes risk-takers, collaborators, and people wanting to connect with others who are different from themselves in a space that says: the future is being built right here. With the help of our alums and other private donors we are going to make that happen this year.

3. We will launch a new website in January: This same “future being built here” message needs to be sent through our virtual outlets. So, we are launching a new website January 16. This new site will have a fresh look that features our faculty thought-leaders, our culture of engagement and how we are helping students to “get to the one”. Look for #UCFBusiness.

4. We will add five endowed chairs to the faculty: Thanks to that budget increase I mentioned above, the college will fill five endowed chair positions this year. The new additions to the Dixon School, Finance Department and Management Department will expand our national footprint in key areas and give students access to people who will change their perspectives and enhance their marketability. It doesn’t get better than that.

5. We will be searching for ten new faculty for 2016: Those five new chairs and ten new faculty overall are just the beginning. Monies from performance funding should allow UCF to add another 100 new faculty next year. With business being the cross-roads of campus, I expect us to receive about ten new positions with several being part of university-wide cluster hiring initiatives.

6. I still want and expect a second Pegasus Professor to call the College home: With all the talented faculty already in the College of Business, we have several great candidates for the next Pegasus professor. So let’s nominate a killer candidate or two and make this happen I have one in-mind myself. She is incredibly deserving.

7. This Year’s Hall of Fame will hit 600 attendees: Tiffany will faint when she reads this, but her work last year set a bar for excellence that attracts people. The event has become the place for UCF business alums and community leaders to be seen and network. This year’s strong slate of inductees, honored partners, Hollywood theme and Rosen Shingle Creek location all add up to big numbers.

8. The Evening MBA program will enroll 125 students for Fall 2015: With our two-year professional work experience requirement more sharply defined and the best value for the money program in the region, I expect applications for Fall 2015 to be very strong and 125 is the maximum we can handle without adding more faculty.

9. Another College on Campus will create a Professional Development Center for Undergraduate Students: UCF’s success is intertwined with the post-graduation experiences of our students. We need to do everything we can to help students get to the one: the one that gets the job, makes the sale, starts the company, gives back to their community. The place to do that is in the colleges where realistic assessments of interests, talents, and aspirations can meet practical career advice. The result is students who have developed and executed a career launching strategy BEFORE they leave us. I know of a few other professional colleges on campus who share our view. One will certainly step forward in the next year.

10. Our Professional Sales Program will Double in Size: They won the national sales competition this year and with an average of 4.5 job offers per graduate, students from around campus should flock to this program. We need to implement a plan this year to help them do that.

11. The Cubs will Win the Pennant: Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’m afraid they are at least two years away from serious contention.

Well, it’s almost upon us. 2015 is sure to be our best year yet. Charge On!

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