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With World-Class Faculty and Unrivaled Industry Partnerships, UCF’s Rosen College Again Ranks No. 1 in Nation – UCF

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With ShanghaiRanking’s latest release, UCF’s hospitality management, transportation science and public administration programs rank among the nation’s best.
By UCF October 30, 2023
Located in the heart of the world’s top tourism destination, UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management combines unparalleled industry partnerships and exceptional faculty to give students the skills they need to become leaders in the workforce in Florida and beyond.
The Rosen College’s unrivaled talent pipeline to the hospitality industry and its outstanding academic programs and research have led to the college being named the best hospitality program in the United States by ShanghaiRanking for the fourth consecutive year. UCF again ranked among the top five programs in the world.
Tourism employers have strong confidence in the quality of Rosen College graduates to produce high-quality talent for an industry that welcomed a record 137.4 million visitors to the state last year and contributes more than $100 billion annually to Florida’s economy. Faculty have strong connections with industry that ensure they’re on the cutting edge of industry trends and research. Rosen College students graduate are well-prepared to meet the needs of employers, as every student must complete at least three internships before graduating.
“This recognition reaffirms our unwavering dedication to academic excellence, innovation, and a resolute commitment to shaping the global future of hospitality and tourism education.” — UCF’s Rosen College Interim Dean Cynthia Mejia.
“Securing the top spot for the fourth year in a row is a momentous accomplishment, and I couldn’t be prouder of our college,” says Interim Dean Cynthia Mejia. “This recognition reaffirms our unwavering dedication to academic excellence, innovation, and a resolute commitment to shaping the global future of hospitality and tourism education.
“It’s a true testament to the hard work and creativity of our faculty and staff in conducting impactful research as we simultaneously provide a vibrant and innovative learning environment that empowers our students to become future leaders in the industry. This achievement solidifies our position as a trailblazer in hospitality education and fuels our passion to continue shaping the future of the global hospitality landscape.”
The college offers 10 degree programs and continues to evolve with the dynamic growth of the hospitality industry. Two new bachelor’s programs in Fall 2023 are theme park and attraction management, designed to immerse students in the managerial, creative and technological aspects of the theme park industry; and lifestyle community management, merging the art and science of effectively managing and catering to lifestyle-based target markets.
Each year, ShanghaiRanking assesses and ranks universities across 54 different academic subjects, spanning from physics and transportation sciences and technology to finance and hospitality and tourism management. The research-based rankings consider five key indicators, including research volume, quality, impact, international partnerships and academic awards.
UCF’s transportation science and technology program tied for No. 5 among U.S. programs, and public administration moved up to No. 41 in the world and ranks among the top 20 in the United States.
The Rosen College’s excellence in research and technology contributes to giving students well-rounded experiences that prepare them for success in industry.
Arthur Huang, associate professor, has harnessed his background in engineering and computer science to champion the integration of emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, into the fields of tourism and hospitality.
His efforts are driven by a recognition of the immense potential for innovation and societal impact, and a desire to bridge the gap between academic and industry connections in these domains.
“The business applications of emergent technologies, such as AI in the hospitality and tourism industry, are enormous,” he says. “Orlando, being a hub of the tourism industry, offers tremendous opportunities to connect academia and industry, understanding the societal impact on a community level.”
In his courses, Huang goes a step further by actively incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, into the learning process. He says AI not only enhances efficiency but also cultivates innovation in learning.
In one example of a dynamic international research initiative, faculty presented at the United Nations Ocean Conference about the need for post-pandemic coastal and marine tourism rejuvenation, focusing on economic opportunities, environmental restoration and cultural preservation.
In their research, UCF Rosen College experts identified six critical trends shaping the future of tourism. This collaborative effort emphasizes Rosen College’s leading research position and aims to enhance the resilience and sustainability of tourist destinations while prioritizing local communities’ well-being.
“With our collaboration with colleagues in the UCF Coastal Cluster, we have a highly experienced and well-respected team that has both academic and practitioner experience, which is a crucial combination for a report of this nature,” says Rosen College Associate Dean and Visit Orlando Endowed Chair of Tourism Marketing Alan Fyall.
Orlando is a transportation gateway for global commerce, and UCF’s transportation sciences program features talented faculty and student researchers who are using technology to drive cutting-edge innovations that are strengthening safety and changing the future of transportation.
Students in the transportation science program benefit from UCF’s location in one of the nation’s major transportation hubs. Central Florida boasts seven highways, three nearby ports, seven international airports within 100 miles, and an expanding rail industry with the addition of Brightline.
Graduates head into the workforce ready for high-demand jobs in designing, building and enhancing transportation systems, all with a strong background in technology.
“The transportation faculty at UCF recognizes the important and up-and-coming areas in the discipline and are invested in developing them,” says Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Pegasus Professor of  Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering. “The diversity of research methods, quality of research, and their applications have allowed the transportation research at UCF to become prominent and internationally recognized.”
Faculty in the public administration program are laser focused on ensuring that students have the technical skills and theoretical knowledge to help government agencies, nonprofits, think tanks and other organizations advance the interests of the public. Public administration students are required to complete an internship before graduation, providing first-hand experience working in community-focused organizations or city, county, state or federal government.
Students serve their communities, the state and the nation in fields such as nonprofit management, urban and regional planning, research administration, emergency management and public policy. The program is located at UCF Downtown, which means students learn within walking distance of many government offices and nonprofit and private organizations in the field.
“We are thrilled to be recognized by ShanghaiRanking as a top public administration program on a global level,” says Doug Goodman, professor and director of the School of Public Administration. “This recognition not only reinforces our position nationally but also internationally as a highly competitive program. This is an incredible achievement for all of us at the School of Public Administration, particularly our graduates. The education they received at UCF will serve them well in their careers in public service. Additionally, it strengthens our reputation within the community, as our partners and stakeholders can be confident that the research we conduct with and for them is of the highest quality.”
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