UCF Joins Harvard, MIT and Stanford among Nation’s
“Most Innovative Schools”

reflecting-pond

By Chad Binette
Assistant Vice President, UCF Communications and Marketing

The University of Central Florida ranks alongside Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Duke among the most innovative universities in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2016 guide.

University presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the nation selected the institutions they credit with making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

UCF was tied as the 13th “Most Innovative School” along with Georgia Tech and the University of Southern California. This is the first year the category has been included in the magazine’s annual rankings.

“We added this ranking so that college officials could pick schools that the public should be watching because of the cutting-edge changes being made on their campuses,” according to the magazine.

In the magazine’s overall rankings, UCF moved up four places on the Best Colleges listing of national institutions, from 173rd to 168th, and eight places among public universities, from 99th to 91st.

A total of 1,376 colleges and universities are included in the rankings.

The “Most Innovative Schools” list included three of UCF’s partner institutions in the University Innovation Alliance. The alliance consists of 11 top public research universities working together to help more low-income and first-generation students earn college degrees.

Alliance member Arizona State University ranked No. 1 in the nation for innovation, while Georgia State University placed No. 5 and Purdue University ranked No. 21.

UCF also was tied for 50th for online degree programs and 131st for best business programs. The university also is listed among the nation’s best colleges for veterans.

The print edition of the “Best Colleges 2016” guidebook will be available on newsstands Sept. 29.

This story originally appeared Sept. 9, 2015, on UCF Today.

UCF’s Video Game School Ranked 2nd in North America

FIEA

By Mark Schlueb
UCF Today

For the second consecutive year, the University of Central Florida’s video game graduate school ranks No. 2 in North America, according to The Princeton Review and PC Gamer magazine.

This is the fifth time that The Princeton Review has ranked graduate-level video game development schools, placing UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy – or FIEA – behind only the University of Utah for 2015. The school has been ranked in the top five every year since the rankings began.

“With our 10-year anniversary approaching, it’s great to see The Princeton Review continue to recognize the outstanding work of our faculty, staff and students,” said executive director Ben Noel. “We’re proud to be part of Central Florida’s growing digital economy.”

Since opening its doors in 2005, FIEA has graduated 412 alumni working at more than 125 companies around the world, including Google, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Bungie, Zynga, Ubisoft, Disney, Microsoft, Bethesda, n-Space and Industrial Light & Magic.

“FIEA’s exceptional faculty members, first-class facilities and close connections with the gaming industry’s top companies have propelled the school to one of the very best of its kind in the country in less than 10 years,” said UCF Provost and Vice President A. Dale Whittaker. “This is a testament to UCF’s success with location-based education and valuable partnerships – our students thrive in the classroom and in the job market when they learn in an environment so closely immersed in their industry.”

The average starting salary for recent FIEA graduates is $60,359 and they are working on some of today’s most popular projects. Those games include NBA Live 15, Diablo III, Sunset Overdrive, Skyrim, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Star Wars 1313, Borderlands 2, Battlefield 4, The Walking Dead, Gears of War 3, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Bioshock Infinite, Transformers 3 and Dead Space 3.

The school is located at UCF’s Center For Emerging Media building, located in downtown Orlando near UCF’s future downtown campus. FIEA is designed to graduate talented and well-qualified professionals to work in video games, new media, film and simulation industries.

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey it conducted in 2014-15 of 150 institutions offering game design coursework and/or degrees in the United States, Canada, and some countries abroad.

In addition to being published today on The Princeton Review website, the listing will also be featured in the May issue of PC Gamer magazine, on newsstands March 3.

View the full rankings.

This article was republished from UCF Today. View the original article, which was posted on March 25, 2015.