Director, UF Innovation Academy
Jeff Citty serves as the founding director for the Innovation Academy and has over twenty years of experience in higher education in building programmatic solutions to help solve issues in higher education. He received his Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration, focusing his dissertation on retaining engineering students through first year extended bridge programs. Dr. Citty provides vision, leadership and strategic direction in the development and attainment of the Innovation Academy priorities. As the founding director of the program he oversees all curricular and co-curricular aspects of the program as well as building the institutional infrastructure for the program. Dr. Citty teaches the Creativity in Context course and continues research in retention and advising. Before joining the Innovation Academy, Dr. Citty served as Assistant Director for Undergraduate Student Affairs at UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and as the Program Director for the Engineering Freshman Transition Program (EFTP). In 2009, he was recognized by the National Academic Advising Association with an award for Outstanding Advising. Additionally, he was recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) as a runner-up for best conference paper in 2012.
Assistant Director, UF Innovation Academy
Joanna Barousse serves as the Assistant Director of Academic Support Services for the Innovation Academy. Joanna received her Bachelor’s in Music Education from UF in 2013 and has over five years of teaching experience. An entrepreneur herself who opened a voice and piano business while she was still an undergraduate, Joanna understands the drive and ambition of IA students. She is also dedicated to the growth of the Greater Gainesville innovation ecosystem and prior to joining the Innovation Academy volunteered with the non-profit StartGNV to assist local small businesses with collaborative communication and outreach event planning. A teacher at heart, Joanna works to broaden internship and permanent placement opportunities for IA students, build co-curricular and experiential student activities, and strengthen the IA Ambassador program.
Academic Coordinator, UF Innovation Academy
Dr. Diane “DP” Porter-Roberts serves as the Academic Coordinator for the Innovation Academy and has over 25 years of higher education experience in teaching, student affairs, and residence life. DP holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration from the University of Florida. She is also a three-time graduate of Appalachian State University with degrees in Middle School math and language arts; K-12 Reading; and Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision. DP’s research interests include: college student transition, engagement, and success; student learning outcomes assessment; competencies of student affairs professionals; and the power of humor, creativity, and play in our lives. Prior to joining Innovation Academy, DP was a faculty member and coordinator of the Student Personnel in Higher Education graduate program in the UF College of Education. She has been teaching creativity courses for IA since 2014. DP received the UF President’s Humanitarian Award in 2000 and was a participant of the inaugural UF Next Level Leadership Class of 2007. In her spare time, she likes to travel with her family, visit Disney World as much as possible, and explore the world through her son’s eyes.
Lecturer, UF Innovation Academy
Charlie Cummings teaches the Innovation Minor courses. Charlie joined the IA team from UNC Chapel Hill where he was the Makerspace Program Manager for the university-wide makerspace program, BeAM. Cummings brings extensive art and interdisciplinary instructional experience to the IA classroom. Charlie is also a studio artist and owner of a nationally recognized ceramics gallery. His artwork can be found in significant collections including the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Crocker Art Museum and the Dalai Lama’s personal collection.
Natasha Livingston serves as the Administrative Specialist for the Innovation Academy. She completed her BS in Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida. Natasha has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles in the insurance industry and brings those skills to promote the Innovation Academy’s vision through office management, event coordination and supporting students, parents, faculty, and staff. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, loving on her varied assortment of animals, and visiting Walt Disney World as much as possible.
Academic Advisor III
Lucy Searcy received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Saint Leo University and earned her Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Florida. Prior to emerging herself in the field of Academic Advising, Lucy conducted research on processes of relationship development, maintenance, dissolution, and inter-partner communication. She also worked on several university-wide retention and graduation projects at the University of North Florida and Georgia State University that helped identify barriers to student success. Given her extensive background in psychological and educational research, she understands and embraces the developmental trajectory of learning.
Janna Edwards received her Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Florida and earned her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Florida. Before transitioning to her work in higher education, Janna worked in a variety of counseling and social services positions supporting children and families as well as patients with chronic illness. Janna began her career at the University of Florida in Enrollment Management helping students navigate their educational path while supporting the University in the Offices of Admissions, Student Financial Aid & Scholarships, Registrar and Bursar.