UWF in the Community

Complete Florida director at UWF earns statewide recognition with innovator award

Dr. Michelle Horton, director of Complete Florida and interim assistant vice president of online innovation at the University of West Florida

The Florida College Access Network has named Dr. Michelle Horton, director of Complete Florida and interim assistant vice president of online innovation at the University of West Florida, as a 2020 Workforce Education Awards recipient. The Workforce Education Innovator Awards honor school, community and business leaders, and professionals who strive to prepare students of all ages for the education and careers that are right for them, especially in high-demand fields. 

Horton is credited for increasing Complete Florida student retention rates to 70% and enrollment by 14% through individualized coaching. Funded by the state and managed by UWF’s Division of Research and Strategic Innovation, Complete Florida offers more than 200 college degree programs and certificates online for adults who started college but did not earn their degree.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized for supporting adults in their pursuit of higher education and ultimately a better career,” Horton said. “The right career often takes the right degree, and at Complete Florida, we strive to help our students earn the degree that will allow them to realize their career goals as quickly and easily as possible.”

Horton, a UWF alumna, has 14 years experience working with adults returning to college. She served on the statewide articulation committee for Early Childhood Education to share completion strategies for adults returning to college. She also conducts research in online education associated with developing effective pedagogical skills among faculty. Prior to working at UWF, Horton was the Director of the South Santa Rosa Center for Pensacola State College.

Horton joins Mitch Heater, a career specialist at Broward County Public Schools, and Julia Kasper, BRACE advisor at South Plantation High School, as 2020 Workforce Education Innovators. The Workforce Education Innovator Award winners were nominated by their peers and selected through a competitive process. Award winners are usually honored at a special awards luncheon as part of the annual FCAN Summit but will be honored virtually this year. 

“These Workforce Education Innovators are ensuring students have the support they need to earn a degree or credential that can lead to a rewarding career,” said Laurie Meggesin, executive director of FCAN. “We are pleased to honor these Workforce Education Innovators who are ensuring students have the information, guidance and support to know about the education options available to them that can put them on the path to rewarding careers.”