Provosts Search Update: Finalists Named and Interview Open Forums

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

A Message from Isis Artze-Vega, Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs

In last week’s Provosts Search Update, we shared that in late October, 71 candidates for our five provosts positions were invited to participate in an asynchronous digital interview via HireVue. Our search committee has identified 15 finalists who will participate in a set of virtual interviews and a tour of our campus locations. The candidates will meet first with the search committee, then in a series of forums for faculty, staff, deans and students.

You’re invited to participate in our Finalist Interview Open Forums during the week of Monday, November 29 through Friday, December 3, 2021, to get to know the candidates and provide feedback. For faculty members, we will also host a Faculty Forum for each candidate.

Recognizing that there are many candidates, many meetings and many recordings, we have created a Finalists page on our Provost Search site so that you can find all of the information, including Zoom links and recordings, in an easy-to-access format. On this site, you’ll also find the finalists’ letters of interest and curriculum vitae for your review.

Feedback from the College community is a critical component of a successful search process, and your insights are needed by the search committee. Please complete the following Qualtrics survey with your feedback on each candidate. The survey will open on the morning of Monday, November 29, 2021, and will close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 10, 2021.

Following the finalist interviews, I will review the feedback from the College community and insights from the search committee and advisory committee to make a final decision.

Thank you to the members of the search committee, advisory committee, and those supporting the search process for their deep engagement in this search.

If you have any questions about the search process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at, or Carla McKnight, vice president, organizational development and human resources, at or 407-582-1756.


Osceola Atlas Lab Hosts ‘Atlas Games’

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Message from Melissa Pedone and Stanton Reed, Interim Presidents, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

On Thursday, December 2, 2021, the Osceola Atlas Lab hosted its first event of the semester. In preparation for the upcoming term, the Atlas Lab held a registration event to encourage students to register for classes before the December break. More than 50 students attended the event and participated in an Atlas-themed scavenger hunt. Wraps and sandwiches were provided to students.

’Tis the Season for Cultural Celebrations

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Message from Melissa Pedone and Stanton Reed, Interim Presidents, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

Three cultural holidays are celebrated in the United States during the month of December: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. The International Students Office at MIT offers an article giving an overview of traditions associated with each holiday. In the comments, tell us about the holidays you celebrate and any special traditions observed by your family and friends.

For information about these three holidays, check out the articles in the following links:

Faculty and Instructional Development is Here to Support You

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Message from Melissa Pedone and Stanton Reed, Interim Presidents, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

As you’re wrapping up your fall courses and beginning course preparation for the spring semester, please remember that the Faculty and Instructional Development team is available to support you.

Whether you’re looking to submit your final grades, design learning activities and assessments for classes, copy existing course content, and/or talk through your ideas for professional development, please reach out to a Faculty and Instructional Development team member for any teaching support you would like.

Practice Lovingkindness With Weekly Meditation

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Message from Melissa Pedone and Stanton Reed, Interim Presidents, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

Practice paying attention to yourself and others with the weekly Lovingkindness (Metta) Meditation.

Date: Wednesday, December 8, 2021 
Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. 
Location: Zoom

Date: Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Zoom

The meditation practice fosters connection by using and transforming our own pain and the pain of others.

After the Winter Break, the weekly sessions will re-start on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

Take Time for Self-care in Busy Season

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Message from Melissa Pedone and Stanton Reed, Interim Presidents, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

We hope everyone enjoyed a restful Thanksgiving break and took time to reflect on their blessings. As we reach finals week, we celebrate the way our faculty and staff have thrived through this semester. We truly value the service of our faculty and deans and want to acknowledge our staff and how they provide excellent support and service.

In this busy time, we want to encourage everyone to slow down and be present. Take the time to have a conversation with someone you would like to get to know — invest in others — we all benefit from intermittent investments in others. Also, take time to take care of yourself. A helpful way to do this is with this self-care playlist from TED, resources you can access on your own time.

Save the Date for East Region Spring Welcome Back

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Date: Thursday, January 6, 2022
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Zoom

Save the date to join your colleagues for our Spring 2022 Welcome Back event to kick off the new year and prepare to welcome our students.

East Campus Academic Division Travel Funds Update

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

East Campus Academic Division (ECAD) Travel Funds are meant to promote employee performance and skill enhancement. These funds are provided for full-time faculty and staff who work in an academic division that reports to the East Campus president.

Each Campus receives a specific amount of money each year to be used by the campus to cover travel costs and related expenses for conferences, workshops and related professional development opportunities. On East Campus, the campus president disperses this money through a committee of representatives from administration, faculty and staff (the ECAD travel committee).

Full-time faculty and staff can apply for Cycle 3 funds for travel from Tuesday, March 1 – Thursday, June 30, 2022. The application link is below, and the deadline to apply for funds is Friday, January 14, 2022, at 5 p.m.

Listed below are guidelines the ECAD travel committee uses to award travel money.

– The convention, conference, workshop, etc., must relate directly to your assigned duties at Valencia, and you must have your supervisor’s approval.

– New requests are considered ahead of requests from applicants who received funding during the previous two cycles. A slight preference is given to applicants who have never applied before, which we determine by referencing the committee’s record of applicants.

– Preference is given to higher levels of participation (speakers or conference chairs).

– A range of preferences is given to requests that the travel committee considers having a high impact on personal, division, campus and college goals. The committee uses the current campus plan to inform the discussion on what constitutes high impact.

– In cases where multiple applicants wish to attend the same event, the travel committee will also consider:

  • The additional impact gained by multiple people attending the event.
  • The description of how what is learned at the event will be shared with others at the College.
  • Recommendations by division administration.
  • Which applications to the same event were received first.
  • Applicants who didn’t use their last travel award are considered after all other applicants in each cycle.

– The maximum amount an applicant can receive is $1,000 to balance adequate funding for individual trips and an equitable distribution of the travel money.

If you have questions, please contact Michelle Ames, senior executive assistant, campus president, at or 407-582-2216.

Business Student Hired at Amazon Web Services

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Student Carla Zumaran attended East Campus and received her Associate in Arts in 2011. She went on to the University of Central Florida and earned a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice in 2015. She then began working in the information technology (IT) field and realized her passion.

In 2020, she learned about Valencia’s Computing Technology and Software Development program and began taking classes. It was through this program that she was introduced to the AWS (Amazon Web Services) Academy — a learning platform that prepares students for industry-recognized certifications and careers in the cloud. Valencia College is a member of the AWS Academy network and uses it’s course materials to teach students cloud skills.

Due to Carla’s hard work and what she learned in her Valencia College courses, she will be graduating from Valencia in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in computing technology and software development. She was offered and accepted a position at Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a Cloud support associate that starts in August 2022, in Dallas, Texas.

“There is so much to look forward to in this new job, but one of them is the new experiences I will encounter,” Carla shared. “I can’t wait to learn new skills and work with developers and engineers. In addition, I am excited about the new city I am moving to; I have lived in Florida all my life, and I can’t wait to see what Dallas has to offer.”

Although ambitious and motivated in her educational pursuits, it has not been easy for Carla to achieve her goals. She has maintained a full-time job while being a full-time student, which has been difficult at times.

“After a long day at work, it takes a lot of self-discipline to log on and start your classwork, and it can get very hard, but if you are determined, you will always find the time to accomplish your goals,” she said.

In addition, Carla had to overcome the financial barrier of pursuing a second bachelor’s degree, which required her to pay out-of-pocket for her degree. However, she notes, “Valencia has some amazing grants that have made it possible for me to continue my education.”

She added, “The job at AWS means a lot to me, and I am so excited to see how far I can go with Amazon. I can’t wait to take all I have learned this semester in my AWS class and apply it to a real-life scenario issue. Thank you, Professor of Programming and Analysis Jerry Hensel for the resources you provided and all your hard work!”

To learn more about the Computing Technology and Software Development program, contact Jerry at

Spooktacular Halloween Concert Captivated the Audience at the School of Arts and Entertainment

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Something ghoulish was brewing on Thursday, October 28, 2021, in the School of Arts and Entertainment Building on East Campus. Two musical groups, the Symphonic Band and the Jazz Band, took to the stage to provide a special Halloween treat of melodies that captivated the audience.

Under the direction of Professor of Music Jon Territo, the Symphonic Band played tunes that included “Abracadabra,” “Star Trek” and the “Captain American March.” The Jazz Band came on stage later and provided upbeat songs such as “The Flight of the Food Birds,” “Who Can I Turn To” and “Isn’t She Lovely.”

Ghastly weather brought the groups inside from their original outdoor performance location, the School of Arts and Entertainment stage, but the venue change did not reduce their enthusiasm. Many of the band members wore creative and fun costumes, which added to the spooky vibes in the room. It was one sweet day to scare!

Bill Gombash’s and Mandy Mahaffey’s Works Published

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Kudos to Bill Gombash, professor, speech, and Mandy Mahaffey, professor, English, whose work was recently published.

In the book, “Shocking Cinema of the 70s,” Bill authored the chapter, “Death Wish: A Vigilante’s Journey, An Urban Tragedy.” Additionally, in the book, “Kevin Costner, America’s Teacher,” he contributed to the chapter, “Kevin Costner the Wise Teacher: Thirteen Days and Four Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Mandy cowrote the published article, “Forging Ahead or Falling Behind: The State of Public Participation in a ‘People-centered’ ASEAN. Read the abstract here.