Registration is now open for Learning Day 2021, which will be held online on Friday, February 12, 2021. Join your colleagues for a time to learn, celebrate and inspire one another. The day will feature three learning sessions, as well as a morning general session with remarks from College President Sandy Shugart and a keynote speaker.
All campus locations will be closed for Learning Day, and no classes will be held.
Learning Day is a regular work day for faculty and staff, and programming will be provided between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Employees are encouraged and expected to use the afternoon for independent learning, such as reading, reflecting and participating in on-demand courses through LinkedIn Learning.
Full-time employees are required to attend or submit a Certificate of Absence (COA) for vacation or personal time (Staff – eight hours of leave; Faculty – seven hours of leave). Full-time employees will be paid for a full day’s worth of work, even if scheduled events end early. Non-exempt employees should adjust their work schedules, so they can attend the full day. If a non-exempt employee works any hours over 40, the employee must be paid overtime.
Part-time colleagues are invited and encouraged to attend Learning Day, although participation is voluntary. Part-time staff will be compensated for attendance at their regular rate of pay and should work with their supervisor to have their normal schedule adjusted if they plan to attend. Part-time faculty members who choose to attend would do so as a part of their current part-time faculty contract. Since attendance is voluntary for part-time employees, a COA is not required for non-attendance.
To register for Learning Day, click the button below.
The deadline to register is Wednesday, February 10, 2021.
Don’t forget to share your Learning Day experiences and photos by posting to social media using the hashtag, #OurValencia. Your Twitter and Instagram posts will be collected and showcased on our #OurValencia tagboard (Note: Facebook posts will not populate on the tagboard). This is a great way to share your experiences with your colleagues and showcase what you love about Valencia.
Also, there is still time to submit proposals for Learning Day, as the deadline has been extended to Thursday, January 21, 2021.
For questions or additional information, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).
A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses
Thanks to generous funding and logistical support from (and collaboration with) Student Development, the Osceola Campus Humanities Department is happy to have online cultural event opportunities available for our students this spring as we continue navigating being online.
The events will be held in the Humanities Digital Venue (HDV), which features timely virtual museum and art gallery exhibits, virtual theater, and a virtual speaker series that includes but is not limited to “Sign of the Times: Student Art Show,” “Valencia Voices: Pandemic Podcast,” “Race, Myth, Art and Justice,” “Frank Lloyd Wright Tour,” and “Immigration Under A New Administration” by Sara Mora. As a digital forum, the HDV leverages the capabilities of new media to facilitate many conversations. You can view the events at the Humanities Digital Venue by using the link found on this calendar or clicking here.
Please promote and encourage your students to participate in these events. Also, feel free to reach out to Kathryn Cairns, part-time faculty, humanities, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or if you would like to participate in a future event.
A Special Message from Sandy Shugart, Valencia College President
Welcome back to Spring Term 2021! I hope you enjoyed genuine rest and deep fellowship over the holidays. You certainly earned it. So much has happened since the last collegewide message; I hope you’ll allow me to comment on just a few.
Valencia students are persisting in their studies.
You may have read that postsecondary enrollments are down across the country, and most especially at community colleges. This is true in Florida as well, where nearly all of the 28 Florida Colleges are experiencing enrollment declines in the 10 to 15% range this spring — except Valencia. Valencia’s enrollment grew considerably last summer, continued to grow modestly in the fall and is essentially holding steady in the spring.
As in the rest of the country and state, many graduating high school seniors are delaying their enrollment in college. Our First Time in College numbers for this fall and spring are down (-13.2% headcount; -9.7% FTE). But growth in other areas is offsetting this delayed enrollment, and I expect, with a little creative effort, many students who have delayed their entrance into college will join us in the fall. Most importantly for learning, we continue to have high levels of returning students, with less than a 1% decrease in term to term persistence over the course of this whole “COVID” year.
I wonder why Valencia’s students are having such a different experience than those of our peers. It isn’t our geography or economy, not our program-mix or our finances. In all of these respects, we’re similar to many institutions whose students have not persisted in their studies. I believe the answer lies in Valencia’s radical commitment to treat students as persons, not enrollments.
Our faculty have made thoughtful and flexible adjustments for students requiring many accommodations during this unusual time. Brilliant innovations in the ordinary things students have to experience (grades, eligibility for financial aid, scheduling, remote access to learning support and other services), were developed and implemented with such creative collaboration, based on seeing our students as students to be served, not problems to be solved or counted. Perhaps most notably, many have granted extraordinary access to students for personal support and help, often in ways “off the radar,” but also in very intentional and proactive ways. With coordination from Student Affairs, staff from across the College have made more than 100,000 outbound calls of support and assistance to students since this crisis began.
I can’t express how grateful and proud I am for all of this work and all of you who have done it. As you know, I’ll be moving on in a few months. This personal attention to our students is the best going away gift I could imagine. Thank you.
Speaking of moving on… The presidential search process concluded in December, with the District Board of Trustees unanimously selecting Kathleen Plinske, executive vice president and provost, to be the fifth president and CEO of Valencia College. The search was thorough and challenging (just ask Kathleen), and I think it showed the power of collaborative wisdom in the final selection. She is a magnificent servant leader and will serve the College exceptionally well for years to come. Thanks to all who participated in the process.
In order to give Kathleen time to build her own team, complete the academic leadership tasks that can’t easily be handed off and get a little much-deserved rest before beginning her service as president, I will continue actively in the presidency until Thursday, July 1, 2021, at which time Dr. Plinske will fully assume the role.
There is much to sort through to ensure that this is the smoothest and most effective transition we can imagine. Kathleen and I will be close partners in this work. She will want to consult widely within the College on many of her early decisions as well. Watch for a direct collegewide communication from her in the next few days to set the stage for this work.
More relief funds are on the way.
A new federal relief bill was signed into law in December providing $900 billion for a wide variety of relief and other activities. Valencia College is expected to receive nearly $60 million to support our efforts to serve students through the pandemic and prepare to open more face-to-face classes safely. This is a huge sum, but it is non-recurring money restricted by rules that are still in development. A large portion will go to students, some will go to defray COVID safety costs, and other uses have yet to be determined. It may take a few weeks for the rules to be issued. We will approach this as we have previous relief funds, through a transparent and collaborative planning process. Normal operating expenses, especially personnel, salaries, raises etc. are unlikely to be eligible for these funds, but the costs of things like contact tracing, deep cleaning, PPE, technology to support remote services, etc. will be. We’ll share more as the rules are released.
Communication is important, now more than ever. It is hard to overcommunicate in times of change and uncertainty. For this reason, I expect that I, Dr. Plinske, faculty leaders, campus leaders and others will be sharing messages like this a good bit more often over the next few months. We don’t mean to bury your inbox but do want you to be knowledgeable and included in all that is underway. I hope you find this helpful.
A portion of the summit will focus on timely updates, including information on virtual development opportunities. Also, to make the most of your Summit experience, be sure to update your Zoom. To update within the Zoom application, click on your photo or initials in the top right corner. Then, click “Check for Updates.” Updates will be completed automatically.
All Valencia College supervisors have received a meeting request in Microsoft Outlook. If you haven’t received the invitation, email Employee Development at email@example.com.
By Katie Tagye, Director, Organizational Design and Development
On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, you may have seen an article in The Juice and The Grove about the upcoming idea gathering sessions. The article describes the reason for the sessions and outlines the ways to participate.
Why should I participate? Why should I invite my teams to participate?
In this divergent idea gathering phase, we need many diverse ideas from different perspectives, people and experiences in order to help make our way, together, to the strategies that will make the difference for students’ success. Your perspective is unique, particularly when you work collaboratively with people you don’t normally work with. This combination is powerful for unleashing thoughts and ideas that haven’t previously been considered.
The work that we each do, the experiences that we each have, allow us to have a unique take on the world and on our work at the College. Whether you or one of your team members is currently a student (or a recent graduate), works closely with students and/or has a connection to the larger community, there is a perspective there that we need.
Yes, we want your expertise in a particular area of the College, and we also want your perspective on areas that are not your expertise. The expertise you and your teams will offer is unparalleled. And we also want ideas that fall outside of your and your team’s areas of expertise. Sometimes when we are so close to the work, we miss some ways that we could re-think the work, simply because of our proximity. Therefore, your take on my work might help me see things I can’t see because I am too close.
Share with your team not only the opportunities, but also share with them your reason for attending. If you are struggling with why you should attend, schedule some time to speak with your supervisor to help you better form your thoughts.
How will information be used?
We anticipate and hope that we will gather many, many ideas during these sessions. Once ideas are gathered, work teams will review, organize and prioritize ideas against the Impact Plan. What will emerge are initial strategies for how we will meet our goals.
What should we expect from the sessions?
Each session will include a guide, starter questions, an opportunity to contribute initial ideas and an opportunity to contribute further refined ideas. The questions at the end of this flyer can help you and your teams have an idea of the kinds of questions that may be asked at a session you attend.
A variety of sessions have been designed to engage you and your teams in ways that work best for each person:
Styles of Sessions: Individuals can choose the type of session (let this decision guide help you) that appeals to them.
1. Forum Sessions: In the forums, you can expect to hear a presentation and some information about the focus of the session (broad or a specific goal area), then there will be a brief opportunity for a Q&A before participants are invited to join breakout groups with the help of question starters. The smaller groups will discuss the questions and record their ideas. Sessions will end with an opportunity to give detailed information on an overarching idea. Throughout the period of idea gathering, you will be able to return to the survey to contribute additional overarching ideas, whether or not you attend another session.
2. Brainstorming Sessions: The brainstorming sessions are designed to be higher energy sessions. Facilitators of these sessions will use a variety of creative thinking techniques to engage participants in both the large and small groups in generating ideas with the help of question starters. Sessions will end with an opportunity to give detailed information on an overarching idea. Throughout the period of idea gathering, you will be able to return to the survey to contribute additional overarching ideas, whether or not you attend another session.
3. Digital On-demand Sessions: If the scheduled times don’t work for you or your team or you’d rather participate individually, you can participate through the on-demand sessions. Using Stormz collaboration software, participants will add initial ideas on virtual cards. Participants will have the option to use an accompanying guide with question starters to spur their thinking. In addition, all virtual cards posted will be viewable to anyone who participates, adding to the idea generation process. The on-demand session will conclude with an opportunity to give detailed information on an overarching idea. Throughout the period of idea gathering, you will be able to return to the survey to contribute additional overarching ideas, whether or not you attend another session.
4. On-demand Sessions (on-site): While employees who are working on-site and do not have an assigned computer station are welcome to attend any session, we understand that this may not be possible for some. On-site, on-demand sessions will be set up in areas where employees are working so that they can contribute their ideas in person. Participants of these sessions will also have an opportunity to give detailed information on overarching ideas throughout the period of idea gathering.
So, now that you have a bit more information, plan some time to speak with your colleagues, your employees and your teammates about attending an idea session. And find a scheduled session that works for you.
By Jaclyn Taylor, Coordinator, Employee Development
Welcome to 2021! The new year is a time full of optimism and possibility when we reflect, we dream big and we set goals for the future. However, research suggests that while about half of us set goals at the start of the year, only about 8% of us achieve them.
In the spirit of a new year, the Employee Development Team is here to remind you that Valencia College provides you with many resources to set and keep your goals moving forward.
For example, on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, read The Juice and The Grove for our Spring Employee Development schedule, which will feature a variety of topics and course types geared toward reaching every employee.
Additionally, as Valencia employees, we each have access to LinkedIn Learning — our online, on-demand professional development resource. If you have yet to try LinkedIn Learning, activate your account today.
LinkedIn Learning can help you with some of your resolutions for 2021:
Looking to get fit and healthy? Start the year off strong and look for ways to stay committed to the gym or a new exercise class. Making Big Goals Achievable will help you break up large aspirations into smaller actions to keep you on track!
Want to get organized? We all find ourselves trying to do more in the time we have. Sometimes, that fancy planner with special pens and stickers does the trick. For all those other times, try the course Prioritizing Your Tasks to help empower you to stay organized and focused.
Planning to spend less and save more? Travel, family expenses, investments, a new house, you name it. All are important to making you the best you. Managing Your Personal Finances walks you through the nitty gritty of earning, spending and saving to help make 2021 your best financial year yet.
Supervisors, check out these courses on LinkedIn Learning to get your new year off to a great start:
Making Big Goals Achievable
Long-term success is the result of setting big, meaningful goals and breaking them down into small, daily actions. In this course, productive leadership expert Dave Crenshaw shares a proven seven-step process and detailed planning worksheet anyone can use to make goal achievement a part of their daily agenda. Learn how to simplify your process, enlist others to succeed and map out a schedule for consistent progress. Using Dave’s tips, you’ll move from just setting goals to achieving them. Launch this course on LinkedIn Learning.
Prioritizing Your Tasks
Learn to prioritize your tasks efficiently and consistently. This short course from productivity expert Dave Crenshaw shows how to schedule your time in relation to what’s most important and what will have the most significant impact on your work. Dave begins the course with an overview of his time value prioritization (TVP) philosophy. Next, he lays out a six-step process for determining how urgent a task is, how great an effect it will have, and whether it should be delegated to a colleague or automated through technology. Dave concludes the course with two quick walk-through examples, showing the TVP method in action. Using this innovative framework, you can get more done, more efficiently, while increasing the value of your time and saving more of it for the things you love. Launch this course on LinkedIn Learning.
By Lisandra “Liz” Suarez, Senior Director, Organizational Development and Human Resources
Happy new “planning and goal setting” time of the year!
Usually, for supervisors, the beginning of the calendar year is the time for leaders to begin planning the strategies and tasks that align with the work ahead for the year for functional divisions. Ideally, these are tied to collegewide goals. Also, it is the time to begin or complete the beginning or mid-year Check-In or Faculty Evaluations for ourselves and our direct reports.
It will be a disfavor not to address the obvious. How do we plan and set goals in the current uncertain and volatile environment with so many variables impacting the way planning and goal setting must be done? It simply feels that we need a plan and a goal to set a plan and a goal.
The following are four simple steps to tackle such overwhelming tasks, nowadays, in a way that may eliminate unnecessary complexity and the overpowering feelings the planning and goal-setting process may cause you.
Step 1: Block time on your calendar for short-term planning and long-term planning (about two hours minimum).
There are three simple questions you should ask during this step process which are are strategic and overarching:
Where are we?
Where are we trying to be short term?
Where are we trying to be long term?
To that end, it is wise to review the previous year’s plan for unfinished important goals, current division notes and collegewide plans in progress. View the following articles on The Grove to provide a full picture of the path.
Upon completing the review, proceed with creating two main goals and one developmental goal, maximum. Maintain these in draft format. Remember to consider how an unfinished goal from the previous plan year may impact the creation of new goals moving forward. Keep it SMART.
Step 2: Reflect on how to capitalize on available resources to reach the goals.
Two questions to ask in this step are:
Who is most talented to do the work?
What would the team need to do the work?
You may be surprised about these questions; however this strategy has to do with focusing and capitalizing on human capital resources (talent) vs. time and financial resources only. The logic here is that the best talented individual(s) at any task will use less time, thus less stress, more productivity and less cost.
During step two, it is also critical to self-evaluate and to identify your own areas of leadership development. This is of paramount importance as we are leading others in challenging times. Need to learn more about this topic? Watch this course on LinkedIn Learning.
Create drafts of the short-term and long-term plan. Additionally, begin drafts of your own Check-In goals and/or updates to be delivered later to your direct reports.
Step 3: Discuss the overall idea and focus for the plan and goal setting with your supervisor, partners (as applicable) and direct reports.
Discussing the drafts with others involved in the plan helps address gaps in the plan, find intersections in the work, learn about other available potential resources and obtain new information and collaborative perspective.
A key viewpoint here is to allow space for flexibility with the plan and goals. Plan and goals are for the most part artificial structures created to provide guidance and to keep the work moving ahead. Building flexibility in timelines and other ways to accomplish the work is paramount, especially in uncertain times.
Step 4: Finalize the drafts and move onward.
The plan and goal-setting process under uncertainty is mainly a guide to maintain all parties involved in the vision and mission of the institution while helping operations run as smoothly as possible. As the environment (internal or external) stabilizes, leaders can update and modify the plans and goals.
As always, members of the Organizational Development and Human Resources Team (ODHR) in your ODHR Regional Solution Centers are available to assist and lead you in engaging in the planning and goal-setting process. If you have questions, contact us at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).
Learning Day 2021 is less than a month away on Friday, February 12. As a supervisor, please review the details provided below. As Learning Day is a special part of Valencia College’s culture and community, we would love your help communicating these important details to your team.
– This year, Learning Day will be held via Zoom. It will be necessary for employees to use their Valencia College credentials (username/login) to access the Zoom sessions.
– All campus locations will be closed for Learning Day, and no classes will be held. Please make sure to post appropriate notices and reminders online to alert students.
– Registration information is now available on The Grove. The deadline to register is Wednesday, February 10, 2021.
– Programming will be provided between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Employees are encouraged and expected to use the afternoon for independent learning, such as reading, reflecting and participating in on-demand courses through LinkedIn Learning.
– Learning Day is a regular work day for faculty and staff. Full-time employees are required to attend or submit a Certificate of Absence (COA) for vacation or personal time (Staff – eight hours of leave; Faculty – seven hours of leave). Full-time employees will be paid for a full day’s worth of work, even if scheduled events end early. Non-exempt employees should adjust their work schedules, so they can attend the full day. If a non-exempt employee works any hours over 40, the employee must be paid overtime.
– Part-time colleagues are invited and encouraged to attend Learning Day, although participation is voluntary. Part-time staff will be compensated for attendance at their regular rate of pay and should work with their supervisor to have their normal schedule adjusted if they plan to attend. Part-time faculty members who choose to attend would do so as a part of their current part-time faculty contract. Since attendance is voluntary for part-time employees, a COA is not required for non-attendance.
– Please encourage your team members to:
Get their favorite breakfast and lunch ready.
Review the session schedule, and know their top sessions (Sessions will be posted on the Learning Day website in early February.).
Share their Learning Day experiences and photos by posting to social media using the hashtag, #OurValencia. Twitter and Instagram posts will be collected and showcased on our #OurValencia tagboard. Facebook posts will not populate on the tagboard.
How might we encourage high school students to attend college? How might we assist more students in graduating? And what are all the ways we can support students’ adjustment and transition to baccalaureate programs?
We need answers to these questions and more to help us meet the goals outlined in our Strategic Impact Plan.
You are invited to participate in our upcoming strategic planning idea gathering sessions starting next week. While our 2030 Strategic Impact Plan describes the “what” and the “why” of our work in broad aspirational goal areas, we are now ready to explore how we will reach the goals in that plan, and we need your input.
Beginning on Monday, January 25, 2021, several sessions will be offered where you can share:
Your ideas about how Valencia can reach the goals in the Impact Plan;
Your experiences as an employee or student (or both) that can help identify areas of improvement and;
Your thoughts about how to streamline current efforts and initiatives related to the goal areas of access, graduation, career credentials and transfer success.
A variety of idea gathering sessions will be offered that provide you with opportunities to focus on all four or specific goal areas, as well as options to participate at a time that is convenient for you. Session types are as follows:
Forum Sessions: Forums will start with a presentation about the process and time for questions and answers, followed by small group discussions.
Brainstorming Sessions: These sessions will start with a creative warmup activity, followed by group discussions and idea generation in small groups.
On-demand Sessions: Don’t have time to participate in a scheduled Forum or Brainstorming Session? You can still participate and share your ideas via an On-demand Session. This option will allow you to complete individually or with your team at a time that is convenient for you. All ideas generated in this space will be visible to all who participate.
Your participation and input is so important to this process. I encourage you to attend a session or take advantage of the On-Demand option to share your ideas, thoughts and experiences that will shape our institutional plans. I look forward to seeing you there.
We were so excited to see the photos Valencia College employees shared of their well-deserved Winter Break. While some of you donned matching pajamas, baked delicious goodies or played board games, others ventured out by visiting our local attractions. Some of you even engaged in altruistic endeavors, such as fostering a disabled kitten and helping a friend move across the country. No matter how you spent the break, we are happy to have you all back and refreshed. To view a slideshow of how employees enjoyed their break, click below: