Happy Anniversary to The Grove!


Today, you can easily scan The Grove for all the Valencia news you need — from updates about Valencia benefits to features about your colleagues. But five years ago, staying up to date with all the need-to-know news wasn’t so easy.

In fact, it wasn’t until Tuesday, August 23, 2011, that The Grove even existed.

Prior to its launch, which was spearheaded by an Internal Communication Strategy Design Team (ICSDT), employee news was disseminated via a weekly, paper newsletter, called the The Bulletin.

But in 2010, when the Office of Organizational Development was formed, it was decided that employee communications needed a centralized location and focus. So, the organizational development team hit the drawing board, formed the ICSDT to inform the strategy and designed, and conducted surveys, interviews and job shadows that led to an all-new, digital-era communication platform: The Grove.

From there, The Grove’s corresponding newsletters, which highlight key content to various College audiences, were born — starting with The Juice.

And here we are five years later, and The Grove is still churning out important news and updates about everything happening on Valencia campuses.

So, be sure to wish The Grove a happy anniversary (you can do so easily by leaving a comment on this article) and stay tuned as The Grove continues to evolve to meet your needs.

Valencia Graduate Performs Spoken Word Poem About The Pulse Tragedy

When 49 people lost their lives to a gunman at the Pulse nightclub, our city, nation and world shared in the reverberated heartbreak, disbelief, fear and fury in the face of an attack on innocent lives. As names were released and communities gathered, each of us mourned in our own way — some of us fearful for friends and family members, some of us vulnerable and afraid of the target etched on our backs and some reflective of what prejudice can become.

At first, Valencia graduate Faith Culhane, a Florida native and member of the LGBTQ+ community, felt tired — war-torn from the years of dodging bullets, now both metaphoric and literal. But then, four days after the Pulse shooting, she felt a strange combination of grief for those lost and pride for the way The City Beautiful came together in the aftermath of the tragedy. As her emotions stirred, she poured her heart into a spoken word poem that perfectly encapsulated her fear, rage, love and hope. View her performance below.

To learn more about Faith and her creative process, visit the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation website.

Featured Colleague — Jamie Sanchez


By Dani Moritz-Long

If Jamie Sanchez, coordinator, international student services, closes her eyes, she can see it clearly. Diving in the crystal blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef — coming face to face with exotic marine animals who call the living, breathing coral home. Staring up into the clear night sky while venturing in the Australian outback. Touring the cities of Mexico, dotted with Caribbean beaches, ancient ruins and vibrant, rich Mexican art.

It is her undergraduate study abroad experiences she recalls as if they only happened yesterday — and it’s those experiences that continue to drive her passion for international education and the role she plays at Valencia.

“Both of my international experiences helped me see the world through a different lens and to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the mission of international education,” she said. “It also gave me firsthand experience of all that it takes to be a student in another country. From the immigration process to maintaining academic success and living with a host family, these experiences were so impactful in my personal journey that I decided to shape them into a career.”

Today, with six years of experience working with international students, a bachelor’s degree in international relations and master’s degree in human resource management, she continues to pursue that career — always approaching each task with a positive attitude and looking for new ways to improve the international student experience.

“International students choose to study at Valencia for many of the same reasons U.S. students do, which include affordability, small classes and pathway programs, including DirectConnect to UCF,” she explained. “But most importantly, I think the International Student Services team’s great work highly impacts their final decision to enroll. My colleagues and I work tirelessly to ensure that all of these students and their families are welcomed into the community and receive help with everything needed to make a smooth transition to not only Valencia, but to the USA. We are their home away from home.”

Currently, she is dedicating her services to the Osceola Campus — where she is focused on continuing to grow and support the campus’ international student population.

“We have asked Jamie to wear many different hats, and she has handled each of them exceptionally well,” said Jamie’s leader, Rocky Blesso, director, international student services. “Jamie is a true advocate for our international students at the Osceola Campus, and she has demonstrated consistently that her number one priority is their success. Jamie’s contributions and dedication are key components to the growth of services provided to the international student population at Osceola.”

In addition to her own international student experiences, Jamie draws inspiration from Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses President Kathleen Plinske.

“The leadership and vision of Dr. Kathleen Plinske has truly been inspiring to me since I started working at the Osceola campus,” Jamie said. “She has and continues to support our department’s mission and genuinely cares about our students’ hopes, goals and overall experience at the College.”

Needless to say, Jamie is grateful that her journey across borders led her to where she is today — a place that provides the same level of quality education to a student straight out of high school, an adult coming back to finish a degree and a professional who travels across the world in pursuit of a better education and a brighter future.

Know of someone doing great work at the College, who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.

Welcome Lee Massie, Managing Director, Criminal Justice Institute


A Message from Joe Battista, Vice President, Global, Professional and Continuing Education, and Jeff Goltz, Executive Dean, School of Public Safety

Please join us in welcoming Lee Massie, the new managing director of the Criminal Justice Institute, as of Wednesday, August 10, 2016.

Lee is a 32-year veteran of the public safety profession and a welcome addition to the Valencia family. His education includes an associate degree from Valencia and a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice administration from Columbia College. His experience includes nearly four years of service as the Kissimmee Police Chief and other key positions for the Town of Windermere, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Winter Garden Police Department.

Lee looks forward to this new chapter at Valencia, where we can help develop the next generation of law enforcement and, simultaneously, enjoy more time with his family.

Pronouncing Names Right is a BIG Deal


Pronouncing names incorrectly may not seem like a big deal, right? After all, it happens all the time. But according to an article by ditor-in-chief for Cult of Pedagogy,

You Are Invited to Academic Assembly 2016


An Invitation from Susan Ledlow, Vice President, Academic Affairs and Planning

Welcome back to campus this week as we prepare to receive our students for the fall semester. Valencia’s Academic Assembly is this Thursday, August 25, 2016, and it is my pleasure to invite you to this annual gathering of our learning community.

During this event, you’ll hear from your new Faculty Association President Neal Phillips and celebrate the accomplishments of your peers in teaching and learning. You’ll also get an overview of our strategic plan, which is centered on learning, new opportunities to make an impact on the Central Florida workforce and economy, and strengthening Valencia’s role in cultivating a vibrant, sustainable community. Dr. Shugart will present his vision for the important work ahead this year, and our campus presidents will share key initiatives and programs happening on their campuses. The agenda for the day is below:


Mark your calendars and plan to attend. I look forward to seeing you there.

Please also remember to participate in Welcome Back activities at your campus. Click on the links below for details.

Campus Welcome Back Events

Thank you for your participation and engagement as we prepare for a fall semester of learning together. Please feel free to contact me should you have questions about Academic Assembly.

Upcoming Events

With the fall term just around the corner, it’s nearly time to welcome everyone back to campus. Please click a button below to view your campus’ Welcome Back events.

Image Map

Carl Knickerbocker Art Exhibit Showcases Suburban Primitive Art


Date: Today – Thursday, October 13, 2016
Time: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: East Campus, Building 3, Anita S. Wooten Gallery

Gallery Reception:
Date: Thursday, September 8, 2016
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
Location: East Campus, Building 3, Anita S. Wooten Gallery

Valencia will feature the work of Central Florida artist Carl Knickerbocker through Thursday, October 13, 2016, at the Anita S. Wooten Gallery on East Campus. The College will hold a gallery reception for the exhibit on Thursday, September 8, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m.

A self-described suburban primitive artist, Carl’s paintings and short films commentate on significant societal issues — ranging from the destruction of Florida’s natural landscape to politics and pop culture. The paintings are large-scale, raw and powerful.

As Kathleen Frederick, director, A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery, commented, “The oversized acrylic on canvas paintings of Carl Knickerbocker are as large and powerful as the societal issues they tackle.”

The gallery is located in Building 3 on the East Campus, and gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free.

For more information, call the East Campus Art Department at extension 2268.

Save the Date for Academic Assembly 


Date: Thursday, August 25, 2016
Breakfast – 7:45 a.m., East Campus Gym
Presentation – 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., East Campus Performing Arts Center

It’s almost time to kick off the 2016-17 academic year, so be sure to save the date for Academic Assembly.

To be held on Thursday, August 25, 2016, on East Campus, the assembly will feature Valencia’s new strategic plan and a lineup of speakers sure to inspire you for the academic year.faculty-insight-news-id

Please read The Grove for more communications on this upcoming meeting, including times, location and this year’s programming lineup.

September Supervisor Summit: New FLSA Changes and What You Can Expect


Date: Friday, September 9, 2016
Time: 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Live Location: West Campus, Building 8, Room 111A
Virtual Locations: East Campus, Building 8, Room 101; Lake Nona Campus, Room 148; Osceola Campus, Building 4, Room 105 

A light continental breakfast will be served at the live Summit location.

This special Summit, taking place on Friday, September 9, 2016, on the West Campus, will focus on the changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, record keeping and child labor standards. The law affects full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments, including Valencia.slice

The new new ruling, effective Thursday, December 1, 2016, increases the minimum payment required to qualify as an exempt employee (or salaried employee who is not eligible for overtime pay) from $455 a week ($23,660 a year) to $913 a week ($47,476 a year). Thus, starting Thursday, December 1, 2016, employees must earn at least $47,476 a year and meet the exemption criteria established by the Department of Labor to be considered exempt.

Please plan to attend this special Supervisor Summit to hear first-hand about the College’s plan for compliance and what to expect at the open forums that will begin next month. If you’re unable to make it to the live location on West Campus, you also have the option of attending a virtual location. Facilitated by a campus host, supervisors who attend a virtual Summit will gather in one room at the alternate location to see and hear the Summit and ask questions of the presenters at the live Summit. Virtual Summits will take place at the same time as the live Summit. See the list of virtual Summit locations below:


Please register for the Summit location you plan to attend no later than Friday, September 2, 2016. Click here for instruction on how to register.

The Supervisor Summit is coordinated by the employee development team. If you have any questions, please contact the employee development team at orgdevelopment@valenciacollege.edu or extension 8095.

Osceola Campus To Host Annual Walk/Run for Heroes

Date: Friday, September 9, 2016
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Osceola Campus

On your mark. Get set. Run!

If you’re looking for a way to make a difference in the community, put on your running shoes, because run-walk for heroes-300wthe upcoming Valencia College Annual Walk/Run for Heroes is the perfect way to do just that.

The fourth annual 5K Run/Walk For Heroes, brought to you by the Valencia Alumni Association, will be hosted on Friday, September 9, 2016, at the Osceola Campus and is a great way to connect with the community and help a good cause. All proceeds will support Osceola Campus scholarships for emergency responders.

Plus, you could qualify to win the Spirit Award by bringing the largest team to campus.

If this sounds like a good opportunity to you, be sure to register before Wednesday, August 31, 2016, to receive a discounted registration rate of $25.

For more information and to register online, click here. Or, to mail in your registration, click here for a printable registration form.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Brittany Mellor, coordinator, alumni relations, at alumni@valenciacollege.edu or extension 3426.

Global Peace Week 2016: Something for Everyone


A Message from Rachel Allen, Professor, Humanities, and Coordinator, Peace and Justice Institute

Dates: Monday, September 19 – Friday, September 23, 2016
Times: See Schedule
Locations: East, Lake Nona, Osceola, West and Winter Park Campuses. See schedule for details

In a city, nation and world challenged daily with conflict and struggle of all types, we are fortunate at Valencia to be a part of a community committed to growing the culture of peace, not only on our campuses but within the community as well.

Over the summer, faculty and staff, in partnership with student clubs and organizations across the College, have been eagerly planning events and finalizing details for the upcoming Global Peace Week, to be held Monday, September 19 – Friday, September 23, 2016.

This annual event also coincides with the International Day of Peace on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, and aims to teach peace practices that support each of us to “be the peace.” In addition to a focus on the Principles for How We Treat Each Other, our practices of respect and community building, Global Peace Week invites participants to learn about mindfulness practices, peaceful communication, sustainable peace, interfaith understanding and loving-kindness meditation, among many additional teachings of peace.

This year, in light of the Pulse tragedy and conversations taking place about the role religion plays in creating inclusiveness for the LGBTQ+ community, we will begin with a community screening of “For the Bible Tells Me So” in partnership with the Global Peace Film Festival.

Dan Karslake’s film, a multi-award winning documentary, is the first comprehensive look at the issue of homosexuality and religion. The film addresses questions concerning the Bible and homosexuality. Dan’s starting point for his examination of this issue is: Can it ever be a sin to love? Does the Bible offer an excuse to hate?

The film will be screened for free in the Performing Arts Center on East Campus on Friday, September 9, 2016, at 6 p.m. This event is a partnership between the League of Women Voters Orange County, the Global Peace Film Festival, Orlando Youth Alliance, QLatinx, Equality Florida, Friends Talking Faith (as heard on WMFE radio), GLSEN, Zebra Coalition, Valencia East and West Campuses’ Gay Straight Alliances and the Peace and Justice Institute.

This year, we also welcome back Iron Eagle to Global Peace Week. Iron Eagle is a traditional sun dancer who studied under Bear Paw (Apache medicine man) and Two Tree (Lakota medicine man). His grandfather and mother, both Chiricahua Apaches, taught him the traditional and spiritual ways of the Native American.

Join us for teachings, music and dance as we come together in community to promote global peace.

For a full schedule of events across the College, click here.

West Campus Part-time Faculty, Visit the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation


A Message from Dori Haggerty, West Campus Director, Faculty and Instructional Development

Welcome to a new school year at Valencia!

As the director of the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation on West Campus, I want to invite you to stop by to visit us in the Library (Building 6, Room 326) to learn more about our services and to meet our staff. We offer assistance with instructional design needs for your courses and provide Blackboard support. You can also take advantage of opportunities to engage with your peers in a scholarly community of faculty learners through a variety of professional development experiences facilitated through our programs.

Many of our part-time faculty members participate in our Associate Faculty Certification Program by taking courses offered through Valencia’s Faculty and Instructional Development Division. We encourage you to do the same. Upon completion of the program, part-time faculty members earn an Associate Faculty Certification, gain associate faculty status and receive an increase in course compensation.

If you are seeking associate faculty status for the first time, the initial course, Teaching in Our Learning College (LCTS 1110, locator #1499), begins on Thursday, September 8, 2016.

If you are renewing your status, 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Essential Competencies (LCTS 3160, locator #1505) begins on Friday, October 7, 2016. This course will help deepen your understanding and application of the Essential Competencies.

For registration information, click here.

If you would like to learn more about this program, other course offerings or our center, please click here or contact me at dhaggerty2@valenciacollege.edu or extension 1051.

I look forward to meeting you.


New Faculty This Fall at Osceola and Lake Nona

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

I am thrilled to share that we will be welcoming a number of new full-time faculty to the Osceola and Lake Nona Campuses this fall, which will allow us to add to the variety and number of courses that we offer in an effort to meet student enrollment demand. Throughout the summer, I will share brief biographies of our new faculty as a preview of who will be joining our team for the start of the 2016-17 academic year.



Lauren R. Thomas will join the Osceola Campus as a professor of mathematics. She attended Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and, in 2013, earned her Bachelor of Science in mathematics with a minor in economics. In 2015, she attended UCF and completed a master’s degree in educational leadership with a specialization in mathematics. Lauren has taught Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Trigonometry and Pre-calculus courses during her time at UCF. She is looking forward to becoming a part of the Valencia Osceola Campus team.

Misty Bozzaco will join the Lake Nona Campus as a professor of mathematics. Misty received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and secondary education at Palm Beach Atlantic University and her master’s degree in mathematical sciences at the University of West Florida. Previously, she taught at Harmony High School in St. Cloud, Florida.



Sam Murugan will join the Osceola Campus as a professor of mathematics. Sam has a master’s degree in higher educational leadership with a specialization in mathematics from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He spent the past nine years teaching mostly advanced placement calculus and dual enrollment mathematics classes in high school. During this time, he also taught mathematics as an part-time professor at both Polk State College and Valencia College. Prior to following his dream of teaching, Sam worked as a planning engineer for a national power company and as a project engineer for a pharmaceutical company. He is very passionate about mathematics and especially intrigued by its many applications in real-world situations. Sam has a keen interest in the success and retention of the diverse body of community college students. He is very excited to start his new career as a full-time mathematics professor at Valencia College.

Marvin Osbourne will join the Osceola Campus as a professor of mathematics. Marvin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, located in Jamaica, near where he was raised. He attended UCF, where he completed the Graduate Certificate Program in mathematics, and, subsequently, the modeling and simulation master’s program.

Marvin has been teaching at Valencia as a part-time faculty member for four semesters. His favorite courses include Calculus I, Trigonometry, Intermediate Algebra and College Mathematics. He has also worked as a tutor for all levels of mathematics. In his spare time, Marvin likes to spend time with his family and friends, and is involved in physical fitness. He feels that a healthy body will foster a healthy mind. It is his sincere hope that the students whom he instructs will endeavor to become independent learners.



Ray Eddy will join the Osceola Campus as a professor of mathematics. He received his bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and economics and his Master of Arts in teaching from Duke University. He worked in college administration for a short time and then created and ran a company that held summer music camps for high school students for 20 years. During that time, he decided to pursue his unusual desire to be a stunt man, which led to a 15-year career as a stunt performer and manager at Walt Disney World. His most famous role was Indiana Jones, a character he played for eight years. He decided to get back into teaching last year and was a part-time professor at both Valencia and UCF’s Rosen School of Hospitality, and he is looking forward to hitting the ground running here in the fall.

Robert Beach will be joining the Osceola Campus as a professor of computer science. Rob is a Gartner recognized and Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader with more than 20 years of technology leadership experience. Rob held the role of information technology services director/CIO for Seminole County Government, where he was responsible for the management and operation of the countywide network and information systems. Prior to joining Seminole County’s executive team, Robert served as the information technology director at the City of Oviedo.

Rob is a long-time resident of Central Florida. He is married to his wife Shyla and has three wonderful children: Emily, Baylee and Gavin. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UCF and a Master of Science in information technology, along with a Master of Business Administration from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Employee Development and Training


The fall semester is quickly approaching, but there is still time to work on your professional development before students return to campus. Learn how you can take advantage of your SPD (staff and professional development) funds through the Employee Development Funds training, or mentally prepare yourself if a crisis does arise in Response to an Active Threat.

As always, there are also hundreds of free online classes available to help you brush up on your skills or advance your career.

Banner Finance and PCard Training
Date: Friday, August 26, 2016
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: District Office, Room 502

Travel 101
Date: Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Time: 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Location: West Campus, Building 11, Room 106

August Online EDGE Offerings

Fundamentals of Working with Difficult People

  • Coping with Aggressive Behavior in the Workplace

For workshop descriptions and to register:

  • Log in to Atlas.
  • Click on the Employees tab.
  • Click on the Access Valencia EDGE graphic in the My Development Channel. A new window will open.
  • In the right-hand corner, search for the class that interests you in the search box.
  • Click on the class, and then click the Request button to register for the training.
  • Your classes will appear on the My Learning page, which can be accessed from the Welcome page of the Valencia EDGE. Your face-to-face workshops will appear in Your Transcript, and your online courses will appear in Training in Progress.

For assistance with the registration process, please contact the organizational development team at orgdevelopment@valenciacollege.edu or extension 8095.