Monthly Archives: May 2019

Provost Update — May 2019

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost

Update on Degree Pathways

Earlier this spring, the Learning Council commissioned a work team to develop a single tool for students to help them identify the courses in which they should enroll, not only to meet graduation requirements at Valencia College, but also to meet program prerequisites and requirements for their intended baccalaureate programs.

Because nearly 75% of Associate in Arts (A.A.) graduates from Valencia who continue their education do so at the University of Central Florida (UCF), the work team has decided to focus its initial efforts on a “Phase I Tool” that would provide information to prepare students for baccalaureate programs specifically at UCF. Future phases of the work will contemplate how to best communicate baccalaureate requirements at other institutions, including at Valencia.

The team hosted several regional and online forums this month to solicit input about the proposed tool, and more than 150 faculty and staff participated. Thanks to their feedback, the degree pathways work team has developed the following design principles for the “Phase I Tool.”

The tool, a static document which will be housed in the college catalog, should:

  1. Clarify, specify and demystify academic pathways;
  2. Facilitate student planning, including timing (when to take what) and financial planning;
  3. Advance students’ actual and perceived readiness for transfer;
  4. Explicitly/transparently communicate that select grants cannot be used past the completion of the A.A., yet other forms of financial aid may be available;
  5. Account for pre-requisite courses beyond 60 college-level credits;
  6. Support students’ independent planning (vs. assume collaboration with advisor);
  7. Support students in fostering/regaining the sense of disciplinary identity generated by terms like “pre-major”;
  8. Help students avoid accumulation of excess credit hours;
  9. Include only courses explicitly required by UCF as outlined in its catalog; and
  10. Work synergistically with the degree audit.

The team has also started thinking about possible names for the tool (which will be shared with students for their input) and working on a framework and communication plan. They will share their recommendations at an upcoming Learning Council meeting for approval.

If you have any questions or would like to provide additional input about the design principles, please email Isis Artze-Vega, vice president, academic affairs, at or Sonya Joseph, associate vice president, enrollment management, at

Faculty Fellow for Sustainability

We are looking for a full-time faculty member to serve in a new faculty fellow role focused on sustainability in the curriculum. The faculty fellow for sustainability will work with the Office of Faculty and Instructional Development to create, implement and enhance collegewide faculty development opportunities that support the integration of sustainability in the curriculum and co-curriculum. The fellow will work within a team to foster a community of practice for sustainability that supports all faculty members as they expand their professional practices and examine their ongoing development in sustainability-focused topics within the seven Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator. The faculty fellow should have demonstrated success in teaching and collaboration, with a deep understanding of sustainability and the Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator. To support the work, the faculty fellow will receive a six-credit hour reassigned time for the fall 2019 and spring 2020 terms; travel among campuses should be expected.

Tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty who have completed the fourth year of the Teaching/Learning Academy, or annually appointed faculty are welcome to apply. Please first speak with your dean to discuss your interest and obtain approval prior to applying, and then submit your expression of interest to Shara Lee, campus director, faculty and instructional development, by Friday, June 14, 2019. Your expression of interest, in a few paragraphs, should explain why you are interested in this role and describe how your qualifications align with the faculty fellow for sustainability expectations and required experiences. Interviews with candidates will be held the week of June 17, 2019. Please contact Shara at with any questions.

Disney Aspire and Online Degree Pilot

You may have heard of the Disney Aspire program that supports full-time and part-time hourly cast members in their pursuit of educational opportunities at network institutions, which include Valencia. There is significant interest among Disney cast members to have the opportunity to complete their degrees online; while any student already can, theoretically, complete all of the course requirements for an A.A. degree online, Valencia has not yet designed a fully online degree program. Our Disney Aspire partnership represents a unique opportunity to pilot a thoughtfully designed experience that would allow students to complete an A.A. degree fully online, including having access to all of our support services, without physically coming to a campus. We are working for a launch of the pilot in fall 2019 — stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to Wendi Dew, assistant vice president, teaching and learning, with any questions at

The Power of Personal Connection

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to celebrate with nearly 2,000 of our graduates at our commencement ceremonies. You can review highlights from the day via our online photo album. It is always magical to be with our students as they experience such a deep sense of joy and accomplishment as they walk across the stage to celebrate their remarkable achievement at commencement.

Two of our alumni who graduated in previous years recently were highlighted for their tremendous accomplishments:

  • Angel Sánchez, who was Valencia’s 2014 Distinguished Graduate and a recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship, is currently attending law school at the University of Miami. Angel recently published a powerful essay, which recounts his experiences growing up and the challenges he faced after leaving prison, in the “Harvard Law Review.”
  • Victor Rodríguez was celebrated as UCF’s 50,000th graduate. Victor graduated from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and will continue his studies at Carnegie Mellon University to earn a Ph.D. in engineering public policy. Prior to enrolling at UCF, Victor earned an associate degree from Valencia and participated in our Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridges to Baccalaureate program.

As I reflected on these students’ very different stories, a common element emerged: both students made a personal connection with an individual at Valencia whom they credit with significantly shaping the course of their future trajectory. Generally, when we ask alumni about what made the biggest difference to them in their experience at Valencia, they don’t cite a building, a technology tool or a textbook — they name a person. They name someone who took the time to get to know them as individuals, helped them to recognize their own potential and helped them navigate our systems. It’s powerful to think of the impact we can have collectively when we recognize that any one of us can be that person for our students.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Submit Your Skillshop Proposal Today

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

The mission of the Skillshop program is to provide students with co-curricular learning opportunities about emotional, social and cultural issues; career development; and financial literacy. In addition, the Skillshop program encourages students’ holistic development through the implementation of the seven Dimensions of Wellness: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, environmental, physical and social. At each session, facilitators introduce students to skills and techniques that will help them become better students and lifelong learners.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, more than 1,800 student sign-ins were recorded for our region’s Skillshops, which represent about a 10% increase over the previous year. Students indicated on their post-Skillshop surveys that they would like to see programming in the areas of mental health, physical health, careers, life skills and money management, among others.

Our students benefit greatly from these co-curricular offerings. With dean/supervisor approval, faculty and staff are welcome to submit proposals.

Please note the following:

  • You can submit Skillshop proposals for multiple campuses
  • You may submit up to four Skillshop topics per form
  • You will receive an email receipt once you submit a proposal; please save it for your records
  • You can submit your proposal(s) by clicking here.

Please make sure to review the Skillshop Intended Outcomes and Guidelines, which are outlined on the proposal form, as you design and submit your proposal. Skillshops that do not adhere to these guidelines will not be approved. Proposals are due by noon on Friday, June 7, 2019.

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Fasting with Friends: Osceola Employees Support Each Other Through Ramadan

Natali Shulterbrondt, counselor; Valentina Shulterbrondt (Natali’s daughter); Alex Torres-Hernandez, coordinator, program advisor; Heidi Ovalles, career advisor; Catherine Rivas, coordinator, ATLAS access lab; and Cindy Alas (non-employee) after iftar the post-fast meal.

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

Every year, Muslims around the world fast from food and drink every day from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, Ramadan runs from Sunday, May 5 – Tuesday, June 4 or Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

A group of Osceola Campus employees decided to support their coworkers observing Ramadan by fasting with them for a day. For the first half-day Friday, everyone in the group woke up at 4:30 a.m. to have a pre-fast meal, known as suhoor, then got together at 8:12 p.m. for a meal, known as iftar, to break the fast together. Xavier Humphrey, coordinator, internship and workforce services, said, “I had thought about fasting before, but I did it this time to show support to my work-study student, Laila Hamza. I also wanted to experience the cultural side of it. Now, I have a deeper understanding of the dedication Muslims have toward their spirituality. It makes me want to learn more.”

Counselor Natali Shulterbrondt shared, “Through this experience, I learned that fasting is more than creating a connection with yourself and a higher power; it is about forming connections with the community around you.” Career Advisor Heidi Ovalles mentioned, “I decided to fast for a day to show solidarity with my coworkers, and, even though I follow a different religion, I felt a deep sense of connection throughout the process.”

Counselor Alina Siddiqui shared, “As a Muslim, it was a humbling experience to see my coworkers fast with me. It reminded me of the excellent community of support we have at the college, especially Osceola Campus!”

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Five Things to Know About Canvas: It’s Our Canvas Anniversary!

A Message from Page Jerzak, Director, Online Teaching and Learning

Valencia College completely migrated to Canvas one year ago. Happy Canvas anniversary! A lot has changed since then, so check out this month’s five things you need to know about Canvas below.

1. You already know that Valencia will move to the new Canvas Gradebook on Saturday, August 10, 2019. And, as of Saturday, August 3, 2019, another Canvas change will be made on browsers, as Canvas will no longer support the use of Internet Explorer. This change reflects Microsoft’s switch from Internet Explorer to the new Edge browser. What does this mean for you?

2. Canvas has simplified the icons for files. You will now have four options for your files: publish, unpublish, not visible in student files and schedule student availability. These icons will also be available in the files list. Use these icons to ensure that your files have the right access level.

3. Canvas has updated how rubrics can appear. The rubric sidebar will not overlap with the Edit and Delete buttons now. Also, rubrics with saved comments from the Free-form Comments option can be fully viewed in the sidebar. This should make using Canvas rubrics even easier.

4. Canvas has changed how the syllabus can be viewed on Android mobile devices. Students can now see the syllabus after tapping the syllabus link (no additional tap is needed like before). If a course does not have a syllabus, that page will just display the available assignments instead.

5. Summer is a great time to get extra support! Try one of these options:

  • Faculty/Staff Canvas website
  • Centers for Teaching/Learning Innovation
  • Canvas Instructor Guide
  • Canvas Help (click on help on the main left-hand menu when logged into Canvas)
  • Working on a new course or tweaking a current one? Make sure to develop in a sandbox. This way you can try out anything you like and it will not affect a currently running course. This will also ensure that anything you develop is not in a course that may be transferred to another faculty member. You can request more sandboxes whenever you want or change their names by submitting a Help Desk ticket to OIT.

If you need a refresher, you can find previous Five Things You Need to Know About Canvas articles below:

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Faculty Governance Update, May 2019

By John Niss, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

I’m hoping everyone’s summer semester is starting well. I know I’m enjoying the slightly slower pace, but the days when work basically stopped for the summer at the College are long gone. Case in point — the Instructional Affairs Committee (IAC) is definitely continuing its work over the summer, and I thought I would catch you up on a conversation happening there that I suspect will soon expand to include faculty.

For those of you who are not familiar with IAC, it is a monthly gathering of all the deans at the College: deans of students, academic affairs, learning support, discipline areas. You get the point; all of them. They try to smooth out the rough edges of how the College functions administratively. Right now, one of the things they are seeing as a rough edge is faculty-initiated withdrawal of students.

As a reminder, according to College procedure, Valencia faculty are “permitted to withdraw a student from the faculty member’s class, up to the beginning of the final exam period, for violation of the faculty member’s attendance policy, as published in the faculty member’s syllabus.” While the procedure does not specify, there are some traditions that have grown up around this process; three absences in a standard semester course is generally considered minimum for excessive absence, and students should be notified if they are in jeopardy of withdrawal.

While I understand that deans’ likely encounters with faculty-initiated withdrawal are when something has gone wrong and there is a problem, they still have some valid points for why we might reconsider the practice.

  1. Faculty may think a “W” is less punitive than an “F” in a class, but there are situations where a withdrawal is disastrous for students. International students who go below 12 hours due to a withdrawal lose their visa eligibility and likely will need to leave the country. Veterans who drop below full-time status may have to repay benefits they have received, and our general population students with financial aid may have problems as well.
  2. As a basic issue of fairness, is it fair to tell students they cannot attend a class for which they have paid? A withdrawal could be thought of as depriving a student of property (the rest of the course) in which case, due process would be required.
  3. Since faculty-initiated withdrawals are only allowed for reasons of attendance, if attendance is not crucial to the learning outcomes, should it be a requirement for course completion? If attendance is key to the outcomes, would it be more appropriate to build it into the grading scale instead of using withdrawals?

I have encouraged deans to have this discussion in division meetings, and Learning Council has commissioned a Focused Inquiry Team to look into how withdrawal policy affects student outcomes. This is definitely a hot-button issue for IAC, so expect conversations as we move forward. I’m hoping to be past president of Faculty Association by the time this gets traction (sorry, Stanton), but I will certainly be part of the process.

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Valencia College Celebrates the Tenure Class of 2019

Valencia College Tenure Class of 2019 ceremony photos by Roberto Gonzalez

On Thursday, April 4, 2019, Valencia College celebrated faculty from the Tenure Class of 2019 who successfully completed the pre-tenure process and submitted their final individualized teaching/learning portfolios through the Teaching and Learning Academy.

To celebrate their accomplishments, a reception was held at the District Office recognizing these faculty members’ upcoming transition to fully tenured faculty. The reception was the culmination of a rigorous five-year, pre-tenure process focused on the development and refinement of professional practices in teaching, librarianship or counsellorship.

Congratulations to the following faculty members:

East Campus:
Aby Boumarate, professor, English
Andrea Bealler, counselor
Chiara Ojeda, professor, English
Dennis Hunchuck, professor, computer programming and analysis
Jonathan Territo, professor, music
Juan-Alberto Salto, professor, Spanish
Linda Freeman, professor, psychology
Sean Lake, professor, humanities
Tom Baselice, professor, accounting

Lake Nona Campus:
Michael Wheaton, professor, English

Osceola Campus:
Dheeraj Verma, professor, biology
Emily Elrod, professor, mathematics
Laura Magness, professor, psychology
Luis Negron, professor, mathematics 

West Campus:
Doreen Watson, professor, sociology
Eric Crumpler, professor, chemistry
Fontella Jones, counselor
Jennifer Papoula, counselor
Jerry Reed, professor, computer programming and analysis
Jose Baez, professor, mathematics
Kristina Kraakmo, professor, mathematics
Lisa Lippitt, professor, humanities
Mahendra Gossai, professor, computer programming and analysis
Mayra Borrero Cuevas, professor, nursing
Nardia Cumberbatch, librarian
Travis Rodgers, professor, humanities
Yasser Saad, professor, biology 

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Carolyn DeLeo Reflects on the Use of Mind Mapping as an Instructional Strategy — Faculty Highlight

After attending the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) Annual Conference in October 2018, Carolyn DeLeo, professor, sonography, was inspired to bring mind mapping into her classroom. Below is Carolyn’s honest reflection of using mind mapping and an evaluation of the instructional strategy’s usefulness and success in her classroom.

By Carolyn DeLeo, Professor, Sonography 

Mind mapping — also referred to as concept mapping — is a method that students can use to organize learning content into conceptual categories and create links between related material. I personally discovered the rich and effective use of mind mapping during a recent conference and have since better served my students by equipping them with mind mapping as a study and learning tool.

Once armed with the concept, I set about using mind mapping as an instructional strategy.

For example, I’ve employed mind mapping in a class on the sonography of ovarian pathology. I divided the class into three groups, and provided them with a blank presentation board, markers, sticky notes and a picture of the ovary. The image of the ovary symbolized our central topic. Their assignment was to create a mind map of the various ovarian pathologies that they will be tested on when they take their national credentialing board exams, as well as on their weekly quiz the following week.

To begin, as a class, we strategized on the various branches they could start off with and what type of information they might want to include. For example, did they want to group the pathologies by their sonographic appearances or by the categories of pathology based on their origins? Then, we discussed what they might want to include. This included choices about the definition of the pathologies, any significant clinical signs and symptoms, sonographic features or claim to fame. (A claim to fame is a unique trait about the pathology that sets it apart from the others.) The groups were then free to choose how they wanted to organize their mind map. The students spent the remainder of the class time creating their concept maps.

Overall, the students did a wonderful job of mapping key concepts and connecting related topics. Two of the groups divided the work up and came together to create the mind map on the board. The third group did each step together. They were unable to complete the mind map in the time allotted. At the end of class, students were able to view the other group’s boards. They were able to use their concept maps to study for the quiz scheduled for the following week.

Before their quiz, I asked them to complete a short survey regarding their experience with mind mapping. This is a summary of what I learned from the survey:

  • Not all students like mind mapping. Less than 50% of my students said they liked the activity. One student began the project stating that she did not like concept maps, period. She had used it another class, and she had a bad experience. Several students also commented that the activity took too much time and wasn’t an effective use of class time, and others indicated that they have a preference already in how they organize the learning content, and mind mapping is not it for them.
  • Some students, however, found the activity useful and developed a new study tool based on the activity. One student, for example, continued working on mind mapping after class and, before the weekend was over, she had created a mind map on the computer of her sonography of breast pathologies. She shared it with her classmates and used it to study for that week’s quiz. One student, who did enjoy the activity, stated, “Before we put the information together, we had to separate it into categories. That part was most helpful in understanding the information.” Another noted, “I felt like it helped me to choose the keys of each pathology in order to help myself differentiate between the pathologies and not blend them all together.” A fourth student said, “I liked mixing it up a little bit with doing something other than just a lecture.”
  • Recommendations made by the students included: make it an assignment rather than classwork; it was too big of a topic, break it into smaller portions; and spend more time lecturing about mind mapping first.

In conclusion, there was a mixed student review on mind mapping, and the activity also failed to substantially effect students’ grades. After comparing quiz averages with the ovarian pathology quiz, I found no difference in the class average.

I feel that mind mapping is a valuable tool for students to organize learning content and make connections between key concepts. If it is a new tool to them, they may need more guidance and direction in making the first few mind maps.

When I use mind mapping in the future, I will structure it differently. After deciding on the central topic and its branches, I will break the class into groups and give each group a branch to map. After the students have completed their branch, I’ll bring them back together to share their branches with their classmates. As they share their branches, I’ll challenge them to see what connections they can find.

Monthly Archives: May 2019

High School Students Compete in Design Competition at Advanced Manufacturing Training Center

A canoe, horseshoe, train and wagon wheel — these are just a few of the bike-rack themes related to Osceola County history that eighth- through 12th-grade students from Kissimmee’s Zenith Accelerated Learning Academy designed for a contest in partnership with their school, Valencia College’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) and Osceola County. On Thursday, May 23, 2019, 11 students visited the AMTC and presented their bike-rack designs to a panel of judges. The winning design will be manufactured by Valencia’s AMTC students and then installed between the Osceola County Administrative Building and the Osceola County Historic Courthouse in Kissimmee.

This is the third year for the project, explained Zenith’s Digital Media Teacher Debbie Bohanan, who works with the students in a digital video class. Debbie helps the students create their designs in a 3D design program, SketchUp, and prepare their presentations for the judges.

“For a lot of the students, they didn’t know manufacturing existed prior to this project,” she explained, mentioning that each of the students also receives a tour of the AMTC following their presentations. “This opens the door to a career they may not have known about before.”

High school sophomore Edwin Benitez has participated in this program for three years and was the first competition winner in 2017 when he designed a bench that was manufactured by AMTC students and now is installed at Zenith Accelerated Learning Academy.

“Participating in this program has been fun for me,” Edwin said. “I’ve learned many things along the way, and I’ve considered joining the AMTC program following high school,” he said, although he also shared that he’s most likely to pursue a career as a movie producer.

As a competition winner, Edwin was invited during his summer break to the AMTC to shadow Valencia students as they manufactured his bench, and he experimented on-site with a virtual reality welding machine and coded a robot to weld. During his visit, he even created a Nike symbol with his father’s name on it, a gift he was able to take home to present to his dad on his birthday.

“It [his visit to the AMTC] was so cool,” Edwin exclaimed. “They [AMTC faculty and students] welcomed me like family.”

Judges, including District 4 County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb, Osceola County Public Information Coordinator Andrew Sullivan, Zenith Accelerated Learning Academy Principal Robert Studly, AMTC Director Mike Kepner and Advanced Manufacturing Part-time Welding Instructor Juan Ayala, selected 11th-grade student Bri Hastings’ horseshoe design as this year’s winning project. AMTC students will manufacture the bike rack in July 2019, and it will be installed in fall 2019.

Left image: Left to right: Mike Kepner, winner Bri Hastings and Commissioner Chery Grieb
Right image: Student Bri Hastings’ winning horseshoe bike-rack design. 

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Develop Your Leadership Skills in PIVOT 180

As we start planning for our next academic year, now’s the time, if you’re interested, to plan and talk with your supervisor or dean about participating in the PIVOT 180 2019-2020 cohort.

As part of our leadership development programs, PIVOT 180 focuses on developing self-management and other transferable leadership skills. It is a one-year commitment and consists of 12 full-day workshops held once a month and has reading/homework assignments that will require work outside of the classroom.

Based on feedback, we have made some changes to our schedule. This year, our workshops will take place on Fridays instead of Tuesdays, to help allow student-facing staff and faculty the opportunity to participate. We also added an additional workshop to the program since three of our workshops will occur on half-day Fridays. Please review the schedule to ensure your complete participation in the program before speaking with your supervisor and submitting an application. Below is the selection process timeline. Please note that only full-time employees are eligible to participate in PIVOT 180.

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2019 – Application opens
  • Friday, July 12, 2019 – Application closes
  • Friday, August 30, 2019 – Inform participants of acceptance
  • Friday, September 27, 2019 – Program begins

We will share the application link in The Juice on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

For questions or additional information, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748) or Luisa Sersch, coordinator, employee development, at or 407-299-5000, extension 5141.

Monthly Archives: May 2019

District Board of Trustees May Meeting Centered on Partnership and Community Impact

Left to right: Valencia College District Board of Trustees Chair Bruce Carlson, Walt Disney World Director of External Affairs Tajiana Ancora-Brown, Walt Disney World Vice President of External Affairs Adam Babington, West and Downtown Campus President Falecia Williams and College President Sandy Shugart

With less than 100 days until the opening of the Downtown Campus, there’s much to celebrate — including the partnerships that have made the Downtown Campus possible. During the Wednesday, May 15, 2019, District Board of Trustees meeting, Falecia Williams, president, West and Downtown Campuses, highlighted those partnerships, with a particular focus on Valencia’s continued and innovative relationship with the Walt Disney Company. Drawing similarities between the entertainment giant and Valencia College, she noted the institutions’ similar values and principles (even explaining that our landmarks, UnionWest at Creative Village and Cinderella’s Castle, are roughly the same height). She also spoke to our shared commitment to create a stellar student experience by designing innovative, state-of-the-art learning spaces and developing a powerful curriculum — all of which will help Valencia College rank as one of the top-five culinary and hospitality schools around the world.

Valencia leaders also celebrated the partnership with Disney by recognizing two cast members, Walt Disney World Director of External Affairs Tajiana Ancora-Brown and Vice President of External Affairs Adam Babington  — who stood in for George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort and long-time supporter of Valencia College. The award featured a plaque celebrating Disney’s partnership in building better tomorrows and a tasty gift basket with treats prepared by Valencia’s School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality faculty and students.

Other topics discussed during the meeting included:

Legislative Update

Jay Galbraith, vice president, public affairs and marketing, provided the board with an update on budget matters related to the recent legislative session. In his report, he stated the following:

  • To provide some context going into this legislative session, the previous two years were difficult for the Florida College System with an overall budget cut, while the state universities received unprecedented budget growth.
  • Early in session, there was a desire by the senate to restore and improve the Florida College System funding; however, the house was looking at zero to slightly decrease budget growth across the state budget.
  • In addition, there were challenges presented to higher education due to questions about the University of Central Florida related to its funding of new buildings, and issues of large fund balances being carried by several Florida colleges including Miami-Dade.
  • With those challenges stated, the local legislative delegation understood and was focused on supporting Valencia and the challenges we have and continue to experience in our budget as a growing college.

He also reminded the board of Valencia’s top four legislative and budget priorities:

  1. Work with the system to achieve as much recovered and new money for the College as possible.
  2. Support continued compression funding for those colleges like Valencia that are underfunded to FTE (full-time equivalent).
  3. Encourage the movement of performance funds from non-recurring to recurring.
  4. Garner support for funding of our potential Lake Nona Campus Building 2.

Finally, Jay explained the following budget outcomes of this year’s legislative session, including:

  • Last year, Valencia received just over $80 million in recurring funds and $7 million in non-recurring performance funding. This year, our total recurring funding rose to over $89 million dollars which represents an increase to our recurring base.
  • Valencia benefited from compression allocation and just $4 million in performance funding, which is now recurring.
  • New monies to Valencia is just over $2 million. We did receive a large amount of performance funding last year. So, Jay noted, “there’s a bit of a hill to climb to grow our budget.”
  • In addition, the College received a special supplemental operating recurring appropriation totaling $3 million.
  • Unfortunately, there was very limited funding for buildings in the college system and no new buildings were funded, meaning we will have to work next year to start funding for the Lake Nona Campus Building 2.

Bill Mullowney, vice president, policy and general counsel, provided the board with an update on substantive legislation of interest from the recent legislative session and thanked the board members for their advocacy in supporting and advancing Valencia’s mission. As part of this update, he summarized Senate Bill 190, which goes into effect on Monday, July 1, 2019, and impacts the College in several ways, including via new restrictions on college fund balance management and imposing a new process for the development of the state’s annual project list for the Florida College System’s capital projects.

Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Preliminary Budget 
Looking ahead to the 2019-2020 fiscal year, Loren Bender, vice president, business operations and finance, presented the College’s preliminary budget framework. Rooted in Valencia’s underlying funding priorities, the budget was specifically designed to: invest in people, programs and tools to support student learning and students’ experiences at Valencia; support initiatives that expand the delivery of Valencia’s mission; ensure Valencia College employees receive a comprehensive and substantial Total Rewards and compensation package; and align policies and processes with Valencia’s affordability policy.

He specifically called special attention to several key notables about the 2019-2020 proposed budget, including:

  • The College will maintain the tuition rate of $103.06 per credit hour for the sixth year in a row.
  • The state appropriated $89.9 million to Valencia College for the 2019-2020 fiscal year vs. the $87.7 million in 2018-2019. This represents approximately 45% of total college funding.
  • Contrary to prior years, the funding will be 100% reoccurring. This change allows the College to have better planning options and enable funding toward initiatives and projects that support Valencia’s core mission and long-term growth.
  • The $89.9 million state appropriation includes $3.1 million in reoccurring performance funding. Valencia received just over 10% of the funding available to all schools.
  • The revenue request includes a proposed distance learning fee of $8 for online learning, Valencia’s fastest growing modality. This state-authorized fee enables the College to continue to grow and enhance its online programs. The proposed fee would be one of the lowest charged among all Florida colleges and would not exceed the costs to support this program delivery.
  • The overall proposed operating expense budget for the College is $214 million. This budget proposal represents a 4% increase year-over-year in overall expenses and supports costs associated with the new Downtown Campus, a new customer-relationship management (CRM) tool that will expand proactive advising and Valencia’s recruitment outreach, support new programs and enhance information technology controls.
  • The budget also included a 2.3% wage increase for employees and no increases to health care costs for the fifth year in a row.

The preliminary budget framework was approved by the board. The formal approval of all fees and the overall budget will be conducted at the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at the School of Public Safety. To view the full 2019-2010 Operating Budget Framework Report, click here.

Lake Nona Campus Report
Carrying forward the theme of partnership, The Lake Nona Campus Report highlighted the relationship between Valencia College and the School District of Osceola County, and how that partnership helped yield an innovative and highly effective example of cross-institutional collaboration. Kathleen Plinske, executive vice president and provost, and president, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campus, Mike Bosley, executive dean, Lake Nona Campus, and Scott Fritz, School District of Osceola County chief of staff for teaching, leading and learning, presented data indicating Osceola County students’ performance in gateway mathematics courses at Valencia depended, in part, on the high school from which they graduated. The performance issues were exasperated by a critical shortage and challenge to recruit math teachers in the district’s high schools. Knowing that the research suggests that students’ level of academic preparedness upon graduation from high school is correlated with students’ success in college, the educational leaders noted an opportunity to collaboratively forge a solution.

Together, Valencia College and the School District of Osceola County developed a plan where Valencia would recruit for a newly created, joint faculty position, called professor and extension specialist, mathematics, in which educators teach five college-readiness courses at the School District of Osceola County and one college-level mathematics course at a Valencia College campus. The positions are jointly funded by Valencia College, which pays the teachers’ benefits, and the School District of Osceola County, which pays the teachers’ salaries. This unique and collaborative approach empowers the educators to holistically educate and support students by teaching based on a shared vision and with shared resources.

In the video below, Faulys Ponceano, professor and extension specialist, mathematics, explains what the impact has been in her classroom.

New Vice President of Student Affairs
Kathleen introduced Joe Richardson, Valencia College’s new vice president of student affairs to the District Board of Trustees, who welcomed him to the Valencia family. For more information, including Joe’s biography, 
click here.

Interdisciplinary Learning
As part of the of the Faculty Council Report, John Niss, Faculty Association president, invited Debra Hollister, professor, psychology, to detail her partnership with faculty and staff from various disciplines and departments to create an Escape Room at the Lake Nona Campus, which is helping to teach students the skills of collaboration and leadership through the practical application of interdisciplinary studies. Students who participate receive a picture, a signed certificate and trophy to commemorate their experience. After Debra’s presentation, Mike Bosley thanked her for 30 years of service and noted how she has continued to make innovative contributions right up to her retirement. Read more about the Escape Room by clicking here.

Construction Report
With several major construction projects in the works, Loren updated the board on key construction projects, such as the Downtown Center for Accelerated Training, which is projected for completion this August 2019, the Career in Technology building on the Osceola Campus, which will welcome students early in 2020, the Downtown Campus buildings, which are on-schedule for the campus’ fall opening, and smaller-scale West Campus projects, including a new Building 5 roof and Communications Lab. Review the full construction report by clicking here.

Valencia Foundation Update
Trustee Beth Smith celebrated the success of Valencia’s Taste for Learning event on Saturday, May 11, 2019, which generated $335,000 in scholarships for first-generation college students. She also noted that the Valencia Foundation board is currently in the process of identifying new board members who share a passion for advancing access to and success in higher education.

For more information on the meeting, click here.

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. in the School of Public Safety Auditorium.