Monthly Archives: November 2019

Celebrating Educational Advancements — Winter 2019

Valencia’s recognition program is robust — spanning from career anniversary celebrations to appreciation badges to the educational advancement program.

In the educational advancement program, which celebrates non-instructional employees who have been employed in a full-time position for a minimum of six months and who have earned a degree from a regionally accredited institution, the College awards employees a one-time, lump-sum payment, barring any degree that is a required qualification of the employee’s current position. Please note that employees are compensated for only one award per first academic degree earned.

Through this program, the College recognized the following employees for achieving a post-secondary degree:

  • Ashley Daniello, coordinator, program advisor, master’s degree
  • Diana Budach, instructional lab supervisor, master’s degree
  • Niurka Ferrer, director, transitions planning, doctorate degree

Congratulations to these employees for their fantastic achievements. Please congratulate them in the comment section below.

For more information on the educational advancement policy, please refer to College Policy 6Hx28-3C-04 Total Rewards: Recognition of Full-Time Employees for Educational Advancement. For questions, email or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Hear From Our Candidates for West Campus Dean of Students

A Message from Joe Richardson, Vice President, Student Affairs

You’re invited to be a part of selecting our new West Campus dean of students on Monday, December 2, 2019, on the West Campus in Building HSB, Room 105.

You will have the opportunity to hear from our two finalists for this important role during forums open to all Valencia College faculty, staff and students. If you cannot attend in person, click here to review the forums.

We also want to hear your thoughts about each of the candidates. Please click here to complete the feedback survey on the candidates no later than Tuesday, December 3, 2019, at 5 p.m.

Candidates and forum times are as follows:

Andel Fils-Aime
Time: 2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
To view Andel’s resume, click here.

John Britt
Time: 3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
To view John’s resume, click here.

I hope to see you at the forums.

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Get a REAL ID at the District Office

A Message from Arthur King, Director, Security, West Region

Representatives from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will be at the District Office on Monday, December 2, 2019, from 10 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. in Room 502 for employees to obtain a REAL ID Florida driver’s license.

Real ID is a nationwide effort to improve the integrity and security of state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards, which in turn will help fight terrorism and reduce identity fraud. REAL IDs will be required at airports across the country starting Thursday, October 1, 2020.

How do you know if you already have a REAL ID? The new credentials have a star in the upper-right corner of the card, as show in the example licenses below.

If you do not have the star, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recommends replacing your ID.

To sign up for an appointment, please visit our security officers on the first floor. Limited spaces are available and are filling up fast. If needed, we may hold a second session.

For a list of what to bring to your appointment, click here.

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Inclusive Teaching and Learning Tips — Faculty Development Resources

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

Have you thought about what you could do to create more inclusive spaces for students? Inclusive teaching and learning practices involve learning environments that are student-centered with a focus on student experiences, diverse and accessible curriculum, and safe spaces that support all student success.

Here are some quick tips to think about incorporating in your interactions with students:

  • Take time to get to know your students and tailor activities based on this knowledge. Learn students’ names and consider asking questions to see if your students have prior knowledge of the content that you can build from.
  • Explain the outcomes of the lesson/unit at the beginning of the class session so students connect to the bigger picture learning goals.
  • Focus on how you create student engagement with you, other students and course content to deepen connections and investment in learning.
  • Use a wide range of teaching, learning and assessment approaches to allow multiple ways to demonstrate learning.

Please visit any Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation to explore more about these and other inclusive teaching practices.

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Osceola Campus’ New Art Gallery Opens with Student Art Exhibition

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

Please join us for our first Student Art Exhibition at Osceola Campus, which will occur in our new art gallery! The artwork that will be displayed is from our first printmaking class and our drawing students. The Gallery, in Building A (for “Arts”!), will display the students’ work from Monday, November 25 to Thursday, December 12, 2019.

A reception will be held on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, from 5 -7 p.m.

Anyone who would like to view the art on a different day can go to the Humanities department (Building 1, Room 141) to ask them to unlock the door.

If you have any question, please contact Karen Owens, professor, humanities, at or 407-299-5000, extension 4527.

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Students Enjoy Valencia World Cup to Mark International Education Week

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

To celebrate International Education Week (IEW), the UFit Program and International Student Services partnered on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, to host the annual IEW Valencia World Cup.

The IEW Valencia World Cup is a one-day soccer tournament, consisting of four teams playing in a double elimination bracket.

We had a great blend of students, faculty and staff participating in the one-day tournament, with 60 students participating in the tournament and more than 250 students stopping by and watching the games. We also had representation from International Village and Continuing Education students from Osceola, Poinciana and West Campuses.

The tournament ran from 12 to 5 p.m. with music playing and Valencia Volunteers handing out refreshments and snacks to the participants.

The winning team, representing Fiji, walked away with IEW Valencia World Cup trophies, while the second place team, representing Mexico, won soccer medals.

International Student Services and the UFit Program were thrilled to host an event that includes one of the most internationally known sports, soccer, for International Education Week, and they look forward to hosting this event next year.

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Please Provide Your Feedback for Campus President Search

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

As Dr. Shugart noted in his recent email message, we are gearing up for the search to find the next campus president to serve the Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses. We have engaged a higher education executive search firm (AGB) who will assist us in recruiting talent to the search process and over the coming weeks, we will assist the search consultants — Fred Moore and Rod McDavis — in getting to know Valencia, the Osceola region and the community we serve.

We’d like to hear your perspectives on what challenges our new campus president will face as well as the skills and qualities he or she will need in order to realize the immense opportunities in the region and at the College.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey found at this link.

Your responses are completely anonymous and will guide us as we search for the talent needed to lead the region in the coming years. We’d appreciate your feedback as soon as possible but not later than Tuesday, November 26, 2019, at 11:59 p.m.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to Amy Bosley, vice president, organizational development and human resources, at or 407-299-5000, extension 8255.

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Sisters Will Earn Degrees in December

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

On vacation from Guyana in 2015, the Gomes sisters were so intrigued by Valencia College that they took time for a campus tour and investigated our international student program — then when they moved to Central Florida in 2017, they enrolled with us and began their college careers.

This December, they will earn their associate degrees and segue into their future plans.

Carolyn, 21 and pursuing biomedical sciences, and Cindy, 19 and pursuing accounting, started at the Poinciana Campus, where they had classes with Nelson Rafael Placa, New Student Experience professor, and Jorge Valladares, professor, psychology. These teachers supported Carolyn and Cindy in those first college classes and encouraged them to continue their studies.

In later semesters, the sisters took classes at the Osceola Campus and also online because they do not have access to a car and must endure a two-hour bus ride to get to campus from their home in Poinciana. Both are in the Seneff Honors Program, where Carolyn has enjoyed her math and psychology classes, and Cindy appreciated the Honors leadership class as well as a service-learning experience with Stanton Reed, professor, business and accounting. They are also indebted to Honors Counselor Alina Siddiqui, who has been a helpful influence in their college journeys.

Each sister has a plan for future studies. Carolyn is headed to the University of Central Florida, where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences, and she believes her hospital volunteer work has given her a head-start for success. Cindy will enroll in Florida Atlantic University’s online accounting program to work on her bachelor’s degree in accounting. She would also like to achieve her license as a Certified Public Accountant as well as earn a master’s degree.

Both sisters have solid, evidence-based advice for other students. Carolyn reminds her peers to ask questions and get involved, while Cindy suggests keeping an open mind and persevering through the challenges that are sure to crop up.

Carolyn and Cindy note that everyone they have encountered at Valencia has been supportive and helpful. They never regretted their decision to attend Valencia College.

I would like to congratulate Carolyn and Cindy and wish them luck in their future endeavors.

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Faculty Governance Update — November 2019

A Message from Stanton Reed, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

As I’m now more than three months into my role as president of the Collegewide Faculty Association, I can say I’m grateful — grateful for you, our most outstanding faculty; grateful for our students; and grateful for my Faculty Association experience so far. You consistently energize me with your endless support and efforts to transform lives, strengthen our community and inspire our students to excellence. Before I move on, I ask you to name three things that you are grateful for and then practice that reflection every day.

So far this semester, I’ve been visiting faculty to personally connect and engage with you on important issues. And I’ve been emailing faculty, one campus at a time, to share my affirmation for you. If you haven’t heard from me yet, please watch your inbox. And if you have something to share with me now, I invite you to call or email to set up an informal meet-and-greet.

As part of my faculty challenge that I shared during Academic Assembly, I’ve now started on my second book, “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson. I’m now seeking a colleague to pass my copy to after I complete it and then for him or her to do the same. If you’re interested in reading it next, please let me know. I look forward to having a discussion about this New York Times Best Seller with you.

If you’re unfamiliar with the challenge I’ve mentioned above, here’s a reminder. To help foster personal connection, improve yourself professionally and assist the College with building equitable teaching practices as we work toward a more inclusive and equitable community, I’ve challenged each of you to:

  1. Read a book on equity, inclusion and connection, sign your name in the book when you finish, and then send the book to a colleague with a request to do the same. I encourage you to engage with each other about the book. Here are some additional book ideas, but you are welcome to select your own as well.
  2. Reach out to a student to engage with that student or attend a student event.
  3. Initiate a conversation with your dean to participate in development outside of the annual review process.

If you’ve started on the challenge, how’s it going? I’d love to hear from you on your progress at or 407-299-5000, extension 4224.

Here are some Faculty Council updates from our Thursday, November 14, 2019, meeting:

Campus Forum for the Proposed Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Model
If you haven’t had a chance to attend a campus forum regarding the Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Model, I encourage you to attend the last forum to provide feedback, ask questions and see how your current practices align with the new model. The last forum will take place on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, on the West Campus in the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation in Building 6, Room 327. For details, click here.

Policy Feedback
The Faculty Council was asked to provide feedback on revisions to Policy: 6Hx28:4-07 Academic Progress, Course Attendance and Grades, and Withdrawals, as well as for two new policies, Policy 6Hx28:02-03 Animals on Campus and 6Jx28:02-02 Workplace Accommodations. When these policies are approved by the District Board of Trustees this spring semester, details will be shared in The Juice and on The Grove.

2021-2022 Academic Calendar
While it’s a bit earlier than usual, we’re already collecting feedback about the 2021-2022 academic calendar. Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske provided the Council the following analysis. To download a copy of the 2021-2022 academic calendar discussion. click here.

The current draft 2021-2022 academic calendar shows the fall term starting on August 30, 2021, with grades due on December 20, 2021. This would leave only one business day before the College closes for winter break for students to make adjustments to their spring schedule based on their performance in the fall, and makes it very difficult for students who graduate in the fall to transfer and start at UCF in the spring.

If Valencia started the fall 2021 term on August 23 — the same day as the University of Central Florida has planned — the College would be open for more than a week after fall grades post, allowing time for students to make adjustments to their spring schedule and allowing time for the College to proactively reach out to students who may have had unsuccessful course attempts in the fall.

However, this would result in a faculty break between summer and fall that would be shorter than it has been traditionally. There would be 11 calendar days between the end of the summer 2021 term (full-term grades due on August 4 and Term B grades due on August 5), and the first fall faculty planning/work day would be on August 17. In recent years, there have been 18 calendar days between the end of the summer term and the first fall faculty workday.

An August 23 start day, however, would result in a longer faculty winter break. There would be 23 days between the end of the fall 2021 term and the first spring faculty planning/work day on January 6. In recent years, there have been 16 calendar days between the end of the fall term and the first spring faculty workday.

Therefore, Kathleen asked the Faculty Council to obtain the following feedback:

  1. What are your thoughts about the possible August 23 and August 30 fall start dates?
  2. Would you recommend that Valencia explore a complete review and potential redesign of the summer term or entire academic year?

The Faculty Council will create a Google doc to obtain feedback by campus.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at or 407-299-5000, extension 4224. I hope each of you have a restful, recharging Thanksgiving break.

Monthly Archives: November 2019

Claudia Genovese-Martinez Improves Students’ Lives Through Developmental Math Instructor Training — Faculty Highlight

As professor of mathematics and director of developmental math on West Campus, Claudia Genovese-Martinez continuously rethinks and reevaluates the need for professional development in developmental mathematics, in an ever-changing world.

“Developmental math faculty face a unique reality when teaching a developmental math class. We not only address the curriculum, but also deal with students’ motivational struggles and their specific life difficulties (family, work, financial instability, etc.),” Claudia explained, while pointing out that these classroom realities were not completely evident to her when she was a part-time developmental math instructor.

With a desire to improve student success and make a difference in each student, Claudia started the Innovation Academy for Developmental Math Instructors in 2015.

The Innovation Academy is a community of practice that supports and assists West Campus developmental math instructors with improving and expanding their teaching methods. It is organized around the Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator, tailored to the teaching and learning of developmental math courses. This academy ensures that training is relevant to developmental math teaching practices and encourages collaboration of faculty peers and self-reflection, as well as providing sustained engagement and support.

The Academy offers a series of workshops — through one or more semesters — that are organized as one Essential Competency per academic year and tied to the yearly department academic goals. These types of activities, which involve presentations, activities and discussions, are rare in higher education, as they usually are on-time or just-in-time workshops. Some of the workshops created thus far include:

  • Developmental Advising: Instructors were presented with research in the areas of developmental advising and practical applications in the classroom. At the conclusion of the program, instructors designed activities to address developmental advising, for example, math self-efficacy and motivation.
  • Assessment: Activities which promote metacognitive thinking, such as open response questions, group reports, review by peers and keeping a learning log or journal were presented to instructors. A blend of assessment and instruction strategies were developed and piloted during this workshop.
  • Learning-centered Teaching Practice: This workshop focused on math lab efficacy. Instructor best practices were presented to illustrate how a student learning-centered classroom and lab helps promote student success.
  • Professional Commitment:  Strategies and suggestions presented by colleagues help faculty manage difficult situations such as conflicts in the classroom and specific student situations, as faculty members are often the first point of contact for many student issues. Instructors who participate in this academy feel a sense of belonging and community, as dialogue is promoted among colleagues to help connect in various levels: professionally, academically and, at times, emotionally.

Claudia reports that these professional development efforts are reflected in our faculty being more effective instructors.

“Instructors who attend our workshops report student learning gains aligned with the workshop goals,” she shared. “Furthermore, many instructors look back at past development opportunities and describe changes in their teaching strategies as their practices continue to evolve.”

Valencia student success in developmental math has significantly increased — from approximately 48% in 2005 to 55% in 2018.

“It has been extremely fulfilling to see the improvement our West Campus Math department has made in the lives of our students and professors, and the potential for their future achievements,” she said. “Results as these continue to push us to maintain our efforts to enhance student success, as well as to increase instructor participation in the Academy,”

Although the workshops were originally designed with the goal of initiating a developmental math instructor community on West Campus, all math faculty collegewide are invited to attend. Additionally, Claudia is available to assist with creating a similar program for Valencia’s other campuses.

For questions on future offerings, or if you’re interested in learning more about the program, contact Claudia at or 407-299-5000, extension 5109.

Do you know a faculty member doing great work? Or, perhaps you’d like to share the work you’re doing? Send the colleague’s (or your) name to us at and include Faculty Highlight Nomination in the subject line of your email. We might just feature your colleague (or you) as an upcoming Faculty Highlight.