Monthly Archives: January 2020

Graphic Design Program Participates in JA Inspire Event

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

Graphics Professor Julio Falu represented Valencia College’s Graphic and Interactive Design Program at a JA Inspire event at Osceola Heritage Park on Thursday, January 23, 2020. JA Inspire offers students the opportunity to learn about careers from caring mentors in time to plan their high school coursework.

Approximately 4,000 students from Osceola County middle schools attended, and he spoke to more than 400 of them about a career in graphic design and some of the things they could learn in the program.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

Cuban Artist Mingles With Students and Staff at Art Gallery Reception

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

The Osceola Campus Art Gallery is hosting “Cuba: Memories Revisited,” which is an exhibition of photographs comparing memories to reality by José Angel Betancourt, through Friday, February 7, 2020.

On Thursday, January 23, 2020, the artist spoke with students, faculty and staff about his work during a reception. Professor of Humanities Mark McMeley noted, “The event on Thursday was perfect, with good attendance by students and staff and a great talk by José that helped us understand the rationale and methods behind his ‘Memories Revisited’ project. The exhibit is beautiful. The topic is very appropriate and relevant for our campus, and the works will be accessible to students in a way that makes the art both challenging and aesthetically pleasing. The exhibit will make people think — as it made me think.”

Thanks to Professors of Humanties Karen Owens and Kathryn Gualtieri, and Interim Dean of Academic Affairs Marlene Temes for their hard work to get this inaugural professional exhibition off the ground.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

What Do You Do — Mindy Mozena and Nicholle Trapp

This week’s featured employees work in Student Affairs on two of our campuses to ensure that students are thoughtfully and efficiently guided through our enrollment and advising processes. Mindy Mozena works at Lake Nona Campus as director of student services, while Nicholle Trapp is manager of student services at the Osceola Campus.

  • To read about what Mindy does at the College, click here.
  • To read about what Nicholle does at the College, click here.

Feel free to reach out to Mindy and Nicholle with any questions about support services for our students.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

Canvas Update — New Analytics and Changes to Quizzes Tool

A Message from Geni Wright, Director, Online Teaching and Learning

In the next couple of months, in Canvas, you will find updates to analytics and the Quiz tool.

New Analytics
New Analytics is currently an optional feature and must be enabled by instructors in each course prior to use. New Analytics will replace the current Canvas analytics tool in March, so I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the tools that allow you to access data about your courses and to gain a greater understanding of student performance. Data can be used to enhance student success and course design.

There are four major areas you can view in your course:

  1. Activities: View Weekly Course Activity, which shows level of activity of assignments, pages, resources or discussions that students access in a course.
  2. Assignments: Send a message through analytics to select students whose grades or submissions fall within specific criteria. For example, you can message all students who have grades below a certain percentage, or all students who have failed a quiz.
  3. Grades: Show the median and highs and lows of the scores for an assignment by course and student.
  4. Student Analytics: View total page views, communications, assignments and current score for every student in the course. Email students who did not click on a course resource, for example, a course syllabus. If you activate New Analytics for students, they can review their own online course activity using the tool.

To activate the New Analytics in your course, go to the Course Navigation and select “Settings.” Then select the “Feature Options” tab and turn on the New Analytics feature. To open New Analytics, click the “New Analytics” link in Course Navigation or click the “New Analytics” button in the Course home page.

If you cannot view the New Analytics link, you may have to make the link visible via the Navigation tab in Course Settings. Data is refreshed in New Analytics every 24 hours. For more information, visit Canvas Community.

Changes to the Quizzes Tool
Over the last couple of months, Canvas has been developing a more enhanced quiz engine called New Quizzes. This tool is currently available through the Assignments page by clicking on the “+Quiz/Test” button.

Starting in February, the New Quizzes tool will move from the Assignments page to the Quizzes page. At that point, when you create a new quiz, you will have the option to create a quiz using “Classic Quizzes” or “New Quizzes.” The existing quiz tool that is available through the Quiz page will be referred to as “Classic Quizzes,” and the new quiz engine will be called “New Quizzes.” To learn more about the difference between these two quiz engines, please refer to the comparison chart.

When creating a new quiz, you will see the following menu:

To differentiate between Classic Quizzes and New Quizzes, in both the Assignments page and the Quizzes page, New Quizzes will be displayed by a solid Quiz icon, which looks like a rocket. Classic Quizzes will be identified by an outlined Quiz icon. You and students will be able to view these icons to differentiate between quiz versions.

Resources and Getting Help

If you have any questions about these changes, please visit a Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation to meet with a faculty developer/instructional designer.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

Faculty Ombuds Update — January 2020

In fall 2018, Organizational Development and Human Resources introduced a new faculty dispute resolution resource — a faculty ombuds representative — and welcomed your representative, Anna Saintil, professor, student life skills. Anna is trained to provide support, guidance and feedback to faculty who are having difficulty resolving conflicts. For more information on the faculty ombuds role, click here, and read Anna’s update below.

A Message from Anna Saintil, Professor, Student Life Skills, and Faculty Ombuds Representative

The faculty ombuds representative supports faculty members with their workplace dynamics and interdepartmental relationships. As the inaugural faculty ombuds representative, I have served as a resource for faculty with a variety of matters ranging from the dispute resolution process and referrals to relevant College processes or policies.

My meetings and conversations with faculty have been an insightful way to witness the dedication and passion we all have for the Valencia community. Through the course of our work, conflict or disagreements occur from time to time. My role offers a safe space for faculty to share their experiences and to learn about the options available to assist with navigating areas of concern.

This role differs from the College’s historical ombudsman function that offers support for students to discuss complaints, concerns or problems. Click here for more information about the student ombudsman role.

As the faculty ombuds representative, I have gained an even greater appreciation for the wealth of resources available for communication and solving conflict. I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few of them with you. Check out the following training courses through the Employee Development in the Valencia EDGE:

The Valencia EDGE offers a catalog of workshops that will optimize your daily engagement within your respective areas. The trainings cover areas of communication as well as workplace relationships and dynamics.

If you need guidance on our dispute resolution policy and tools, please contact me at or 407-299-5000, extension 2325.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

Students Identify Their Thinking Process in Jennifer Tomlinson’s African American Humanities Class — Faculty Highlight

By Wendy Jo Moyer

Jennifer Tomlinson, faculty, New Student Experience, was seeking a way to make group presentations in her African American Humanities class more robust and to help her students understand that the project is not only about mastering content, but to simultaneously learn about themselves and how to work with others. To meet these goals, she turned to the FourSight Thinking Profile assessment.

“I was first introduced to FourSight when my dean had the faculty and staff in our department take it for a professional development activity,” she shared. “But I really got to see the value and understanding of it when I participated in the Prototype program in the Collaborative Design Center back in 2017.”

FourSight opens the door to innovation and creativity with a research-based assessment that helps participants tap into their greatest resource — their brain. Featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur and Training magazine, the FourSight Thinking Profile has been used by more than 100,000 people in businesses, schools and organizations around the globe to improve problem solving, collaboration and team performance.

Through a simple assessment led by a FourSight facilitator, this powerful tool measures participants’ preferences for different parts of the thinking process. Participants learn which of four thinking modes they prefer: clarify, ideate, develop or implement. From there, the results can help build more innovative teams, anticipate road blocks and get better results.

Through an Endowed Chair awarded to Counselor Celeste Henry, Jennifer incorporated the FourSight Assessment into her African American humanities class.

“The class is 99% African or African descent,” Jennifer explained. “So, this opportunity provided an experience for students who might not have had access to something like this.”

Additionally, by participating in FourSight, students could earn 20 points toward the 100 points needed to earn a Creative Thinking Distinction — one of five “distinctions” students can earn as part of the Valencia Distinctions program, designed for students to broaden their skill set and increase their competitiveness in the job market. Distinctions are documented on students’ co-curricular transcripts, and students receive a certificate of completion and a cord or medallion for each distinction to wear at graduation.

Jennifer learned that it was difficult for her students to make a direct connection between what they learned about themselves from the assessment and working together as a group.

“Those ‘aha’ moments didn’t come till after their presentations, when I had a debriefing session to discuss not just the assignment, but how they worked together,” Jennifer explained. “It was great to see that they used FourSight terminology to describe their experiences. They would say things like, ‘I know my group had to deal with me constantly clarifying everything, and I might have been annoying.’ Or, ‘I just wanted to start and ‘implement, but my team slowed me down and it helped.'”

Jennifer added that if she ever gets the opportunity to use FourSight in the classroom again, she would change the experience so that the students make these direct connections during the process of working together, and not just after during a post-reflective assignment. She would incorporate mid-way check-ins, either with a reflection assignment or designated class time for discussions.

“For me, the most important part is having them realize that I really cared about their collaboration skills equally as much as their projects,” Jennifer shared. “I can only hope they will also be able to see it applied in their lives in other ways, outside of class.”

If you are interested in experiencing FourSight through an Employee Development workshop, contact Director of Organizational Design and Development Katie Tagye at or 407-299-5000, extension 1931.

If you are interested in incorporating FourSight into your classroom, contact Celeste Henry at or 407-299-5000, extension 1654, to discuss related costs and availability.

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.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

High Impact Practices Plan Leads to Online Speech Best-practices Video

As part of a High Impact Practices Plan (HIP) on online success for speech courses, Speech Department faculty partnered with Valencia Productions to create engaging learning material for the purpose of improving student outcomes. The team, including professors of speech Suzette AshtonEdie Gaythwaite, Mayra Holzer, Melissa Johnson, Liza Schellpfeffer and Tina Tan, along with Valencia Productions’ Operations Manager Michael Maguire and Multimedia Producer Scott Smith, produced a best-practice instructional video to help guide students taking an online speech course on how to properly film a speech with an audience.

“The group came together to write the script, parse out speaking parts and plan the video,” Edie shared. “Then we worked with Michael and Scott to work through filming details, since we had studio and location filming.”

The team recruited students for the on-location portion of the project. To convince students to participate, they offered food and encouragement that their participation would build their portfolio.

View the video below:

The team began using the video this semester.

“Over the years, I have seen a variety of challenges present themselves as students attempt to record speeches for the online classroom,” Melissa shared. “That is why a group of speech faculty collaborated together to create an additional resource to help students succeed in this important element of the course. Since incorporating the video, I have received great feedback from my students. They have told me that the expectations are clearer and that the video was fun to watch. I have also noticed that I have received fewer questions via email about the details of the assignment, and the quality of video submissions has improved. I am looking forward to the continued use of this video to help students succeed.”

If you’re interested in exploring how video can help improve your student outcomes, contact Michael Maguire at or 407-299-5000, extension 1814.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

Faculty Learn About Creating Equity-minded Classrooms at Math Conference

As a part of Valencia College’s continued commitment to equity and belonging, more than 125 math professors gleaned tips for creating an equity-minded classroom from keynote speaker James Gray, mathematics faculty at the Community College of Aurora (CCA), Colorado, during the fifth biennial Intersections and Unions Valencia Math Conference held on Saturday, January 4, 2020, at the School of Public Safety.

Gray’s presentation,”First-generation Equity Practitioner; What My Parents Never Taught Me About Racial Inequity,” explained what he learned during a 2013, CCA Equity in Excellence project in which faculty engaged in a process of participatory action research using a race-conscious lens. The initiative revealed a disparity in outcomes for black, Latinx and Native American students; however, it also revealed specific teachers for whom racial disparities in outcomes did not exist.

This initial finding called into question commonly held narratives that racially minoritized students are “at-risk” or “underprepared.” This began a process of faculty studying the role their own practices play in racial inequalities. It also revealed underlying racialized beliefs and values held by faculty about students.

“Considering black students’ racialized experiences is particularly crucial because research has long focused on their personal shortcomings rather than the ways environmental factors shape their experiences and the degree to which racism and discrimination in academic settings may impact them,” he shared.

Gray encouraged Valencia faculty to research and analyze their own practices by studying student outcomes data based on race, noticing patterns in the data and thinking about individuals — rather than groups or percentages — when analyzing the results.

Following the keynote, faculty attended four of 35 breakout sessions offered in nine conference tracks: technology; math and the outside world; tools of the trade; new approaches to topics; metacognition and inclusion; active learning; textbooks and more; course-specific discussions; and what’s going on?

Professors of Mathematics Simon Cisneros and Amy Montague-Kincade enjoyed the time to learn from their peers.

Simon found the breakout session “What is Up with Online? Thinking About Getting Your Online Math Course Peer Reviewed by ROC (Rubric for Online Competencies)?” valuable as he will soon go through the review process to ensure quality of his online courses. In the session, Professor of Mathematics Al Groccia shared his experience with the ROC as a faculty member who has been reviewed and from the perspective of a panel chair and a former online faculty fellow.

Amy found the session “Active Learning in the Classroom” beneficial as she discovered tools she can implement with her students. In the session, Professor of Mathematics Sandra Draper shared four, five-minute, active learning activities to use in the classroom.

“I heard of one of the activities, but three of them are new, and I’m excited to try them in my classroom this semester,” Amy said. “I’m going to try two of them immediately, Kahoot! and Quiz, Quiz, Trade.”

Monthly Archives: January 2020

Welcome to Our New Faculty Fellows for Online Learning Excellence

A Message from Geni Wright, Director, Online Teaching and Learning

The Online Learning Excellence (OLE) team is excited to announce the addition of three faculty members who are joining our team as faculty fellows: Karen Styles, Rick Dexter, and Daniel W. “Chip” Turner.

These highly experienced faculty members will work closely with the Online Teaching and Learning team in facilitating the course peer review faculty development courses and have a significant role in working with faculty participating in the course peer review process. Please reach out to them, especially the fellow in your region, with any questions you may have about the Rubric for Online Competencies (ROC), professional development course offerings related to the ROC, and having an online course undergo a review.

To learn more about our new faculty fellows, they have provided their bios below:

Karen Styles, Professor, Humanities, East Campus
I have been teaching humanities courses at Valencia College since 1988. As a tenured professor, I have been involved in a number of initiatives with part-time faculty, such as serving as humanities coordinator, developing a mentoring program for part-time faculty and serving as course leader for our HUM1020 course. Two years ago, I received the Faculty Association Award for Excellence in Counseling, Teaching and Librarianship. I have been teaching online for four years, and I received my Digital Professor Certification in 2019.

I am very excited about this new opportunity to work with faculty members as a faculty fellow to support them in achieving excellence in their online instruction, and, through this work, I hope to greatly improve my own online teaching.

Rick Dexter, Professor, Biology, Osceola Campus
I have been teaching biology on Osceola Campus since 2008 and earned tenure in 2014. My passion for online learning began as a way to enhance my face-to-face courses and, more recently, led to the development of a mixed-mode General Biology 2 course. I believe that online learning gives us the unique opportunity to expose our students to course content in diverse ways, and I look forward to working with faculty to explore how it can best work for them. When I am not teaching, you are likely to catch me out running or hanging out with my wife and two sons.

Daniel W. “Chip” Turner, Faculty, New Student Experience (NSE), West Campus
I enjoy teaching students at the front door of their college experience. It is rewarding for me to see their growth in such a short time as they acclimate to the college culture and finalize academic and career pathways. I have been teaching versions of SLS1122 for close to 10 years, with the majority of that time on the West Campus.

Additionally, I have facilitated faculty development courses over the years for the LifeMap Certificate program. Beginning in 2016, I finished out the final two years of the Title III grant (Pathways) on West Campus as a temporary assignment, which allowed me to work with both faculty and staff in developing and implementing initiatives to support student academic progression from enrollment to graduation.

When I am not working, you will likely find me somewhere at Walt Disney World. I am very excited to be part of the Online Learning Excellence team and look forward to working with you in the near future.

Please join me in welcoming these faculty members to the OLE team.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

Faculty Governance Update — January 2020

A Message from Stanton Reed, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

I hope that fresh beginnings of a new year and a new semester are energizing each of you. I sure am energized and excited about the work ahead of us.

I ended 2019 by reading the New York Times Bestseller, “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson, which is one of the suggested books in my faculty challenge that I shared during Academic Assembly. I’ve now passed this book to Director of Student Communication Dani Moritz-Long, and I look forward to discussing the book with her. Next up on my reading list is “There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights” by Jason Sokol.

I invite you to join me in the faculty challenge by:

  1. Reading a book on equity, inclusion and connection, signing your name in the book when you finish, and then sending the book to a colleague with a request to do the same. Then, I encourage you to engage with each other about the book. The more I read, the more I find that my conversation about equity expands.
  2. Reaching out to a student to engage with that student or attending a student event.
  3. Initiating a conversation with your dean to participate in development outside of the annual review process. Also, let’s show our deans appreciation for their ongoing leadership.

Program Learning Outcome Assessment Model 
Thank you to our Program Learning Outcome Assessment (PLOA) Model Design team for its work accomplished on Friday, January 24, 2020, at the PLOA Summit, a meeting in which decisions about major changes to faculty practice are made in a collaborative way. After a presentation and discussion, the team received an overwhelming affirmation to move forward with the PLOA model presented, which will allow faculty to assess and improve student learning in a more flexible and supportive way.

This work team, co-chaired by Wendi Dew, assistant vice president, teaching and learning, and John Niss, professor, mathematics, included:

  • Brandon McKelvey, vice president, analytics and planning;
  • Molly McIntire, dean, academic affairs;
  • Heather Ramsier, professor, political science;
  • Michael Robbins, professor, English;
  • Darren Smith, director, institutional effectiveness;
  • Marlene Temes, interim dean, academic affairs;
  • Chris Tersigni, professor, nursing; and
  • Paul Wilder, dean, engineering, computer programming and technology.

  • Read The Juice and The Grove for details on the new PLOA model in the next Learning Council meeting recap.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at or 407-299-5000, extension 4224. Have an excellent semester.