Monthly Archives: March 2020

You’re Invited: Virtual Communication Workshop

Date: Friday, April 3, 2020 
Time: 1 – 2 p.m.
Location: Online

Interested in using Zoom and/or Microsoft Teams for a more personal approach to your conversations and collaborations with your colleagues? If so, join us at our Virtual Communication Workshop, an introduction to these tools. During this virtual, interactive workshop, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the tools, get ideas to support current virtual communication challenges, and explore specific needs in smaller breakout groups. This session is designed for employees using Zoom and Microsoft Teams with their colleagues.

To register, click here.

Monthly Archives: March 2020

Featured Colleague: For Katie Tagye, Creative Problem-Solving is Second Nature

By Claudia Zequeira 

Katie Tagye, director, organizational design and development, has been at Valencia College for all of her professional career and is proud to share it.

“I like trying out different things, and when I first started at the College I wasn’t sure if I’d have that opportunity,” said Katie. “I have, and as a result, one of the things that I’m most proud of is the relationships I’ve made. Getting to work on the three larger campuses as well as working in Student Affairs, Academic Affairs and Organizational Development and Human Resources has really given me a breadth of opportunities to meet different people.”

Her first jobs at Valencia were as a student development and student services advisor almost two decades ago. Katie also worked as a student development coordinator and eventually transitioned into teaching, first as a Student Success instructor (the course is known today as the New Student Experience) and then as a speech communication professor. In between her time in the classroom teaching speech communication and her current role, she also worked as a faculty fellow in the Collaborative Design Center.

Katie holds a bachelor’s in English language arts education, a master’s in mental health counseling and another master’s degree in interpersonal communication, all from the University of Central Florida.

In her current role, which falls under the umbrella of Organizational Development and Human Resources, and which she began in 2016, Katie wears many hats. The position, she said, also allows her to use her natural creativity on a daily basis and keep people connected in meaningful ways. Some of her current job functions also include overseeing Valencia’s leadership development programs, managing the Collaborative Design Center at West Campus and partnering with faculty and staff to think about using design to solve challenges. One example of this partnership is the way Katie is supporting the redesign of the Seneff Honors College, among others.

“What I do in general is I work with faculty and staff when they want to solve problems,” she said. “I facilitate conversations and I facilitate the process of solving those problems … part of my job is to make sure all voices are heard and included.”

Her supervisor, Carla McKnight, assistant vice president of organizational development, agrees.

“Katie blends institutional knowledge with innovation and creativity. She brings Valencia’s deep history to every conversation, and always pushes us to be forward thinking,” said Carla. “She is authentic and insightful — using both characteristics to advance the mission of our organization. Katie is the ultimate thought partner. She is always there to talk through ideas and help move work forward. We are fortunate to have her as a part of the Valencia community.”

Some recent challenges she has faced — and welcomed — in response to the coronavirus pandemic include redesigning the April PIVOT 360 session from a face-to-face session to a virtual one. The sessions have been redesigned and will be facilitated over the next two weeks.

Katie mentioned changes in how we deliver service to both faculty and students in recent weeks seem to have brought out the best in Valencia faculty and staff, who she said are going “above and beyond” and “flexing their creativity” to keep the College going during a trying period.

“I hope the community, and especially our students, see how hard the College is working to ensure their work isn’t interrupted by this pandemic,” she said.

And it’s that mission of service to students, to the community and to each other that’s kept her professionally engaged and motivated all these years. In addition, Valencia’s people have kept her here.

“Since I’ve worked all my professional career at Valencia, I really have made friends with the people with whom I work,” she said. “So, work often affords me the opportunity to play, laugh and generally enjoy the company of friends. I also feel really connected to the mission and work of the College. The work I do is work that I could do in other places, but I feel so very lucky that I get to do it here.”

In her free time, Katie, a Florida native who grew up on the Space Coast, likes traveling, reading and exploring with her son, Isaiah. She also loves to bake.

“My favorite things to make are cookies and homemade bread,” she said.

Monthly Archives: March 2020

Looking To Refinance Your Auto Loan? Addition Financial Can Help

If you are looking to lower your monthly auto loan payments, Addition Financial — Valencia College’s preferred credit union — is here to help. The company is currently offering, through the month of April, a promotion that offers you:

  • $400 when you refinance your auto loan;
  • Deferment of your first payment for up to 90 days with a qualifying loan; and
  • A 0.25% APR with a qualifying loan when you set up direct deposit of at least $500 monthly.

If you’re ready to refinance your auto loan and would like more information, please contact Richard Barbari, Addition Financial community engagement and partnership relation manager, at 407-896-9411, extension 2333, or Rbarbari@additionfi.com. Or, visit the Addition Financial website and complete the form. Addition Financial will contact you to answer your questions.

No on-site visit will be necessary to apply.

If you would like to read the pros and cons of refinancing an auto loan, click here.

Monthly Archives: March 2020

LYNX Reduces Service Levels

Due to COVID-19, LYNX has a modified Monday-Saturday schedule.

Links 1, 6, 18, 23, 54, 57, 58, 155, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 313 and FastLink 441 will not have service during this temporary Monday-Saturday adjustment. Link 320 will operate a modified Monday-Friday schedule. There will be no changes to the Sunday schedule.

The full modified schedule is available at www.golynx.com/coronavirusinfo. LYNX Central Station’s terminal lobby is closed to the public during the 11 p.m. – 5 a.m. Orange County mandatory curfew.

LYNX is following all recommendations set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local health departments to continue safely moving passengers throughout Central Florida. If you are sick or travel isn’t essential, the agency requests that you stay home and not ride LYNX.

Follow LYNX at www.facebook.com/golynx and www.twitter.com/lynxbusorlando for the latest details.

Monthly Archives: March 2020

Budget, Procurement and Accounts Payable Updates

A Message from Oscar Cristancho Mercado, Assistant Vice President, Budgets and Analysis

With the majority of employees working remotely, the Budget, Procurement and Accounts Payable teams have been reviewing existing business practices to ensure they are aligned with a remote work environment. Our goal is to allow for flexibility while ensuring adherence to Valencia’s policies and procedures.

As Valencia makes the transition to online learning and working remotely, we have made important changes to our existing processes, including the development of a Remote Access Plan that clarifies our processes and provides solutions to existing practices that are not feasible in a remote environment. Listed below are reminders of important deadlines, along with key adjustments that have been made to our processes in an effort to provide flexibility and ensure that our vendors are being paid in a timely manner.

– Purchasing Cards (PCard) limits have been increased for all cardholders. The single transaction limit is now $2,000 and the monthly limit is $10,000.

– When purchasing items or making payments on invoices less than $2,000, we encourage the use of the PCard instead of requesting a purchase order.

– If you need to enter a requisition but don’t have access to Banner, you can now use the Self Service option located in Atlas on the Budget tab. Self Service is web based and only requires an internet connection. Instructions on how to use Self Service are available on the Procurement webpage.

– When making COVID-19 related expenses, please use Activity Code CV19 on requisitions or include it in the description section of the PCard reconciliation.

– We are temporarily authorizing the use of residential addresses when ordering essential items to support you in this new work environment. Only items paid for with PCard have this capability. Purchase Orders must continue to be shipped to a Valencia campus. All transactions shipped to a residential address will require written supervisor approval and justification to be attached to the PCard reconciliation.

– To avoid delays in processing invoices, the Accounts Payables and Budget and Procurement teams will work together to address discrepancies in order to minimize the number of Change Order Request forms.

– Electronic approval and digital signatures will be accepted on all forms, invoices and contracts. All forms are now fillable PDFs.

– Employees are encouraged to submit invoices immediately following receipt of items to accountspayable@valenciacollege.edu using a digital invoice approval stamp.

– Travel forms should be submitted as soon as possible to ensure that you receive travel reimbursement in a prompt and efficient manner.

– Tuesday, March 31, 2020, is the deadline for furniture quote requests. All requests must be submitted to Suzanne Crescioni, interior design space planner. Orders submitted after this deadline will not be accepted.

The Remote Access Plan located on the Procurement webpage provides additional details on how to process these documents remotely along with other important resources. Please visit the webpage regularly as we will update the page as needed to continue supporting our College community. If you need to reach our teams, please know that we are fully operational and can be reached at the following department emails.

Reference Documents

Monthly Archives: March 2020

Community Resources to Help Students and Employees

To keep our employees up to date on the latest resources available in our community as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, we’ve compiled the following list, ranging from food assistance, internet service, counseling, health information and more.

BayCare and Employee Assistance Program

BayCare, a community partner for confidential student counseling, is offered at no cost to Valencia students, just as our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be accessed by faculty and staff members for counseling and personalized services and support. Students may call BayCare at 800-878-5470, and employees may contact EAP at 866-248-4094.

Internet Access

Charter Communications offers free access to Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi for 60 days for new K-12 and college student households. To ease the strain in this challenging time, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, Charter commits to the following for 60 days:

  • Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to provide continuity of learning to those in the educational system. This can include households with K-12 and/or college students or teachers/professors who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
  • Charter will continue to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, high-speed broadband program to eligible low-income households delivering speeds of 30 Mbps.
  • Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across its footprint for public use.
  • Spectrum does not have data caps or hidden fees.

Comcast new Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of Internet service. Comcast is also increasing the speed of the program to 25 Mbps downloads, and 3 Mbps uploads for all new and existing customers. For details, click here.

CenturyLink will waive late fees and will not terminate a residential or small business customer’s service for the next 60 days due to financial circumstances associated with COVID-19. CenturyLink is also suspending data usage limits for consumer customers during this time period due to COVID-19. For details, click here.

If your internet provider isn’t listed above, reach out to your provider to find out if it is offering any special services for customers impacted by COVID-19 or if it is participating in the Federal Communications Commission’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge.” That pledge asks internet and telephone service providers to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Utilities

Duke Energy will not disconnect any customer’s service for non-payment, in order to give customers experiencing financial hardship extra time to make payments. For details, click here.

OUC has suspended service disconnect due to nonpayment until further notice. For details, click here.

Kissimmee Utility Authority has temporarily suspended service disconnections until Tuesday, March 31, 2020. For details, click here.

Heart of Florida United Way

United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline is a free service that connects residents to critical health and social service resources when they need help. The 2-1-1 helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.

Food Assistance

Valencia’s food pantry will remain closed until Monday, March 30, 2020. For food assistance and help, please call (407) 295-5009, visit feedhopenow.org or visit 211.org to find food assistance and community resources near you. You can also visit Second Harvest’s online food locator to find a list of feeding partners near your residence. Additionally, Second Harvest is in need of sorting and distribution volunteers. Visit feedhopenow.org/volunteer for details.

Fifty Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) are offering free Grab-n-Go meal distribution for children. For details, click here.

The Christian Service Center

The Christian Science Service Centers offers a number of resources to assist those affected. The Daily Bread program serves a free, nourishing, noontime meal for families and individuals in the community six days a week.

The Love Pantry provides hungry children and their struggling families with a free, emergency food supply directly through local public schools, despite the school closures.

The Family and Emergency Services program provides immediate, short-term crisis assistance to families and individuals facing an unexpected financial crisis. Help may come in the form of food, clothing, financial rent or utility assistance, or other services to prevent them from becoming homeless.

For more information on services, click here.

Restaurant Chains Offering Meal Deals

While you can still take trips to the grocery store to fill your pantry with household essentials, ordering takeout is also an option that many of us are using these days. For restaurant chain meal deals, click here.

Community Vision of Osceola County

Osceola County residents can find a wide variety of resources in the Community Vision Resource Guide. Information for food assistance is listed under Food Assistance. Power and water companies are listed under Residential Services.

Mental Health Association of Central Florida

The Mental Health Association of Central Florida is offering free tools for Orange County residents, including telecommunication counseling. Residents can visit the Mental Health Association of Central Florida website to be connected with a mental health professional.

Business Damage Assessment Survey

The state of Florida announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local businesses. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and implement appropriate relief programs.

Jobs and Unemployment Assistance
For those who have lost a job or had working hours reduced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, they may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits or short-term compensation benefits from the state of Florida. Click here for details.

Rent, Housing, Evictions
Orange County is offering a limited Rental Assistance Program for Orange County residents who need help with rent and utilities in the coming month. The Crisis Assistance Hotline operates from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number is 407-836-6500. Residents MUST call for an appointment to drop by the necessary documents. The program does not cover those who are receiving payment from their employer or any other social service organization, such as United Way. Read more here.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office will temporarily suspend all eviction activities until further notice. Read more here.

Scholly COVID-19 Student Relief Fund
Students may apply to receive $200 in cash assistance to help cover expenses during the crisis. Click here for details and to apply.

OneBlood.org

Local and national blood supplies are low. OneBlood is in need of donations. Visit oneblood.org for details.

WUCF, Central Florida’s PBS station

WUCF, Central Florida’s PBS station, has launched At-Home Learning, an initiative to support teachers and families as they work to continue children’s education even while schools are closed. WUCF has reoriented the TV program schedule and free educational services to support the academic needs of Central Florida children (PreK-12) while they’re at home. For more information, click here.

The weekday daytime schedule features programs that correspond with school standards, and the schedule shows which program is appropriate to which grade range. For a compilation of digital teaching resources, click here.

For educational resources targeted for families, click here.

For a series of videos explaining coronavirus/social distancing/hand washing for kids 3-8 years and tips for parents tips on how to talk to that age group about these topics, click here.

Questions about COVID-19?

To better serve and assist residents regarding concerns about COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health has established a call center to answer general questions residents and visitors may have. The phone number is 407-723-5004. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center can be reached at 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Residents can also send questions via email at COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

Monthly Archives: March 2020

Share Your New Work-from-home Lifestyle

Congratulations Valencians! In just a few days, many of you managed to switch from face-to-face to online work and have done so with creativity, hard work and a lot of patience. It is now time to celebrate this accomplishment and to give yourself a pat on the back.

To celebrate this feat and also record this time period, snap a photo or take a short video of your new work-from-home lifestyle and environment and email them to The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu by Wednesday, April 8, 2020. We will include them in a video slide show in the Tuesday, April 14, 2020, issue of The Juice.

Please feel free to get creative. You can include anything you like in the photo, such as a virtual meeting of you and your team, a photo of your pet resting next to you while you work, a shot of how or where you spend your breaks: the sky is the limit here. We look forward to receiving the photos and seeing how you spend your days.

Monthly Archives: March 2020

How to Avoid Getting Zoombombed

By now, many of us have used Zoom to meet and collaborate with our teams in our new work-from-home environment. But have you heard of Zoombombing?

Zoombombing made its appearance in our virtual world almost as quickly as Zoom itself. It’s not too different from hacking, but with a touch of SPAM, as it usually takes the form of an uninvited guest gaining access to your meeting or class and then sharing inappropriate content.

Sometimes, these unwanted guests join the meeting and begin sharing “not so nice” pictures. Other times, participants may leave for a meeting, but they may keep receiving emails indicating other participants are waiting to join a Zoom meeting.

To guard against this, experts recommend updating your settings by following these directions:

– Visit valenciacollege.zoom.us and click Sign In.
– Click Settings (left) and then Schedule Meetings (left).
Enable one of the following options:

  • Only authenticated users can join meetings
  • Require a password when scheduling new meetings

Please note that to apply these changes to previously scheduled meetings, you will need to edit those meetings.

For a list of recommended settings, click here.

Restrict access
Only allow participants with authenticated Valencia College Zoom accounts to join your meetings and classes, or set meeting passwords.

Don’t give up your screen
Prevent participants from screen sharing without permission. You do not want random people in your public event taking control of the screen and sharing unwanted content with the group. You can restrict this — before the meeting and during the meeting in the host control bar — so that you’re the only one who can screen-share.

Take control of your meetings
Remove individuals you don’t recognize and lock your meetings to keep new participants from joining.

Don’t overshare
Avoid sharing meeting or class details over social media or with people outside of your department.

Try the Waiting Room feature
The Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you’re ready for them. It’s almost like the velvet rope outside a nightclub, with you as the bouncer carefully monitoring who gets let in.

For specific details about how best to accomplish this, you can visit Valencia’s Office of Information Technology, which has a resource for Zoom best practices that go into more detail and help explain how to perform some of these functions.

In addition, please make sure to click on this Zoom blog for additional tips and instructions.

 

Sources: Carnegie Mellon University and Zoom

Monthly Archives: March 2020

Creatively Thinking About Structuring Your Workday with Children


Director of Organizational Design and Development Katie Tagye and Dean of Learning Support Landon Shephard’s son, Isaiah, brainstorms how to structure their new work-from-home schedule.

By Katie Tagye, Director, Organizational Design and Development 

With the recent news that we should expect to work from home until at least the end of April and that our children will be home as well, I’m guessing I’m not alone in thinking “We’ve got to figure this thing out.”

As director of organizational design and development, I support creative thinking and facilitation of creative problem-solving and design thinking with faculty, staff and administrators at the College. As such, I wanted to deliberately use some of the creative thinking tools with my 10-year-old, Isaiah, to manage the exciting world of #WFHWK (working from home with kids), and to help us to think more creatively together. I hope that some of these ideas will be helpful for those of you #WFHWK too.

Guidelines for creative thinking

few guidelines can help you understand the benefits of creative thinking. Separating your thinking into generative thinking (diverging) and evaluative thinking (converging) will help you get to creative ideas while making the process enjoyable.

Here are some tips to help with your divergent, generative thinking:

  • Suspend judgment;
  • Combine and build (Yes, and…);
  • See the novel and unusual (creativity requires a new approach);
  • Aim for quantity (quantity first, quality later).

“How might we” brainstorming

One of the most powerful tools we can use to brainstorm is to consider how we phrase our challenges in order to inspire creative thinking. Take your stress point and turn it into a problem to be solved, using “How might we…?” “How to…?” or “What are all the ways…?” Then, apply generative thinking to come up with all of the ideas that might help provide a solution to that question.

Here are some questions generated in our house (feel free to add more “How might…?” questions in the comments below and play along at home):

  • How might we stay connected with family and friends?
  • How to help others while we cannot be physically close?
  • What are all the activities we can do when we’re bored?
  • How do we make good choices when we start to feel annoyed with each other?
  • What are all the ways we can make sure we stay healthy?
  • What are all the activities you (meaning my child) might do without my help and without asking permission?
  • What are all the things I can do to feel happy?

Make a choice, prototype and test

Creativity isn’t just about coming up with crazy ideas, it’s also about figuring out how to make them work. So, after you’ve generated a bunch of ideas, you have to figure out how to best use them to come up with a prototype so that you can see what works, learn more about the situation and adjust further.

Keep in mind the whole purpose of prototyping is to learn more. So, don’t forget to capture what you are learning.

Here are five lessons we’ve learned so far:

1. Create structure. Not only is it really easy to forget about things like bedtime, screen time or eating fruits or vegetables when everyone is home for an extended period of time, but these are often the things we abandon when we feel anxious in stressful times. However, structure is exactly what we found we needed.

We’re prototyping a daily schedule. Today, it includes meal times, educational engagement, work needs, physical activity, reading and quiet time, family time, and bedtime. Our prototype is not ready for full publication, but we’re learning and working on getting a little better with each day.

A quick note about “educational engagement.” Isaiah’s school has shared some resources, and more will come as teachers move their lessons online. In the meantime, I’ve curated a bunch of free resources from podcasts and audio books to virtual exercise activities and virtual field tips. I’ve put them all on a Pinterest board. There are a ton of resources out there. Choose something, prototype it and please share how it went and what you learned.

2. Communicate with your team. It’s been helpful for me to let my colleagues know when Isaiah is with me. At first, it felt disconcerting or embarrassing to have to say “Excuse me for a minute; I need to help my child with something,” but it’s going to be a necessary balance. My experience is that my work colleagues are also doing their best to balance kids, pets, significant others and the occasional loud bird in the background. So, we’re taking this time to share more of our personal lives with our work colleagues and to laugh together about the interruptions.

In addition to your work team, remember that if you are working from home with kids, you have a home team as well. It’s been helpful to me to signal to Isaiah that I’m about to start a call or a project that is time-bound and to let him know what I need from him. A tip I saw today was to post a sign (we’re using a thumbs up) that will let your home team know whether or not you can be interrupted. Those of you with little kids might need some different tips and tricks. What are you learning from this as you prototype? Please, make sure to share it in the comments below this article.

3. Allow for autonomy. We all need to feel like we have some choice in what we do and how we do it, and our children are no different. With a little guidance (i.e. good convergent thinking), we can help our children identify where they have choice.

The question that helped us the most here was “What are all the activities you can do without my help and without asking permission?” On a call today, I was able to remind my son about this list, and he picked something he could do until I could turn my attention to him.

We also prototyped a new approach to eating during the day after a colleague offered a tip from a friend. In our prototype, I put the foods that could be eaten between breakfast and dinner in one place. Isaiah could choose which foods he wanted to eat and when. This broke from our usual lunchtime schedule, but it has been working really well for us.

4. Take Breaks. Not only can I not sit at my computer for eight hours straight (I couldn’t do that when I went to work on campus), but Isaiah cannot go all day without engaging with me. And I don’t want him to. So, each day, we make a plan for how we will take breaks together. Some days, we take a bike ride together or walk the dog. Today, we played “Just Dance,” a motion-based dancing video game for multiple players. We laughed at each other as we tried some new dance moves, and I got an opportunity to beat Isaiah at one activity (he’s quite the athlete).

In addition to taking breaks together, I’ve learned that I need time on my own. So, each day, I read a non-work, non-outbreak-related article or book. Some days it’s only 10 minutes after Isaiah has gone to bed and before I go to sleep. But I’m learning how helpful it is for my energy level, anxiety level and my brain.

5. Be generous. In a moment of frustration, I turned to my son with imagined steam coming out of my ears. “Are you trying to get my attention in the worst way?” I asked. Then my heart fell. I did exactly what I hadn’t wanted to do. I led with the stress I was feeling.

Brene Brown talks about giving others the “most generous assumption” we can. This practice of cognitive complexity pushes us to be able to imagine the most generous reason or experience of another person. In this moment, I needed to not only be more generous about Isaiah’s behaviors, but mine as well.

So, my last lesson, one which I’ll keep prototyping, is to be generous. Generous with myself, generous with my child and generous with my thinking about this time together. I’m practicing this by doing my best to take a break before I react and to teach Isaiah how to do the same.

For those of you who also live with your significant other, I hope these tips will work in that scenario and that, where they don’t, that you will prototype creative thinking, structure, communication, autonomy, breaks, and generous perspectives to find those that do work for you.

The other day, I heard someone say something about how these moments may be the ones that our children most remember from this part of their lives. And that’s really got me thinking about my attention, where I’m spending it and where I want to be more deliberate in giving it. In the end, we’ll all be able to account for the time we spent at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. What will you have learned about yourself and your family? What will you most remember?

I hope that these tips will help you find things that make sense for you and your family and to remember that we’re #ITT (in this together).

Monthly Archives: March 2020

Update on Summer Schedule, Commencement and More

Friday, March 27, 2020, 12:45 p.m.

A Message from Isis Artze-Vega, Vice President, Academic Affairs; Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses; Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost, and President, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses; and Falecia Williams, President, West and Downtown Campuses

Thank you so much for your continued efforts to support our students and their learning during this challenging time. As we know you continue to be inundated with emails, please allow us to share just a brief summary of a few key decisions that we believe are most relevant to you:

Summer Course Schedule
Although decisions for when our campuses will reopen have not yet been made, we are planning to deliver our summer course schedule in an (almost) entirely online modality. Deans and faculty leaders will be working over the next week to explore a number of different options for our courses that are currently on the schedule in a face-to-face or mixed-mode modality, much like we have done this term. In order to allow sufficient time for students to register for the summer, we are aiming to complete the process of rebuilding our summer schedule by Friday, April 3, 2020. If the circumstances surrounding the pandemic change dramatically for the better between now and Monday, June 1, 2020, we may be able to consider offering a very limited number of courses in a modified face-to-face modality; however, this seems to be an unlikely scenario at this time. Therefore, we expect almost all summer offerings to be online.

Commencement

While each of us looks forward to celebrating our graduates’ accomplishments during our annual Commencement ceremony, unfortunately, we will be unable to hold a ceremony in a traditional face-to-face format this spring. However, we are working to host a virtual celebration that will provide the recognition that our graduates deserve.

This year, we will host Commencement via an online platform that will showcase our graduates and house videos from Valencia College President Sandy Shugart, along with special messages from our Distinguished Grad and others. The Commencement site will be live beginning Sunday, May 3, 2020. Stay tuned for more details and information about how you can participate in recognizing our graduates’ important achievement.

Spring SFI Administration
Based on feedback provided by deans and faculty leaders, we have decided not to proceed with our standard Student Feedback on Instruction (SFI) process this spring. We will provide updates on other ways we will gather student feedback as they become available. We are also pushing back deadlines related to faculty evaluations and the Teaching/Learning Academy (TLA). Faculty evaluations will not be due until Thursday, October 15, 2020; more details about adjusted TLA timelines are forthcoming.

Remote Test Proctoring
Remote test proctoring is dependent on webcams. We have learned that a significant portion of our students do not have access to webcams, and webcams are not widely available for purchase at this point. We are therefore not able to provide collegewide online proctoring this spring (with the exception of courses that require remote test proctoring to meet accreditation standards). Instead, we are shifting our attention to proctoring solutions for the summer, moving forward to establish a contract with a vendor, and considering how to ensure all students enrolled in summer courses have access to webcams. With respect to proctoring needs this spring, we would direct you to the alternatives to online proctoring shared in the Teaching through the Coronavirus, Together update, and our teaching and learning leaders will be meeting with key discipline groups to discuss needs and alternatives.

R20 Grade and Withdrawals
Students have the option to unenroll from any of their courses this spring and elect to retake the course at a later date. Students who elect this option will have a grade on their transcript of R20 (more details about the grade can be found online here). Students who register for the same course(s) in summer 2020 will automatically have tuition and fees for those courses waived. The R20 grade does not affect a student’s GPA nor does it count as a course attempt. To elect this option, students should contact advising@valenciacollege.edu by Friday, April 17, 2020.

Faculty-initiated withdrawals have been suspended for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term. If a faculty member wishes to issue a “W” grade to a student for violating the course attendance policy prior to Spring Break, please send an email to atlashelp@valenciacollege.edu with the student’s name and VID, the CRN, and the student’s last date of attendance.

We are also exploring the possibility of a pass/fail grade option for students, but have been waiting for confirmation from our university partners that this option would not negatively affect our students upon transfer. We expect to have more details to share next week.

Lab Fees
Many of you may be receiving questions from students about refunds for lab fees. Valencia will not make adjustments to fees for the Spring term, including not charging a distance learning fee for courses that have moved online. Due to the fact that the College invests considerable funds into making lab experiences possible for students, and given that lab fees only account for a fraction of the costs associated with labs, unfortunately, we are unable to issue refunds for lab fees. Moreover, many staff members who are funded by lab fees are now supporting students in new ways. For example, many courses now have virtual lab experiences available for students to complete core learning outcomes this spring.

Zoom Update
Zoom accounts are now available for every employee at http://valenciacollege.zoom.us, which allows us to host video conferencing meetings. Moreover, the option to record from within Zoom is now available. Only recordings to the cloud are allowed in an effort to prevent the download of recordings to individual devices or distribution outside of the College.

Please note that when a Zoom meeting is being recorded, participants must agree to be recorded. If participants do not consent to be recorded, they will not be permitted to join the meeting room.

Please reach out to the OIT Service Desk if you encounter any issues at oitservicedesk@valenciacollege.edu.

Once again, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions or concerns.