Monthly Archives: April 2020

Attendance and No-show Reporting in Online Courses

Thursday, April 30, 2020

While attendance in face-to-face and mixed-mode courses is easily documented, more specific documentation is required for attendance in online courses. Federal financial aid and Valencia policy require that online attendance is documented in accordance with student engagement in an academically related activity. Students are required to complete at least one of the following for each online course during the first week of classes: 

  • Submit an assignment online.
  • Take an online assessment.
  • Participate in an online discussion about academic matters.
  • Complete an online interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction that is trackable.
  • Initiate contact with the faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.

Here are three ways you might go about taking online attendance:

  • Set a module prerequisite to require students to complete one of the above before being able to access the rest of the course.
  • Post an announcement, send an initial email and include in your course syllabus the date by which the initial assignment should be completed to avoid being reported as no-show.
  • Reach out to students who are not engaged in the course during the first week.

This last recommendation is especially important during a shorter term like Summer A, as there’s less time for students to re-engage and get caught up if they miss initial opportunities to begin learning.

Faculty members are asked to report any students who do not engage in an “academically related activity” during the first week of class by entering a “W” in the Final Grades function in Atlas during the “No-Show Reporting” period. The date of withdrawal should be the first day of classes.

Review the Important Dates and Deadlines 2019-2020  to access  “No Show Reporting” period dates.

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Faculty Development and TLA Update

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Teaching and Learning team has prepared a focused set of Faculty Development and Teaching/Learning Academy (TLA) courses for full-time and part-time faculty that will be offered for the summer term. They are:

  • LCTS1110 Teaching in Our Learning College sessions (essential for initial Associate Faculty Certification)
  • Digital Professor Certification courses (offered as stand-alone courses for faculty members in progress as well as in two-week, five-week and 10-week cohorts)
  • A variety of just-in-time, faculty-led sessions focused on effective online teaching practices and technology topics
  • Preparation experience for faculty new to the course peer review process
  • Course peer review timelines for faculty members in progress

In order to maximize our focus on support for online teaching and learning, all other types of professional development will be canceled/postponed. This includes the difficult decision to cancel this summer’s Destination program. Although upcoming professional development offerings may look different than what we are used to, there will be no shortage of opportunities to continue to learn and grow, and our commitment to equity-minded practice will continue to guide our efforts and programming.

For Faculty Development and TLA courses, click the button below:

TLA Timeline and Reporting Schedule
The current timeline and reporting schedule will be amended. Faculty in the tenure process will receive an email regarding these changes next week.

If you have any questions, please contact a member of the Teaching and Learning team.

Faculty Support
As you consider how to bring your ideas to life in a way that reflects your own teaching approaches, the Teaching and Learning team is available to help you. Remember to reach out to your identified Teaching and Learning support or faculty mentor, and for those of you not partnered, please use this link to request support.

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Countdown to 2020 Virtual Commencement

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mark your calendars and plan to celebrate Valencia College graduates for the 51st Annual Commencement Ceremony.

In a few short days, on Sunday, May 3, 2020, Valencia will launch virtual commencement, where you can join your fellow faculty and staff members to celebrate our graduates’ accomplishments online.

As many of you know, this year, due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the College is unable to hold a traditional face-to-face ceremony. Our virtual commencement will allow us to provide recognition for our graduates and an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and their families to come together to celebrate online.

Event details:

Valencia College 2020 Virtual Commencement Celebration

Go live: Sunday, May 3, 2020
Time: 9 a.m.

You are invited to participate in this year’s virtual event by:

1. Engaging in the virtual ceremony. Go to the Valencia College graduation webpage at on Sunday, May 3, at 9 a.m. Click on the Virtual Commencement link.

2. Watching the videos on the 2020 Virtual Commencement site.

  • College President Sandy Shugart’s Commencement Address
  • A Message from the Alumni Advisory Board Chair Jeffery Villegas
  • The conferring of degrees by Sandy Shugart and District Board of Trustees Chair Tracey Stockwell
  • An inspiring message from our 2019-2020 Distinguished Graduate Tamyia Paul

3. Viewing slides of our Valencia College graduates. All graduates will have a slide with their name and will be organized on the site in alphabetical-order by last name. You will have the option to filter by degree or search by name. (Students had the option to opt out/in of the audio recording and photo submission).

4. Sharing on social media. From each of the graduates’ slides, you can share to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page.

  • Be sure to include a congratulatory message and use the hashtag, #ValenciaGrad. Valencia College graduation social posts using #ValenciaGrad will appear our tagboard.
  • You can also tag @ValenciaCollege on your Twitter or Instagram channels to join in congratulating our students.
  • Special Valencia graduation-themed filters, frames, GIFs and more have been created to help you celebrate our graduates on social media. A Commencement Social Media Toolkit will be made available on the webpage for your use.

Don’t Miss This Chance to Celebrate Our Graduates
Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to make this occasion special and memorable for our students. Check the Valencia College graduation webpage frequently leading up to the Commencement date for more information.

Monthly Archives: April 2020

PJI Principle 2: Listen Deeply

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Life can be downright difficult at times, especially now as we’re journeying through illness, stay-at-home orders, virtual workplaces, online schooling for kids, and families and friends afar. To help guide us through this time, the Peace and Justice Institute will remind us of one Principle for How We Treat Each Other per week. This week, we feature Principle 2:

Listen intently to what is said; listen to the feelings beneath the words. Strive to achieve a balance between listening and reflecting, speaking and acting.

In case you missed it, review Principle 1 here.

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Featured Colleague: Even in a Virtual Environment, Ashley Whitehead Loves to Help Students

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

By Claudia Zequeira

Ashley Whitehead, staff assistant II, knows how to start anew. She did it when she decided to leave her native Long Island, New York, to begin a new life in Florida five years ago, and she did again right after Spring Break 2020, when Valencia College suddenly went from being a mostly face-to-face institution to delivering services online in a matter of days.

“After Spring Break, I went in to work once to get a laptop, and I’ve been working from home since,” said Ashley, who before coronavirus significantly changed our lives, was the pleasant face greeting students at Osceola Campus’ Advising Center.

Today, she still gets to do that, albeit in a more digital environment as part of Valencia College’s new Virtual Answer Center, working largely through Zoom. But the task of gauging students’ needs, asking the right questions and directing them to the right party, be it an advisor or someone who can help with residency, financial aid and enrollment questions, is the same, she said.

“I still get to greet students,” she said. “I see a lot of them on video.” And the level of service has not changed, she said.

Ashley is also involved in the College’s Outbound Call Campaign, which seeks to engage with students who had their classes moved online to offer support.

“I’ve had some really good calls,” said Ashley. “People are happy to have a person reach out to them rather than be expected to find all the answers online.”

By way of example, Ashley shared how she recently assisted a student taking English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses during one of those calls. The student had reached out to the Virtual Answer Center and was frantically trying to get her school work done but did not have a working laptop. “I prioritized her need, and I learned [Valencia] got a laptop for her right away. That was very cool to see.”

Her supervisor, John Britt, director of advising at the Osceola Campus, can attest to her willingness to help and excellent customer service skills.

“Ashley is one of the first faces our students see when they walk into the Advising Center at Osceola Campus. She greets each and every student with a warm welcome and smile, and I know our students appreciate her,” said John. “Additionally, she helps our entire advising team by providing excellent communication and organization to our office. We are so fortunate to have her on our team.”

Her desire to help students, said Ashley, is partly rooted in the fact she herself struggled while in school as she worked two jobs to make ends meet. Because she waited close to a decade to complete a two-year degree after graduating high school, finally earning her Associate in Arts at Valencia in 2018, she feels she is in a unique position to understand students’ plight.

“I root hard for the underdog, the non-traditional student who maybe works full time, has a family at home, has a language barrier and came to this country for a better life, or the one that is coming back to school at an older age,” said Ashley. “Those are the students that I’ve watched cry tears to me, those are the ones I was able to give my advice to as a non-traditional student myself. Getting those students through their first semester or returning semester of college was the most rewarding.”

Ashley, who had a role as a part-time staff assistant for Learning Support, the tutoring area, before working in the Advising Center, said she loves working at Valencia because she can see everyone doing their best to help students.

“I like that everyone cares. From department to department, I haven’t met anyone who truly disliked the work they did. Everyone is committed, caring and passionate,” she said.

The students, too, inspire her in her work every day through their grit and intelligence, she said.

Ashley recounted her interactions with a student, whom she met while the latter was still taking EAP classes and whom she watched grow and blossom academically.

“She’s now done with her EAP and she’s working on those science courses that will guide her along her way to medical school. She’s whip smart, and a girl in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). I love it!”

Ashley is also a living example of the fact Valencia represents opportunity for countless students.

“I really don’t believe I would’ve received my associate degree without the push Valencia gave me as a student or the care Valencia gave me as a staff member,” she said. “It’s not always easy to be in college full time and work too, but I was able to do it here and more importantly, finish here. For that, Valencia will forever have a piece of my heart.”

Today, Ashley is a student at the University of Central Florida, where she hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in health services administration.

In her free time, Ashley likes to sketch fashion designs, play tennis and take road trips.

“As long as there is gas in my tank, I am on the road searching for a new adventure. Unfortunately, right now, in these trying times of a global pandemic, I don’t get to adventure much. However, once we can come out and have a little normalcy again, I’ll have a place on the map in mind.”

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Workplace Accommodations for Employees and Applicants

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Message from Ryan Kane, Assistant Vice President, Equity and Access

Valencia College is committed to providing equal opportunity for employment and educational opportunities to all applicants (for employment) and employees without regard to any temporary or long-term disability protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In creating a more inclusive and equitable environment, the District Board of Trustees recently approved College Policy 6Hx28: 02-03 Workplace Accommodations for Applicants and Employees. In accordance with this policy, the College works with applicants and employees who request reasonable workplace accommodations because of a disability.

Eligible applicants and employees can readily request and receive reasonable accommodations to assist them in competing for job vacancies, performing the essential functions of a position, gaining access to the workplace and/or accessing employment benefits in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

If a reasonable accommodation is requested due to a disability, an applicant or employee will be required to provide supporting documentation relating to the request and participate in the College’s interactive process. Each accommodation request and documentation will be evaluated on an individual basis with potential accommodation solutions identified.

Additionally, as the nature of the hiring process may be different than the actual job duties required if the applicant is hired, applicants provided an accommodation during the recruitment, selection and/or hiring process who are subsequently hired by the College, may be subject to a separate interactive process as a new employee.

To request an adjustment to job duties or accommodations that may be necessary because of a disability, contact Joanna Victoria, manager, access services, at or 407-299-5000, extension 3801, or contact your supervisor. Your supervisor will connect with Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) for guidance on appropriate next steps.

For questions on the policy or resources, please contact ODHR at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Innovative Practices at Valencia, Part 1

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 

It’s no secret that Valencia College is innovative. In fact, we received nine outstanding nominations for the 2020 Innovation of the Year Awards, designed to recognize faculty, staff and administrators who have created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies and activities that improve our ability to serve students and the community.

As all of the nominations were impressive, our judges suggested sharing all of the nominations, so you can see just how innovative our work is. Over the next two weeks, in The Juice and The Grove, we’ll share all of the nominations. Following, on week three, we’ll announce our winner.

Here is the first half of our Innovation of the Year Award nominees (in no particular order):

Valencia College International DirectConnect program With the University of Central Florida
Talia Popovski, Managing Director, International Recruiting and Global Engagement and Marieta Chemishanova, Director, International Student Services

In 2015, the International DirectConnect (IDC) program was created in collaboration between Valencia College and the University of Central Florida (UCF) to ease the transition of international students between the two schools and to increase international student enrollment.

Features of this innovative program include a dedicated UCF advisor for Valencia College international students; joint marketing materials tailored to international students;  bi-annual Valencia student visits to UCF; joint international recruitment trips to target countries; joint acceptance letter from Valencia and UCF for Valencia international students as part of their admission to Valencia; and coordinated recruitment of international students who are denied acceptance directly into UCF, so that they can be informed of the International DirectConnect pathway to UCF.

When the IDC Program began in the fall 2015, Valencia transferred 45 students to UCF and there were a total of 167 international students enrolled at UCF from Valencia. Five years later, in the fall 2019, Valencia transferred 155 international students to UCF, and there were a total of 429 international students enrolled at UCF from Valencia, more than tripling the new transfer-in student numbers from 2015.

Downtown Campus Guiding Principles
Nick Bekas, Professor, English; Cory Blackwell, Professor, Biology; Roberta Carew, Professor, Mathematics; Rudy Darden, Professor, English; Chuck Davis, Professor, Chemistry; Dori Haggerty, Campus Director, Faculty and Instructional Development; Vishma Kunu, Professor, Humanities; Kelli Lewis, Professor, Health Information Technology; Michael Moniz, Professor, Speech; Mia Pierre-Wall, Faculty, New Student Experience; Quaneisha Mcleod, Professor, Health Information Technology; Ryan Sandefur, Professor, Mathematics; and Melonie Sexton, Professor, Psychology

Valencia College Downtown Campus faculty collaborated to develop a set of guiding principles to create an inclusive academic environment for all students. In creating the principles, faculty reflected on Valencia’s promise of partnership with the Historic Parramore Community and the unique nature of our collaboration with the University of Central Florida.

The community identified what was most important to the neighborhood where our educational institution was set to open, and faculty listened. As a result, faculty decided to promote excellence by: (1) establishing a unified and welcoming experience; (2) creating personal connections; (3) emphasizing authentic engagement; (4) developing a community of shared values; and (5) pursing equity-minded practices. The Downtown Campus utilized these strategies to promote a learner-centered and equity-minded environment for all who come to the campus as it serves the community and improves lives through the power of education.

The guiding principles were jointly and conscientiously developed by the cohort of faculty who would be teaching the first classes at the Downtown Campus in fall 2019, where students from Valencia and UCF would be sitting side by side. The principles are an articulation of the high quality of education and experience we want each of our students to have in this new environment, remaining true to our core values as Valencia learning-centered educators. The principles are posted in Downtown faculty workspaces.

Enhancing the Guest Experience through Creativity and Innovation
Aixa Rosario, Coodinator, College Transitions, Immersive Experiences

The Office of Transitions Planning routinely welcomes prospective students and their guests to campus via campus tours and group visits. Aixa Rosario has greatly improved the East Campus’ visit options, transforming the routine into fun, engaging and interactive experiences for all, resulting in higher quality offerings and guest experiences.

When large groups come to tour campus, Aixa breaks students up into groups by handing out ambassador fact cards to every other student as he or she exits the bus. This is a quick and effective way to split the group into two and continue on with the tour. She’s created a chaperone information packet and several handouts with information about day-of logistics that she emails and sends via regular mail in advance of the visit to eliminate any confusion and make sure information can be found in multiple ways.

She also does research on new games, technology and ways to improve the programs and is quick to implement them, and implement them successfully. For example, while guests wait for a campus tour, they can now answer trivia questions via Quizizz. Additionally, Aixa reworked the tour script to change important facts into trivia questions that guests can respond to via paddles with a thumbs up or thumbs down symbol.

Entangled Learning – Building Student Success, One Student at a Time
Robyn Brighton, Director, Strategic Learning Initiatives; Heith Hennel, Professor, Information Technology; Jerry Hensel, Professor, Computer Programming and Technology; Ciara Hensley, Emerging Technology Librarian; Dennis Hunchuck, Professor, Computer Programming and Analysis; Migdalia Otero-Olan, Faculty Developer, Instructional Designer

East Campus Information Technology (IT) faculty implemented new ideas to assist in increasing persistence, progression and completion rates at Valencia College. The multi-pronged approached included developing a hangout, a digital presence, club and office hours, which the team calls “entangled learning.”

The concept of the hangout — where students and professors frequently visit, for socializing, for fun or for doing school work together — has evolved over several years. During the hangout, Technology Club members meet to have fun, learn and explore together. Aside from the club’s groups, during the hangout, you will find students playing xBox and using the Oculis Rift. If the students aren’t being active with the club or playing games, they typically are working on their homework or tutoring each other.

In addition, several IT professors use the hangout for part or all of their office hours. At any one time, you can find between one and five professors just hanging out. The professors work with students, work on their own classes and work together to socialize and learn.

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Criminal Justice Experiential Learning Program Awards Credit for Work Experience

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Two years after the Criminal Justice Experiential Learning program was launched, Valencia College leaders reported its resounding success, with 53 students currently declared in the program.

The program is unique because it is limited to incumbent workers in corrections and law enforcement. What is different about the program is that it integrates work-based experiences into academic courses, while also providing an accelerated pathway to a degree by industry certifications and work experience. It is also a pathway to better career opportunities for students by allowing them to finish an A.S. in Criminal Justice at a much faster pace.

Students in the program must take three, six-credit hour field experience courses — which integrate work experience with academics. Combined with successful completion of the state law enforcement academy and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement licensing exam, a student in this program could earn between 24-30 credits in the Corrections Track or 33 credits in the Law Enforcement Track for work-based learning. This significantly reduces the number of courses students have to take to complete their A.S. degree and is a much better fit for working students.

“The Field Experiential Learning courses are the key ingredients…,” said James McDonald, dean, career and technical programs. “Essentially, [the students’] workplace becomes a lab … Students then get to apply what they learn in the academic portion of the class to actual experiences they have at work. This reduces the number of courses a student has to take, but still allows them to earn the same number of credit hours.”

In addition, he said, while the program recognizes the value of the learning that takes place on the job, it also retains the same learning outcomes as a traditional A.S. degree. Students must also complete the same capstone course traditional A.S. students take in order to graduate.

James said student response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive. He shared an email sent by a student to Dave Heffernan, professor, criminal justice technology. The student wrote that the program taught them important criminal justice concepts they thought they knew and encouraged them to further their career.

“I have never been a fan of school and once I was certified as a correctional officer, I did not think it would be that important for me to finish,” the student wrote. “Now I see that furthering my education will not only teach me concepts that I knew little to nothing about, but will assist me in furthering my career with the ability to promote, crossing over to being a law enforcement officer, and passing the information along (like Due Process Rights) to other officers when I become a training officer myself.”

The student’s quote, James said, sums up the purpose and value of the program, which was born out of desire to serve those in the community by leveraging their work experience. To read an overview of the program as well as program requirements, click here.

James also said the College will continue to expand these types of options for students in other fields. Recently, his department created a Hospitality Experiential Learning program. That program was recently approved by the curriculum committee and is expected to launch in fall of 2020.

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Discuss Michelle Obama’s Book ‘Becoming’ in VAHC’s Zoom Book Club

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Working from home and missing your work family? Need a bit of inspiration or just human connection? Would you like to expand your network and become more involved in social events with colleagues?

The Valencia College African Heritage Committee (VAHC) invites all faculty and staff to join its first lunchtime Zoom book club.

The club will be reading “Becoming,” by Michelle Obama, and will meet via Zoom to discuss thoughts, insights and favorite moments from her story. This will be a time to connect with colleagues from different areas of the college, engage with both new and old friends, and learn more about the work of the Valencia African Heritage Committee.

There are two lunchtime opportunities to participate in the VAHC book club:

Date: Thursday, April 30, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom

Date: Friday, May 15, 2020
Time: 12 – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom

For the Zoom link and information on joining the book club, contact Adrienne Mathews, professor, political science, at or 407-299-5000, extension 1008 or Angela Hall, librarian, at or 407-299-5000, extension 3504.

The VAHC’s mission is to celebrate and foster inclusion of cultural and educational awareness of the African diaspora at Valencia College, as well as build inclusivity of the social and political interests and concerns of faculty, staff and students of African diaspora collegewide and in the community. The Valencia African Heritage Committee has campus- and regional-based committees to promote its mission and observances of African-diaspora heritage, culture and diversity. Employees interested in joining this work are invited to email

Monthly Archives: April 2020

An Update on Career Anniversary Awards

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Message from Sam Dunham, Assistant Director, Employee Development

Thank you for the work you continue to do to support our students and your team during this unique situation. It is because of your effort that the College is still able to do the work that drives our mission.

As is the case with many of you, our team does not have access to our workspace, where we typically package and distribute career anniversary awards. If you have a milestone career anniversary this month or have one upcoming, expect a delay in receiving your career anniversary gift. Due to the uncertainty of the situation, we are unable to anticipate when we will be able to deliver these gifts. However, we will work to have them delivered to you once we return.

In an effort to keep the intention of the program, the Employee Development team will be sending out a list of names on a monthly basis to supervisors who have team members with a milestone career anniversary in that respective month. Now, more than ever, we want to encourage you to take time to virtually celebrate these career milestones.

In these uncertain times, it can be easy to feel disengaged in our work and disconnected from colleagues. Taking time to recognize colleagues for their career accomplishments can help them feel engaged and seen by their colleagues. Some ideas for recognizing a career anniversary virtually could include:

  • Having your team send congratulatory and encouraging comments of appreciation through email on the anniversary date. All emails could be sent to one person to put in one email to send to the team member.
  • Setting up a Microsoft Teams or Zoom meeting with your team on the anniversary date and recognizing the team member.
  • Sending a handwritten note of appreciation directly to the team member’s home.

Additionally, our team is available to talk with you about different ways to recognize colleagues. Thank you for your patience during this time and if you have any questions, please contact me at or at (407) 407-299-5000, extension 5140.