Monthly Archives: June 2020

Employees Make the Most of Their Quarantine

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

We recently asked you to share with us the many creative things you have done during your quarantine now that we are spending more time at home. And you sure delivered!

We were delighted to see so many of you engaging in home improvement projects, gardening, sewing, painting and enjoying nature. Some of you even brought home a new pet to share your space with. Here’s to all our Valencia College employees who are making good, productive and creative use of their time as many of us work from home.

Watch a photo montage of your submissions below.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

You’re Invited to Falecia Williams’ Farewell Celebration

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Date: Thursday, July 9, 2020
Time: 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom, Password: 283489

Please join us in saying farewell to Falecia Williams, president, West and Downtown Campuses.

The Zoom event, which will be held, Thursday, July 9, 2020, will feature remarks from current and former colleagues representing each phase of Falecia’s work at Valencia including student affairs, workforce development, West and Downtown Campus leadership, senior team and the community.

All are invited to attend, including former employees and community members.

Colleagues are encouraged to share photos, memories and well wishes for Falecia through the survey below that will be compiled to create a commemorative book that will be presented to her. Memories and well wishes submitted via the survey will used for the memory book and will not be shared publicly. Please submit your photos, memories and well wishes by Friday, July 10, 2020, at 5 p.m

Falecia spent 22 years at Valencia, steadily growing in her leadership in student affairs, career and technical education, academic affairs, community leadership and campus leadership. Her last day at Valencia College will be Friday, July 17, 2020.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Equity Conversations Highlighted at District Board of Trustees Meeting

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Equity was a main topic of conversation during the Wednesday, June 24, 2020, District Board of Trustees meeting as Collegewide Faculty Association President Stanton Reed presented an emotional and sobering video that he explained captures the feelings of many Valencia faculty and staff as they’d like to discuss equity but fear push-back. The video, “This is the Paradigm Shift That Could Stop Racism” by Robin DiAngelo — author of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism,” affiliate faculty at the University of Washington, and consultant, educator and facilitator on issues of racial and social justice — discusses how we can’t jump over the difficult personal work required to examine our own role in racism’s presence in society.

“It’s sobering, yet I want it to be hopeful, but it’s my life experience,” Stanton explained.

Watch the video below:

“We are being pushed in places,” Stanton said. “We’re in the perfect storm. Now is the time to hold ourselves accountable as we journey into experiences in a new way.”

President’s Update
College President Sandy Shugart also discussed equity during his President’s Update.

“We think of Valencia as a leader in equity, including our history of being born out of the movement for equal rights,” referring to Valencia opening our classrooms to minorities from our very first day in 1967— a time when there was little choice for Blacks to attend college locally.

Sandy explained that the College is committed to the work and making space for the challenging conversations in which we must engage to understand how we experience our shared lives differently and find ways to create a place where each of us can expect to be treated with respect, courtesy, equanimity and equity.

During his update, Dr. Shugart also shared that:

  • On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, he will represent Valencia on a call with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and community college presidents regarding how the College responded to the coronavirus.
  • West and Downtown Campus President Falecia Williams has accepted a new role as president of Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) in Maryland, near Washington, D.C.
  • All trustees were invited to attend Valencia’s 2020 Commencement Recast on Sunday, June 28, 2020.
  • Some Valencia students that have been on campus have tested positive for COVID-19. For additional information, view the College Update. 

CARES Act Emergency Student Aid Update 
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske provided an update on Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act student aid funds. As of the Monday, June 15, 2020, Round One deadline, 17,083 students submitted an application. Each eligible student who submitted an application during the Round One application period, received an emergency grant of $750. A total of $12,812,250 of emergency aid was disbursed.

The United States Department of Education issued an interim final rule on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, that has again changed the requirements for students to be eligible to receive CARES emergency grants. The new rule specifies that students must be, or could be, eligible under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to participate in programs under Title IV of HEA in order to be eligible to receive a CARES Act emergency grant. Although the change will not be enforced in Round One, the new rule will require the College to alter plans for Round Two as it will render several thousand students ineligible to receive a CARES Act emergency grant, largely due to their not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.

The College will issue Round Two applications in early July for CARES Act emergency aid to students who are eligible under the new interim rule and who did not receive emergency aid in Round One. Additionally, the College will collaborate with the Valencia College Foundation to make emergency aid available to degree- and certificate-seeking students who are currently enrolled, who did not receive emergency aid in Round One and who will not be eligible to receive a CARES Act emergency grant under the new rule. For more information, click here.

CARES Act Institutional Stability Funds and Minority Serving Institution Funds
In addition to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act student aid funds, the CARES Act allows a portion of each college’s funds allocation to be used for institutional costs to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Of the total CARES $29.3 million grant, Valencia may use up to $13.8 million in Institutional Stability Funds to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus, such as expanding remote learning programs, building information technology capacity to support online programs, and training faculty and staff to operate effectively in a remote learning environment.

Additionally, Valencia may use up to $1.7 million in Minority-serving Institution Funds to defray expenses and lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff training, and payroll.

The board authorized the College to disburse CARES Act Institutional Stability Funds and Minority-serving Institution Funds in accordance with the funds disbursement plan that was presented. To view that presentation, click here.

2020-2021 Operating Budget
The board approved the 2020-2021 operating budget, including a pay raise for employees. For details, read the College Update. To view the full 2019-2020 operating budget, click here.

Roadmap for Reopening
Vice President of Organizational Development and Human Resources Amy Bosley, along with co-presenters Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske and Vice President of Operations and Finance Loren Bender, presented Valencia College’s Roadmap for ReopeningTo view the presentation, click here. 

Campus Enhancements
The board authorized the College to:

  • Enter into an agreement with Weatherproofing Technologies, Inc. (Tremco Roofing) and its subcontractor, R.F. Lusa & Sons Sheet Metal, Inc. to replace the West Campus Student Services Building roof. Read more here.
  • Enter into a contract with Presidio Networked Solutions LLC to enhance East Campus’ Wi-Fi. Learn about the project here.
  • Engage Trane to replace Chiller two on East Campus. Click here for details. 

Capital Improvement
The trustees approved Valencia’s Capital Improvement Plan for the Fiscal Years 2020/2021 through 2025/2026. View the plan here. 

Valencia College President’s Performance Evaluation and Contract 
The trustees enthusiastically and unanimously commended Dr. Shugart for his leadership and substantial accomplishments over the past year in support of Valencia’s mission.

The board approved a four-year contract that reflected no increase in salary for the upcoming year and no incentive compensation as earned last year, at the request of Dr. Shugart. In declining the increases, Dr. Shugart stated that all senior staff (including him, campus presidents and vice presidents) asked not to be given raises this year.

Dr. Shugart Recognized for 20 Years at Valencia College
Following his performance evaluation, the board celebrated Dr. Shugart’s 20th anniversary as Valencia’s fourth college president. The trustees presented a commissioned painting by Florida Highwaymen artist Willie Reagan.

2020 – 2021 Academic Calendar and College Catalog
The board approved the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar and College Catalog. To view the Academic Calendar, click here. For a  summary of substantive editorial and curriculum changes in the catalog, click here. 

Lake Nona Campus Report 
Lake Nona Campus Executive Dean Mike Bosley shared an overview of the Lake Nona Campus. Annually, the campus serves approximately 8,845 students. Of those students, about one-third are Dual Enrollment students. For more Lake Nona Campus statistics, click here. 

Policy Adoptions
The board approved amendments to the policies listed below to update and better align with applicable laws and regulations, to eliminate obsolete language, and to reflect current and improved practices:

Public Comment 
A question was raised with respect to organizing efforts among some part-time faculty members, and although not on the business agenda of the meeting, it was noted that the College is following the State mandated process in addressing the matter.

For more information on the meeting, visit the meeting webpage.

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held online on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, via Zoom.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

PJI Principle 11: Practice Slowing Down 

Tuesday,  June 30, 2020

To help guide us through this time, the Peace and Justice Institute (PJI) has been sharing one Principle for How We Treat Each Other per week. This week, we feature Principle 11:

With heightened emotions and all that we are facing right now, slowing down to connect with our breath, our bodies and our emotions is important to our health.

We slow down to check in with ourselves. We slow down to ensure our actions can be intentional and kind. We slow down to reflect and cultivate empathy, which offers “… that incredibly healing message of ‘you’re not alone.’” (Brené Brown)

Paul Chapman, professor, humanities, and PJI Winter Park campus coordinator, reflects in this article on the eleventh principle as he considers how slowing down creates space throughout the body for both reconciliation and meditation.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Rudy Darden Participates in Channel 9 Conversation on Race Panel

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Professor of English Rudy Darden represented Valencia’s Peace and Justice Institute during “A Conversation on Race in Central Florida” on Channel 9 on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

The live, one-hour special brought together a diverse panel of Central Florida elected officials, law enforcement officers, civil rights attorneys, activists and religious leaders for a candid conversation about racial inequality. In addition to Rudy, the panel included: Orange County Sheriff John Mina; Orlando police Chief Orlando Rolón; Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings; Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; Noel Carter, who was convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer after video showed Orlando police officers kicking him outside a nightclub; Activist Jaz Bennett; Civil Rights Attorney Natalie Jackson, Civil Rights Attorney Howard Marks; Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala; Pastor Tim Johnson of Orlando World Outreach Center; State Sen. Randolph Bracy; State Rep. Geraldine Thompson; State Rep. Anna Eskamani; and State Sen. David Simmons.

“As we think about moving forward, I’ve heard a lot of things that focus on reform, that focus on moving forward, without actually identifying the quote, un-quote bad apples that continuously allow themselves to represent the entire police force,” Rudy said. “If we can find a way to hold sheriffs accountable to reviewing the disciplinary records; if we can find a way for the community to hold the sheriffs accountable beyond taking a knee and really engaging in the community to provide justice … that’s one pathway to start moving forward.”

To view the video, visit the Channel 9 website. 

After sharing his thoughts, Rudy was asked to be an ongoing contributor to Channel 9 and, most recently, shared his ideas on the 6 p.m. news on Monday, June 29, 2020.


Monthly Archives: June 2020

Roadmap for Reopening Town Halls Draw 275 Participants

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

275 Valencia colleagues. 15 slides. Dozens of questions.

The Roadmap for Reopening town hall series, held over the past two weeks, drew participants from around the College who were anxious to learn more about our plans to reopen some of our facilities, bringing limited programs and courses on-site in fall 2020.

Designed to provide and clarify information and, more importantly, listen and learn from our colleagues, the town hall series was co-hosted by Vice President of Organizational Development and Human Resources Amy Bosley, Assistant Vice President of Facilities and Maintenance Operations Shaun Andrews and Assistant Vice President of Operations Paul Rooney, who provided an overview of Phase 2 operations that begin on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Questions were solicited via a survey prior to the town hall meetings, via public or private chat, and even by raising the “virtual hand” and asking a question directly.

“After reading about the Phase 2 Town Hall meetings in The Grove, I added every single meeting to my calendar in hopes of attending as many as possible,” shared Krystal Barrett, staff assistant II in the Dean of Students office on East Campus. “Although I knew the subject matter would remain the same from meeting to meeting, I thought participating in more than one would offer the great opportunity of hearing different perspectives from my colleagues on the College’s planned phases of reopening. I ended up being available to attend two meetings and was met with purposefully planned reopening updates, the encouragement to ask my own questions, and the chance to hear very thoughtful questions and insight from colleagues of various areas within the College.

What I have most appreciated about the town halls is Amy’s welcoming of truly any question that comes to mind. I have felt comfortable asking — whether aloud to the whole group or to Amy privately — my many questions on the College’s reopening and working remotely. I sincerely look forward to future town halls!”

There were a few “frequently asked questions” including those focused on who will be working onsite, how long our phase 2 operations will last, whether face masks will be required and how faculty will conduct student engagement hours. You’ll find answers to these questions and more in our regularly-updated Frequently Asked Questions on the Roadmap for Reopening webpageYou can also find the slides from the town hall here.

We look forward to hosting another round of town hall gatherings in late July and hope you will join us. In the meantime, if you have a question that you don’t find answered in our FAQs, don’t hesitate to reach out to Amy at

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Commencement Recast Celebrates 2020 Grads

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Valencia College’s 2020 graduates were celebrated again this past Sunday, June 28, 2020, during the 2020 Commencement Recast, a redesigned, online ceremony planned with student feedback.

The pre-recorded event featured addresses from College President Sandy Shugart, President of West and Downtown Campuses Falecia Williams, Vice President of Academic Affairs Isis Artze-Vega and the sharing of 2019-2020 Mary S. Collier Distinguished Graduate Tamyia Paul’s video speech. Also, District Board of Trustees Chair Tracey Stockwell conferred degrees to all graduating students.

To view the ceremony, watch the video below:

Enjoy these behind-the-scenes photos from the platform party video shoot at the East Campus Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Attend the Next Virtual Caffeine Buzz on July 10

Date: Friday, July 10, 2020
Time: 9 – 10 a.m.
Location: Zoom
, Meeting ID: 982 4533 2854 (no password is required)

Join in for Caffeine Buzz on Friday, July 10, 2020, where innovative and creative practices from people around the world will be shared.

Ahead of the meeting, feel free to share in this document the ways in which you are staying creative at home and at work.

The Buzz is an opportunity to become immersed in a divergent thinking environment to explore innovative examples around the world — and to have a little fun too.

To view the June 2020 Buzz, which was attended by 34 employees, watch the video below:

Resources shared during the June Buzz can be found here.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Valencia Face Masks Now Available in Online Campus Store

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Message from Mona Liza Colon, Director, Auxiliary Services

Be safe and show your school spirit all at the same time.

The Valencia College Online Campus Store now has reusable, Valencia College face masks for sale. Supplies are limited, so be sure to order yours soon. There are no shipping fees for any personal protective equipment sold by Valencia.

“With most departments working remotely since Spring Break, we realized how important it is for teams to keep a sense of community and belonging within the College,” said Director of Auxiliary Services Mona Liza Colón. “Since everyone will need face masks in this new world, we brought Valencia College-branded masks to the Online Campus Store.”

The store is also now carrying webcams and headsets, invaluable items given that courses are currently offered online.

If you are interested in purchasing items in bulk for your team, please contact Mona Liza at or 407-299-5000, extension 3434.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Featured Colleague: Meet Kari Makepeace, the Air Traffic Controller of Governance

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

By Claudia Zequeira

Kari Makepeace considers herself a bit of a “jack of all trades.”

As executive assistant, senior, and governance support, Kari has her hands full.

Not only does she work directly for Kathleen Plinske, executive vice president and provost, and president of the Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses, she also assists Joe Battista, vice president of global, professional and continuing education (GPCE).

Kari also helps coordinate all the collegewide Governance Council gatherings and organizes some meetings for College President Sandy Shugart.

“Kari is often called upon to serve in the role of ‘air traffic controller,’ and she does a masterful job of managing many different initiatives,” said Kathleen. “I am so thankful for her extraordinary ability to organize, prioritize and make sense of multiple streams of work.”

All that work typically entails scheduling meetings, taking meeting summaries, managing a budget and making travel arrangements, among other tasks. Kari also publishes a GPCE newsletter.

“I spend a lot of time in meetings,” said Kari, adding that part of her role is also learning the many personalities of the councils she works with. “I’m adaptable; I always figure it out, but it’s not easy. I may make it look easy … but there are a lot of moving parts.”

Kari, who has been with the College for the past 18 years, started out as a federal work study student in the East Campus Answer Center and worked her way up, having had roles as a technical document specialist and as executive assistant to Academic Affairs and Planning prior to becoming a coordinator for the same department.

Today, she is most proud of her leadership as well as her organizing and event-management skills. As an example, she cited her service as chair of the Career Staff Association for many years.

Kari said she loves working at the College because it provides her an opportunity to serve others and interact with many different kinds of people.

“Helping students is at the top of my list, but the very best part about working at Valencia is my amazing colleagues,” she said.

She is also inspired by “the determination of our faculty and staff to serve our students to the best of our capability no matter what the circumstances,” she said. “This is especially evident during these difficult times; instead of crumbling under pressure, we rally together and get things accomplished.”

Specifically, she mentioned the “We’re in this Together Campaign,” in which she participated. Over the course of 37 days, a total of 279 callers from multiple departments reached out to Valencia’s students to offer guidance and encouragement in the wake of the College’s decision to move most of its classes online after Spring Break, when it became clear the coronavirus was spreading in the United States. An additional 19 captains assisted as well.

Kari said she understands how hard it is to juggle work and school. After all, she did it herself. Not only did she earn an Associate in Science in office administration and an Associate in Arts from Valencia College, but she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Strayer University, followed by a master’s degree in business administration from the same college.

“I kept a 4.0 GPA throughout my studies,” she said.

In her free time, Kari loves spending time with her eight-year-old daughter and her family. She also loves cooking, enjoying nature and doing 1000-piece and Sudoku puzzles.

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.