Monthly Archives: June 2020

Maintain Your Campus Address in Atlas

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Message from Mariann Swenson, Director, Employee Records

Although you may be working from home, it’s very important that you maintain your campus address in Atlas.

Our Employee Records team has recently discovered that some employees have revised their campus address to their home address. Although we encourage you to update your home address in the section labeled HR/Payroll/VE, please maintain your campus address in the Employee Campus/Mail Location section.  

If you have changed your campus address to your home address, you don’t need to take any action, as our Employee Records team will revise it to the correct campus address.

Please note that paychecks and travel reimbursements, when applicable, are being mailed to employees’ home addresses by using the address in Atlas in the HR/Payroll/VE section.

Please connect with your department to inquire how it is distributing other mail sent to your home campus.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

FRS Workshops Offer Tips for Retirement, Investment and Education Planning

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

When it comes to retirement or smart planning for your taxes, Valencia College can help you prepare.

The Florida Retirement System (FRS) will hold the following online workshops:

Using the FRS to Plan for Retirement
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Investment Planning
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Time: 1 – 3 p.m.

Education Planning
Date: Thursday, July 9, 2020
Time: 10 a.m. –  12 p.m.

Understanding the FRS Investment Plan
Date: Thursday July 9, 2020
Time: 1 –  3 p.m.

To register for the FRS Workshops, click here and follow these directions:

  • Complete the form and select “login.”
  • Click “Attend a Workshop.”
  • Under “County,” select “EMPLOYEE Webcast – Live Stream.”
  • Then pick your workshop and click “Next.”
  • Select the date of the webinar.
  • Click “Confirm.”

Please register separately for each workshop you wish to attend. You will receive details for logging in and participating a few days prior to the workshop.

If you have questions, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: June 2020

It’s End-of-year Check-In Time for Staff Members

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Staff members, it’s time to complete your 2019-2020 End-of-year Check-In.

To access the Check-In, sign in to Atlas and go to the “Employees” tab. Click on “Access Valencia EDGE,” hover over “Home” and then click on “Scheduled Tasks.” There, you will find a link to your pending Check-In.

Follow these steps for your End-of-year Check-In:

Step One – Employee Updates on Goals: Enter your accomplishments and progress on goals into the Valencia EDGE.

Step Two – Supervisor Annual Review: Meet with your supervisor to discuss your progress. If some goals need to carry over to the 2020-2021 Check-In cycle, that is okay. After the meeting, your supervisor will enter comments and feedback into the Valencia EDGE based on the conversation during your meeting.

Step Three – Employee Acknowledgement: Acknowledge your supervisor’s comments and feedback in the Valencia EDGE.

Please be sure to have your 2019-2020 Check-In completed by Friday, July 31, 2020.

During the meeting with your supervisor, discuss your goals for the 2020-2021 Check-In, as it opened on Monday, June 15, 2020.

Faculty members, please note that the deadline for the 2019-2020 Faculty Evaluations has been extended through Thursday, October 15, 2020.

For more details, training or resource documents on the required steps for this annual review, log in to Atlas, and on the Employees tab, go to the Valencia EDGE, then click on My Performance channel.

For further information and assistance, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748)

Monthly Archives: June 2020

College Update: Pay Raises, Leave with Pay, COVID-19 Cases, CARES Act, and Social Justice

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Special Message from Sandy Shugart, Valencia College President

You continue to amaze me with the commitment and quality of your work in spite of many challenges. I’m told one cannot communicate too much during a shared crisis, so I have another update for you. Thanks, in advance, for reading it.

District Board of Trustees: Budget Approval and Pay Raises
Last week, the Valencia College District Board of Trustees (Board) met virtually via ZOOM to conduct the business of the College. Nearly two hundred people tuned in, a larger group even than when we meet in person, to see the Board approve a budget for 2020-2021, adopt policy revisions, approve a multi-year capital spending plan, approve the second half of our CARES Act funding plan, and conduct a variety of more routine business matters that typically come up in June. I shared the budget highlights a few weeks ago and nothing has changed. But, I want to confirm to you the actions that effect your compensation.

Your work over the past year has been extraordinary, especially in the most recent four months, and I am pleased to share that the board approved a pay raise for all employees. All tenured and tenure-track faculty will receive one step plus a 1% adjustment to the baseline, and all other staff (except the senior leadership team) will receive a 2.5% raise, effective in August of this year.

We recognize that the work of our part-time faculty colleagues to prepare their classes, engage in welcome-back department meetings and orientation sessions, and complete required compliance trainings happen before the first day of classes, the traditional first day of their contracts. With the approval of the Board, we are raising part-time faculty pay by an additional 2.5% (for a total of a 5% pay raise) and adjusting the contracted dates to begin the date faculty report for the term (according to the academic calendar) and end the day after grades are due. Most clock-hour faculty and our substitution pay rates will also be adjusted by 5%.

We have a strong tradition of stewardship at Valencia, allowing me to affirm to you again that, regardless of what you may read about layoffs and furloughs at other colleges and universities, I do not foresee any at Valencia. And all of this is without an increase in student tuition for the seventh year in a row. I am proud of you all and grateful for the leadership of our budget and finance team.

Leave with Pay
As we transition into our Phase 2 operations and plan for a very robust fall semester, we are updating our leave with pay protocols put in place at the beginning of the pandemic. Beginning Saturday, August 1, 2020, we expect all full-time employees to be engaged in work for the full 40 hours each week. In the event that a full-time employee does not have enough work to reach 40 hours in a given week, they may record leave with pay for the remaining hours. We will, however, be working to reduce leave with pay by introducing a talent sharing program where those colleagues with capacity and time can be matched with departments where additional support is needed. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information on this new program.

Also, beginning Saturday, August 1, 2020, part-time employees will be paid for actual hours worked, and leave with pay will no longer be available to make up scheduled, but unworked hours. We welcome the participation of our part-time colleagues in the talent sharing program and look forward to engaging our part-time staff in the critical work of student support and engagement to the fullest extent possible.

COVID-19 Cases
When the health crisis began, we pledged transparency on any positive cases at Valencia. It probably won’t surprise anyone, given the recent surge in positive tests, that we recently recorded two positive cases in our Fire Training Academy (offered at a training site on the Orange Technical College Mid Florida Campus). All protocols are being followed, and for extra care, the program has been suspended for two weeks. We are also tracking four additional suspected, but not yet confirmed cases.

There will be more of these, as we have contemplated in our Roadmap for Reopening plan. To keep you informed, the team that developed the plan will shortly put up a webpage with facts on any and all positive tests affecting Valencia College locations so you can be aware and prepared. We will communicate with you about this webpage via The Juice in the coming week.

CARES Act, Part 2
The first half of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding was designated for emergency relief to students. As of Wednesday, June 17, 2020, more than 17,000 students certifying adverse impact from the pandemic had received $12.8 million ($750 each). This required a monumental effort, especially in Student Affairs, the grants office and Financial Services. The second half of the funding is designated in the law for “institutional stabilization,” covering costs of converting to online in the Spring term and beyond, lost revenue and technology enhancements. The College is also providing additional emergency funding to students from this pool, all totaling another $12.2 million to date.

Social Justice, Equity and Black Lives Matter
You heard from me, among many others, in the wake of the tragic killing of George Floyd (and many others over the years). Both nationally and in our community, many issues and questions have risen into center-view — accountability and proper community policing, limiting use of force in arrests, bias in the criminal justice system and equal treatment before the law, to name a few. And the conversation has grown to engage a myriad of issues around bias and racism, all of which are worthy of our attention. There is controversy here.There are conversations that will be uncomfortable. There is also opportunity to come together on the common ground of assuring that everyone has an opportunity to flourish. That’s exactly the underlying mission of Valencia College. I’m not sure where all of this is headed, but for us, I’d like to see thoughtful inquiry and action.

Are there policies and practices at Valencia that disadvantage people we are meant to serve? Are there barriers that prevent people from rising on the strengths of their gifts and characters? Are there unexamined challenges in curriculum, in pedagogy, in advising and other services that undermine our attempts to make opportunity real for everyone? Do all of our students and contributing team members feel the sense of belonging we desire for them? And is Valencia a bystander or an active participant in removing the vestiges of racism in a society that will always require reform and reforming institutions?

I am not afraid of these questions. I know you will join me in facing them in some concrete ways in the weeks and months and years to come. Please watch for the opportunities to come together around creating a more loving, just and flourishing life for all of Valencia and our community.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin


Sandy Shugart
Valencia College President

Monthly Archives: June 2020

What Do You Do? Pandemic Edition

Friday, June 26, 2020

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

As you know, the search for a new campus president for our region was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. I am pleased that Melissa Pedone, interim executive dean, Osceola Campus, will remain in that role for another year. In the photo above, she’s doing what she does best: giving her support when it’s needed.

To read about what Melissa does, click here.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Let’s Talk about Fall!

Friday, June 26, 2020

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

Please join your colleagues on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, from 1 — 2 p.m. for a Zoom discussion focused on Getting Ready for Fall, hosted by Osceola Campus Mathematics Professor Al Groccia. This is an opportunity for interested faculty and staff from all discipline areas in the Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses to chat about the following topics in a Q&A format:

  • Best practices for teaching online
  • Addressing challenges with teaching online
  • Honorlock and online proctoring as well as alternative and authentic assessments
  • Zoom
  • Real-time Virtual (RTV) classes
  • Other topics that you would like to bring up to get ready for fall

If you would like to submit your questions ahead of time, feel free to add them to this Google Document.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

CareerSource Central Florida Now Open by Appointment

Friday, June 26, 2020

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

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, overall, in May Florida’s jobless rate stood at 14.5%. However, our local area is faring worse. The counties with the four highest unemployment rates are all in Central Florida: Osceola County has a 31.1% unemployment rate, followed by Orange County with 23.2%, then Lake and Polk counties. Perhaps your students are looking for work, or a family member or friend is.

Please share this good news: in addition to their virtual services, CareerSource Central Florida began offering limited in-person client services in the Osceola Campus’ CIT building on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. To make a virtual or in-person appointment, click on one of the Request Your Appointment buttons on their website. Appointments will be made within 1-2 business days of the request. Anyone who goes to the CIT building who has not made an appointment will receive assistance in making an appointment, so walk-ins will not be seen.

For safety, masks are required, and they will be conducting temperature checks for in-person appointments. Call 1-800-757-4598 for further assistance or visit CareerSource’s Coronavirus Support page for career seeker and employer resources.

Also, CareerSource will host a Virtual Job Fair on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Join for the opportunity to land a career in the hospitality industry. Click here to register.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Congratulations to the Tenure Class of 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Despite COVID-19 and social distancing, Valencia College celebrated our newly tenured faculty via Zoom on Thursday, April 16, 2020. It was a well-attended virtual celebration, featuring our campus presidents and deans speaking on behalf of each candidate and his or her contributions to the College.

“When we return to normalcy, it is our hope we will have an in-person celebration,” explained Teaching/Learning Academy Faculty Director Claudine Bentham. “However, at this time, it was essential to acknowledge their accomplishments after completing a five-year process that focuses on enhancing their professional practices and student learning through the Teaching/Learning Academy.”

Congratulations to the following tenured faculty members:


Monthly Archives: June 2020

Roadmap for Reopening: Faculty Engagement Hours in Phase 2

Thursday, June 25, 2020 

A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources

As the College moves forward to implement Phase 2 operations, several operational considerations and recommendations are being finalized about what will be on campus and the protocols and processes of facilitating instruction and support services for students.

In Phase 2, as was announced last week, the majority of faculty, staff and students will continue working and learning remotely to help reduce population density on campuses, and minimize the risk of contracting the coronavirus. Also, by keeping most of our courses online, we will be able to minimize any significant academic disruptions if we have to move back to Phase 1.

For this fall semester, only a limited number of programs and courses will be offered on campus in a face-to-face format — those that are unable to be delivered online or are very difficult to administer online. During Phase 2, we are asking that only staff involved with the safety, security, cleaning and maintenance of the facilities and faculty who are delivering on-site, face-to-face classes come to campus. All other employees should remain working remotely.

Faculty Engagement Hours with Students

So what does this mean for office and student engagement hours? As outlined in the Workload for Professors Policy: 6Hx28: 3C-01.2, all full-time faculty are required to maintain office and student engagement hours. In accordance with our Phase 2 reopening plans, faculty members will continue to engage with students virtually to meet their required student engagement and service to the institution hours. A variety of best practices on engaging students virtually have been shared over the past few months in the Teaching Through the Coronavirus, Together series that could assist you in making this time meaningful for you and your students.

For faculty members who are teaching on-site in the fall semester, you may choose to have some or all of your student engagement hours on campus, but must utilize spaces on campus that are located in buildings that are open during Phase 2. This means, for example, that if you are teaching a course on West Campus, you would be able to conduct office hours in the building where you are teaching or another space located in a building that is open on the campus. Campus Operations staff will assist faculty who are teaching on-site and wish to have engagement hours face-to-face in finding a suitable location in the building where the class is being taught.

I encourage you to continue to visit the Roadmap for Reopening webpage for up-to-date information on our plans and processes as we move forward with our phased approach to opening. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at or Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Teaching Through the Coronavirus, Together: Using Equity-minded Practices this Fall

Thursday, June 25, 2020

A Message from Wendi Dew, Assistant Vice President, Teaching and Learning and Isis Artze-Vega, Vice President, Academic Affairs 

On Monday, May 25, 2020, exactly one month ago, George Floyd died at the age of 46 while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after enduring a police officer’s knee on his neck for more than eight minutes and pleading repeatedly, “I can’t breathe.” Deeply committed to his church, Mr. Floyd had worked most recently as a security guard for a homeless shelter and as a bouncer at a restaurant/dance club. During high school, Mr. Floyd told a friend, ominously, “I want to touch the world.” Yet Mr. Floyd’s younger self, who became the first in his family to go to college, could never have imagined the profound impact he would have on the world. Following his death, there have been protests against racism and police violence around the world and in all 50 states in the United States.

How does George Floyd’s death relate to teaching? What can you do this fall to advance equity through your role as faculty? As options abound, this communication distills the five practices described by Dr. J. Luke Wood and Dr. Frank Harris III, San Diego State education professors, in their powerful webinar, Employing Equity-Minded and Culturally-Affirming Teaching Practices in Virtual Learning Communities.

Five Equity-Minded Pedagogical Practices 

In his message to the Valencia community, College President Sandy Shugart lamented the death of “another young, black man dying a brutal death at the hands of those who were sworn to serve and protect,” and he reminded us that “Valencia has a special responsibility to push back against social and institutional systems of inequity, especially through fulfilling our mission of education for opportunity.”

Specifically, President Shugart affirmed that “we will continue to raise the standard of our performance in serving the learning needs of our students to include measurable impact on the equity gaps at every part of their experience — access, inclusion, engagement, learning, academic momentum and progress, completion, and success beyond completion.” Given this commitment and the central role faculty and teaching play in advancing equity, we bring you Drs. Wood and Harris’ five equity-minded and culturally-affirming teaching approaches:

1. Be Intrusive. Drs. Wood and Harris recommend starting with an informal assessment of students’ experiences with online learning; then carefully monitoring students’ performance (as with early alerts) so they have time to improve/catch up, when necessary. To assist with reaching out to students and creating connection, Faculty Development has partnered with LifeMap and CARE faculty to devise a just-in-time course, LFMP2910: Just-in-Time Early Alert Intervention StrategiesThis course helps faculty look for patterns of success and challenge in student performance and also highlights fostering an essential sense of belonging in the online environment.

“Some students, especially men of color, struggle with help-seeking because of social stereotypes and ‘intelligence,’ ‘fit for college,’ and ‘independence,’” point out Drs. Wood and Harris. As such, we will need to take great care in how we frame the suggestion that students seek help, perhaps disclosing our own help-seeking experiences or providing a student testimonial, and always coupled with our assurance that we have high academic standards and also that they are capable of reaching the higher standard.

Drs. Wood and Harris also advise us to provide high levels of transparency to students, including taking the time to specify what it will take to be successful in the class, how to approach readings and assignments, etc. As demonstrated by the Transparency in Teaching and Learning (TILT) in Higher Ed. project, taking intentional steps to be transparent about the purpose, task, and criteria of an assignment is “a teaching intervention that increases underserved college students’ success” (Winklemas). Templates and sample assignments from varied disciplines are available online.

2. Be relational. A primary goal in being relational is to demonstrate an authentic investment in students’ success, explain Drs. Wood and Harris. They advise faculty to humanize themselves as a way to connect with students, to begin to build trust and create a classroom community. This can especially be important when teaching across difference, including race, ethnicity, and gender. As Zaretta Hammond (2015) reminds us, trust can help us transcend our differences. “When students trust that we have their best interests at heart,” she explains, “they give us permission to push them to higher levels of achievement.”

Drs. Wood and Harris challenge us to “learn at least one thing about each student that has nothing to do with them being a student”— whether their talents, hometown, hobbies, or favorite artist. One powerful way to get to know students is to use the “This I Believe” exercise, first shared with us by Dr. Bryan Dewsbury, associate professor of biology at the University of Rhode Island. This assignment, which Dr. Dewsbury assigns on the first day of class, “asks students to look into their soul and articulate the things in their lived experiences that are most important to them, and their role in determining their futures.” The assignment creates the basis for being relational with students throughout the term, connecting learning back to what is most important to them.

3. Be Culturally Relevant and Affirming. This approach, rooted in the work of Gloria Ladson-Billings, entails “acknowledging and leveraging cultural strengths and assets to facilitate learning” and “mirroring” students in course content, perspectives, and materials. As Drs. Wood and Harris explain, students of color often find that their voices are absent from course readings, assignments, and assessments, and that even the images used in PowerPoint presentations tend to be of white individuals. One of the ways we can improve the equity-mindedness of our practice is to increase our self-awareness. In partnership with SEED-trained faculty, Faculty Development has built the course, INDV3121: Implicit Bias and Microaggressions in Online Learning Environments, which encourages self-reflection through the use of discussions, scenario-based activities, and other online resources.

4. Be Community-focused. Drs. Wood and Harris advise faculty to model the level of engagement expected in the course. Introduce yourself and be active in all aspects of the course. Then, when you encourage students to interact with each other, you have set the expectation. Your video introduction serves as the example when you invite them to do the same. Take the time to co-create classroom norms and point out how you are relying on these norms in specific learning moments throughout the course. They also suggest that we require students to interact with one another.

5. Be Race Conscious. The last practice shared by Drs. Wood and Harris is that we be explicitly race conscious in our teaching. “Be intentional about providing opportunities to engage racial and equity issues within the context of the course,” they advise. This may not be possible in all courses, acknowledge Drs. Wood and Harris, yet they remind us that inequities are prevalent across disciplines, citing COVID-19 as a salient example. They stress that we must provide students with guidance, safety, support, and tools they will need to productively engage in racial dialogue in the course, ensure that we ourselves have the tools we need to facilitate the dialogue, and stay present in the dialogue, monitoring it closely and intervening when necessary. Stephen Brookfield’s new book, “Teaching Race,” may be a helpful resource in building our own capacity.

As we look ahead to the fall term, during which we’ll engage in deep discussion and robust planning regarding racial equity at the College, consider your own role in this work: What impact will the death of George Floyd and the recent spike in awareness of the systemic racism that permeates our country and institutions have on your teaching?


  • Dewsbury, B. (2018). Deep teaching in a college STEM classroom. Cultural Studies of Science Education. 
  • Hammond, Z. (2015). Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.
  • Winkelmes et al. (2016, Winter/Spring), “A Teaching Intervention that Increases Underserved College Students’ Success.” Peer Review 18, 1/2.