Monthly Archives: June 2020

College Update — Roadmap for Reopening: Plans for Fall 2020

Monday, June 15, 2020

A Special Message from Sandy Shugart, Valencia College President

As we continue to formalize our plans to reopen our campuses, I want to provide you with an update on where we are with planning for the fall term.

Across the College, teams have been working collaboratively on a phased approach to plan how Valencia will reopen. Already, in Phase 1, we have been able to transition courses online, while also allowing a very limited number of programs to continue to run on campus, such as our School of Public Safety programs, Accelerated Skills Training and a few others where the curricula can neither be delivered, nor assessed, remotely. As we carefully monitor the on-campus experiences of these programs, we continue to make plans for reopening by considering our current operations, feedback from you and our students, and the best information available at present from our federal, state and local health authorities.

While plans are still being finalized, we have made considerable progress on developing our Roadmap for Reopening, which will inform our approach to resuming on-campus activities. Our goal and our priority remains focused on providing a safe and healthy environment for faculty, staff and students and preserving the continuity of learning.

We are fortunate to partner with Orlando Health to help us develop a science-based approach for our reopening plans. I invite you to watch this video to learn more about where we are in our planning, and to hear feedback from Orlando Health on our plans.

As we move into Phase 2 on Saturday, August 1, 2020, most of our work, courses and programs will continue to operate remotely. With some of the current models forecasting a possible second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, our approach will help us continue to provide high-quality learning experiences, while minimizing abrupt disruptions in our academic continuity, if a second wave does indeed occur. For an overview of what programs will be offered on site, click here.

Please know that our plans are living documents, meaning that they will be updated in response to new guidance as we continue to monitor the coronavirus and consult with Orlando Health. As we implement plans for reopening, we will keep you informed of our current state and invite you to conversations to discuss and provide feedback on our plans. Up-to-date information on our most current plans will be available on our new Roadmap for Reopening website.

I encourage you to check the website for updates, stay tuned to your email and engage in upcoming town halls to learn more, ask questions and provide feedback. Details on the town halls will be announced in The Juice and The Grove tomorrow.

Thank you for all of your hard work during these unprecedented times. I deeply appreciate all of the creativity, collaboration and thoughtful planning that you all have demonstrated, as well as the care and concern you have shown to each other and to our students. I look forward to working with you all to make this a successful fall semester.

Continue to take care of yourselves and your families, and remember that we will get through this together.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

PJI Principle 9: Speak Your Truth

Monday, June 15, 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 9: Speak your truth.

In our current environment, which is charged with so much emotion surrounding both racial injustice and COVID-19, we must be brave enough to speak our truth and respect others for sharing their truths as well. The Principles are a powerful tool for authentic conversation that can help us engage in the kind of courageous dialogue needed to actualize positive change.

Click here to read how Josh Bell, part-time faculty, humanities, and PJI interfaith coordinator, reflects on the ninth Principle as he considers how the Principle has positively impacted his life.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Campus Stores Adapt to Online Ordering

Monday, June 15, 2020

By Mona Liza Colon, Director, Auxiliary Services

As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all of the physical Campus Stores collegewide, our Auxiliary Services department developed a plan to ensure we could continue to serve the students, faculty and staff. In a few short weeks, the campus stores team moved 90% of course materials from five different campus stores into the recently vacated West Campus Building 9 culinary spaces. The previous culinary spaces are being resourcefully utilized to ensure a smooth online fulfillment process.

Some examples include:

  • Stove tops are used to display and store general merchandise (safely, of course).
  • Culinary instructor stations/prepping islands are used as UPS packaging stations.
  • The walk-in cooler/freezer is used as a storage area for course material overstock.

On Monday, April 13, 2020, the Online Fulfillment Center (OFC) opened for the summer term, and all Campus Store operations are 100% online.

Open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., our approximately 30 Campus Store employees are working on the West Campus to ensure there is not a delay in the delivery of course materials to the students.

As of June 11, 2020, the OFC shipped has shipped 9,832 orders to students for their summer semester courses. Based on student feedback, most orders were received within days of their order being placed.

Thank you to Eric Schlunz, retail specialist, who has taken on the responsibility of overseeing the OFC. Eric started with the College in November 2017 as a part of the Campus Stores retail team. Eric has used his customer service skills, initiative and leadership experience to help guide the team on this new online campus store experience.

During the COVID pandemic, the goal of the Campus Stores has been to continue to support students and faculty with the course materials they need to be successful. The OFC has helped all the Campus Stores work together as “one store” to accomplish this goal.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Provost Update — June 12, 2020

Friday, June 12, 2020

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost

I hope that this message finds you well. Today I write with an update on the fall course schedule, our virtual Answer Center and Advising Center, and our new Real-time Virtual modality, as well as to share with you an important message sent to our students yesterday.

Fall Course Schedule

Last month we shared the recommendations of the Fall Schedule Design Team, which proposed that we offer the majority of our fall 2020 courses in an online modality, reserving face-to-face and mixed-mode sections for courses that are unable to be offered online. The Design Team also advised that courses being considered for face-to-face delivery be prioritized based on community needs, impact on student progression toward program completion, and operational considerations.

On Wednesday, Dr. Shugart approved the recommendations of our faculty, deans and campus presidents to offer approximately 100 unique college credit courses in the areas of allied health, arts and entertainment, biotechnology, culinary arts, engineering and technology, health and physical education, and nursing. While our deans are still making final adjustments to the fall schedule today, you can preview our fall course offerings by visiting our Course Schedule Search. We will share more specific details about our plans for fall next week.

Registration for special student populations starts on Monday, June 15, 2020. Returning students may register beginning Monday, June 22, 2020, and new students may register beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.

Virtual Answer Center and Advising Center

As students begin thinking about their plans for the fall semester, please encourage them to visit our:

  • Virtual Answer Center – students may drop in to meet with an Answer Center advisor via Zoom for assistance with the steps to enrollment, admissions and financial aid.
  • Virtual Advising Center – students may drop in to meet with an advisor via Zoom or may make an appointment to meet with their assigned advisor to explore degree and program options, course planning and scheduling, and transfer planning.

Real-time Virtual Modality

When you visit the Course Schedule Search, you will notice a new modality titled “Real-time Virtual” (RTV). As mentioned in a previous update, we heard during the spring and summer from faculty and students interested in a new modality that resembles face-to-face instruction but facilitated virtually. Thanks to the feedback many of you shared via survey and gathered from our student and academic leaders, the design team has completed its charge: developing a working title and definition of the pilot modality, and designing a pilot for fall, including a communication plan and assessment plan. The official modality description of RTV is “a course that requires students and instructors to meet online, in a virtual space, during designated days and times.” To learn more about RTV, you can review the design team recommendations and/or join the implementation team during an information session via Zoom next week:

Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Zoom

Date: Thursday, June 18, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Zoom

Date: Thursday, June 18, 2020
Time: 6 – 7 p.m.
Location: Zoom

Message to Students About Facing Racial Injustice

Our deans of students sent an Atlas email to students yesterday sharing that Valencia stands with them in promoting social justice within our campuses and our community. The message also includes information about connecting with our counselors, participating in courageous conversation sessions, connecting with campus resources and engaging in clubs and organizations to learn more about the Black experience and find ways to actively combat racism. To review the message sent to students, please click here.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments or concerns.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Regional Town Hall Next Friday: Fall Semester Planning Update

Friday, June 12, 2020

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

Date: Friday, June 19, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Location: Zoom

If your schedule allows, please plan to join us on Friday, June 19, 2020 from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. for a regional town hall via Zoom to learn more about our plans for the fall semester. We’ll share information about the courses that we plan to offer with face-to-face meetings and more details about what to expect next semester.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

In Memory of Mark Hollingsworth

Friday, June 12, 2020

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

Again this week, I am the bearer of sad news. Mark Hollingsworth, former part-time computer lab assistant at the Osceola Campus, passed away on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Mark had been retired for a few years due to a health condition, but he was very much a part of the Career and Technical Programs division and will be missed.

These memories are from Sandria Francis, computer support specialist I; Todd Ribardo, Learning support technology supervisor, senior; Denise Ross, professor, computer programming and analysis; and James McDonald, former dean of Career and Technical Programs and current director of the Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Organizational Leadership (BASBOL) program:

We are all saddened to hear of the passing of Mark Hollingsworth. Mark was dedicated to his job as a laboratory assistant II at Valencia College. Prior to joining our team, Mark worked in the library for two years as a work-study student. Faculty and staff have missed Mark since illness caused him to depart Valencia.

He always arrived at campus early and prepared classrooms prior to students arriving for class. We knew everything was in great hands with Mark due to his thorough and meticulous work. When he set up a new laptop cart for a classroom, he would neatly tie up or tuck any cables away, mindful for these not to be in the students’ way. Mark was always eager to help any faculty, staff or student within the department who needed his assistance. What he enjoyed most about his job was helping students in computer hardware courses, assisting them in the deconstruction and reassembly of demo computers. He really liked educating students on how to properly care for the components so that they would not get damaged.

Mark would often bring baked goods from home and make coffee to share with the faculty and staff. He was truly a kind and caring soul, always thinking of others and their families. When Sandria Francis’ son would stop by, Mark would share his wisdom and thoughtfulness with the young man. A promise was made to take Sandria’s son on a fishing trip once Mark had recuperated. We would look forward to visiting him while he was sick. We will miss him.

There was never a time when we could not count on Mark to be there. He was truly an asset and a kind-hearted friend to the Career and Technical Programs Division.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

Join Us for West Region Town Halls

Thursday, June 12, 2020

A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West and Downtown Campuses

You requested and we listened. I will continue offering West Region town halls where other leaders and I will provide updates on the College’s commitment to equitable outcomes, responsiveness to remote learning and working, and efforts to strengthen students’ agency during shifting environments.

Here’s the schedule of gatherings:

Date: Thursday, June 18, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Date: Thursday, July 16, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Zoom invitations will be sent via email and will provide a general description of the session for that week. You may also me directly at or (407) 299-5000, extension 1235 for additional information.


Monthly Archives: June 2020

Seeking a West Campus Interim Dean of Learning Support

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West and Downtown Campuses

Valencia College is hiring an interim dean of learning support for the West Campus. The dean works collaboratively with campus and College leadership to plan for, implement and assess the policies, procedures and operations of an innovative and high-quality learning support program. The dean is responsible for all aspects of the campus learning support programs and services including the library, tutoring services, testing center, general learning labs, SLS, supplemental learning, LinC support and instructional support. This position convenes and guides campus conversations and implementation of programs related to the New Student Experience and provides support for the developmental education expert community. Reports to the Campus President.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution [required]. Earned doctorate preferred.
  • Minimum three years teaching and/or administrative experience in a community college.
  • Experience in financial analysis, budget development and the design and assessment of administrative support systems. Experience with grant and grant management.
  • Experience in analyzing, interpreting and disseminating student engagement, academic and outcome data.
  • Experience with designing and implementing professional development initiatives.
  • A demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion.
  • The ability to perform all of the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

To read a full description of the position, click here. To apply, submit a letter of interest and resume to me at This position is open to internal candidates only. Apply by Monday, June 22, 2020.


Monthly Archives: June 2020

Two Valencia Seniors’ Project Published in Engineering Journal

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West and Downtown Campuses

Rodolfo de Curtis Escobar

Two Valencia College students pursuing the Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering technology had their senior project paper published in the “Journal of Innovative Ideas in Engineering and Technology.

Rodolfo de Curtis Escobar and Poposky Cherichel developed a functional electromyographically controlled prosthetic hand and arm using the College’s 3-D printing lab. They also supported the project with an embedded control application based on a single-board computer and servo-activated mechanicals.

Poposky Cherichel

The 3-D printed robotic hand and arm enable a person to control the movement of each of the robotic hand’s fingers individually using a person’s forearm muscle activity. As a result, the robotic hand mimics the finger movement of the user.

“If implemented in a prosthetic, our project would allow the amputee to control the fingers of his or her prosthetic more intuitively and give him or her some degree of expression, instead of simply closing and opening their fist,” said Rodolfo.

“I hope future students look at this project and instead of being daunted by its apparent complexity, they feel inspired by it and seek to improve on the foundation we laid. That is how progress in engineering is achieved,” he added.

Paul Wilder, dean, engineering, computer programming and technology, said the project “demonstrates the quality of the program and its learning outcomes, as well as the students’ connection to the real-world application of their learned knowledge to the potential betterment of society.”

“This is one of the many projects that our students have designed to fulfill their graduation requirement,” stated the project’s supervisor, Masood Ejaz, professor, electrical and computer engineering technology, and chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology department. “These projects not only show the dedication and hard work of our students but also demonstrate dedication and willingness of our colleagues from other departments to help these students out with their knowledge.”

The students’ abstract and paper can be read here. Their project videos can be found here.

The Journal of Innovative Ideas in Engineering and Technology (JIIET) is an independent open-source journal with a dedicated section for undergraduate student research.

Monthly Archives: June 2020

How Important Is Diet and What Should We Eat?

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A Message from Ronald Owens, Teaching Lab Supervisor, Physical Education

How important is diet and what should we eat? This is the $1.36 billion dollar question and one of the most frequent questions that I get as a health and wellness professional. In the mid 1800s, this would have been a very easy question to answer.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of complicating factors these days. The dietary needs of the human body have not changed since then but the food has. Just like with exercise, if you want to get the most out of it, you need to follow a set of principles. That’s how it boils down with food, too; following a set of principles and finding foods that you like that fit within the principles.

There are some things that I think are important to understand. We have all heard that “you are what you eat.” The reality is you are what you absorb. There are 90 essential nutrients that the human body needs in order to function optimally.

I have analyzed a lot of diets over the past 35 years and throughout that time one thing has been consistently evident. As a society, we are overfed and under-nourished. We are not getting the nutrients that we need, and the ones that we are getting have been adulterated to the point that they have a negative effect on our health. Modern day food production and processing does that.

When it comes to food, we want it quick, easy, cheap and good tasting. The food production industry has found ways to make that happen. But there’s a cost associated with that. The processes and chemicals that are used turn a lot of our food into something that our bodies don’t recognize or understand. The body’s reaction to this exposure is inflammation. Another thing that we know is that inflammation is one of the primary drivers of disease processes. It causes interference between what we need and what we get.

Another important thing is that the primary function of eating is to provide the body with energy and, in that regard, the ultimate breakdown point of everything that we eat is to the electrons that end up at the mitochondria in our cells. You might recall these little organelles from ninth grade biology as the cells’ powerhouses or energy production units. In an unhealthy diet, a lot can happen between taking that bite of pizza and the electrons getting to where they need to go for energy production. The result is unhealthy/unproductive mitochondria. Dysfunctional mitochondria have also been proven to trigger disease processes.

The rollout of the first dietary guidelines in 1980 resulted in a major shift in how we feed ourselves. Since that time, the rates of obesity and disease have taken a sharp upward trajectory. So, clearly, this is not working. If you look into the development of the initial guidelines and all subsequent revisions, you will find that they are not empirically evidence-based. The result has been eating styles that are informed by theory and not science. My personal deep dive into the topic has born this out.

So, then, what are the principles and where did they come from? To answer this question we can look to the work of Dr. Weston A. Price. He made it his life mission to answer the question posed in the title of this article. He traveled around the globe analyzing the diets of the healthiest people in the world. Diets varied widely in terms of their macronutrient content. From Arctic to Equatorial regions, the diets studied ranged from less than 30% of calories derived from fat to over 80%.

What he found was a common set of 11 principles:

  1. Consume no refined or denatured foods or ingredients such as refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low-fat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils; protein powders; synthetic vitamins; or toxic additives and artificial colorings.
  2. Consume some sort of animal food such as fish and shellfish; land and waterfowl; land and sea mammals; eggs; milk and milk products (excluding homogenized, skim or low-fat milk); reptiles and insects. The whole animal is consumed — muscle meat, organs, bones and fat, with the organ meats and fats preferred.
  3. Contain at least four times the minerals and water-soluble vitamins, and 10 times the fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K2).
  4. They cooked some of their food, but all consumed a portion of their animal foods raw.
  5. They have a high content of food enzymes and beneficial bacteria from lacto fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, dairy products, meats and condiments.
  6. Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened to neutralize naturally occurring anti-nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors, tannins and phytic acid.
  7. Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30 to 80% of calories but only about 4% of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts, fish animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
  8. Traditional diets contain nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids
  9. They all contain some salt.
  10. They make use of animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.
  11. They make provisions for the health of future generations by providing special nutrient-rich animal foods for parents-to-be, pregnant women and growing children.

So, the bottom line is you would do well to give your body what it needs nutritionally so it makes a lot of sense to know what is in the food that you consume. Read labels and if you don’t recognize a listed ingredient as food then your body won’t either.

The body is an amazing organism and it will do the best it can with what it has to work with. And as much as it has a tremendous capacity to heal, a bad diet for a prolonged period puts the body in a position where the damage done exceeds the ability to heal and that is when the problems start.

We will be discussing this and more in our Zoom podcasts this month on Wednesday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 24 at 1 p.m. and on Thursday, June 18  and Thursday, June 25, 2020, at 4 p.m.

To join a Wednesday Zoom webinar, click here.

To join a Thursday Zoom webinar, click here.

The above links are recurring and can be reused.

Monthly webinar topics are included below:

  • July– Technology and health – “How are your phone, computer and Wi-Fi affecting your health?”