Monthly Archives: August 2020

Good Morning, Valencia!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Our Student Development team has launched a brand new podcast — you guessed it — Good Morning Valencia. The podcast, created by students, for students, is designed to share the latest news from the College and unite students while the majority are taking online classes.

The podcast, hosted by students Amanda Jean and Sebastian Valenzuela, launched this month with its first episode, “Valencia Bound,” featuring an interview with Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske on how to prepare for the fall semester.

To listen to the podcast as well as future episodes, click the button below.

The next episodes will be released on:

  • Wednesday, September 23, 2020
  • Wednesday, October 14, 2020
  • Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Monthly Archives: August 2020

A New Process is in Place for Banked Holiday Hours

Monday,  August 31, 2020

A Message from Bettie Cooper, Director, Payroll Services 

Banked holiday hours are earned if a full-time, non-exempt employee works more than the required number of hours during a week that includes a holiday and who, therefore, cannot record the full number of hours granted for that holiday.

As banked holiday hours have been a cumbersome, manual tracking process for employees and supervisors, the Payroll team has created a process that will begin on Monday, September 7, 2020 (Labor Day), to take the burden off of employees and supervisors to remember banked holiday hours and to track the hours in the Request and Manage My Leave system.

Former Process
Here’s an example of how banked holiday hours worked in our former process:

  • An employee works 20 hours during the week of Thanksgiving, rather than his or her typical 16 hours for two days of work. As a result, the employee would record only 20 hours for the holiday break (20 hours worked plus 20 hours of holiday hours), instead of the typical 24 holiday hours for the three-day break.
  • In this scenario, the employee would have four hours of banked holiday hours.
  • This time was tracked by the employee and supervisor for use at a later date and was not stored in the leave system.
  • When the banked holiday was used, it was recorded on the timesheet as Holiday and a Certificate of Absence (COA) was not required for this time off.

New Process
Here’s an example of how banked holiday hours work in the new process:

  • An employee works 20 hours during the week of Thanksgiving, rather than his or her typical 16 hours for two days of work. As a result, the employee would record only 20 hours for the holiday break (20 hours worked plus 20 hours of holiday hours), instead of the typical 24 holiday hours for the three-day break.
  • In this scenario, the employee would have four hours of banked holiday hours.
  • Payroll will run a report to see that this employee only recorded 20 hours of holiday hours on his or her timesheet and therefore has four hours of banked holiday hours.
  • Once the timesheet has been approved and is in a “Completed” status, four hours of banked holiday hours will be recorded in the Request and Manage My Leave system and can be seen as available “Banked Holiday” on the Leave Balance screen.
  • When the employee would like to use those hours, he or she will submit a COA  to request the time.
  • The hours are recorded on the timesheet as Banked Holiday.

As you can see, in this new process, employees and supervisors would not have the burden of manually tracking these hours, and they would be available “at a glance” in the leave system. This time must be requested and approved much like vacation time. These hours will not be paid out should an employee leave the College, so it’s recommended that they be used with the next request for vacation.

Supervisors, if you have a current available banked holiday balance that you are manually tracking, please send those hours to so they can be be added to the leave system.

If you have questions, please contact me at or 407-299-5000, extension 8100.

Monthly Archives: August 2020

Advanced Manufacturing Students Install Bike Racks in the Heart of Kissimmee

Monday, August 31, 2020

Valencia College Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMTC) students just left their mark on Kissimmee’s history after installing bike racks shaped like horseshoes, a symbol of the city’s cattle ranching past, in the heart of its downtown.

The bike racks — six in total — were manufactured by Welding Level 2 students attending the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Kissimmee, which is part of Valencia’s roster of Continuing Education programs.

Installed near the city’s SunRail/Amtrak station, they were the product of a collaboration between Osceola County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb and Zenith Accelerated Learning Academy students. In May 2019, 11 Zenith Accelerated Learning Academy students visited the AMTC and presented their bike-rack designs to a panel of judges. The winning design — the horseshoes — was by student Bri HastingsTo read more about the competition and see the design sketch, click here.

“The collaboration between Valencia College and Zenith has become a great partnership between the two schools. It allows both groups of students to work on real-world projects,” said Jason Becker, manager, welding. “In addition, the community of Osceola County is also able to benefit by using the bike racks.”

Each year for the past three years, Zenith students have competed to have a design built by Valencia’s welding students. The first was a bench installed at Zenith Accelerated Learning Academy, while another bike rack was installed at Kissimmee Lakefront Park.

Monthly Archives: August 2020

How to Facilitate an Online Meeting Like a Pro

Monday, August 31, 2020

By Jaclyn Taylor, Coordinator, Employee Development 

Like many of you, the Employee Development team has been focused on delivering relevant content within this virtual world. As we have learned new platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, we have gathered a list of our pro tips that assist in making virtual sessions as seamless as possible.

1. Use your slides as visual cues.
Do you keep forgetting to record your session? Add in a slide for that. Using a poll? Add a slide for that, too. These visual cues not only let the audience know what is going on, but serve as helpful reminders for you and your production team as well.

2. Treat the chat as public.
Yes, private chat is available within Zoom. However, due to Florida’s Sunshine Laws, anything we type in there is eligible to be pulled for reference at a later date. Participants may not realize this and use the private chat as their own form of text message. Remind them at the beginning of the session that the chat is public.

3. Allow for “Anonymous” contributions.
Want to give the audience a chance to contribute without the rest of the session knowing who they are? Suggest they private chat the facilitator or one of the producers of the session. Yes, this is still subject to Sunshine Laws, but it is a great way for employees to ask questions without feeling embarrassed.

4. Internet lagging? Turn off your video.
The technical piece of how we all keep going in this virtual world is complex so, let’s keep it simple: video uses more bandwidth. If you are experiencing an unstable network connection, turn off your video. This should allow you to continue to speak, and even share your screen, without causing further issues.

5. Set up your hardware for success.
If you are able, hardwire your device to the internet to ensure the best possible internet connection.

Do you have a headset with a microphone? This will help give your audience the best chance of hearing clear audio while you speak.

If possible, use multiple monitors to facilitate. Multiple monitors will help you see all the various windows you may need to access during your presentation (i.e. chat, participant management, PowerPoint, etc.)

6. Use the waiting room.
Have multiple facilitators that will be joining you and need a few minutes before the session to finalize details? The waiting room is your best friend! Open the session about 30 minutes before the start time, and allow any working parties into the main room. Everyone else can stay in the waiting room until it is time for the session to begin. You can even message those in the waiting room to let them know of any updates or delays.

7. When in doubt, use a producer.
If you have any doubts about being able to manage the entire session on your own, ease your own worries and ask a colleague to act as your session producer. This person can share his or her screen, monitor the chat, run the breakout rooms, etc. The producer is your eyes and ears within the audience and can be the difference between a good session and a great one.

For more facilitator pro tips directly from Zoom, check out Zoom’s Online Event Best Practices.

Monthly Archives: August 2020

Provost Update — August 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost

I hope this message finds you well and your fall term has started successfully and safely. I write with an update on textbook orders through the Campus Store, a reminder for faculty about attendance and no-show reporting, and an invitation for all employees to participate in upcoming forums to help shape the College’s Strategic Impact Plan.

  • Campus Store Orders Delayed – because we experienced a last-minute surge in enrollment, our Valencia Campus Store received an extraordinarily large number of orders from students this week. As a result, it is taking our Campus Store team several days to process and ship orders. Please be as flexible as possible with students who have not yet received their instructional materials.If you’d like to consider different options for students who may not yet have access to the required materials for your course, please feel free to reach out to one of our librarians. Also, you may find this FAQ about copyrightSpecial thanks to our Campus Store team for its efforts to process the extraordinary number of orders received as quickly as possible.
    • Attendance and No-show Reporting – faculty members are required 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. For courses that have started (full-term, H1, TWJ terms) the “No-Show Reporting” period is Tuesday, September 1 – Thursday, September 10, 2020. Please click here for instructions on how to record this information in Atlas; the last date of attendance entered should be the first day of the course, Monday, August 24, 2020.In addition to this requirement, I would ask that you consider reaching out to students who have not engaged in your class but who have not dropped. We have found from our calling campaigns that our students tend to respond well to outreach by phone. To find a student’s phone number, log on to Atlas, click the Faculty tab, choose Faculty & Advisor Services (near the top right), then choose Detail Class List (second row, second box from left). After choosing a CRN, click on any student’s name on your class roster to display phone contact information.

  • Help Shape the College’s Next Strategic Impact Plan – as you heard at Academic Assembly, we have begun the process of developing the College’s next Strategic Impact Plan. The Impact Plan will articulate high-level, aspirational goals for the College that describe the “What?” and the “Why?” for our work. After we develop our Impact Plan this fall, we will continue our planning process in the spring by developing Institutional Plans that describe the “How?,” including the strategies and tactics that we will implement to make progress toward the goals articulated in the Strategic Impact Plan.


The Strategic Planning process started in July with a Board of Trustees workshop during which we shared information about our students’ performance in the areas of access, graduation, transfer and workforce. We discussed what measures we might consider using to establish an aspirational goal for each area, and we committed to reviewing our progress toward these goals through the lens of racial equity. Furthermore, given the critical importance of opportunity and equity, we also committed to developing an institutional Equity Plan. We encourage you to review the short papers that we have prepared about accessgraduationtransferworkforce and opportunity and equity.

I invite you to mark your calendars to participate in upcoming planning forums in September and October to help identify and articulate our aspirational goals, viewed through the lens of opportunity and equity, that will serve as the foundation for our Strategic Impact Plan. In an effort to avoid scheduling conflicts and to manage the size of discussion groups, we have scheduled multiple forums for each area. To maximize opportunities for your colleagues’ participation, please plan to attend only one forum for each area.





Thank you for your continued efforts to support our students, and one another, during this challenging time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments or concerns.

Monthly Archives: August 2020

Downtown Campus COVID 19 Safety Protocols

Friday, August 28, 2020

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

As you know, the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students and preserving the continuity of learning remain Valencia’s highest priorities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the start of the fall term underway, Valencia has worked, in partnership with the University of Central Florida, to clear up questions regarding illness reporting at the Downtown Campus and integrate a seamless process for our students and employees.

Though most operations at the Downtown Campus are carried out in a way to create a common experience for students, the complexity of managing housing and other factors through the pandemic has required a temporary modification of that practice to ensure timely information and care.

To help simplify the process of illness reporting and contact tracing, all Downtown Campus employees and students will follow the same protocol as Valencia College’s other campuses:

Daily Health Assessment
All Valencia College Downtown Campus employees and students coming on-site — including students living in UnionWest at Creative Village — are required to perform a Daily Health Assessment by completing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Self-Checker for COVID-19 symptoms prior to arriving to campus, and, if appropriate after a self-assessment, stay home and contact a medical professional for evaluation.

Illness Reporting
When you or a student take the Self-Checker, if you receive any results other than “sounds like you are feeling ok,” please notify us of your results as soon as you are able to. You can report your results by emailing or by calling a special Downtown Campus COVID-19 hotline at 407-582-3452. The phone line will be monitored from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.

Please also email or call us immediately if you test positive for COVID-19 or come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Valencia College’s COVID-19 case management team will determine the next steps right for you or our students. This could include connections to resources for accessing medical attention, including a COVID-19 test. Additionally, if a Valencia student who resides in UnionWest needs to be isolated or quarantined, Valencia’s COVID-19 case management team will make that determination and communicate that decision to UCF who will implement their protocol to move individuals to isolation or to quarantine.

If the Valencia College COVID-19 case management team believes you or a student were in close contact with someone with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, regardless of if it’s a UCF or Valencia College contact, we will contact you directly. This is consistent with our illness reporting and contacting tracing processes.

Important Note
These protocols are specific to Valencia College employees and students. UCF employees and students follow different protocols specific to UCF.

We will install COVID-reporting signage in our Downtown Campus buildings and will be delivering a notice with these details to each Valencia College UnionWest resident.

For additional Downtown Campus reopening details, click here. 

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

Monthly Archives: August 2020

Kudos for a Smooth Start to Fall

Friday, August 28, 2020

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

The fall semester is officially underway. My sincere thanks to our campus teams for supporting students’ continuity of learning, whether online or on campus. You have done an absolutely wonderful job of making sure that students have the opportunity to continue their progress toward earning a degree, certificate or credential from Valencia despite the most challenging of circumstances. Your efforts will make a tremendous difference for our students and our community. Thank you!

Monthly Archives: August 2020

Encourage Students to Use Our Distance Tutoring Services

Friday, August 28, 2020

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

As you know, the College’s student services have moved online, and that includes our academic tutoring. Now, students can easily access Valencia’s free distance tutoring services online via Zoom using their computers or mobile devices. Our Valencia tutors are pleased to provide real-time tutoring in these areas: mathematics, sciences, accounting and economics, computer programming, EAP and foreign languages and writing. To get started, students can visit or click on the Online Tutoring link on the Canvas Help menu.

Tutoring is available Monday — Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday — Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Click here to watch a short video to meet one of our talented tutors.

Monthly Archives: August 2020

New: Technology Support for Students

Friday, August 28, 2020

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

Online Learning Technology Support services are also available for our students this semester. Students can receive assistance with navigating Canvas, OneDrive, Zoom, YouTube and Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint). Support is also provided for video editing (via iMovie and MovieMaker) and converting documents from a Mac to a PC. Tech support is available live on-demand via Zoom, by appointment or via e-mail. Students are encouraged to use the 24/7 Canvas Help located inside Canvas by clicking on the “Help” icon. You can also share this video with them.

To get started with Technology Support services, students can visit and click on the “Tech Support” tab. Through this site, students can view the schedules of tutors/tech support assistants, find available help times, learn more about the services and access a collection of supplemental resources that are available 24/7. Live tech support is available Monday —  Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday — Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Monthly Archives: August 2020

Digital Professor Redesign Provides Streamlined Online Experience for Faculty

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Message from Geni Wright, Director, Online Teaching and Learning

In early spring, experienced Digital Professor faculty facilitators met to discuss the alignment of the Digital Professor curriculum to the Rubric for Online Competencies (ROC). The team was in the early stages of determining the redesign phases of courses to model ROC criteria. Thankfully, this information helped guide a design team in reimagining the Digital Professor experience.

The Digital Professor redesign provided a streamlined online experience for faculty to complete 20 hours of professional development in the areas of pedagogy, student engagement, and technology in online teaching and learning. Digital Professor cohorts were facilitated by experienced online faculty and faculty developers/instructional designers.

Faculty shared feedback on their experience. Here are some of the responses received:

“Great experience. Learned a lot about improving the student learning experience in the online environment.”

“It was a great experience. The course was very well organized with very clear instructions. Thanks for a great learning experience!”

“I know I will have a much better semester in the fall in regards to giving my students a much better experience.”

“I really enjoyed this course! I learned a great deal that I can incorporate into my online courses.”

During this summer alone, we had 688 faculty members successfully complete Digital Professor Certification, including 565 part-time/annually appointed faculty and 123 tenured/tenure-track faculty.

For a complete list of all our distinguished Digital Professors, click below:

We would like to thank our Digital Professor facilitator team:

  • Lisa Macon, professor, software development
  • Laura Magness, professor, psychology
  • Nicole Marsh, professor, speech
  • James May, professor, English for Academic Purposes
  • Shelitha McKissick, faculty developer/instructional designer
  • Sam Meyers, faculty developmer/instructional designer
  • Julia Nudel, professor, mathematics
  • Migdalia Otero-Olan, faculty developer/instructional designer
  • Alex Penn, faculty developer/instructional designer
  • Terry Rafter-Carles, faculty, New Student Experience
  • Storm Russo, professor, business
  • Liza Schellpfeffer, professor, speech
  • Melonie Sexton, professor, psychology
  • Jo Smith, faculty developer/instructional designer
  • Nicole Spottke, professor, English
  • Tina Tan, professor, speech
  • Rose Tran, faculty developer/instructional designer
  • Summer Trazzera, professor, reading
  • Claire Yates, faculty developer/instructional designer
  • Fall Digital Professor Certification Cohorts

    If you are interested in completing your Digital Professor Certification, submit the Fall Digital Professor Survey to select and enroll in Cohort 2:

    Cohort 2

    • Monday, September 28 – Monday, October 12, 2020, for Canvas Essentials (10 PD)
    • Monday, October 19 – Monday, December 7, 2020, for Digital Professor (20 PD)