Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Valencia Spirit Shines On With Photos From the Fall Term

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

This fall semester sure looks different from last, but Valencia’s spirit shines on. From wearing masks to following new health protocols on campus in order to stay safe, to sharing your space with a new furry “coworker,” here’s how fall 2020 started and how we are navigating working and learning through this pandemic together. Thank you, Valencians, for doing your best to stay healthy and strong during these challenging times.

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Encouraging Our Students to Register to Vote and Become Informed Voters

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

In accordance with the Higher Education Act, institutions of higher education must make a good faith effort to encourage voter registration and make information widely available to students. As the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election is at the beginning of the month, reminders and non-partisan resources are being shared with our students and faculty.

Most recently, the following announcement was shared with students via Canvas:

The Countdown is On: Register to Vote By October 5

If you are 18 or older and haven’t registered to vote, Monday, October 5, 2020, is the deadline to register for the upcoming General Election in Florida. October 5 is also the deadline to update your registration if you’ve recently moved or changed your name.

On the Florida Department of State website, you can easily find out if you’re already registered and, if you’re not, you can register (or update your registration). It takes as little as 30 seconds to make sure you’re #VoteReady.


Additional Information and Resources
Additionally, Valencia College librarians have created a LibGuide on “Becoming an Informed Voter” and are offering a one-hour workshop on Thursday, October 1, 2020, at 7 p.m. for students to learn about the voting process, discover how to evaluate candidates, explore local ballot initiatives and find out how to cast their ballots by mail or in person. Students who attend will receive a certificate of completion. For details visit the LibGuide.

For faculty, resources to help inform students about voting and how to research candidates is available on the Campus Election Engagement Project website.

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Board Approves Presidential Profile and Candidate Discernment Process to Kick Off Presidential Search

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

During its Wednesday, September 23, 2020, meeting, the Valencia College District Board of Trustees approved the Presidential Profile and the Candidate Discernment Process — two key components used in the recruitment of our next college president.

The Presidential Profile
Vice President of Organizational Development and Human Resources Amy Bosley explained that the Presidential Profile is a key component of a successful presidential search and is used in several ways. The profile reflects the current and anticipated realities for the College and the position, establishes the required and desired qualifications for the role, and describes the opportunities and challenges facing the next president. Additionally, the Presidential Search Committee will use the document throughout the search process to assess candidates, and our search firm — AGB Search — and the College’s Talent Acquisition team will use the profile to recruit individuals for the role. Candidates will also use the profile to learn more about Valencia, and the profile will become an important artifact of the search process documenting how employee and student feedback, values and ideas were incorporated into the process. To view the Presidential Profile, click here.

The Discernment and Selection Process
Amy also reviewed the Discernment and Selection Process, which defines how we plan to move from a large pool of candidates to the board naming the next president.

In round one of the process, members of the search committee will review each candidate’s application materials against the Presidential Profile to ensure the candidate meets the required qualifications. Then, they will review the materials holistically and in detail to determine if the individual brings experiences, skills, abilities and qualities that meet other qualifications named in the profile. In mid-October, the search committee will meet to discuss the candidates and determine an unranked slate of semi-finalists to recommend for the board’s consideration in the Wednesday, October 28, 2020, meeting.

In round two, the College will send each semi-finalist a set of questions to respond to in writing, so we can begin to ascertain both their written communication skills and their philosophy, experience and best thinking on topics critical to Valencia’s future. Candidates will also engage in a virtual, moderated interview with the search committee and in two moderated town hall meetings — one with employees and one with students — in which feedback on the candidates will be collected. Afterward, a first round of due diligence on the candidates will be completed, and the detailed feedback will be provided to the search committee to consider who among the candidates to move forward for a finalist interview. The search committee will present to the Board of Trustees an unranked slate of finalists for consideration at a special board meeting in November.

In the finalist round, candidates will travel to Orlando for campus tours and two in-person interviews — one with the board and one with the Senior Team — and will participate in virtual interviews with the Faculty Council, the Leadership Forum, the Learning Council and the Student Government Association. In addition, the candidates will engage directly with employees in an open town hall meeting and with students and the community in two virtual town halls. Finalists will also interview with community leaders. Afterward, finalists will be asked to reflect, in writing, on their experience in the interview process and set forth some initial ideas about how and where they would lead the College. Feedback will be gathered throughout and then shared with the board for a final decision. To review the full Discernment Process, click here.

Additional board topics included:

COVID-19 Update
College President Sandy Shugart provided the board an update on COVID-19 cases among face-to-face courses at the College. As of the Wednesday, September 23, 2020, meeting, the College has experienced 25 COVID cases on campuses, a low number that can be attributed to our safety protocols in place.

Enterprise Resource Program Cloud Migration Project
Trustees approved the spending of $2,788,000 of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to migrate the College’s enterprise resource program (ERP) to the cloud. Our ERP — Banner — provides the College with an integrated system for managing information about all people affiliated with Valencia College. This system is required to conduct the business of the College and includes admission, registration, grades, financial aid, student accounts receivable, human resources, payroll, accounting, budgeting and procurement. The data in Banner is the College’s system of record, processing data to and from many other Valencia systems such as Canvas and SAS. Moving the ERP to the cloud will provide improved information security, innovation and business continuity, as well as cost reductions.

As a result of this project, 38 servers will be migrated, affecting systems such as SAS, Atlas, web servers, Appworx, APEX and FAST.

The board also approved Oracle Corporation for database licensing, Strata Information Group for migration services and DLT for licensing and build-out of the cloud computing and storage using Amazon Web Services. For the full presentation, click here.

Annual Affordability Report
Assistant Vice President of Budgets and Analysis Oscar Cristancho Mercado presented Valencia’s 2018-2019 Affordability Report, an internal analysis of the real cost of a Valencia education and its impact on the students we serve. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Valencia College block tuition and fees totaled $3,092, compared to the average of Florida College System institutions of $3,206. Also, 73% of our students graduated with no Valencia debt. To read the report, click here.

Construction Report
Vice President of Business Operations and Finance Loren Bender presented an update on construction projects, including a video of the new West Campus roundabout. View the video below.

Architectural Services for Future East Campus Center for Accelerated Training
The board approved the College to award a contract for architectural services for an East Campus Center for Accelerated Training to the DLR Group. The center, like those on the Downtown, Osceola and Poinciana Campuses, will provide intensive, hands-on training designed to help students enter new career fields or advance current skill sets.

District Office Roof Replacement
Trustees authorized the College to enter into a contract with T&G Corporation to replace the District Office roof, at a cost of $793,701. The project includes removing the sloped, clay tile roof and replacing it with a metal roofing system with associated flashing, trim and gutters.

Fall Enrollment Report
Vice President of Student Affairs Joe Richardson presented the fall enrollment report from the beginning of the term. At a time when many colleges are seeing a decline in enrollment, Valencia College has sustained enrollment. To view the report, click here. Please note that numbers have increased since this report.

West Campus Report
Interim President of the West and Downtown Campuses Terri Graham shared with the board a snapshot of an on-campus program during the fall term. Because of accreditation and licensure requirements, some School of Allied Health courses could not be offered virtually. Intensive planning and preparation was conducted for the 60 faculty members and 423 students to return to campus for 23 sections. For an overview of the number of Allied Health courses being offered on campus each week and dental hygiene laboratory clinic details, view the presentation.

Faculty Association Update
Faculty Association Past President and Interim President Stanton Reed presented a video to the board highlighting the Big Idea that anyone can learn anything under the right conditions, and — as that idea is being tested during these times — how faculty are creating the right conditions for learning during uncertainty and ambiguity. To watch the video, click here.

Opportunity and Equity Initiatives
Sandy shared with the board upcoming initiatives in opportunity and equity. Details of these initiatives will be shared directly with the College via email in the coming days.

Waiver of Student Fees
Due to the pandemic, the College elected to waive both the application fee for the Fall 2020 term, to eliminate any barriers to accessibility, and the late fee, to support a later than normal fall enrollment period. The impact to the College was a revenue short fall of approximately $190,000 in application fees and $350,000 in late fees. As the state statute addresses increases in fees but does not address decreases, the board ratified the College’s waiver of student application and late fees and approved that the college president or a designee can waive material impacts of admissions and late registration fees in the future as deemed necessary based on emergency circumstances with required reporting to the board.

CARES Act Spending Update
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske presented an update on Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. To date, 19,327 students certifying adverse impact from the pandemic received $14,495,250. We plan to provide a third round of CARES Act grants to eligible students in mid-October. To view the presentation, click here.

Provost Update
Kathleen also updated the board on our process of developing the College’s next Strategic Impact Plan, which will articulate high-level, aspirational goals for the College that describe the “What?” and the “Why?” for our work. To view the report, click here.

2020-2021 Annual Audit Plan
The board approved the 2020 – 2021 Risk Assessment and Audit Plan presented by the Director of Compliance and Audit Cynthia Santiago-GuzmanTo view the plan, click here.

Policy Adoption
The board approved amendments to Policy 6Hx28: 1-09 – Policy Development, Review and Approval to better align with applicable laws and regulations, to eliminate obsolete language and to reflect current and improved practices. The policy amendments update legal, structural and position references, reflect current emerging procedures in policy development at Valencia and formalize the requirement of strategic policy review — policy review and development must include intentional consideration of effectiveness of policy with respect to College strategic priorities including Equity/Inclusion, Learning, Affordability and Sustainability. In addition, the revised policy formalizes the College’s governance practice of providing the Faculty Council the opportunity to review and comment on policies before they are presented to the District Board of Trustees for consideration and approval and mandates the regular, continuous, systemic review of college policies, at least every three years. To view the revisions, click here.

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

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held online on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at 9 a.m. via Zoom.

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Registration is Now Open for the 2020-2021 PJI Practitioner Program for Staff

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Learn how to collaborate at Valencia, work through conflict and enhance our culture of inclusive excellence through the Peace and Justice Institute (PJI) Practitioner Program for staff.

The cohort experience, which focuses on applied practices in peace and justice, is open to all staff members at the College and will take place Thursday, October 15, 2020, through Thursday, May 13, 2021.

The program consists of 10 seminar sessions — ranging from workshops on community building to inclusive excellence — and the annual Peace and Justice Spring Retreat for a total of 45 required program hours. The Spring Retreat has a $200 registration fee that can be paid through Employee Development Funds for full-time staff. Scholarships are available for part-time employees.

Dan Smith, assistant director, advising, completed the cohort offered from last year. To read his reflection on his experience, click here.

For information about the required program components, the commitments of a peace and justice practitioner, the sessions and the program schedule, click the button below:

If you’re interested, please register for the PJI Practitioner Program in the Valencia EDGE by Monday, October 12, 2020. Use this link to go directly to the event page in the Valencia EDGE  You will be asked to provide your Atlas credentials. Or, follow the steps below:

  • Log in to Atlas.
  • Click on the Employees tab.
  • Click on the Access Valencia EDGE graphic in the My Development Channel. A new window will open.
  • In the right-hand corner, search for Peace and Justice (PJI) Practitioner’s Program for Staff or use locator number 7593.
  • Click on the class, and then click the Select button to register for the program.

For assistance with registration, please contact Employee Development at

For program questions, contact Celine Kavalec, academic coordinator, PJI, and professor, English at

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Beware of Fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Claims

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A Message from Mariann Swenson, Director, Employee Records and Services

According to the FBI, there has been a spike in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims complaints related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic involving the use of stolen, personally identifiable information. We’ve also seen this trend here at Valencia.

To protect yourself and your identity, please be aware and on the lookout for the following suspicious activities:

  • Receiving communications regarding unemployment insurance forms when you have not applied for unemployment benefits;
  • Unauthorized transactions on your bank or credit card statements related to unemployment benefits;
  • Any fees involved in filing or qualifying for unemployment insurance;
  • Unsolicited inquires related to unemployment benefits; and
  • Fictitious websites and social media pages mimicking those of government agencies.

If you suspect fraud, please contact me at or 407-299-5000, extension 8028 and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Reemployment Assistance Fraud Hotline at 1-800-342-9909 or

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Valencia Celebrates National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day

Tuesday, September 23, 2020

On the occasion of National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day on Friday, October 2, 2020, congratulations to the 120 custodians who are working hard to make sure Valencia remains clean in the midst of COVID-19.

“I am very proud of the group of professionals that we have in our custodial department,” said Shaun Andrews, assistant vice president, facilities and maintenance operations. “Preparing the learning environment for students, faculty and staff is hard work that goes unnoticed at times. The adjustments in training and procedures that the team made this year to provide a safe on-campus environment while continuing to maintain all unoccupied space has been extraordinary. We are very fortunate to have their dedication, passion and support.”

In the past few months, Custodial teams have been trained in procedures to disinfect campuses and clean COVID-contaminated areas while maintaining safety guidelines and Center for Disease Control protocols.

Please join us as we celebrate National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day by taking the time to thank a custodian in the comments below.

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Survey and Listening Sessions Reveal Qualifications for Our Next College President

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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

Thank you to the more than 100 employees who provided your input on what Valencia College should look for in our next president.

Your feedback — including opportunities and challenges that the next president may face, the skills, experience and qualifications you are looking for in our next leader, and the characteristics that you think will make a president most successful — was used to develop our Presidential Profile. This document will be used to recruit our next president and includes the qualifications and characteristics we’re seeking along with the key challenges and opportunities that he or she may face. To view faculty and staff feedback, click the button below.

Additionally, we solicited feedback from 45 students during listening sessions hosted by Student Development. To view the student feedback, click the following button: 

For an overall summary of faculty, staff and student feedback, click the button below.

If you have additional feedback to share, complete the Presidential Search Questions, Comments and Feedback form on the presidential search website. All comments and feedback will be shared in full with the Presidential Search Committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Attend the Next Virtual Caffeine Buzz on October 2

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Date: Friday, October 2, 2020
Time: 9 – 10 a.m.
Location: Zoom

Join in for a Caffeine Buzz on Friday, October 2, 2020, centered around employee engagement.

This month’s Buzz, titled, “Caring and Connecting Across Teams,” will be co-hosted by members of the Employee Development team, who will share ideas from companies and individuals that are demonstrating care, fostering connections and showing appreciation for colleagues — all in a virtual environment.

During the session, we will invite participants to use the chat feature to share their own ideas about fostering and creating connections while working remotely at Valencia College.

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

To review resources shared during the August 2020 Buzz, click here.

Watch the August Buzz below.

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Join the Community-wide Conversation on 2020 Challenges

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Valencia College will join the Central Florida Foundation to host the second annual Table Talk, a community-wide conversation addressing the challenges of 2020 on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

Residents of Central Florida will gather virtually during all-day events to discuss these three questions:

  • How has 2020 challenged and changed our community?
  • What should we focus on as we move forward?
  • What will you bring to the table to affect change?

Table Talk aims to capture the feelings, thoughts and ideas from residents across Central Florida through an anonymous survey to help shape the community. The effort intends to provide a way for everyone in Central Florida to be more civically engaged and involved in the community.

Central Floridians can host their own conversation or participate in a conversation. Host responsibilities include inviting six to 10 guests such as family, friends, coworkers or neighbors and choosing a time and virtual platform like Zoom, Facebook, Houseparty App, Facetime or any other app for virtual gathering. No financial commitment is required from a host or participant.

To join a conversation, participants can sign-up for a morning, noon, afternoon or evening conversation here. These groups will be led by volunteers from the Table Talk steering committee or other community members.

After each conversation, every participant will be asked to complete an anonymous survey. Feedback will be analyzed to identify key ideas, information and goals that emerge from the conversations. Central Florida Foundation will share the findings with local funders, jurisdictions and the public to highlight priorities and thoughts gathered from participants.

Additionally, if individuals or groups have an idea or plan to create change or improve the lives of Central Floridians during their Table Talk conversation, they can apply for a micro-grant of $500 or $1,000 to bring the idea to life.

Both employees and students are encouraged to attend. All hosts and participants are asked to register here.

For questions regarding Valencia’s involvement in the event, please contact Rachel Allen, director, Peace and Justice Institute, at or 407-299-5000, extension 2709.

Monthly Archives: September 2020

Stressed? Check Out These Employee Development Workshops

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

It may come as no surprise that the American Psychological Association (APA) is reporting that many Americans are currently experiencing increased stress in 2020. Without deliberate attention to the stress levels and stressors we are experiencing, the APA suggests that “the negative mental health effects of of the pandemic could be “serious and long-lasting.”

In order to support work/life balance for all employees, counselors from Valencia College’s Optum Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will facilitate four special wellness sessions via Zoom in October. All employees, full- and part-time, are invited and encouraged to attend.

Get the Best of Stress

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2020
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Zoom

In this training, participants will get an overview of stress basics as well as practical suggestions for coping with stressful situations, like in the workplace. The concept of stress hardiness is also introduced as a focus for healthy stress management. In addition, attendees will get tools to help them dial down stress and better understand personal and organizational aspects of stress. Register for this session. 

Building Your Resilience

Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Zoom

Empowering attendees to take action in their own lives, this training explores the characteristics that help people deal with unexpected challenges in a positive way. The concept of stress hardiness is also defined and discussed. Register for this session. 

How to Beat Fatigue and Sleep Better

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Time: 3 p.m. 
Location: Zoom

Not only is sleep important to our health, but not getting enough sleep can cause significant safety risks. This session explores the importance of sleep, the sleep cycle, tips to overcome the barriers to a good night’s sleep and simple ways to develop good sleeping habits. Register for this session. 

Embracing Happiness

Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Zoom

This session aims to educate on the basics behind the science and benefits of happiness. Measuring happiness, the psychology and symptoms of happiness, and strategies to choose happiness are all covered. This course encourages introspection into your own perceptions and feelings of happiness to help determine how you can encourage and embrace happiness in your life. Register for this session. 

For full-time employees, Valencia College’s Optum EAP is available to you, your dependents and members of your household. Call 866-248-4094 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and use the access code: Valencia. You may also log on to and use the access code: Valencia.

For part-time employees, Optum is offering a free emotional support helpline for all people impacted. Optum’s public toll-free help line number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary. This service is free of charge and open to anyone.

For other personal and professional development opportunities, review the Fall 2020 Employee Development Schedule.