Calling all ghosts and goblins! Although Halloween is almost certain to have a different feel this year due to COVID-19, many of us will still be marking the beloved holiday in special ways. So, if you are still carving pumpkins, decorating your home or work environment in creative ways, dressing up your kids, your pets or yourself, please email your photos to email@example.com by Monday, November 2, 2020. We’d love to feature them in a photo montage on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
As previously shared in our October Provost Update, the majority of our spring 2021 courses will remain online with a limited number offered on our campuses.
We are preparing to offer about 50 additional courses in a face-to-face or mixed-mode format this spring as compared to fall. Some courses in the following programs will be offered on our campuses.
Accelerated Skills Training
Arts and Entertainment
In addition to most courses, we anticipate that most services will also continue to be offered virtually. On Friday, October 30, 2020, the Conditions to Reopen team is going to meet to review operations that may require some functions to reopen on the campuses. More information on campus operations, including student services, will be shared in early November.
Date: Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24, 2020 Time: 7:30 p.m. Location: Online
Date: Sunday, October 25, 2020 Time: 2 p.m. Location: Online
Valencia College Theatre is stepping onto the virtual stage this fall with its first ever online production, “She Dreams of Heroes.” This mystical and nostalgic play is an original production devised by the ensemble and led by Rebekah Lane, director and professor, School of Arts and Entertainment, appearing online for free Friday, October 23 through Sunday, October 25, 2020.
“She Dreams of Heroes” brings the stories of amazing women out in the open. Filmed from the homes of the actors in their own personal environment, the ensemble cast comprised of men and women will play vagabonds, gathering from the depths of the internet to tell stories of women who inspire them, and in doing so, help soothe “Mother Internet” to sleep.
You are encouraged to join in a virtual celebration to honor the men and women who fought for disability rights, accessibility and inclusion. Guest speakers include Director for Students with Disabilities Deborah Larew, Valencia alumnus Issac Thomas and bilingual autism advocate and author Anthony (Tony) Hernandez Pumarejo.
In addition, we invite you to tell us how the ADA has impacted you. If you or a loved one have a disability and a personal story to tell, we’d like for you share it via a recorded video or audio. Some topics or questions you may want to share in your video could include:
How has your life has changed since the ADA became law?
What words come to mind when you think of the ADA?
What has been the most important protection the ADA has provided?
What has changed because of the ADA?
If you were born after the ADA became law in 1990, what does it mean to you to be a part of the ADA generation?
Once you decide what you want to say about the ADA, simply write it down and then you can record an audio or video response. Advanced technology equipment is not required — you can use your phone, tablet, laptop or another device to record and upload your message. A few video tips to keep in mind as you record include:
The video or audio should be approximately 30 seconds long.
Make sure you have good lighting.
Use a simple background.
Please use landscape orientation to record.
Please send your video and audio files to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, October 26, 2020. The videos and recordings will be viewed at our virtual celebration, on Monday, November 2. Interpreters will be available at the event.
A Message from Isis Artze-Vega, Vice President, Academic Affairs
Our democracy relies on participation, yet historically, young people have voted at lower rates than older adults. Individuals least likely to be civically engaged include those from racially and ethnically underrepresented groups, the children of parents with less formal education, and individuals living in poorer neighborhoods. Our Valencia College general education outcome of ethical responsibility includes demonstrated awareness of personal responsibility in one’s civic life. We therefore have a responsibility and opportunity to engage our students in the democratic process, in a variety of non-partisan ways. Encouragement from faculty, staff, and other students has been shown to make a significant difference in student registration and turnout.
Can you really encourage voting? You may be wondering if you will be crossing any lines or doing something inappropriate by encouraging your students to vote. As an institution that receives federal funding, we are required by the Higher Education Act to promote voter registration; and as College employees, we may inform students of the upcoming election, make students aware of which positions and initiatives will be on the ballot, without endorsing a particular candidate or position, and encourage them to talk to their peers and families about voting.
Here are three approaches you might take:
1. Assist with voting planning. Since our students have busy lives and many dates and deadlines to remember, we can be mindful of and remind students about key dates, avoid scheduling exams or having major assessments due on election day, and/or show students how to make a voting plan. A voting plan might include where they will vote, how (by mail or in-person), when (early or on Tuesday, November 3, 2020) and whether they have the necessary documents to vote. Using the State of Florida Voter Information Lookup, students can find their polling place, a sample ballot and their vote-by-mail ballot status.
Early Voting Period for the General Election: Monday, October 19 – Sunday, November 1, 2020
Vote-by-mail Ballot Request for the General Election: Saturday, October 24, 2020
Vote-by-mail Ballot Return Deadline: by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2020
2. Share resources on voting and media literacy. Valencia’s Library staff prepared a LibGuide to help the Valencia College community apply research skills to become informed voters. The LibGuide also includes guidance on how to prepare to respond to ballot measures, such as proposed constitutional amendments.
3. Discuss elections or ballot issues in a non-partisan manner. Given the polarized nature of our political landscape, discussing elections or ballot issues with students can be challenging, yet these discussions represent an important opportunity to promote learning. It has been well established that engaging in constructive conversation with fellow students can improve students’ listening skills, teach them to respect differing views and develop their ability to think critically about complex topics. Living Room Conversations Guides, explicitly designed to provide a structure for discussing important issues across differing political affiliations and backgrounds, include discussion norms and conversation templates and can thus help you carefully design discussions. In general, students should be asked to make evidence-based contributions, and faculty should take great care to facilitate a respectful conversation, and to avoid injecting their own partisan beliefs, thus modeling how to discuss politics in a civil, nonpartisan way.
A Message From Yaremis Fullana, Managing Director, Procurement
There has been a contract change for rental vehicles at the College, as Valencia now has a five-year contract for employee travel with Avis and Budget Car Rental, part of the Avis Budget Group.
This means employees who made reservations with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a company no longer in our contract, prior to Wednesday, September 30, 2020, when the new contract took effect, should check the status of their reservation to ensure it has not been canceled.
Valencia College employees may receive significant car rental discounts for personal use or receive reimbursement for business travel provided they use the Avis Budget Group from this point forward.
A Message from Tom Keller, Director of Total Rewards
Benefits Open Enrollment is now underway and must be completed by Friday, October 30, 2020. Although Valencia offers four medical insurance options as a benefit to full-time employees, those plans may not fit your family’s needs. In addition, part-time employees not eligible for Valencia health insurance may seek resources for medical insurance coverage for themselves and/or their families.
The good news is that many more choices exist in the health insurance landscape today. Years ago, there weren’t many options outside of employers’ plans. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace for consumers has expanded.
Here are some alternative resources for medical insurance:
Healthcare.gov (also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace)
Although the Marketplace Open Enrollment doesn’t begin until Sunday, November 1, 2020, the 2021 plans and prices should be available to view by the end of October. The Marketplace offers a variety of bronze, silver and gold plans from multiple medical insurance vendors, which are comparable to those provided by Valencia.
Through Florida KidCare, the state of Florida offers health insurance for children from birth through 18 years of age, even if one or both parents are working.
Florida KidCare includes free, subsidized and full-pay options based on family income. Monthly premiums depend on your household’s size and income. Children in families with income between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level ($34,848 and $52,404 for a family of four) are eligible for subsidized coverage through Florida Healthy Kids. Families who do not qualify for free or subsidized coverage may purchase a competitively priced full-pay plan.
Applications can be submitted through Florida KidCare or by calling toll free 888-540-KIDS.
A Licensed Insurance Agent or Broker
Agents and brokers can help you navigate the plan options available from health insurance companies. It is best to research or ask for referrals from family and friends to find the best agent/broker to assist you in finding coverage for your family’s needs.
Drop Dependents from Valencia Plans Through Monday, November 30, 2020 As employees ourselves, the Total Rewards team understands the need to be mindful of our colleagues’ search for alternate health insurance coverage for their families — whether through a spouse’s employer or other resources noted herein — and that there may be conflicting enrollment periods. Whether or not you will cover your dependents on Valencia’s health plan or seek alternate resources, we ask that you do two things:
Reach out to the Total Rewards team to discuss your options by emailing HR4U@valenciacollege.edu or calling the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).
Enroll your dependents in Valencia’s plan prior to the Monday, October 30, 2020, open enrollment deadline.*
*After Friday, October 30, 2020, you will have a one-time opportunity to drop your dependents’ health insurance coverage through Valencia if you find coverage elsewhere. The deadline for dropping dependents’ health insurance coverage is Monday, November 30, 2020, and must be done by contacting the Total Rewards department. You may not, however, add dependents after the Friday, October 30, 2020 deadline. There will be no exceptions.
If you have any questions or need assistance, email HR4U@valenciacollege.edu or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).
Valencia College has developed an undergraduate research initiative — based on nationally recognized models — that expands opportunities for students to partner meaningfully with faculty members to pursue a specific course of research. As most community colleges only offer undergraduate research as a very small boutique opportunity for a few students, Valencia has become a leader in community college research. Last year, hundreds of Valencia students worked in one or more modalities of research. This is vital for students exploring STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) -related professions through transfer, both to better discern their purpose and pathway, and to have experiences comparable to their peers at the university to which they transfer.
When student Marina Worden graduates from Valencia College with an Associate in Arts in May, she plans to enroll in the University of Central Florida’s Biomedical Sciences-Neuroscience bachelor’s degree program. With the end goal of obtaining a Ph.D. in neuroscience and pursuing a career in research in a laboratory or university setting, she knew that gaining skills in research was important early in her educational journey.
In 2018, Marina learned about the Seneff Honors College and applied to the Undergraduate Research track. Then she launched her research experience with the course, Honors Research Process with Professor of Education Jane Maguire, followed by completing an Honors research project under the guidance of her mentor, Part-time Faculty of Psychology Dale Maynard. Her project, “The Cognitive Neuroscience of Autism” involved investigating the academic learning experiences of undergraduate students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“For me, research is both an opportunity for growth and discovery on the part of the researcher and a rigorous process for developing knowledge to advance the quality of human life,” Marina shared, adding that she has always loved science and learning new things.
“Research has benefited my acquisition of the skills and knowledge needed in my chosen career field,” she said. “It has expanded my knowledge of neuroscience and helped me develop many skills vital to practice in the field, including critical evaluation of scientific claims, analysis of data, creative problem solving and communication.”
To nominate a student doing great undergraduate research or for questions about Valencia’s undergraduate research initiative, contact Melonie Sexton, professor, psychology, and coordinator of undergraduate research, at UR@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 5632.
A Message from Tom Keller, Director, Total Rewards
If the quarantine has caused you to put on a few pounds, get in shape for the holiday season by joining the YMCA. Whether you’re interested in strength training or cardio, or maybe group exercise is more your speed, the YMCA has programs for every member.
Through your Total Rewards, full-time employees and their families can enjoy preferred pricing on a YMCA of Central Florida membership. Valencia will subsidize 20% of your individual or household membership, and the YMCA will waive the Join Fee for full-time faculty and staff. Payroll deductions will be set up for the remaining portion of your YMCA membership after the Valencia subsidy amount is subtracted. Additionally, those enrolled in a Valencia College YMCA membership are eligible for member pricing on programs, including aquatics, summer camp and sports leagues.
And now, full-time employees may enroll, change or cancel a membership through the end of the year.
Learn more about these special YMCA rates by clicking the button below:
This year, employees can enroll for their YMCA membership in one of two ways:
By physically going to a YMCA location, as they did in the past. Employees may also bring this fillable membership application to a YMCA representative, who will then sign them up.
If you have questions or would like additional information about our YMCA benefit, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu , or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748). If you have any questions about the Y’s programs, email email@example.com.