Monthly Archives: December 2020Share
A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses
The end of the year is always a time of reflection for me to take stock of the successes and challenges, milestone moments and cherished memories while looking ahead to the clean slate and promise of the new year. This particular year, 2020, is in a league of its own. Due to the pandemic, I have felt the tremendous weight of the passage of time and what these months have meant for us personally and professionally while we prepare for 2021.
Personally, there have been challenging experiences navigating my son’s virtual kindergarten and first grade. However, while I worked from home by his side, there have been beautiful moments of family togetherness, creativity and emotional bonding.
While some isolated instances may stand out in my memory, I look back on the nearly nine months that we have been in this “new normal” and can see that many of these times have added to the significant growth and resilience in my son. Taking a moment with my family to acknowledge and talk about the growth that has occurred in all of us has been cathartic and something that I would encourage others to do with their families, partners, friends and colleagues.
Along with personal growth, we all have undoubtedly achieved significant professional growth through these unique circumstances. At Valencia, we have often spoken of the “huge lift” that it took to pivot to online teaching, online student services and working remotely in response to COVID-19. As I look back, I truly feel like we have moved mountains, and if I visualize placing myself at the top of one of these mountains, to get a better view of the Valencia landscape, I am truly awe-struck. I see teams of colleagues rallying around our students and each other. I see a focus on learning, listening, equity, continuity, care and safety. I see how we, at Valencia, have connected our work and have connected with each other in new, collaborative, innovative ways. I feel hopeful as we leave 2020 behind and enter into 2021.
As we close out this year, I have invited some of our East and Winter Park Campus leaders to share their reflections with you. Many thanks to those below for sharing their thoughts and letting us learn from your leadership.
“In a difficult year with so many unexpected transitions. I am thankful for my fellow faculty and staff at the Winter Park Campus. The conversion to online instruction and working from home was amazingly smooth and the camaraderie has eased all our burdens. However, the stress and exhaustion are real, and I hope everyone takes the upcoming holidays as an opportunity to unplug, particularly from Canvas. We don’t do our students or our peers any favors if we are stretched thin, so let’s all try to come back stronger for the spring semester.” — John Niss, interim executive dean, Winter Park Campus
“From the genesis of our equity-minded practices’ conversations to the abrupt evolution of our online education and real-time virtual, Valencia has deeply engaged in an institutional transformative process during this year.” — Angelica Vagle, professor, chemistry and Faculty Senate president.
“This year as the College services moved online, so did Valencia Staff Association (VSA) events. We knew we needed to keep our staff engaged and held virtual sessions via Zoom including yoga and a tour of the Salvador Dali museum. VSA will continue to provide exciting opportunities in 2021.” — Laura Skelton, staff assistant II and Valencia Staff Association president
“This year has been unlike any other. It has provided me with new opportunities, turned my life upside down and opened my eyes to new things and different perspectives. The year 2020 has reminded me of my humanity: making mistakes, not being at 100 percent all the time and it is experiencing conflicts with others. However, it has also provided new innovations, caring for others and going above and beyond to succeed.” — Esther Perceval, East Campus Student Government Association president
“Thank you Valencia College for continuing to progress forward with a student-centered approach to all work that goes on here. I am thankful to be a part of this progressive, loving and embracing family.”— Brett Harrison, Winter Park Campus Student Government Association president
My heartfelt thanks to our East and Winter Park campus communities for your hard work and collaboration. I wish you and your loved ones much health and happiness as we look ahead to the new year.