Monthly Archives: January 2021

Why You Should Encourage Your Team Members to Participate in Impact Plan Idea Gathering Sessions

Thursday, January 21, 2021 

By Katie Tagye, Director, Organizational Design and Development

On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, you may have seen an article in The Juice and The Grove about the upcoming idea gathering sessions. The article describes the reason for the sessions and outlines the ways to participate.

Why should I participate? Why should I invite my teams to participate?

In this divergent idea gathering phase, we need many diverse ideas from different perspectives, people and experiences in order to help make our way, together, to the strategies that will make the difference for students’ success. Your perspective is unique, particularly when you work collaboratively with people you don’t normally work with. This combination is powerful for unleashing thoughts and ideas that haven’t previously been considered.

The work that we each do, the experiences that we each have, allow us to have a unique take on the world and on our work at the College. Whether you or one of your team members is currently a student (or a recent graduate), works closely with students and/or has a connection to the larger community, there is a perspective there that we need.

Yes, we want your expertise in a particular area of the College, and we also want your perspective on areas that are not your expertise. The expertise you and your teams will offer is unparalleled. And we also want ideas that fall outside of your and your team’s areas of expertise. Sometimes when we are so close to the work, we miss some ways that we could re-think the work, simply because of our proximity. Therefore, your take on my work might help me see things I can’t see because I am too close.

Share with your team not only the opportunities, but also share with them your reason for attending. If you are struggling with why you should attend, schedule some time to speak with your supervisor to help you better form your thoughts.

How will information be used?

We anticipate and hope that we will gather many, many ideas during these sessions. Once ideas are gathered, work teams will review, organize and prioritize ideas against the Impact Plan. What will emerge are initial strategies for how we will meet our goals.

What should we expect from the sessions?

Each session will include a guide, starter questions, an opportunity to contribute initial ideas and an opportunity to contribute further refined ideas. The questions at the end of this flyer can help you and your teams have an idea of the kinds of questions that may be asked at a session you attend.

A variety of sessions have been designed to engage you and your teams in ways that work best for each person:

Session Focus: In addition to the style of session, individuals can decide whether they prefer to join a session that will take a broad look at all four or choose a session that will focus on one of the specific goal areas: College Access, Graduation, Transfer Success and Career Credentials.

Styles of Sessions: Individuals can choose the type of session (let this decision guide help you) that appeals to them.

1. Forum Sessions: In the forums, you can expect to hear a presentation and some information about the focus of the session (broad or a specific goal area), then there will be a brief opportunity for a Q&A before participants are invited to join breakout groups with the help of question starters. The smaller groups will discuss the questions and record their ideas. Sessions will end with an opportunity to give detailed information on an overarching idea. Throughout the period of idea gathering, you will be able to return to the survey to contribute additional overarching ideas, whether or not you attend another session.

2. Brainstorming Sessions: The brainstorming sessions are designed to be higher energy sessions. Facilitators of these sessions will use a variety of creative thinking techniques to engage participants in both the large and small groups in generating ideas with the help of question starters. Sessions will end with an opportunity to give detailed information on an overarching idea. Throughout the period of idea gathering, you will be able to return to the survey to contribute additional overarching ideas, whether or not you attend another session.

3. Digital On-demand Sessions: If the scheduled times don’t work for you or your team or you’d rather participate individually, you can participate through the on-demand sessions. Using Stormz collaboration software, participants will add initial ideas on virtual cards. Participants will have the option to use an accompanying guide with question starters to spur their thinking. In addition, all virtual cards posted will be viewable to anyone who participates, adding to the idea generation process. The on-demand session will conclude with an opportunity to give detailed information on an overarching idea. Throughout the period of idea gathering, you will be able to return to the survey to contribute additional overarching ideas, whether or not you attend another session. For details on how you can participate in the Digital On-demand Sessions, click here.

4. On-demand Sessions (on-site): While employees who are working on-site and do not have an assigned computer station are welcome to attend any session, we understand that this may not be possible for some. On-site, on-demand sessions will be set up in areas where employees are working so that they can contribute their ideas in person. Participants of these sessions will also have an opportunity to give detailed information on overarching ideas throughout the period of idea gathering.

So, now that you have a bit more information, plan some time to speak with your colleagues, your employees and your teammates about attending an idea session. And find a scheduled session that works for you.

Monthly Archives: January 2021

New Year, New Skills

Thursday, January 2021 

By Jaclyn Taylor, Coordinator, Employee Development

Welcome to 2021! The new year is a time full of optimism and possibility when we reflect, we dream big and we set goals for the future. However, research suggests that while about half of us set goals at the start of the year, only about 8% of us achieve them.

In the spirit of a new year, the Employee Development Team is here to remind you that Valencia College provides you with many resources to set and keep your goals moving forward.

For example, on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, read The Juice and The Grove for our Spring Employee Development schedule, which will feature a variety of topics and course types geared toward reaching every employee.

Additionally, as Valencia employees, we each have access to LinkedIn Learning — our online, on-demand professional development resource. If you have yet to try LinkedIn Learning, activate your account today.

LinkedIn Learning can help you with some of your resolutions for 2021:

Looking to get fit and healthy?
Start the year off strong and look for ways to stay committed to the gym or a new exercise class. Making Big Goals Achievable will help you break up large aspirations into smaller actions to keep you on track!

Want to get organized?
We all find ourselves trying to do more in the time we have. Sometimes, that fancy planner with special pens and stickers does the trick. For all those other times, try the course Prioritizing Your Tasks to help empower you to stay organized and focused.

Planning to spend less and save more?
Travel, family expenses, investments, a new house, you name it. All are important to making you the best you. Managing Your Personal Finances walks you through the nitty gritty of earning, spending and saving to help make 2021 your best financial year yet.

Want 2021 to be the year you enjoy life to the fullest?
Happiness Tips and Creating an Amazing Life courses provide great guidance on how to enjoy a life filled with meaning and happiness.

Cheers to a year filled with continued learning!

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Managing Smart: Planning and Goal Setting in Uncertainty

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

By Lisandra “Liz” Suarez, Senior Director, Organizational Development and Human Resources

Happy new “planning and goal setting” time of the year!

Usually, for supervisors, the beginning of the calendar year is the time for leaders to begin planning the strategies and tasks that align with the work ahead for the year for functional divisions. Ideally, these are tied to collegewide goals. Also, it is the time to begin or complete the beginning or mid-year Check-In or Faculty Evaluations for ourselves and our direct reports.

It will be a disfavor not to address the obvious. How do we plan and set goals in the current uncertain and volatile environment with so many variables impacting the way planning and goal setting must be done? It simply feels that we need a plan and a goal to set a plan and a goal.

The following are four simple steps to tackle such overwhelming tasks, nowadays, in a way that may eliminate unnecessary complexity and the overpowering feelings the planning and goal-setting process may cause you.

Step 1: Block time on your calendar for short-term planning and long-term planning (about two hours minimum).

There are three simple questions you should ask during this step process which are are strategic and overarching:

  • Where are we?
  • Where are we trying to be short term?
  • Where are we trying to be long term?

To that end, it is wise to review the previous year’s plan for unfinished important goals, current division notes and collegewide plans in progress. View the following articles on The Grove to provide a full picture of the path.

Upon completing the review, proceed with creating two main goals and one developmental goal, maximum. Maintain these in draft format. Remember to consider how an unfinished goal from the previous plan year may impact the creation of new goals moving forward. Keep it SMART.

 Step 2: Reflect on how to capitalize on available resources to reach the goals.

Two questions to ask in this step are:

  • Who is most talented to do the work?
  • What would the team need to do the work?

You may be surprised about these questions; however this strategy has to do with focusing and capitalizing on human capital resources (talent) vs. time and financial resources only. The logic here is that the best talented individual(s) at any task will use less time, thus less stress, more productivity and less cost.

During step two, it is also critical to self-evaluate and to identify your own areas of leadership development. This is of paramount importance as we are leading others in challenging times. Need to learn more about this topic? Watch this course on LinkedIn Learning.

For an overall review of goal setting and performance management, watch this course in LinkedIn Learning. 

Create drafts of the short-term and long-term plan. Additionally, begin drafts of your own Check-In goals and/or updates to be delivered later to your direct reports.

Step 3: Discuss the overall idea and focus for the plan and goal setting with your supervisor, partners (as applicable) and direct reports.

Discussing the drafts with others involved in the plan helps address gaps in the plan, find intersections in the work, learn about other available potential resources and obtain new information and collaborative perspective.

A key viewpoint here is to allow space for flexibility with the plan and goals. Plan and goals are for the most part artificial structures created to provide guidance and to keep the work moving ahead. Building flexibility in timelines and other ways to accomplish the work is paramount, especially in uncertain times.

Step 4: Finalize the drafts and move onward.

The plan and goal-setting process under uncertainty is mainly a guide to maintain all parties involved in the vision and mission of the institution while helping operations run as smoothly as possible. As the environment (internal or external) stabilizes, leaders can update and modify the plans and goals.

As always, members of the Organizational Development and Human Resources Team (ODHR) in your ODHR Regional Solution Centers are available to assist and lead you in engaging in the planning and goal-setting process. If you have questions, contact us at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

Happy planning and goal setting!

 

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Information for Supervisors About Learning Day 2021

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Learning Day 2021 is less than a month away on Friday, February 12. As a supervisor, please review the details provided below. As Learning Day is a special part of Valencia College’s culture and community, we would love your help communicating these important details to your team.

– This year, Learning Day will be held via Zoom. It will be necessary for employees to use their Valencia College credentials (username/login) to access the Zoom sessions.

– All campus locations will be closed for Learning Day, and no classes will be held. Please make sure to post appropriate notices and reminders online to alert students.

– Registration information is now available on The Grove. The deadline to register is Wednesday, February 10, 2021.

– Programming will be provided between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Employees are encouraged and expected to use the afternoon for independent learning, such as reading, reflecting and participating in on-demand courses through LinkedIn Learning.

– Learning Day is a regular work day for faculty and staff. Full-time employees are required to attend or submit a Certificate of Absence (COA) for vacation or personal time (Staff – eight hours of leave; Faculty – seven hours of leave). Full-time employees will be paid for a full day’s worth of work, even if scheduled events end early. Non-exempt employees should adjust their work schedules, so they can attend the full day. If a non-exempt employee works any hours over 40, the employee must be paid overtime.

– Part-time colleagues are invited and encouraged to attend Learning Day, although participation is voluntary. Part-time staff will be compensated for attendance at their regular rate of pay and should work with their supervisor to have their normal schedule adjusted if they plan to attend. Part-time faculty members who choose to attend would do so as a part of their current part-time faculty contract. Since attendance is voluntary for part-time employees, a COA is not required for non-attendance.

– Please encourage your team members to:

  • Get their favorite breakfast and lunch ready.
  • Review the session schedule, and know their top sessions (Sessions will be posted on the Learning Day website in early February.).
  • Make sure their version of Zoom is up to date.
  • Wear their favorite Valencia T-shirt.
  • Schedule a Zoom lunch with work friends.
  • Engage with colleagues in learning sessions.
  • Share their Learning Day experiences and photos by posting to social media using the hashtag, #OurValencia. Twitter and Instagram posts will be collected and showcased on our #OurValencia tagboard. Facebook posts will not populate on the tagboard.

For additional information on Learning Day, attendance and participation, read the Learning Day Frequently Asked Questions found on this webpage.

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

We look forward to seeing you and your team on Friday, February 12, 2021.

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Watch How Valencians Enjoyed Their Winter Break

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

We were so excited to see the photos Valencia College employees shared of their well-deserved Winter Break. While some of you donned matching pajamas, baked delicious goodies or played board games, others ventured out by visiting our local attractions. Some of you even engaged in altruistic endeavors, such as fostering a disabled kitten and helping a friend move across the country. No matter how you spent the break, we are happy to have you all back and refreshed. To view a slideshow of how employees enjoyed their break, click below:

 

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Register for Learning Day 2021

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Registration is now open for Learning Day 2021, which will be held online on Friday, February 12, 2021. Join your colleagues for a time to learn, celebrate and inspire one another. The day will feature three learning sessions, as well as a morning general session with remarks from College President Sandy Shugart and a keynote speaker.

All campus locations will be closed for Learning Day, and no classes will be held.

Learning Day is a regular work day for faculty and staff, and programming will be provided between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Employees are encouraged and expected to use the afternoon for independent learning, such as reading, reflecting and participating in on-demand courses through LinkedIn Learning.

Full-time employees are required to attend or submit a Certificate of Absence (COA) for vacation or personal time (Staff – eight hours of leave; Faculty – seven hours of leave). Full-time employees will be paid for a full day’s worth of work, even if scheduled events end early. Non-exempt employees should adjust their work schedules, so they can attend the full day. If a non-exempt employee works any hours over 40, the employee must be paid overtime.

Part-time colleagues are invited and encouraged to attend Learning Day, although participation is voluntary. Part-time staff will be compensated for attendance at their regular rate of pay and should work with their supervisor to have their normal schedule adjusted if they plan to attend. Part-time faculty members who choose to attend would do so as a part of their current part-time faculty contract. Since attendance is voluntary for part-time employees, a COA is not required for non-attendance.

For additional information on Learning Day, attendance and participation, read the Learning Day Frequently Asked Questions found on this webpage.

To register for Learning Day, click the button below. 

The deadline to register is Wednesday, February 10, 2021.

Don’t forget to share your Learning Day experiences and photos by posting to social media using the hashtag, #OurValencia. Your Twitter and Instagram posts will be collected and showcased on our #OurValencia tagboard (Note: Facebook posts will not populate on the tagboard). This is a great way to share your experiences with your colleagues and showcase what you love about Valencia.

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

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Now Accepting 2021-2022 Education and Professional Development Leave Applications

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Applications for Education and Professional Development Leave for the 2021-2022 academic year are now being accepted. The purpose of Education and Professional Development Leave is to provide an educational and professional opportunity for staff to enhance their individual and professional effectiveness. The types of activities that may warrant this leave include experiences such as job shadowing in an applicant’s respective industry or gaining clinical experience for a graduate program.

Eligibility
Full-time, exempt and non-exempt staff and administrators with at least five years of continuous full-time, qualifying Valencia service and who are not in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) are eligible for Education and Professional Development Leave. For more information, please refer to the Education and Professional Development Leave for Full-time Staff and Administrators policy and procedure and other pertinent information on the Educational and Professional Development Leave webpage.

Click the button below to apply.

Important Deadlines

  • Education and Professional Development Leave application opened Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
  • Candidates must submit an online application by Thursday, February 11, 2021.
  • Once the application is completed and submitted, the supervisor will receive the form and accompanying materials for approval. The deadline to review and approve is Friday, February 19, 2021.
  • Applications approved by the immediate supervisor will be forwarded to the respective campus president/vice president for endorsement by Friday, March 5, 2021.

For questions, contact Deanne Abrams, director, employee development, at dabrams4@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 5151.

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Now Accepting Applications for Sabbatical Leave Applications for 2022-2023

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The application process for Sabbatical Leave for the 2022-2023 academic year is now open.

The purpose of Sabbatical Leave is to provide professional renewal for eligible faculty. A sabbatical should provide the individual with a significant opportunity for new, or renewed, achievement and growth through activities such as study, research, writing, creative work and travel, so that the individual’s teaching and/or professional effectiveness may be enhanced.

Eligibility

Full-time, tenured faculty who have at least five years of continuous, qualifying Valencia service and who are not in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) are eligible to apply for Sabbatical Leave but must complete seven years of continuous, qualifying service before a Sabbatical Leave can commence. For more information, please refer to the Sabbatical Leave policy and procedure.

Click the button below to apply.

Important Deadlines

  • Sabbatical Leave application opened Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
  • Candidates must submit the online application by Thursday, February 11, 2021.
  • Once the application is completed and submitted, the dean will receive the form and accompanying materials for approval. The deadline to review and approve is Friday, February 19, 2021.
  • Applications approved by the dean or immediate supervisor will be forwarded to the respective campus president/vice president for endorsement by Friday, March 5, 2021.
  • The Sabbatical Leave Committee will evaluate and make recommendations to the College president by the end of the 2021 Spring term.
  • Applicants who have been granted Sabbatical Leave will be notified by their campus president/vice president by Friday, June 11, 2021.

For additional information or questions, please contact Wendi Dew, assistant vice president, teaching and learning, at wdew@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 3841 or Deanne Abrams, director, employee development, at dabrams4@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 5151.

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Join Us for a Healthy and Creative Caffeine Buzz

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Date: Friday, February 5, 2021
Time: 9 – 10 a.m.
Location: Zoom

Join in for a creative Caffeine Buzz of on Friday, February 5, 2021, co-hosted by Deanne Abrams, director, employee development, and Jaclyn Taylor, coordinator, employee development. The February Buzz will be a thematic mixture of self-care, health and creativity. The Buzz is an opportunity to become immersed in a divergent-thinking environment to explore innovative ideas around the world while also networking with colleagues.

To view resources shared during the December Buzz, click here.

Watch the December 2020 Buzz below:

 

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Featured Colleague: Daniel Barkowitz Embodies the Perfect Combo of People Skills and Analytical Skills

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

By Claudia Zequeira

As someone who loves his job, one might not expect Daniel Barkowitz, assistant vice president, financial aid and veterans affairs, to say his career path was the product of a serendipitous event.

“Nobody decides when they’re a child ‘Oh, I want to be a financial aid officer.’ You sort of fall into this profession,” said Daniel, who added the he found himself where he is today thanks to a position he took at as a college student more than two decades ago, where he was tasked with processing loan applications.

Nevertheless, it is this field — which he described as a marriage of science and art — that gave Daniel an opportunity to use his strengths: a combination of strong people skills and a solid mathematical mind.

“Financial aid is a great place to tie the right brain and the left brain together,” he said.

In his current role, Daniel oversees all aspects of financial aid for Valencia College, managing a team of 46 individuals all of whom ensure compliance with numerous federal, state and institutional regulations. His team also makes sure the College’s nearly 70,000 students, including its veteran students, are served.

At Valencia, where he started working three years ago, Daniel is most proud of fostering team spirit and cohesion within his department even as the College transitioned to virtual work post COVID-19. For an example of how he’s fostering team spirt, view this article. 

He also noted the remarkable work his unit accomplished in the wake of the pandemic, which battered many students and their families financially. Under his watch, close to 24,000 students received $18 million of emergency federal CARES Act funding within a six-month period.

Besides managing this endeavor, Daniel said he is committed to continuing to decrease obstacles so that students can access money that can make education possible. This has included simplifying or eliminating certain procedures they previously had to follow.

“My priority is increasing access,” he said. “Let’s not ask students for things we don’t have to ask them for.”

His supervisor, Sonya Joseph, associate vice president, enrollment management, praised Daniel for his intelligent and enthusiastic effort to help students with a heavy dose of empathy.

“Daniel’s work on the development and distribution of the College’s CARES funding is remarkable,” said Sonya. “The thought and strategy he put behind this endeavor is the reason thousands of students are benefitting from this grant. He’s been able to pivot on sometimes a weekly basis as new guidelines were published.”

“This is more than a profession for him, this is his calling and his purpose,” she added. “He wants to make it possible for all students to have access to education regardless of their stage of life, their previous life choices or their background.”

Prior to joining Valencia, Daniel held various financial aid and management roles with progressive responsibility, including as dean of enrollment management at St. Johns River State College; executive director of Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Massachusetts; dean of financial aid at Columbia University, in New York City; and director of student financial aid and employment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), among several others.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in human resources education from Boston University.

A huge Walt Disney World fan, Daniel said that he was attracted to the College because of its many professional development and learning opportunities, such as those offered by the Peace and Justice Institute, book clubs offered by Organizational Development and Human Resources, and Valencia’s mission in itself.

“Valencia College is a place where the door is open to college completion for all. I welcome and treasure our ongoing conversation on equity, inclusion and diversity, and I value the opportunity to continue to expand my own knowledge and experience with these topics,” said Daniel.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in my role one important focus is ensuring that socioeconomic class is part of the College’s conversation on diversity, inclusion and equity. I hope I can be an advocate and support our students and their needs, he added.”

Daniel said he is also inspired by Valencia’s commitment to partnership and innovation.

“While we could easily rest on our laurels and celebrate our success, the College is always focused on new opportunities and ways to innovate and improve,” he shared. “The College is the students, faculty and staff, and I am daily inspired by the amazing colleagues and students with whom I work and serve.”

He also expressed gratitude for working for an institution that represents hope and opportunity for so many.

“During the year, I have the opportunity to present to and speak with many members of the community about how to pay for college,” he said. “To me and to the students I speak with, Valencia represents opportunity and possibility. Valencia opens a door to a better future for our students and their families, and I am blessed to be able to help in that effort.

In his free time, Daniel, who was born in Panama’s Canal Zone and moved to South Carolina as a teenager before moving to the Northeast to attend college, loves to spend time with his wife, adult children and his two “fur babies,” two Yorkshire Terriers named Luna and Rufus.

Daniel also enjoys cooking, puzzles and collecting Tarot cards.

“I have a passion for the Tarot — yes, the fortune-telling cards,” he said. “I have a collection of nearly 100 decks. For me they are a beautiful artistic expression and provide a canvas for a conversation on ideas. During my time at MIT, I was the first person to teach a class on the history and mystery of the Tarot; granted, it was a non-credit course.”

Know of someone doing great work at the College, who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.