Monthly Archives: March 2021

West Campus Vaccination Site Update

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Message from Paul Rooney, Assistant Vice President, Operations

The West Campus state/FEMA COVID vaccination site will continue to administer 500 first doses per day of the Pfizer vaccine from Wednesday, March 24, 2021, through Tuesday, April 6, 2021, an extension of the original time planned for first doses. Those vaccines will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. The site will only offer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine from Wednesday, April 7 through Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

Through Tuesday, April 6, 2021, the state/FEMA COVID vaccination site at West Campus is open to:

  • Local college and university employees regardless of age. This does not include dependents. You will need your Valencia ID or paystub (either on your cell phone or a printed copy) and your driver’s license;
  • Federal and Institutional Work Study Students/Employees. You will need to show your paystub (either on your cell phone or a printed copy) and your driver’s license;
  • Persons 50 years and older;
  • Long-term care facility residents and staff;
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact;
  • K-12 school employees; and
  • Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older;
  • Firefighters 50 years of age and older; and
  • Individuals deemed extremely vulnerable for COVID-19. An individual in this category must bring the COVID-19 Determination of Extreme Vulnerability form, which must be completed and signed by the physician who determined the individual to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

Vaccines are being distributed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or as long as supplies are available each day. Individuals are served on a first-come, first-served, walk-up basis. When coming to the West Campus for the vaccine, please remember to use the North entrance (the entrance nearest Wawa).

Although pre-registration is not necessary, the state has a preregistration system for COVID-19 vaccinations. To preregister in Florida, individuals can either call the designated phone number for their county or visit myvaccine.fl.gov.

As I receive updates, I will keep you posted.

If you have any questions or concerns related to this event, please contact your West Campus Security team at 407-299-5000, extension 1000, or reach out to me directly at prooney@valenciacollege.edu or 321-689-7077.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Get Healthy and Celebrate National Nutrition Month — Part 2

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

As shared last week in part one of our series, March is National Nutrition Month. And we at Valencia want you to be a healthier you. So, if you’re ready to embark on a lifestyle that embraces cleaner eating that’s sure to lead to better health, we have a few tips for you.

How do you know what’s a a healthy snack? How do you decide what your body needs for a snack? Watch this video from the Orlando Health – Center for Health Improvement that explains good snack choices.

How can you best decide how to balance your nutrition and control your portions? Watch this video from the Orlando Health – Center for Health Improvement, which includes a quick Q&A video on the basics of good nutrition and the concept of “My Plate.”

You can also register for this on-demand Orlando Health webinar on Smart Snacking to learn how snacks can fit into a healthy eating plan. A registered dietitian will provide tips on choosing nutritious and convenient foods to help sustain your energy between meals and fit your eating style. To access the seminar, you will need the access passcode: Bf=oZ%M0. Please note you must type in the password (not copy/paste it) in order to access the webinar.

For dietary guidelines from UnitedHealthcare, click here.

And don’t miss these UnitedHealthcare mindful eating tips.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Valencia African Heritage Association Celebrates Black History Month, Name Change

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Message Carmen Laguer Diaz and Lauren Thomas, Co-chairs of the Valencia African Heritage Association

As it has become tradition, the Valencia African Heritage Association (formerly known as the Valencia African Heritage Committee), celebrated Black History Month. Following the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) annual theme for 2021: The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity, the Valencia African Heritage Association (VAHA) had a month full of activities that focused on the importance of the Black family from a variety of perspectives. With the collaboration of Student Development, Black Student Union, the Orlando Magic Family and faculty and staff, our events ranged from trivia nights, panel discussions, student-led events, guests from Brazil and Mozambique and a healthy Soul Food Cooking demo. We closed the month of celebration with performances and conversations in our own Family Reunion.

It was during the Family Reunion that we announced publicly our re-design. We realize that as our group has grown, we have also increased our presence and influence throughout the College. As we continue to build and expand upon the work that Danielle McKinnon began, it was one of our goals to have a name and a logo that better represent us, both in this current moment and as we move forward as a collective group. Part of this redesign includes a name change as we are now moving from a “committee” to an “association.” We believe this name change gives us a sense of permanency, credibility and more accurately reflects our size and scope.

We would like to thank all of our members for their continued support. Special thanks to everyone who helped to make these events a success: Counselor Fontella Jones and the Counseling team, Professor of Portuguese Richard Sansone and his guests Luciano Mota from Brazil and Sádia Chicalia from Mozambique, Graphics Processing Specialist Whitly Charles for her fabulous work with our flyers and logo, and Director of Campus Technology Keith Hill for his patience and expertise, as he makes our magic happen.

Many thanks to all who helped in the planning and in ensuring the success of the events: Professor of English Danielle Strong-Robinson Smith, Professor of Student Life Skills Larry Herndon, Professor of Economics Tarteashia Harris, Professor of Biology Nadine Daniels, Professor of Health Information Technology Quaneisha McLeod, Part-time Faculty of Nutrition Isaac Floyd, Professor of Nutrition April Engel, Professor of Nutrition Kristin Bartholomew, Professor of Political Science Adrienne Mathews, Professor of Criminal Justice Technology Lauren Sykes, Professor of Sociology Doreen Watson, Professor of Psychology Melonie Sexton, Professor of Psychology Diane Thompson, Professor of Nursing Coleen Cox, Retail Specialist Joe Maxwell, Professor of English Tamara Madison and so many others. Of course, we do this for our students and were happy to count on the help of Ty’Jon Streets, Fior Santana, Adrian Demuth and Nubia Tillman.

February might be over, but watch out for more events from VAHA throughout the year. #BlackHistory365

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Law Enforcement Class Bands Together to Raise Money for Injured Classmate

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

By Rob Pigman, Director, Criminal Justice Institute 

There was a definite mix of nervousness and anticipation in the room on Friday, September 25, 2020 — Day 1 of the Basic Law Enforcement Academy 20-05. But, the following Monday, we would learn that a classmate was involved in a horrific motorcycle crash that forever changed his life. This was a recruit who attended only one day of the police academy, believing he was finally realizing his dream of being a deputy sheriff.

Recruit Muhammad Cheema crashed his motorcycle on State Road 417 and has spent months in the hospital and rehabilitation centers. He is now paralyzed from the chest down and faces many difficult days ahead learning to deal with his many life-altering injuries.

The class members banded together and raised $1,905 to give to the former recruit and classmate to assist him with his mounting medical bills.

Muhammad is in Jacksonville at a rehabilitation center and told the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that when he returns to Orlando, he will be ready to drive himself to the Sheriff’s Office Central Operations Center and rejoin his employment as a civilian employee. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has maintained his employment status and benefits throughout this time.

Not every class has the fortitude or follow through to conduct fundraisers, much less to do so for a fellow recruit who only spent one day with them. They never forgot Muhammad and spoke of him often. They inquired about his condition, reached out to him and continued their relationship with him following his accident. This class was generous and kind in all that they did, from volunteering with Toys for Tots to helping fellow recruits study and pass all tests.

The class graduated on Thursday, February 18, 2021, and members will be starting their careers in law enforcement. I am very confident that this class of recruits will go on to professionally serve our community with the utmost dignity, empathy and respect.

Kudos to Basic Law Enforcement Academy 20-05.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Military Wife, Mother of Two Named Valencia’s Distinguished Graduate

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

When Samantha Tanner’s family celebrates Mother’s Day this year, they’ll have additional reasons to honor the 28-year-old mother of two. That’s because Samantha, who has been named Valencia College’s Mary S. Collier Distinguished Graduate for 2021, will be the featured speaker at Valencia College’s virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 8, 2021. Read about Samantha on the Valencia News site…

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Daniel Barkowitz Named to Panel to Reimagine Financial Aid and Admission Systems

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Congratulations to Daniel Barkowitz, assistant vice president, financial aid and veteran affairs, who was appointed to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) National Commission on Equity in Admissions and Financial Aid. This national panel of leaders and researchers from across higher education, policy and civil rights organizations will develop proposals for reimagining financial aid and college admission systems and eliminating racial inequity in postsecondary educational access.

Priority areas the panel will examine include:

  • The college-entrance pipeline, from student recruitment and college advising through the application process and admission criteria;
  • Postsecondary financial aid requirements; and
  • The role of racial equity in postsecondary enrollment.

The panel aims to complete its analyses and release three sets of recommendations this summer: a guide for colleges centered around racial/ethnic inclusion, a related guide for postsecondary institutional leaders and recommendations for federal and state policymakers for an equity-based college transition.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Featured Colleague: Keisha Jordan Uses Her Obstacles to Earning a Degree to Help Others Transition to College

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

By Wendy Jo Moyer

Keisha Jordan, staff assistant II, says her life experiences have prepared her for her work on the Transitions Planning team creating pathways to success for students transitioning to college. After all, her challenges earning a degree mirror those that many Valencia College students experience as they pursue a postsecondary education.

“I have had many obstacles throughout my educational journey, but my accomplishments have seemed to always outweigh the bad,” she explained.

Upon graduating from high school in May 2000, Keisha immediately became a college student two weeks later at what she says was her first and only choice school — Florida State University (FSU).

“I had dreamed of attending [FSU] since visiting in the third grade, so to be accepted was amazing,” Keisha exclaimed.

But when she got to college, her life drastically changed, and she wasn’t quite prepared for the change.

“Although I excelled academically in school and did well during my freshman year at FSU, outside factors, such as my mom having to move to care for my sick aunt (she was no longer able to help me financially) seemed to keep getting in the way of my academics. My grades began to slip, I lost my scholarships and eventually had to withdraw from school my sophomore year.”

She then enrolled at Tallahassee Community College for a year and a half; however she didn’t finish because she was unable to afford the tuition. She then took a four-year break and started working in a corporate management and training career. But even though she accomplished so much professionally, she felt that if she wanted to excel further in her career, she must obtain a college degree beyond her Associate in Arts that she earned at American Intercontinental University.

With a desire for a career change and to continue her education, Keisha accepted a role at Valencia College as a part-time administrative assistant on the Organizational Development and Human Resources Policy and Compliance team and then moved into a part-time human resources specialist role on the Employee Development team.

“One of my biggest accomplishments to me since starting at Valencia was my former team in Employee Development trusting me me to develop and lead a workshop for the tutoring department,” she said. “To be able to go back to my roots of training and development and facilitate was exhilarating and great for my personal development. I’m forever grateful to Samuel Dunham [assistant director, employee development] and Deanne Abrams [director, employee development] for taking a chance on me.”

And it was Deanne who referred Keisha to her current role in Transitions Planning, a full-time opportunity, that allowed her to continue to grow in her career.

“Becoming a staff member in this department [Transitions Planning] has been a life-changing experience and has changed my entire outlook on what I want to do with my career,” Keisha explained, joking that although her title is staff assistant, her team will say that she actually keeps them in line and assists beyond what her job description says.

“Keisha is a true example of a phenomenal woman,” her supervisor Niurka Ferrer, director, transitions planning, noted. “She is loving, passionate, kind, thoughtful and full of spark. “Since her start with the Transitions Planning Team, she’s supported our team in ways above and beyond her duties. Personally, I can’t wait to see what her future holds — she is a loving mom, smart, bold and so much more.”

La’Tasha Graham, assistant director, transitions planning, agrees with Niurka. “Keisha makes such a difference in our team and department,” she said. “Her talent, skills and positive can-do attitude are appreciated by all of us.”

Keisha finds inspirational the Transitions team’s targeted outreach to share with prospective students that college is possible.

“I get to see the purpose of why we do what we do every day in the interactions I have with future students through one of our many outreach initiatives,” she explained.

And that message that college is possible is now clear for Keisha as well, as she’s taking advantage of Valencia College’s Employee Development Funds to fulfill her dream of earning a bachelor’s degree. She’s currently enrolled in the  Bachelor of Applied Science in business and organizational leadership (BASBOL) program, and she’s looking forward to finishing her degree to further the work she plans to accomplish with Valencia College.

To Keisha, Valencia College signifies hope and progression, which she shares with students daily in her role.

“My family is from Carver Shores, the neighboring community not far from West Campus,” she said. “You can grow beyond the neighborhood you grew up in or the environment.”

She added, “Never give up no matter the obstacles in your way. Perseverance is greater than the risk of failing.”

When Keisha is not helping students transition to college, she is also a small business owner, creating custom gift baskets. Her business, Kustoms by K.J., was recently featured in the Orlando Voyager.

In her free time, she likes spending time with her husband and three children, watching documentaries and reality TV (her guilty pleasure), and going to the beach.

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.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Welcome BASBOL Career Program Advisors

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Message from Ed Holmes, Campus Director, Advising

Since the Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Organizational Leadership (BASBOL) program was launched in summer 2018, enrollment has exploded. Its exponential growth in just three years has outpaced the College’s ability to create the infrastructure necessary to support that growth. Aside from the constant need to hire more faculty, there was an equally important need to hire more program advisors.

“In a survey we conducted last summer of BASBOL students, it was evident from reading comments that some students were frustrated by their limited access to advising,” Executive Director of BASBOL James McDonald shared. “Given the BASBOL program’s popularity and growth in enrollment, those comments were not surprising, but they did signal to us that there was a real need for additional advising support. Fortunately, the College’s leadership was listening, and they responded quickly by approving the hiring of a second program advisor. These new program advisors will go a long way toward opening up access to advising and supporting our students’ success in the program.”

Meet the BASBOL coordinator, career program advisors:

Nicole Hampton

Nicole is a native Floridian, born and raised in Gainesville. Her journey at Valencia College began as a budding student whose passion bloomed when offered a work-study position to join the Valencia team. It was during this time that she realized her calling for service to students and has continued to grow as an ambassador in the education industry. This led Nicole to acquire her master’s degree in career and technical education, and her tenacity coupled with the knowledge gathered throughout the years has made her a formidable ally to Valencia.

As the newly appointed career program advisor for the BASBOL program, Nicole’s approach to caring for her cohort is illustrated by the quote, “If everybody got somebody by the hand, maybe everyone could learn and understand.” (Sebastian, The Little Mermaid). In her free time, Nicole enjoys listening to music, watching anime and Disney movies, and visiting nature parks.

Elizabeth Fennessy

Elizabeth was born and raised in Central Florida. Upon completing her associate degree, she subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in communication from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Elizabeth joined Valencia from Seminole State College in 2019. She has worked in Student Services for the last 15 years in a variety of positions including admissions, academic advising, financial aid and student development. She enjoys guiding and motivating students to help them fulfill their degree requirements in a timely manner, as well as seeing the success students have upon graduating from their programs.

In her spare time she enjoys keeping active by running and cycling, going to the theme parks and spending time with her friends and family. Elizabeth says that she is looking forward to returning to academic advising and having a cohort of students who she can work with throughout the duration of their time in the BASBOL program. “I enjoy being able to work with students from the start of the program through graduation, all while keeping them motivated and on track for a successful completion in a timely manner,” Elizabeth shared.

“We are very excited to have Nicole and Elizabeth join our team in their new roles,” Andel Fils Aime, West Campus dean of students, commented. “They will each play a very important role in not only serving our students but also in identifying ways that we can continue to enhance and contribute to the growth of the BASBOL program.”

For more information on the BASBOL program, visit the Valencia website.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Register for the Inclusive Excellence Speaker Series With Dr. Laura Rendón

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

How Experiences Lead to Equity and Diversity
Designed for Employees Who Identify as Female With Hispanic and Latin American Heritage
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Time: 10 – 11 a.m.
Location: Zoom
Registration: Click here to RSVP for the event by Monday, April 12, 2021.

How Experiences Lead to Equity and Diversity
Event Open to All Employees and Community Partners
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Time: 7 – 8 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Registration: Click here to RSVP for the event by Monday, April 12, 2021.

Theory Based on Her Book “Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation”
Event Open to All Employees
Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Time: 2 – 3 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Registration: Click here to RSVP for the event by Tuesday, April 13, 2021. 

Registration is now open for the Inclusive Excellence Speaker Series with Laura Rendón on Tuesday, April 13 and Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

Rendón — author of “Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation” — is nationally recognized as an education theorist, activist and researcher who specializes in college preparation, persistence and graduation of low-income, first-generation students. Her passion is assisting students who, like her, grew up in poverty with hopes and dreams but not knowing how to realize them. Rendón is credited with developing the theory of validation, which colleges and researchers have employed as a framework for working with and affirming low-income students.

She is co-director of the Center for Research and Policy in Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas in San Antonio, which engages in research that informs the education community about critical factors that affect the academic success of key student groups.

Rendón is also one of the founders and former board chair of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships focused on providing access to college for low-income students, and she has served on the Board of Trustees for Naropa University. Further, Rendón has designed and coordinated the yearly Latino/a Student Success Institute for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, the nation’s premier scholarly organization focusing on higher education issues impacting Latinos.

To read Rendón’s full bio, visit www.speakoutnow.org/speaker/rendón-laura.

Prior to the sessions, you’re welcome to view this article, “Shattering the Deficit Grand Narrative Toward a Culturally Validating Latino Student Success Framework,” by Rendón, Vijay Kanagala and Ripsimé K. Bledsoe.

This event is presented by Organizational Development and Human Resources, the Peace and Justice Institute, Academic Affairs, Faculty and Instructional Development, the Valencia African Heritage Association, the Black Advisory Committee and Student Development.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

West Campus Vaccination Site Update

Saturday, March 20, 2021

A Message from Paul Rooney, Assistant Vice President, Operations

As of Wednesday, March 24, 2021, the state/FEMA COVID vaccination site located at West Campus will only offer the second dose of Pfizer vaccinations for eligible individuals who have already taken the first dose.

Through Tuesday, March 23, 2021, the state/FEMA COVID vaccination site at West Campus is open to:

  • Local college and university employees regardless of age. This does not include dependents. You will need your Valencia ID or paystub (either on your cell phone or a printed copy) and your driver’s license;
  • Federal and Institutional Work Study Students. You will need to show your paystub (either on your cell phone or a printed copy) and your driver’s license;
  • New: Persons 60 years of age and older. As of Monday, March 22, 2021, persons 50 years and older;
  • Long-term care facility residents and staff;
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact;
  • K-12 school employees;
  • Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older;
  • Firefighters 50 years of age and older; and
  • Individuals deemed extremely vulnerable for COVID-19. An individual in this category must bring the COVID-19 Determination of Extreme Vulnerability form, which must be completed and signed by the physician who determined the individual to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

Vaccines are being distributed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or as long as supplies are available each day. Individuals are served on a first-come, first-served, walk-up basis. When coming to the West Campus for the vaccine, please remember to use the North entrance (the entrance nearest Wawa).

Although pre-registration is not necessary, the state has a preregistration system for COVID-19 vaccinations. To preregister in Florida, individuals can either call the designated phone number for their county or visit myvaccine.fl.gov.

It’s anticipated that in mid-April, the site will begin offering first doses again, and that the site will be open through the end of May. As I receive updates, I will keep you posted.

If you have any questions or concerns related to this event, please contact your West Campus Security team at 407-299-5000, extension 1000, or reach out to me directly at prooney@valenciacollege.edu or 321-689-7077.