Monthly Archives: March 2021

Join the Osceola Humanities Department for ‘The Art of Branding’

Friday, March 19, 2021

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Zoom

Join Osceola Campus’ own Julio Falú, professor and program chair, graphic design, for “The Art of Branding” on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at 1 p.m.

As an artist, building a good reputation and a distinctive image for the public to recognize your work is important. Personal branding is defined as the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of individuals by positioning them as authorities in their industry. Your personal artist brand must communicate your purpose and identity, and, these days, you should also have a strong online presence. In this session, we will talk about the benefits of personal branding, plus the essentials to creating and maintaining a personal brand for yourself as a true artist.

Please share with your students. For additional events, visit the Humanities Digital Venue.

Feel to reach out to Humanities Professor Kathryn Cairns at if you have any questions. Also, please reach out if you are interested in participating in future events.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Osceola Region Seeks Student of the Year Nominees

Friday, March 19, 2021

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

Student Development is excited to recognize an outstanding student from each campus by continuing to accept submissions for each respective campus’s version of the “Student of the Year” Award. This recognition is awarded to students who have exhibited outstanding leadership, commitment and contributions to the Valencia College community.

Nominations are now open to recognize students who have been enrolled in courses for the 2020-21 academic year for our region’s awards:

  • Osceola Campus: the McKinnon/Romano Student of the Year Award
  • Lake Nona Campus: the Student Spotlight Award
  • Poinciana Campus: the Poinciana Arbor of Excellence Award

Faculty and staff can nominate students using the nomination form, which is available at this Engage link.

Recipients of these awards will be recognized during Student Development’s Virtual Awards Ceremony at the end of the term. All Valencia College employees who submit nominations will receive details related to the Virtual Awards Ceremony so that they and their nominee(s) may participate.

Please submit your nominations by 12 p.m. on Sunday, March 28, 2021. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Director of Student Development Nelson Sepulveda at

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Finding Work-life Harmony

Thursday, March 18, 2021

By Natasha McIlmurray, Coordinator, Organizational Design and Development, and Ben Taylor, Assistant Director, Equal Opportunity

How do you maintain a work-life balance when home and work are the same place? Even when they are not the same place, how do you maintain boundaries so that work remains at work and home remains at home?

Simple answer, you don’t.

As the LinkedIn Learning video “Strive For Harmony, Not Balance” explains, “balance is bogus.”

As a supervisor, you have a unique challenge in that you must work through this “balance” yourself and, at the same time, support the members of your team as they work through it themselves. We recently led a development workshop called “Finding Work-Life Harmony.” In the workshop we led attendees through reflective exercises to explore the differences between balance and harmony and between managing time and energy. When we explore the word balance, we’re referring to a state of equilibrium where people equally prioritize the demands and responsibilities of their career and their personal life. Harmony, on the other hand, refers to the quality of forming a pleasing or consistent whole, congruity or leaning into different areas of our lives.

Our home lives and our work lives are not independent parts of who we are. At a foundational level, work provides income. Income provides shelter for ourselves and our families, food on our table and other basic requirements for life. At an emotional level, work affects our well-being, sense of worth, stress levels and sense of fulfillment. It isn’t just work that affects our life. Our lives also affect our work. Relationships, caregiving responsibilities, children, health, hobbies — all these things shape us and have a way of shaping what our work looks like. Our choices can have a drastic impact on our work and our lives. Our choice to eat healthy and exercise might increase both our physical and mental capacity in our jobs. Having an argument with our partner before we start our day can affect how we show up to work that day.

Some days, work requires more of our attention and energy and we need to lean into it more, which means that personal obligations will have less of our attention and energy. Other times, home and personal life may require more of our attention and energy, and we will lean away from work and focus in on those areas. However, the key is learning to not lean in any one direction for too long. When we think about harmony, we think it means how work and life support each other to be the best version of ourselves everywhere we show up.

We also have to recognize the internal pressures we place on ourselves and external pressures placed upon us from beyond ourselves. Internal pressures could be things like parent guilt or chasing perfection. External pressures could be deadlines or financially based. Some of these pressures we can address and others we have to face and work through. Both types of pressures can put us out of harmony.

As people, we can manage our time and/or energy. Time management is always a topic that is tossed around; however we rarely spend time acknowledging energy management. If you are a supervisor, you might talk about time management within your teams, but have you ever considered thinking about energy management? Managing time is about cranking through a to-do list as fast as you can. Energy management is about developing a core set of habits around your most important work.

Everyone has the same 168 hours in a week. We may not all have the same energy day to day. This means that as you consider your day, you might focus on your energy-heavy tasks in the morning when you’re fresh. Or, you might have day with a meeting that is going to drain you, so you might consider doing small things to up your energy like taking a break for a brief walk outside or making sure you don’t skip lunch that day.

As you think about work-life harmony, take some time for reflection to see how you’re doing, and identify those areas you may want to work on. We’ve identified some great resources to help you in your journey toward harmony:

  1. Are You Living a Full Life? Lifehack Assessment
  2. The LinkedIn Learning course Recharge Your Energy for Peak Performance
  3. A Harvard Business Review Article titled Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
  4. A book titled The Energy Project, authored by Tony Schwartz.

You may want to start this conversation with your teams and explore ways that you can help them manage not just their time but also create the space to manage their energy. You could begin by sharing the resources listed above or having a conversation with your teams about when they are working at their best. Particularly in times of great change, more than ever, it is important that we take care of ourselves and support one another so that we can be the best version of ourselves for ourselves, our loved ones, our colleagues and our students.

If you’d like to connect further on this topic, please join us on Thursday, April 8, 2021, at 10 a.m. for our second Work-Life Harmony workshop. The workshop is open to all employees. Register on the Valencia EDGE for the session.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Policy Update: Disciplinary Action

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Our guest writer for this month, Lauren Kelly, director, equal opportunity, offers a high level overview of College Policy 6Hx28: Disciplinary Action and what you need to know as a supervisor.

As an institution, we believe that one of the most important relationships in the workplace is that which exists between supervisors and employees. We demonstrate our commitment to these relationships in many ways, including instances when we need to address ongoing performance and behavior concerns.

As partners to you in this work, we continuously look to respond to feedback we hear from you and the College community regarding the effectiveness of our policies and procedures, including those associated with performance management.

In fall 2019, Organizational Development and Human Resources convened a small collegewide team to thoroughly review the College’s policy and procedures related to disciplinary action. This work team met over the course of several weeks and carefully reviewed our disciplinary action policy and procedures. Our deliberate and intentional approach to this work centered on looking at the intent of the policy, the clarity and usefulness for both employees and supervisors and the importance of balancing flexibility in addressing the unique circumstances surrounding concerns with creating conditions for fair and equitable application of this policy and procedures.

This work yielded a few key findings. The first is that the policy still adequately and appropriately provides fair, clear and useful tools for addressing concerns. The second is that there were opportunities to refine the procedures to help employees have a better understanding of how the College implements this policy. Ultimately, this comprehensive review led to recommendations for key procedural updates that were then shared through the College’s internal processes and were formally updated on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

Here are the highlights of those procedural changes that were made in response to feedback gathered throughout this process:

– Organization: The procedures were reorganized to first define the prohibited conduct that might lead to disciplinary action. While not an exhaustive list, examples of conduct that might lead to formal discipline were more clearly defined. The procedures then introduce avenues for informal and formal corrective measures that often precede formal discipline and define the formal disciplinary process itself, and, as applicable, the procedures through which a grievance of a disciplinary action might be filed.

– Informal and Formal Corrective Action: The procedures were updated to include thoroughly defined examples of informal corrective measures including coaching and counseling. Procedures were also updated to include informal and formal performance management tools. Specifically, the Individual Action Plan (IAP) was added and is an informal corrective measure that allows supervisors to document performance and behavior concerns and work collaboratively with an employee toward resolution. Similarly, the procedures were updated to include the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), a formal performance management tool used to outline performance issues requiring immediate and sustained improvement.

– Formal Disciplinary Action: Procedures were updated to elaborate on the process through which concerns can be evaluated and addressed through formal disciplinary action. The updates center on the importance of both a flexible process and supervisory discretion and fair application for employees, which includes timely awareness that concerns exist and a clear and thorough response to those concerns. Language was also specifically included on how supervisors can successfully partner with ODHR to assist in navigating this process.

As this information is essential to our work and our ability to support our employees, we invite you to read through the updated procedures in College Policy 02-08 Disciplinary Action. For more information and/or support, please do not hesitate to connect with a representative from Organizational Development and Human Resources by contacting HR4U at 407-299-5000 x 4748 (HR4U) or

Monthly Archives: March 2021

West Campus Employees Host 3D Printing Virtual Presentation

Thursday, March 18, 2021

A Message from Terri Graham, Interim President, West and Downtown Campuses

Stefan Bidigaray, part-time faculty, engineering, and Thomas Dillen, lab supervisor, celebrated National Engineering week by regaling industry partners and students with a presentation on the marvels of 3D printing.

During the Zoom presentation, which took place on Friday, February 26, 2021, Stefan introduced the basics of 3D printing as well as its applications. Thomas, meanwhile, demonstrated how the College uses 3D printing and showcased the printing projects Valencia students create in their classes using the same technology as used in industry.

The term 3D printing or additive manufacturing refers to a variety of processes in which material is deposited, joined or solidified under computer numerical control to create a three-dimensional object, using material, such as plastic, liquid or powder grains, that are fused together, typically layer by layer.

These kinds of presentations are not only educational, Thomas said, but also a “great opportunity to promote the College as well as its engineering, computer programming and technology programs.”

They also serve the purpose of helping students learn, connect and network during the pandemic.

“Since we cannot host workshops, guest speakers and meetings on campus now, we will be doing as much as possible virtually until we get back to normal business,” said Thomas.

The presentation was in part attended by members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) student chapter, one of four engineering societies established at the West Campus. IEEE membership offers “access to technical innovation, cutting-edge information, networking opportunities, and exclusive member benefits.”

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Good Morning Valencia Features Terri Graham

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Our Student Development leaders recently interviewed Terri Graham, interim president, West and Downtown Campuses, on the podcast, Good Morning Valencia.

As part of a February Black History Month series that recognized and honored Black role models who exemplified Black Excellence in their fields, Terri shared her journey to Valencia College, her love for education and tips for success.

To listen to the podcast as well as other Good Morning Valencia episodes, click the button below and select “Journey of Excellence.”

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Nominate a Work-study Student for Appreciation Awards

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Nominations are being accepted from all campuses for the annual Work Study Appreciation Awards. One student will be selected as the Outstanding Employee of the Year for each campus.

Winners will receive a $500 grant for the Spring 2021 term and will be notified during National Student Employment Appreciation Week, which will take place between Monday April 12 and Friday, April 16, 2021. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 26, 2021.

 Requirements for nomination include:  

  • The nominee must be a currently employed federal or institutional work-study student (they must not have been terminated or have resigned). Please note students are not required to be extended for the summer semester to be nominated and can be pending spring graduation.
  • Nominees may work remotely or on campus. If working remotely, the student’s campus will be based on the nominating supervisor or department location.
  • Complete the appropriate nomination form included below. 

Please note that the forms are fillable PDFs, which must be saved to your desktop or a folder to complete. Email the form to Kelli Thomas, coordinator, accounts and federal work study, at

Monthly Archives: March 2021

February Supervisor Summit Focuses on Valencia College and The Year Ahead

Thursday, March 18, 2021 

On Friday, February 19, 2021, more than 150 supervisors joined the Employee Development team for a discussion with Kathleen Plinske, executive vice president and provost, and Amy Bosley, vice president, organizational development and human resources, about the current and upcoming hiring plan and recent decisions on Roadmap to Reopening Phase 3 operations.

Kathleen also shared what excites her most about transiting to the role of college president, as well as her priority to provide interim leadership for the Osceola Campus. Supervisors had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the organizational structure.

The Summit also included time to reflect on this past year, and supervisors were asked to consider what they had learned about themselves, their work and their environment. Carla McKnight, assistant vice president, organizational development, shared an example from Publix, citing that although the chain added new directional signage and plastic barriers, their actual services didn’t change. Similar to Publix, our department functions and services didn’t change this past year, and although we may have adjusted some processes, we have a decision to make — progress forward or turn back.

Carla led supervisors in an activity:

1. Write down three to five things that working in 2020 taught you about serving in 2021.

2. Review each item and categorize it in the following ways. Is that item related to:

  • Workforce (F) – you, your supervisor, employees, colleagues, partners
  • Workplace (P) – the environment you worked
  • Work (W) – process/procedure/policy/workflows

After the activity, supervisors reflected on what they noticed about their responses and categories. Here are three of the responses (supervisors labeled their responses per the categories above):

What’s Next?

The Employee Development Team invites you to the next Supervisor Summit via Zoom on Friday, April 16, 2021, from 9 – 10:30 a.m. Check your email soon for an Outlook Calendar appointment with more information. If you don’t receive the invitation, email Employee Development at

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Managing Smart: Managing Zoom Fatigue

Thursday, March 18, 2021

By now, we’ve all felt it, whether we realized it or not.

After months of almost constant interaction with both colleagues and loved ones via electronic screens, many of us feel a bit “Zoom weary.”

As stated in this recent Stanford University study, Zoom fatigue is actually a thing. There are, however, ways to combat it. Read the following tips highlighted and summarized in the study based on its findings as well as other useful suggestions below:

  • Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact can be highly intense and can be exhausting. In some people, this can trigger a kind of flight response.

Solution: Take Zoom out of the full-screen option and reduce the Zoom window relative to the monitor. You may also consider a wireless keyboard to allow for an increase in the physical space between you and the electronic grid.

Supervisors may also ask themselves whether reducing the number of required meetings is possible. You can consider asking yourself: Can this information be communicated via email rather than via a Zoom meeting?

Avoid multi-tasking and stay present. This will increase productivity and reduce screen fatigue.

  • Seeing yourself during video chats constantly is fatiguing; the equivalent of walking around with a mirror in front of your face.

Solution: Tired users should use the “hide self-view” button, which can be accessed by right-clicking on your own photo.

Also, turning the camera off periodically during meetings can help give you a brief rest.  And don’t forget to take breaks during meetings in order to reduce fatigue.

  • Video chats can drastically reduce mobility, which is unnatural and make us feel “trapped.”

Solution: Consider taking the meeting outside. If your job allows it, take your cell phone and walk around your neighborhood. If the nature of your work or meeting do not allow for this, consider whether walking or pacing the room is a possible.

You may also consider placing a camera farther away from the screen so that you can pace and doodle in virtual meetings.

To watch a video on how to avoid Zoom fatigue that you may enjoy or share with employees, click on the video below:

Monthly Archives: March 2021

Apply Now for Destination 2021

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A Message from Wendi Dew, Assistant Vice President, Teaching and Learning

You are invited to Destination 2021, an annual professional development program that brings colleagues together to explore teaching and learning innovations, challenges and solutions. The program will begin Friday, May 14, 2021, and continue for five consecutive Friday afternoons. We hope you will join us at our first-ever, entirely virtual, synchronous program to connect and learn alongside colleagues in this collegial, immersive, learning experience. We guarantee that your learning environment will never be the same.

This year, we are planning another robust program focused on equity-minded teaching practices and Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) with the following tracks:

  • Equity-minded Practice
  • SEED I: Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity
  • SEED II: Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity II
    • Note: This track is open to participants who have successfully completed SEED I (year-long cohort or previous Destination).

All tracks will award participants $500 for successful completion and, since a stipend is awarded, Professional Development (PD) hours are not available.

To learn more about the Destination 2021 tracks and to apply, please visit the Destination webpage. The application will close on Friday, April 2, 2021. All Valencia faculty members, part-time and full-time, are encouraged to apply.*

We hope to see you for an exciting Destination 2021.

*Your employment status at the time of application will determine compensation. Full-time, non-exempt staff and part-time staff are paid their hourly wage; overtime may be paid, if applicable. Please note that overtime is paid after 40 hours of work, not inclusive of leave or paid time off. If you have any questions about how you would be compensated for participation in the program, please contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).