A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses
As we prepare to begin the 2021-2022 academic year and enter Phase 4 of our Roadmap to Reopening, we are fortunate to have two leaders continue in their interim roles. Sonia Casablanca will continue as Interim Dean of Career and Technical Education. This position provides leadership to our Associate of Science degree programs on the Osceola Campus and collaborates collegewide with program implementation. Also, Marlene Temes will continue in her Interim Dean of Academic Affairs role for the Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana region. In this position, she will continue to provide leadership for curriculum, assessment, special programs, and other collegewide work in the Academic Affairs division. Sonia and Marlene will continue in these roles through at least the end of the spring 2022 semester.
A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources
For more than three years now, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has continued its efforts to organize our part-time faculty and part-time instructors for the right to bargain collectively on their behalf. Throughout this time, we have been intentional about sharing accurate and timely information in an effort to keep you informed, and ensure transparency in this process.
Most recently, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Florida’s Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) issued an order directing an election. This order specified who is included in the bargaining unit and who will be eligible to vote in the upcoming election.
PERC has determined that the bargaining unit will only include part-time faculty and part-time instructors (with some exceptions), and only those who were actively teaching for the College as of Tuesday, March 30, 2021, will be eligible to vote. The bargaining unit does not include part-time librarians, part-time counselors, part-time staff or full-time employees of any employment category or contract type. The bargaining unit also does not include employees in dual functions, such as employees with multiple roles at the College (i.e. full-time employees who also teach part-time or part-time faculty and/or instructors who also tutor or have another part-time role at the College).
The outcome of this election may significantly limit the way we work together with our part-time faculty members and part-time instructors. For example, should SEIU win the right to represent eligible part-time faculty and part-time instructors, Valencia College and SEIU would then engage in collective bargaining conversations about terms and conditions of employment for part-time faculty and instructors including, but not limited to, compensation, working conditions and hours. While we would approach these conversations the way we approach all of our work together — with transparency and in the interests of all involved — the introduction of a third party would limit our ability to engage directly in the ways that have served us well for more than 50 years.
Additionally, although the bargaining unit includes only those employees listed above, it is important to note that should SEIU be successful in their efforts, if you work as part-time faculty or serve as an instructor in any capacity, you may still be impacted by the outcome of this election. Though not technically subject to any potential bargaining agreement, the College may still decide to apply the same terms and conditions of employment for all employees who are operating in a part-time faculty and/or instructor capacity.
As the election draws near, we encourage you to do your research on SEIU and consider what third-party representation would mean at Valencia. For your reference, we have developed a comprehensive website with accurate information about how unions work, what the election process will look like, frequently asked questions and more. As the outcome of this election will be determined by a majority of those who vote and not a majority of eligible voters, we want to ensure that votes represent the preference of the majority of our part-time faculty and part-time instructors, not a small majority of those who vote.
In addition to the Union Information website, over the next few weeks, I will host virtual town halls offered on various dates and times for your convenience. These town halls will serve as an opportunity for us to connect and engage directly, while allowing your voice to be heard in this process. We encourage you and your part-time colleagues to attend one or more of these town halls and have your questions answered.
Ultimately, our focus is ensuring you are informed, aware of your role and have adequate information and resources to guide your decision making on this topic. No matter the outcome, however, we’ll get through this the way we get through everything at the College — together.
I am so excited to see another day, week and month. I am so proud of the fantastic work that you have done, are doing and will continue to do to make Valencia College the best college ever. We are moving quickly through this year with commencement already upon us. Congratulations to our 2021 graduates, and I wish them tremendous success in their endeavors. You should feel proud, because you have played a pivotal part in their future goals, success and life journey.
My questions to you this month are:
How are you feeling about our present situation, and are you ready to meet with your students face-to-face in the fall?
What is your purpose as a faculty member and why do you love to teach?
Last year around this time, we were making major changes in our personal lives and in our careers with COVID showing its ugly face. I personally had to really adjust because I was one of those professors who simply loved seeing my students daily. It brought joy to my heart. I tell my students both today and when I was a professor at the University of Akron that once you are in my class you are in my life, and I care about you and your future.
I would always say that I was not an online professor because I did not believe that one’s personality could shine through a screen. I have since learned how wrong I was and quickly learned to adapt and find a way to still make learning exciting and fresh online. That came because I saw the faculty pull together and help those of us who were not computer-savvy feel comfortable in the transition. With their help, it made that very quick transition easier. As we prepare for August and slowly moving back to our new sense of normal, are we ready for this?
Personally, I will probably stay online simply because I am learning to verbally communicate without vocal cords. With that being said, I am excited about returning to campus once I have completed my stint as president of the Faculty Association, because I miss seeing all of you and especially connecting face-to-face with my students.
As faculty are the lifeline and blood flow of the College, and your thoughts are important to me, I expect a full mailbox of your thoughts. Also, if you can, please ask your students how they feel about returning face-to-face, because their lives were totally changed as well.
Additionally, I’d love to learn what is your purpose of teaching or why do you teach? I always say it was not for the money, because I have had careers and jobs where I was paid a much higher salary but found no joy in the actual job or career. It was my destiny to be in a college classroom, because it was not my path when I started college or finished college at Bethune-Cookman. I recognized my purpose for teaching when I was a professor at my beloved alma mater, the University of Akron. I found myself being more compassionate when listening to students and the various situations that they face daily. Being a college professor chose me, and I have had no regrets.
We must look beyond the surface of our students to help them be successful, and remember, it is not about us but it is about the student. Of course, we still must be cognizant of self and making sure that we are true to that purpose placed before us, but we must understand our students are our final concern. Always remember, without our students, there would be not faculty, staff, Senior Team, deans, campus presidents or a college president.
Make it a great day, week and month, and always make a difference in whatever you do. I will be waiting on those emails to share with the leaders of Valencia.
On Saturday, May 8, 2021, Valencia College will host its 52nd Annual Commencement Ceremony to recognize our 2020-2021 grads. This virtual event is the second part of Valencia College’s 2020-2021 commencement celebration, following our successful Grad Finale events.
The online ceremony will feature addresses from College President Sandy Shugart; Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske; Accounting Professor, Past President of the Collegewide Faculty Association, and incoming Interim Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campus President and Faculty Association Past President Stanton Reed; and our 2021 Distinguished Graduate Samantha Tanner, who will be introduced by Addition Financial Chief Development Officer Linh Dang — the 1990 Distinguished Graduate and a current Valencia College Foundation board member. District Board of Trustees Chair Tracey Stockwell will participate in the conferring of degrees along with Sandy, providing a virtual opportunity for students to officially move their tassels from right to left after a reading of all graduates’ names. Video messages of encouragement and congratulations from community leaders will also be included in the virtual ceremony.
The 52nd Annual Commencement Ceremony will be available for viewing online as follows:
On the graduation website, you will also have access to the 2020-2021 Commencement program.
While you won’t be able to celebrate in a traditional commencement ceremony — for the health and safety of faculty, staff and students — we hope you will take some time on Saturday, May 8, 2021 to watch the online ceremony and share your congratulations by recognizing your students on social media using the hashtag #valenciagrad, and the special Valencia graduation-themed filters, frames, GIFs and other digital assets that you’ll find in the Social Media Toolkit.
The Valencia Psychology Association (VPA) has been especially busy this year, all in an effort to address the many challenges faced by students, faculty and staff during an unprecedented time for mental health issues in the country and in the world.
With Professor of Psychology Nancy E. Rizzo as its advisor, VPA — Valencia’s psychology student club on West Campus — held a number of virtual presentations this year. “Surviving the Pandemic: Part 2” was one such event. Hosted by the club in May 2020, it covered topics such as healthy coping behaviors, how to be successful in an online class and time management skills. Shortly before that, club leaders sent a document to students titled “Surviving the Pandemic,” which listed tips and included resources.
“We wanted to help students adjust to the academic changes and challenges they were experiencing and to help them find healthy ways to cope with these new stressors,” said Nancy.
Besides helping the students themselves, these events offer club members a chance to gain presenting experience and learn to operate in a professional environment.
Last October, VPA also presented “Virtual Game Night,” a series of trivia games that took place over the course of two days designed to give students a safe social “outing” and some Halloween fun.
“The majority of VPA’s events are academic in nature. However, during the pandemic, we found it important to include a social event to aid in stress relief. During the pandemic, VPA’s events centered on students’ well-being,” Nancy explained.
Trivia was followed by another virtual gathering held in November 2020, titled “What’s Brain Food?” where Professor of Nutrition Kristin Bartholomew discussed gut-brain connection. Approximately 80 people participated in this event, which was not only attended by Valencia students, but by faculty and staff at the College interested in the topic.
“This topic was chosen to help students’ mental health through nutrition, again, trying to find ways for students to stay healthy during a time of uncertainty and isolation,” Nancy said.
She added that VPA was supposed to host an event titled “Black Americans in Psychology’s History” this spring 2021. However, at one point it became clear that the stress of the pandemic was taking its toll on club officers throughout the semester. Meetings thus became a place to talk about their stress and receive support.
“I believe it is important to put the emotional needs of my officers before the needs of the club,” she said.
“The officers are full-time students who organize all of the VPA events and at least once a semester partake in co-presenting with me. These are ambitious students who take their studies seriously and need to be reminded of the importance of taking care of themselves. Sometimes, as the advisor, I need to step in and remind them their mental health is important too.”
Nancy, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology as well as a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology and is a licensed psychologist, expressed gratitude for the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences at West Campus, its faculty and dean, all of whom were described as “very supportive.”
She also said VPA is currently working on a podcast series that will soon offer students an opportunity to listen to relevant mental health topics and develop coping skills. The podcasts will be shared in “Emergence,” Valencia’s Student Development newsletter, in the coming months.
Established in 2013-2014 after Nancy surveyed students about their interest in joining such an organization, VPA is a professional and academic club whose primary goal is to educate the Valencia community on psychological topics.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend VPA events, and faculty members may also consider giving students extra credit to attend. The club is open to any student who has an interest in psychology, but to be an officer, students must plan on going into the field of psychology. Currently, the club has 160 members, although it has counted as many as 450 students as members.
Without a doubt, its existence could not have happened were it not for a passionate instructor who loves her field and who makes that love contagious to her students.
“I love the field of psychology. I trust its science; I believe in it; and I live it!”, said Nancy, who has been teaching at Valencia since 2005. “Teaching affords me the opportunity to inspire students to get excited about psychology.”
Do you know a faculty member doing great work? Or, perhaps you’d like to share the work you’re doing? Send the colleague’s (or your) name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu and include Faculty Highlight Nomination in the subject line of your email. We might just feature your colleague (or you) as an upcoming Faculty Highlight.
A Message from Geni Wright, Director, Online Teaching and Learning
Course Peer Review Updates
As the Online Learning Excellence team continues to support faculty through the course peer review process, our team would like to share some updates. We are excited to share the list of current faculty members who have successfully completed their course peer review for an online course.
To support the course peer review process, faculty across the College serve on peer review panels in the roles of panel chair, subject matter expert and peer reviewer. We had 135 faculty serve on at least one peer review panel. Additionally, more than 170 faculty members completed the required training to serve on a peer review panel. If you would like to complete the training course to serve on a peer review panel, we invite you to enroll in ASMT 3332: Introduction to Course Peer Review.
Showcase of Completers
Our list of faculty who have successfully completed a Course Peer Review continues to grow each semester. Click on the button below for a list of faculty members who are now credentialed as Tier 2 instructors for aligning their online course with the design and delivery criteria in Valencia’s Rubric for Online Competencies (ROC), and their online courses are ROC-certified.
Participate in a Course Peer Review
We hope you will consider joining the next cohort of faculty participating in Course Peer Review. Full-time faculty members across the College are invited to submit their courses for the peer review process by completing the following survey:
To be considered for a cohort, faculty should be full-time, have completed the Digital Professor Certification (DPC) and have taught the course online at least two terms.
After submitting the survey, faculty will be contacted by a faculty fellow for online learning excellence to discuss the next steps for review.
Serve as a Peer Reviewer, Subject Matter Expert or Panel Chair
Faculty may sign up for ASMT3332 Introduction to Course Peer Review to complete the training course for becoming a peer review panel member. This mixed-mode course will be offered during the following dates in the summer term:
Option 1: Monday, May 24 – Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Required Zoom Meeting: Thursday, June 10, 2021, 3 – 5 p.m.
Option 2: Monday, June 28 – Tuesday, July 20, 2021 Required Zoom Meeting: Thursday, July 15, 2021, 3 – 5 p.m.
Register for ASMT3332 Introduction to Course Peer Review below:
We look forward to your participation in this important opportunity to improve quality in online teaching and learning.
A Message from Ben Taylor, Assistant Director, Equal Opportunity and ODHR Partners
In January 2021, I shared a message seeking candidates for the faculty ombuds representative position. I’m writing today with an update as to the role.
As we solicited interest in the role, we also continued to review the information made available to us from Anna Saintil, current faculty ombuds representative, and through the information you provided through your survey responses.
A major theme from that faculty feedback centered on a lack of awareness and understanding of the faculty ombuds role and the need to prioritize efforts to increase awareness. As a result, in consultation with Faculty Association leadership, the decision was made to make a small amendment to the procedures of the Employee Dispute Resolution policy to allow for an option to include a second person to serve concurrently in the faculty ombuds role. This decision affords us the flexibility to ensure that the faculty ombuds representative(s) have the capacity and support to engage both in serving as a resource for faculty and also as an advocate for raising awareness for the role.
We selected two fantastic faculty members from a robust, well-qualified candidate pool. Those selected will build upon the work already completed by Anna Saintil, professor, student life skills.
Our new faculty ombuds representatives are Ann Heiny, faculty, New Student Experience (West Campus), and Ramon Velez-Cruz, faculty, New Student Experience (Osceola Campus). They will begin serving at the start of the Fall 2021 term.
The selection committee members were excited to have such incredible candidates submit their interest in filling the position and believe that Ann and Ramon will serve all Valencia College faculty well as faculty ombuds representatives.
As you may know, the faculty ombuds representatives are a resource to support both part-time and full-time faculty in navigating College policies and procedures. Over the summer, both Ann and Ramon will receive comprehensive training on a variety of relevant topics and will work closely with representatives in Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) to ensure they have the support they need to successfully fulfill the responsibilities of this role. Please join me in welcoming the new faculty ombuds representatives.
I also want to express a deep and sincere thanks to Anna Saintil, who helped build this role from words within a policy to a practical and helpful resource and who has been ready and willing to serve. Her work will be a wonderful foundation from which to build as we continue to explore the many ways we can support our faculty. Please also join me in expressing gratitude for the great work completed by her. Anna, thank you for your work and your service to your faculty colleagues and the College.
A Message from Geni Wright, Director, Online Teaching and Learning
Starting on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, you will notice a new course item appear in your Canvas courses. Qwickly Course Tools is integrated into the Canvas navigation menu and will allow faculty to complete actions in multiple courses at the same time.
You may use Qwickly to complete the following actions across multiple courses simultaneously:
Create an announcement;
Send a message through the Canvas inbox;
Create a calendar event; and
Publish a course.
For information on how to use this tool, please review the written Qwickly course tools tutorial or the supplemental video overview. The tutorials provide additional information on formatting considerations when using the tool.
Although Qwickly has many features, some of its features may not work effectively now as we work through some challenges with the integration. In these cases, it is better to complete the action using Canvas instead. Canvas is better for completing the following actions:
Creating pages; and
Validating links in Course Content.
There are additional things to consider when using Qwickly. For example, if you use Qwickly, you may notice that the tool times out after 30 minutes of nonuse. Additionally, the tool works best with the Google Chrome browser on a desktop or a laptop.
We highly recommend testing out the tool in a sandbox course before using it in a live course. If you have any questions or concerns about the tool, please reach out to a member of the Faculty Development team or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-299-5000, extension 3005.
A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources
If you are an annually appointed (8- or 10-month) or tenured/tenure track (10-month) faculty member, it is time to make changes, if desired, to your payroll frequency for the upcoming academic year.
Below is the information you need to know about this annual process:
All new full-time faculty will be paid over 26 pay periods unless actively elected otherwise.
Tenured/tenure-track faculty and annually appointed faculty with teaching assignments in the fall, spring and one summer term (10-month) may elect to be paid over 22 pay periods or 26 pay periods.
Annually appointed faculty with teaching assignments in the fall and spring (eight-month) may elect to be paid over 18 pay periods or 26 pay periods.
The decision to change payroll frequency may be made once per year in late spring. Because we pay faculty contracts on installments, we cannot change the payroll frequency once the first payroll of a new contract year has been issued, and all changes to payroll frequency must be made by Friday, June 4, 2021.
Your current payroll frequency choice remains in place and will NOT change unless you submit a form to elect a new payroll frequency before Friday, June 4, 2021. This means, for example, that if you currently have 22 paychecks and do not wish to change, you don’t need to take any action.
All eight- and 10-month full-time (non-temporary) faculty members who wish to elect a change in the pay frequency for the 2021-22 academic year can do so by completing the Electronic Payroll Election Form, which was sent to each eight- and 10-month, full-time, non-temporary faculty members via email on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.