Monthly Archives: September 2021

Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity: New Resources for Faculty

Thursday, September 30, 2021

In the summer term, we provided an update on Florida House Bill 233: Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity, and the law went into effect on Thursday, July 1, 2021. The flash work team that was charged with developing guidelines and resources to assist faculty and deans shared resources associated with the syllabus in late July. Since then, the team has developed additional resources to help with two specific components of the law: the shielding and recording provisions.

Composed of faculty, deans, Organizational Development and Human Resources, legal counsel and Faculty Development, the Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity work team was asked to consider questions such as:

  • How do we ensure that the sanctity of trusting, collaborative faculty-student relationships, and safety therein, is upheld, in contrast to the adversarial relationship that the “threat” of recording may elicit?
  • What is our best guidance for faculty and deans regarding the prohibition of shielding students, faculty or staff from protected, free speech and certain expressive activities?
  • How might we minimize unintended consequences; for instance, that faculty shy away from engaging in difficult/courageous conversations with students?
  • How will the law intersect with existing course policies restricting the use of technology in the classroom?

The work team developed four resources associated with the recording and shielding provisions of Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity legislation:

We will continue to update these resources throughout the academic year. If you have questions or need additional support, please reach out to your dean.

Monthly Archives: September 2021

Faculty Governance Update — September 2021

Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Message from Michael Robbins, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

Hello Valencia Faculty!

We’re about a third of the way through the semester, give or take. I think there’s value in remembering that we all still have time to grow, and your students are eager to continue to learn from you. If you have students who are struggling, remind them that they still have time to be able to improve, and that they aren’t doomed this early in the semester.

Don’t be shy about using other resources across the College, either! That might include tutoring services, or referrals to advising or referrals to counseling services. Remember that you’re not alone in educating your student; the whole of Valencia is available to help your students succeed.

I thought it would be helpful to give you all a brief rundown of our Thursday, September 9, 2021, Faculty Council meeting.

Committee Selections and Endorsements

One of the Faculty Council’s functions is to review current calls for service from different work teams, committees and projects across Valencia. In this meeting, we appointed members to the College Curriculum Committee, the Assessment Coordinating Committee and the Honors Implementation Team and appointed a co-chair for the Instructional Materials Committee. We also provided feedback and endorsement on planned definitions for assessment of Degree Pathways, as well as endorsement for an institution-wide setting for Canvas Attendance Tools.

Sounds exciting, I know. But I can assure you, these procedural decisions are a vital function for the Faculty Council. These committees are responsible for outcomes, assessment and materials presented to students, not to mention implementing new principles that will broaden participation in the Seneff Honors College. I appreciate everyone who volunteered to serve in these roles.


We held two discussions:

  • Masking and Physical Distancing: We discussed a faculty petition for strengthening the requirements for masking and physical distancing guidelines. After in-depth discussion, the Faculty Council moved that while individual concerns are understood and respected, there is no further action that will be taken by the Faculty Council. I followed up this discussion with conversations with leadership at the College centered on contact tracing and plans for Spring 2022.*
  • Work Team for Retention of Continuing Contract by Administrators: We gave feedback to a proposal for a work team that will review the “current practice of tenured faculty moving from a continuing contract to an annual contract if they accept a position as an administrator” and “make recommendations for any changes to [Valencia’s] current practice.” Recommended changes were sent to leadership at the College.

Why It Matters to Have These Discussions

These discussions are vital, and faculty voice is needed in these discussions. I understand the outcomes may not be precisely what everyone wants; I wish there were a way to please every person under every circumstance.

Discourse won’t always turn out exactly as every person wants, but that’s not the ultimate goal of discourse. I teach my students that argument is not a matter of winning or losing, but rather a matter of coming to understanding. Jim Corder, a rhetorician I admire deeply, described argument as “emergence toward the other,” and noted that it requires an “untiring stretch toward the other, a reach toward enfolding the other.” That’s precisely why I value these discussions; not to get the outcome we want, but to try to understand each other.

I look around and sometimes I think we forget that those we disagree with, even at Valencia, are not enemies or active agents to fight against, but are fellow educators, seeking the best ways to ensure we can improve our communities. I hope that faculty can remember that as we continue to address sometimes contentious concerns.

I encourage you all to continue to reach out to me, as needed, so we can come to what Corder calls a “commodious universe;” reach out to me, even to continue to disagree with decisions we’ve made. My e-mail is

… I’m not adding a references page here … I’m nerdy, but there are limits. If y’all want the citation for Corder, email me.

*In the original messaging, I misspoke regarding the motion made in Faculty Council. While individual council members noted current guidelines are working, that was not a driving factor for the decision for Faculty Council to not pursue this matter further.

Monthly Archives: September 2021

Faculty Highlight: Hemangi Patil Helps Students Help One Another Through Early Intervention

Thursday, September 30, 2021

By Jennifer Keefe

When Professor of Biology Hemangi Patil saw her students were having trouble understanding how much time they needed to commit to her class to do well, she decided to do something about it. Hemangi, who earned tenure in April, used her action research project to create a way for students to help one another to be successful in her classes. It starts with creating a sense of accountability.

“I needed to do something that would help everyone,” she says.

Hemangi implemented her early intervention project on her BSC 1010C students. It was so successful that she’s been using it ever since.

First, she has each of her students complete a biology readiness tool. Once she gets the results, she divides her students into two groups, high and low achievers, based on their scores on the readiness tool. Then, she pairs a high achiever and a low achiever in the lab and the classroom for a period of six weeks.

“My hypothesis was that high achievers could teach the low achievers, raising the bar on how they were doing their work,” she says. “The low achievers would help the high achievers by giving them a chance to review the material.”

Both partners had lists of activities to complete, including meeting outside of class. Over the course of the six weeks, they had to report on their to-do list activities and on the progress of their partner on their list.

The first semester Hemangi implemented her early intervention in four of her mixed-mode classes. Then, she surveyed her students on their experiences in the class.

“Students were more confident to take assessments. Their task completion and test scores were significantly higher,” she says. “Also, final class grades were significantly higher and retention in my courses improved.”

Hemangi says she’s really glad she implemented her early intervention project, because it has been so successful.

“I wanted students to feed off each other to see what study skills really work.”

She says she teaches study skills to her students but they “stick more” when the ideas come from their peers. “They learn from each other really well,” she says.

Another best practice Hemangi often uses is the implementation of active learning techniques. She uses the flipped classroom environment, where students watch lectures at home and come to class for discussions and activities. Coupled with her action research project, she found that her students asked more questions and were more engaged and prepared.

“My classroom was more like solving, applying and using critical thinking, than reading a presentation from PowerPoint,” Hemangi says.

Her action research also fit her overall teaching philosophy, which is, “I cannot teach you every single point. Self-learning is important. You are in the driver’s seat.”

Hemangi also connects with students through personalized feedback and praise while giving students room to improve. She also considers herself a mentor to her students seeking careers in the sciences and even lets her students put on their “professor hats” to grade one another’s presentations.

“Peer review and peer interaction are really the ways they learn best,” Hemangi says.

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 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.

Monthly Archives: September 2021

Check Out the Upcoming TLA Courses

Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Teaching/Learning Academy (TLA) — a community of practice — supports new professors, counselors and librarians as they develop Individualized Learning Plans, a fundamental phase of the tenure process designed to assist tenure candidates to expand and improve their professional practices and students’ learning. The goal of the TLA is to help tenure-track faculty members develop a reflective approach to their teaching that is anchored in the tenets of action research and the Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator. The TLA provides support on pedagogy, course design, student development and professional portfolio development.

This fall, TLA is offering the following courses:

LFMP2141 – LifeMap   

Date: Thursday, October 7 – Thursday, October 14, 2021 (self-paced)
Location: Online

Facilitated by Tina Tan, professor, speech, this class explores the philosophy and practice of LifeMap, focusing on the value of incorporating LifeMap strategies in one’s practice to promote discipline learning while also promoting student life skills development.

View the event flyerRegister on the Valencia EDGE. 

LCTS2222 – Case-based Teaching

Dates: Tuesday, October 12 – Tuesday, October 19, 2021 (self-paced)
Location: Online

Date: Tuesday, October 19 – Tuesday, October 26, 2021 (self-paced)
Location: Online

Facilitated by Kristin Bartholomew, professor, nutrition, this class will explore how case studies can provide a rich base for developing problem-solving and decision making skills. These critical thinking skills are necessary to meet higher level learning outcomes. This class will explore the most appropriate methods of integrating case-based teaching strategies into your course.

View the event flyerRegister on the Valencia EDGE. 

Monthly Archives: September 2021

Equity-minded Curriculum and Pedagogy Conversation Sessions

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Opportunity and equity is the central focus of the 2030 Strategic Impact Plan and the lens through which the College will examine its success in all areas. In October 2020, former Valencia College President Sandy Shugart commissioned equity initiatives in four key areas to evaluate our current processes and develop recommendations for equity-minded practices. In an effort to ensure you have the most updated information on the progress, findings and recommendations of the teams involved in this work, this new Opportunity and Equity series is published in The Grove. This update highlights the work of the Focused Inquiry Team on Equity-minded Practice. 

Last month, it was shared that the Focused Inquiry Team on Equity-minded Practice had concluded its research on recommendations for equity-minded curriculum, pedagogy and indicators. This month, the team is excited to share the final report and invite you to upcoming conversation sessions regarding the brief.

Focused Inquiry Team on Equity-minded Practice Research Brief 

The Focused Inquiry Team on Equity-minded Practice (Equity FIT), composed of more than 30 team members from across the College, was charged by the Learning Council with identifying evidence-based, equity-minded practices in both pedagogy and curriculum. The team was also asked to help us better understand what data may assist in monitoring our progress by identifying measurable indicators of equitable student outcomes and experiences.

The Focused Inquiry Team on Equity-minded Practice has completed a full draft of its primary deliverable: a research brief that will inform many of our collegewide equity efforts, notably institutional plan strategies such as the updating of the Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator, as well as the planning and programming of the Teaching and Learning Division.

To view the Focused Inquiry Team on Equity-minded Practice Research Brief, click the button below.  

The research brief is organized thematically based on three overarching themes:

  1. Holistic student support
  2. Inclusivity and cultural responsiveness
  3. High-impact practices

The brief describes recommendations for our current practice, areas that would be helpful for future research and focus, suggestions for how we might scale the proposed strategies and insights regarding the Equity FIT design process.

Conversation Sessions

Conversation Sessions are designed to be spaces for us to engage with colleagues around the core themes inside the Equity FIT report: holistic student support, inclusivity and cultural responsiveness, and high impact practices. Join the co-chairs of the Equity FIT Marsha Butler, faculty, New Student Experience, and Shara Lee, campus director, faculty and instructional development, and members of Learning Council and the Equity FIT team to discuss ideas, implications, ways in which we can see the recommendations becoming actionable in our work, and feedback on the brief, including areas in need of refinement or further exploration. This feedback will be shared with the Learning Council for further conversation.

In order to allow time for focused conversation on each element of the brief, sessions will be devoted to a particular theme. Details for conversations in October and November are below:

Holistic Student Support Conversation Sessions

Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Time: 9 – 10 a.m.
Location: Online

Date: Friday, October 22, 2021
Time: 2 – 3 p.m.
Location: Online

Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Location: Online

Inclusivity and Cultural Responsiveness Conversation Sessions

Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Time: 1 – 2 p.m.
Location: Online

Date: Thursday, October 28, 2021
Time: 10 – 11 a.m.
Location: Online

Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Location: Online

High Impact Practices Conversation Sessions

Date: Thursday, October 21, 2021
Time: 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: Online

Date: Friday, October 29, 2021
Time: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Location: Online

Date: Thursday, November 4, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Location: Online

In preparation for the conversation session(s), please review the brief and be prepared to respond to the following reflection questions related to the selected session theme:

  1. What implications do these recommendations have for your practice?
  2. What questions do these recommendations raise?
  3. Which three strategies should we prioritize to advance the equitable outcomes articulated in our Impact Plan?
  4. What elements, if any, are in need of refinement or further exploration?

Monthly Archives: September 2021

You’re Invited to the Collegewide Learning Outcomes Symposium: Reflecting on the Assessment Model

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Date: Friday, November 5, 2021
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Online

The Assessment Coordinating Committee (ACC) is hosting the first annual collegewide Learning Outcomes Symposium: Reflecting on the Assessment Model.

Now that Valencia College has completed the first year of the Learning Outcomes Assessment (LOA) Model, it’s time to examine the data and engage in collaborative conversations that celebrate successes, reflect on lessons learned and consider what could be improved. This collegewide, cross-disciplinary, virtual event is open to Valencia faculty and staff and offers an exciting lineup starting with a keynote session by Isis Artze-Vega, provost and vice president, academic affairs, followed by sessions in a variety of formats ranging from presentations to panel discussions to workshops with interactive breakouts.

The symposium takes place around Valencia’s Big Idea that the purpose of assessment is to improve learning — and that the most important user of authentic assessment is the learner — and next to the learner, the most important user of authentic assessment is the facilitator of learning. This idea guided faculty, deans, staff and administration from across disciplines to come together to synthesize the LOA Model that produces measurable outcomes.

For full attendance at this event 3PD (Faculty Development) will be earned, if eligible.

Click the button below to register:

The call for proposals is open until Friday, October 15, 2021. Click here to submit your proposal and become part of this innovative symposium.

For more information, including the schedule and live links, visit the Learning Outcomes Symposium website.

Monthly Archives: September 2021

Valencia College’s Annual Security Report: Reporting 2020 Crime Statistics

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Message from Misty Ellis Peaslee, Assistant Director, Security

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies.

The Valencia College Annual Security Report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus or on property owned or controlled by Valencia College. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning sexual assault and other matters; information on Valencia security and training efforts; the Clery Act and how to report an incident; and a listing of resources and contacts.

In 2020, there were 37 crimes reported on our Valencia campuses. Through our collective awareness and vigilance, each of us can help to keep our campus safe and secure as Valencia continues to grow and expand.

You can obtain a copy of this report by clicking the button below.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact your campus Security Office.

Monthly Archives: September 2021

Announcing Valencia College’s 2022 Insurance Plans

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Message from Tom Keller, Director, Total Rewards

Valencia College’s open enrollment is almost here. Now’s the time to re-evaluate which benefits selections are right for you and your family, as open enrollment will take place Monday, October 18 – Wednesday, October 27, 2021. Benefits open enrollment is the once-a-year opportunity for full-time employees to enroll in or change health, dental and vision plans, flexible spending accounts and life and disability insurance.

Total Rewards is happy to announce some great news about Valencia College’s 2022 plans. Valencia’s premium costs are not increasing on any of our plans. For our medical plans, our premium costs have not increased for six years in a row, at a time when most employers are increasing costs or decreasing benefits.

2022 Rates and Options

To view Valencia College’s 2022 rates and options, including the UnitedHealthcare (UHC) Gold, Silver, Silver HSA and Bronze health plans, as well as our UHC vision plan and MetLife dental plan, click the button below.

To learn more about your 2022 benefits, your options and what steps you need to take to complete your benefits selections, attend a Benefits Tour session, taking place Tuesday, October 5 – Thursday, October 14, 2021. For tour details, click here.

For questions that are not answered during the Benefits Tour, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: September 2021

Learn About Our Formal Employee Recognition Programs

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Not sure about the formal recognition opportunities that Valencia offers?

Check out the new one-pager that provides information about eligibility, application process and benefits of Valencia’s formal recognition programs.

Click the button below to view and download the document.

For more information about Valencia’s recognition opportunities, email the Employee Development team at or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: September 2021

You’re Invited to the Humanities Speaker Series, Pandemics in History

Left to right: Merle Eisenberg and Carole Reeves 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Message from George Brooks, Professor, Humanities 

The Humanities Speaker Series is back, and we are continuing our series of “Pandemics in History.”

While the late medieval event remains the most-famous outbreak of the so-called “Black Death,” it was not its first appearance. Six centuries earlier that same bacterial infection caused the “Plague of Justinian,” which may have helped bring about the end of the ancient world. And in fact, this pestilence would remain in the West and periodically re-emerge for over a millennium, with its final major outbreak another three centuries after the famous medieval pandemic, as “The Plague of London, 1665.” While this was its last major outbreak in the West, there would be continued flare ups in Asia for centuries. This pestilence is, in fact, still with us.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, on average, about seven people in the U.S. contract Bubonic Plague each year, mostly in the American southwest. These facts, surprising to most, may help us gain perspective on the emerging realization that COVID-19 may always be with us in some form, just as the descendants of the Spanish Flu of 1918 return annually as the seasonal flu.

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for this two-part Zoom webinar with specialists on historical disease during the upcoming Humanities Speaker Series

PART I: “The Plague of Justinian” with Merle Eisenberg
Date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Time: 7 p.m. 
Location: Zoom

PART II: “The Plague of London, 1665” with Carole Reeves

Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Time: 6 p.m. 
Location: Zoom

All events for the Humanities Speaker Series are made possible through the generous funding of Valencia College East Campus Student Development and are free for students and employees and are open to the public.

For more information, contact me at or 407-582-2721.