Monthly Archives: October 2021

Manufacturing Council Names Valencia as Florida’s First Master Training Center

Left to right: Perry Cooley, Brendon Monize and Mike Sawle who will conduct the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council Certified Production Technician Plus training. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), the nation’s leading industry certification body for front-line technicians in advanced manufacturing, has selected Valencia College to serve as a MSSC Master Training Center.

The College is now authorized to offer training to instructors to deliver MSSC’s hands-on Certified Production Technician Plus (CPT+) program using the innovative “Skill Boss” training and testing device invented by Amatrol, the nation’s leading manufacturer of industrial technician training equipment.

Now, Florida technical schools and community colleges can send their instructors to Valencia for professional development and training — at a lower cost and spending less time on travel. Previously, schools had to send instructors to a single national MSSC instructor training center located in Indiana.

In addition to training CPT+ Instructors, the Master Training Center at Valencia College will also offer CPT+ training and testing to individuals enrolled in education and training institutions in Florida that do not yet have “Skill Boss” devices.

The College was selected to serve as a State Master Training Center, said Leo Reddy, CEO and chairman of MSSC, because Valencia met all of MSSC’s criteria for serving as state Master Training Centers: a strong track record of delivering MSSC courses and assessments; five “Skill Boss” devices; and three MSSC-trained CPT Instructors who have passed the MSSC’s Three-Day Master CPT+ Training course.

“Florida has set a goal to be one of the leading global economies by the year 2030. In order for our state to achieve this goal we have to invest in critical industries such as advanced manufacturing,” said Tiffaney Barnes, senior director of Valencia’s Advanced Manufacturing Programs. “The professional development opportunities that will be offered to secondary and post-secondary teachers will increase the number of highly qualified teachers in the state. I believe that will have a direct correlation on increasing the number of highly skilled individuals in manufacturing.”

Additionally, Rod Jaeger, president of the D.C. Jaeger Corporation — which makes the “Skill Boss” training device — shared, “The D.C. Jaeger Corporation is honored to partner with MSSC and Valencia College on the implementation of the MSSC Master Training Center at Valencia College. The creation of this training center will provide professional development opportunities for Florida instructors to become CPT and CPT+ certified. This, in turn, will enable more schools and colleges to offer the CPT certification to their students, thereby increasing the number of certified technicians entering the advanced manufacturing workforce. This partnership between MSSC and Valencia College will continue to assist Florida in its goal of economic diversification.”

The three Valencia instructors who will conduct the MSSC CPT+ Training are:

  • Perry Cooley, instructor, mechatronics, a former electronics technician/production manager with 42 years of experience working for leading defense/aerospace companies such as Lockheed Martin, C4 Advanced Tactical, General Dynamics & FLIR;
  • Brendon Monize, part-time instructor, advanced manufacturing, an ASE Certified Diesel Mechanic, a PMMI, NIMS and Valencia Advanced Manufacturing Certified Industrial Maintenance Technician and CNC Machinist who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in organizational management; and
  • Mike Sawle, instructor, advanced manufacturing, a 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran and experienced computer maintenance and industrial maintenance technician with experience in digital electronics, electromechanical systems, as well as laser cutters, CNC machines and PLC-controlled devices.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Target Selects Valencia Grad to Design Store Products

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Reina Castellanos, a graduate of Valencia College’s graphic design program, never dreamed she’d become one of the faces of a national campaign for Target stores. After posting some of her artwork on her Instagram page, a store’s social media manager discovered Reina’s designs. Today, her artwork can be found on notebooks, coffee cups and other items. Read Reina’s story on the Valencia College News site…

Monthly Archives: October 2021

How to Handle Employee Resignations as a Supervisor

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A Message from Ben TaylorAssistant Director, Equal Opportunity and Courtney Demings, Coordinator, Equal Opportunity

As we have experienced organizational changes since our initial article on employee resignations, we want to provide you with updated information regarding best practices for handling resignations.

Jaclyn Taylor, coordinator, employee development, in Managing Smart: The Great Resignation; The Importance of Team Building in Phase 4 noted, “Microsoft has predicted that more than 41% of those in the workforce will be looking to leave their current company or change industries in the next 12 months.” While we hope that our Valencia employees will remain with us, we recognize that resignations are part of the employee life cycle.

With that in mind, and in light of some recent internal Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) organizational changes, the time is right to re-familiarize our supervisors with the steps of the process for handling employee resignations. It is our hope that you will be able to use this information if/when needed to facilitate a smooth transition for you and your team.

Supervisors play an important role in leading our teams through the complete employee life cycle, including creating the conditions for a proactive voluntary separation (resignation) process. While employee resignations are still a normal part of the employee life cycle, there is often apprehension associated with handling resignations because as supervisors, we may be stressed about losing a good employee and/or the employee may be reluctant to approach the subject with the supervisor directly. We find these reservations are often alleviated when the separation process is demystified, and each person understands their roles and responsibilities.

Once an employee has notified you of their resignation, there are steps to take to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible for your department and the employee. The following serves as a guide in responding to an employee resignation.

Please note: The information below applies to employee resignations and is not applicable to other separations, including but not limited to dismissals or retirements. In those instances, please connect with ODHR at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Resignation Steps

1. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor(s) of their resignation. As a best practice, if an employee’s resignation is first communicated verbally, supervisors should request the resignation be formally submitted in writing — including the employee’s anticipated effective date of resignation. This can be an email written to you or a signed letter attached to an email.

  • While it is commonly thought that employees should provide a minimum of two weeks notice in advance of their last work date as a matter of courtesy, there is no official time requirement for employees to provide notice in advance of their effective resignation date.

2. As the supervisor, the next step is to respond, in writing, accepting the employee’s resignation and then connect with ODHR to begin the employee exit process.

  • You should share with ODHR the employee’s name, VID, anticipated last date of employment and resignation letter so that this information can be shared with Employee Records/Services and other ODHR partners for processing.
  • Full-time employees may request to use accumulated vacation and personal time prior to their effective date of separation, with approval at their supervisor’s discretion. We recommend supervisors consider these requests prudently, keeping in mind departmental and business needs in their approval. When considering leave options, supervisors may also contact ODHR Leave and Access Services to conduct a leave audit so that the termination date will be accurate if leave is approved.
  • Recommend that employees connect with an ODHR representative at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-HR4U (4748) for terminal pay, benefits end dates, FRS and AIG Retirement Services questions, etc., and the representative will refer them to the appropriate ODHR partner.

3. Complete an Employee Separation Form (ESF) for the employee, which will notify all relevant parties of the resignation and ensure that access to systems is ended at the appropriate time. More information about the ESF process can be found here.

4. Once the ESF has been submitted, this will initiate the Digital Checkout Process. An ODHR representative from the Employee Records and Services team will contact you regarding checkout.

5. The ESF also prompts ODHR to send the Employee Exit Questionnaire to the departing employee. Please encourage employees to complete the questionnaire at their earliest convenience.

6. Determine if the employee has any College property. If so, the employee must begin the process of collecting or identifying what property will need to be returned. In the remote work setting, supervisors can arrange pre-scheduled appointments to drop items with Valencia College Security and/or work with Courier Services to send a prepaid package to the employee’s home to collect belongings. This will also serve as an opportunity for employees to return to their workspace on campus to gather any personal items left behind.

7. Discuss final work hours with the departing employee and take steps to ensure, as applicable/appropriate, the accurate completion of Web Time entry, Certificates of Absence (COA) as needed, and the transition and/or closeout of remaining work projects. Depending on the employee, these final steps may vary.

Leave Requests After Resignation

If, after submitting their resignation, a leave eligible employee requests vacation or personal leave, this request should be approved at your discretion and in consideration of department and operational needs. Ideally, employees or supervisors should connect with ODHR Leave and Access Services to better understand their leave options and to establish an appropriate separation date.

Planning for Departure

In addition to these steps, it is important to make a plan for the employee’s departure within the department. Steps to consider may include: informing the rest of the work team to minimize disruption; examining the employee’s current work and reassigning, if appropriate; informing College partners of the change, where appropriate; and working with ODHR to develop a recruitment plan to fill the vacancy, as operational conditions and recruitment processes have been updated to fit the current environment.

Additionally, employees should be instructed to create an out-of-office message to include the contact information for the individual or department that will be overseeing their responsibilities upon their departure from the College. This message should be sent starting on their last day. In addition, if the departing employee is responsible for approving timesheets, prior to their last work date, a time-sheet proxy should be designated.

Normally, the departing employee and supervisor will discuss how to share with the rest of the team/department the news of their impending departure. In most cases, the departing employee is the person to share this decision; however, some situations may be better suited for the supervisor to inform the rest of the team. Sharing the information with the team may consist of an email announcement or an announcement at a team meeting. In How to Announce an Employee is Leaving, Max Freedman suggests, “Some of the most important details to include in an employee departure email are the departure date, new workflow protocols and whether you’re seeking a replacement.“ Probing into the employee’s departure should be discouraged and left to the individual to determine what is to be shared.

Closing

It is important to keep open communication with your employee and ODHR to ensure a smooth transition during any employee resignation. For more guidance on how to address an employee’s resignation, please contact ODHR at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Did You Miss the September Supervisor Summit? Read the Recap

Thursday, October 21, 2021

By Jaclyn Taylor, Coordinator, Employee Development

More than 100 supervisors gathered together on Friday, September 17, 2021, to go over timely updates and connect on the challenges and opportunities we are facing in this unique time.

During the timely updates, supervisors learned about upcoming development opportunities, including the Fall Supervisor Series and the fall development schedule, as well as formal recognition opportunities and pay raise and minimum wage increase plan details.

Natasha McIlMurray, coordinator, organizational design and development, and Jaclyn Taylor, coordinator, employee development, shared the prototype of the newest individual development opportunity available for all employees: MyDevelopment Plan.

Keynote presenter Samuel Dunham, interim director, employee development, shared some reminders on how to be the best supervisors we can be while overcoming burnout and compassion fatigue:

  1. Reflect and focus on your own development – We cannot develop others if we are not developing ourselves.
  2. Look outside of yourself, check on your people – Burnout and compassion fatigue are inwardly focused while engaging employees has an external focus (an eye toward others). The trap in burnout and compassion fatigue is getting out of the cycle, where all you can see is yourself, so one way you can combat that is to choose to intentionally engage with your people.
  3. Focus on what matters and work on what makes a difference  Establish short-term service goals and celebrate all of your team’s accomplishments.

During this time, we also invited supervisors to share their ideas for combatting burnout and compassion fatigue. Take a look at these Supervisor Shared Resources for ideas on books, podcasts, hobbies and songs that your colleagues are using to combat burnout and compassion fatigue.

The next Supervisor Summit will take place on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 9 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 orgdevelopment@valenciacollege.edu.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Managing Smart: Helping Employees Deal With Change

Thursday, October 21, 2021

To be an innovator and one of the nation’s leading community colleges, Valencia College has always had its fair share of change. And now with the pandemic, new leadership, the reorganization of some departments and many other changes taking place, some employees may be feeling like they are on change overload.

Here are some tips for supervisors to help yourself and your team members deal with change:

Show empathy. Try to understand your employees’ emotions that they may be experiencing at each phase of change.

Explain the “why” of each change. Before anxiety begins, explain why the College must change, why the change is happening now and how the changes will improve the organization. Also, discuss the pros and cons of the change with your team, so you can uncover why some employees may resist the change.

Keep employees updated. Communicate with your team during the transition and clearly define what is expected of employees, for example, if employees’ roles are changing, clearly define what’s involved in the new role. Hold consistent team meetings during this time to provide regular updates.

Understand that you won’t have all of the answers. Focus on what you do know and be candid about what you don’t. In this Harvard Business Review article, “Don’t Just Tell Employees Organizational Changes Are Coming — Explain Why,” Weber Employee Engagement and Change Management Manager Morgan Galbraith recommends “to let employees know you are committed to communicating openly and transparently, and will follow-up as soon as you know more.”

Encourage participation. Valencia has many collaborative environments and communication forums, such as our Ask Kathleen sessions, where employees can express their opinions and ask questions. Please encourage your employees to participate in these opportunities.

Fix what you can. In the Inc. article, “5 Powerful Ways to Help Your Employees Cope With Change,” best-selling author Peter Economy suggests that after hearing your team’s concerns, fix the things that you have control over.

“A reassuring word or guidance from management can have a profoundly positive impact on employees in times of uncertainty,” he explains. “If you find the problems caused by change are beyond your scope, avoid promising your employees things you cannot deliver or have no business promising them in the first place.”

Share positivity with others. Vice President of Institutional Planning and Development and Chief of Staff Amy Bosley, recommends in this article, “Practical Advice for Supervisors: How Can I Help My Employees Deal With Change?” to encourage employees to see the positive in even the most challenging times.

“Being positive is not always easy,” Amy says. “Moods can be contagious, so strive to make every day a joyful experience. Have open discussions to acknowledge that change brings uncertainty, but ultimately makes us better.”

Amy adds, “In higher ed, we seek to continuously improve all that we do. This practice of looking for improvement does not have to mean always focusing on what is negative. We need to balance conversations with each other and recognize while not everything is perfect, it may still be very good.”

For additional information, read Director of Organizational Design and Development Katie Tagye’s article on Managing Yourself and Leading Others Through Ambiguity.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Project TITAN: Banner and Related Systems Will Be Unavailable Starting October 27

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

As part of Valencia College’s continuous mission to bring the best experience to employees and students, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has undertaken a project to improve our digital architecture, including, updating the Atlas user experience by providing a mobile-responsive site, moving our high-priority Banner and Banner-related systems to a cloud environment, and cleaning up Banner code for efficiency and on-going support. The move to the cloud, named Project TITAN (Technology in the Amazon Network), will take place from 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 27 through Monday, November 1, 2021.

The move to the cloud will provide:

  • Greater information security
  • Enhanced user experience
  • Reduced infrastructure and support costs
  • Improved capacity for high-volume usage
  • Reliability and business continuity during uncontrollable events

During the move to the cloud environment, Banner and related applications will not be available. In addition, Atlas and applications that are normally accessed from within Atlas will not be available. Class enrollment changes — registrations for future terms, drops, adds, etc. — cannot be made during this timeframe. The following systems will be unavailable:

  • Banner and Banner-related systems (DegreeWorks, eVisions, Faculty Grade Entry, BDMS)
  • Sunapsis (requires Atlas login)
  • Timesheet and COA (certificate of absence) processing
  • College scheduler

In relation to the move to the cloud, a “code freeze” for all CMS web editors will go into effect on Wednesday, October 20 through Tuesday, November 2, 2021. During this time, web editors can still login, and make and save changes, but will not have the ability to publish. Saved edits will be live after the migration to the cloud.

The Valencia College website, Outlook, Office 365 tools, Microsoft Teams, shared drives, Skype and Zoom will all be accessible during the cutover timeframe. Canvas will also be available; however, information within the platform that is updated by Banner, such as grade postings, will not be refreshed during the downtime.

Most systems will resume operation on Monday, November 1, 2021, by noon. However, please note that not all systems will become available for use at the same time, and student-facing systems, such as Atlas, will have first priority.

For more information on the transition, including timeline, a full list of systems that will and will not be available, and frequently asked questions about the Banner transition,visit the Banner Suite Cloud Move webpage.

If you require assistance during the cutover, email OITHelp@valenciacollege.edu or submit a ticket through the OIT Service Desk.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Simplifying Health Plan Terms

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A Message from Jessica Johnson, UnitedHealthcare Nurse Liaison 

Working with health insurance can be confusing. At times, you might feel like there’s a whole new language to learn. Deductibles, premiums, network, claims, benefits — what do all these words actually mean? Health insurance practically seems to have a language of its own. And right now, with Open Enrollment underway, I realize you may need some help translating.

Check out my list of common terms and definitions — in everyday language.

Benefit – A service, drug or item that your health insurance plan covers. Benefits may include office visits, lab tests and procedures.

Claim – A request for a benefit (including reimbursement of a health care expense) made by you or your health care provider to your health insurer or plan for items or services you think are covered.

Copayment – Also known as a copay, this is a fixed amount (for example, $15) that you pay for a covered health care service, usually when you receive the service. The amount can vary by the type of covered health care service.

Premium – The amount that you and/or your employer pay for your health insurance. This is normally paid twice monthly, and it usually comes out of your paycheck.

Deductible – The amount that you owe for covered health services before your health plan begins to pay. There are individual deductibles and family deductibles.

Coinsurance  Your share for the cost of covered health services. Generally, after you meet your deductible, you pay coinsurance for covered health services. This is usually a percentage of the cost, with you paying a percentage and the insurance company paying a percentage. For example, if the coinsurance is 80/20, that means the member pays 20% after the deductible is met and the insurance pays 80% after the deductible is met.

Out-of-pocket limit – The most you pay before your health plan begins to pay 100% of the allowed amount. The out-of-pocket limit may include deductible, copays and coinsurance. Check your plan to see what your out-of-pocket limit includes.

Preventive care  Includes routine well exams, screenings and immunizations intended to prevent or avoid illness or other health problems. Under the Affordable Care Act, you can get certain preventive health care services covered at 100%, without any cost to you. To find out what the preventive care guidelines are for your age and gender, visit UnitedHealthcare’s preventive care webpage.

Diagnostic care  Includes care or treatment when you have symptoms or risk factors and your doctor wants to diagnose them. Diagnostic care may include many different types of things including office visits, labs, X-rays, CT scans and MRIs.

Now, here are two additional terms to discuss regarding health spending accounts, which are accounts that can be used on health care expenses.

Flexible spending account, or FSA – An account funded by you to help you pay for covered health care services and eligible medical expenses.

Health savings account, or HSA – A personal bank account to help you save and pay for covered health care services and qualified medical expenses. You and your employer can contribute to a Health Savings Account.

Remember, you can reach out to your benefits team at benefits@valenciacollege.edu for further questions regarding your health insurance plan and/or benefits.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

#VaccinatedValencians Receive a Year’s Tuition, Apple Products or Campus Store Vouchers

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Vaccination against the COVID-19 virus is one of the most effective ways we can protect ourselves and our community, and vaccination statistics show that 19- to 24-year-olds are among the least likely to be vaccinated.

To encourage our students to roll up their sleeves and get the shot, Valencia is awarding 100 prizes ranging from a $250 campus store voucher to a year’s tuition. All fall term Valencia students* were entered in a drawing on Friday, October 1, 2021, and 50 students were randomly selected to win prizes if they were fully vaccinated** against COVID-19. Several students came to the District Office to receive their prizes from College President Kathleen Plinske. A second drawing will take place on Friday, November 12, 2021, and students are encouraged to be vaccinated.

Learn more about the #VacciantedValencians Student Incentive Program here.

*Employees who are taking classes (except those who are federal or institutional work study students) are not eligible for the drawings.
**If a student is drawn as a winner and has a medical or religious reason for not being vaccinated, upon providing documentation of the reason(s), the student can claim their prize.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Alternative Medical Insurance Resources for Dependents and Part-time Employees

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A Message from Tom Keller, Director of Total Rewards

Benefits Open Enrollment is now underway and must be completed by Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at 5 p.m. Although Valencia offers four medical insurance options as a benefit to full-time employees, those plans may not fit your family’s needs. In addition, part-time employees not eligible for Valencia health insurance may seek resources for medical insurance coverage for themselves and/or their families.

The good news is that many more choices exist in the health insurance landscape today. Years ago, there weren’t many options outside of employers’ plans. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace for consumers has expanded.

Here are some alternative resources for medical insurance:

Healthcare.gov (also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace)
Although the Marketplace Open Enrollment doesn’t begin until Monday, November 1, 2021, the 2022 plans and prices should be available to view by the end of October. The Marketplace offers a variety of bronze, silver and gold plans from multiple medical insurance vendors, which are comparable to those provided by Valencia.

Florida KidCare
Through Florida KidCare, the state of Florida offers health insurance for children from birth through 18 years of age, even if one or both parents are working.

Florida KidCare includes free, subsidized and full-pay options based on family income. Monthly premiums depend on your household’s size and income. Children in families with income between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level ($35,256 and $53,016 for a family of four) are eligible for subsidized coverage through Florida Healthy Kids. Families who do not qualify for free or subsidized coverage may purchase a competitively priced full-pay plan.

Applications can be submitted through Florida KidCare or by calling toll-free 888-540-KIDS.

A Licensed Insurance Agent or Broker
Agents and brokers can help you navigate the plan options available from health insurance companies. It is best to research or ask for referrals from family and friends to find the best agent/broker to assist you in finding coverage for your family’s needs.

Drop Dependents from Valencia Plans Through Tuesday, November 30, 2021
As employees ourselves, the Total Rewards team understands the need to be mindful of our colleagues’ search for alternate health insurance coverage for their families — whether through a spouse’s employer or other resources noted herein — and that there may be conflicting enrollment periods. Whether or not you will cover your dependents on Valencia’s health plan or seek alternate resources, we ask that you do two things:

  • Reach out to the Total Rewards team to discuss your options by emailing benefits@valenciacollege.edu or calling the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).
  • Enroll your dependents in Valencia’s plan prior to the Wednesday, October 27, 2021, open enrollment deadline.*

*After Wednesday, October 27, 2021, you will have a one-time opportunity to drop your dependents’ health insurance coverage through Valencia if you find coverage elsewhere. The deadline for dropping dependents’ health insurance coverage is Tuesday, November 30, 2021, and must be done by contacting the Total Rewards department. You may not, however, add dependents after the Wednesday, October 27, 2021, deadline. There will be no exceptions.

For questions, contact the Total Rewards team at benefits@valenciacollege.edu, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Featured Colleague Michael Robbins Helps to Shape Valencia’s Future

Monday, October 18, 2021

By Jennifer Keefe

Faculty Association President Michael Robbins says his life was “pretty boring” before he started teaching full time at Valencia. He was working at a prominent Orlando-area law firm and getting ready for law school when he says he “immediately threw out his LSAT prep book” upon learning he’d been hired as a tenure-track English professor in 2010. Teaching, he says, was really his first true love.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he explains. “This is what I feel most comfortable doing.”

Michael first joined the College in 2008 as a part-time faculty member teaching English. Michael says he was teaching at three different Valencia campuses at once. He recalls, “I was one campus away from getting my Bingo card punched. But I keep getting further away from my goal of teaching at every campus because they opened Downtown and soon we will have Horizon West.”

Then, in 2010, he settled into his full-time role on the Osceola Campus until 2016, when he was selected to be one of the founding members of the Poinciana Campus.

These days, Michael is teaching less and doing more, though. As this year’s Faculty Association president, he’s working as a facilitator and working to understand the needs of the College’s faculty.

“The job of Faculty Association president is to understand the faculty voices and represent those voices to the leaders of the College,” he says. “I’m not looking for consensus. I want to get a good idea of what different parts of the College are thinking and portray that to our leadership.”

At the Poinciana Campus, Michael is a bit of a legend. Executive Dean Jennifer Robertson describes him as “not just an English professor, he’s a leader in every way and I’m extremely proud of all that he has done for the faculty, staff, and students at the Poinciana Campus.” Jennifer recalls that Michael was the first full-time professor hired for the campus.

And since then, he’s worn many hats.

“He has been instrumental in the work done with faculty onboarding, peer mentoring, tenure-track faculty development, writing across the curriculum and many other initiatives,” Jennifer says. “Even with his collegewide role, Michael is still teaching a couple of classes, something he says he’s doing to stay connected to our students.

Michael says there are many things he likes about working for the College.

“I like that we accept that perfection is not the goal,” he shared. “I’ve seen a lot of institutions that strive to be perfect. We are striving to meet learning outcomes and meet the needs of students.”

Michael tells his students that making mistakes is part of learning. One dream he has is to get rid of the hierarchical grading scale because the way he sees education is that it is “about growth and development” and not about one student being better at something than another. For him, the College represents the opportunity to create a more educated society. He also really enjoys teaching service learning classes because they allow students to learn and gain and understanding of their community and is really proud of the work he’s done as a co-advisor to the Valencia chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Something fun you might not know about Michael is that, before they met, he, and his significant other Holly actually competed for the same English professor position without knowing it. She now teaches at East Campus.

Michael is an avid reader and an avid gamer, and he enjoys listening to music. He refers to himself as a “super nerd.” Despite his bubbly personality at work, when he’s off campus, Michael says he’s very much an introvert.

When he is alone, he tends not to speak to others, he says. The longest he has ever gone without speaking to anyone else is three weeks.

Within the past few months, Michael also adopted a 10-year-old Siberian cat named Jillian. The irony for this English professor is that Michael is actually allergic to cats.

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? 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.