Monthly Archives: October 2021

Two New Restaurants Are Now Open at Creative Village: Vera Asian and The Monroe

Thursday, October 14, 2021

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

Two new restaurants have officially opened at Creative Village — Vera Asian and The Monroe.

Vera Asian
Creative Village – UnionWest Building
422 North Terry Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Click here to see the menu.

Vera Asian is the newest addition to UnionWest at Creative Village. Located on the ground floor, Vera Asian offers indoor and outdoor seating and features made to order wok dishes and sushi rolls. The UnionWest location features a sushi robot, which prepares and maintains the rice at perfect temperature and moisture to make delicious rolls. The restaurant also offers grab-and-go items for students and staff on the run.

The Monroe
Creative Village
448 North Terry Ave
Orlando, FL 32801
Click here to see the menu.

Located on the ground floor of The Julian Apartments at Creative Village, The Monroe is a diverse social gathering place with a main dining room, bar, lounge/study, semiprivate dining area and daytime coffee shop.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

International Day of Peace Celebrated at the Downtown Campus

Thursday, October 14, 2021

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

The Peace and Justice Institute (PJI) and the Downtown Campus hosted PJI’s annual human peace sign in recognition of the International Day of Peace on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, a day sanctioned by the United Nations with the mission to have at least one non-violent, cease-fire day throughout the world.

The celebration kicked off Global Peace Week festivities and events, which began with the human peace sign on Peace Day, and continued Monday, September 27 – Thursday, September 30, 2021. More than 1,300 attendees participated in mindfulness practice, peace education, guest speakers and free film screenings in partnership with the Global Peace Film Festival.

Downtown Campus students, employees and members from the community gathered to form our latest human piece sign, photographed by drone, and enjoyed a poetry reading by Valencia College graduate and City of Orlando Poet Laureate Shawn Welcome, as well as a cake by Valencia College Culinary program students — the largest cake they’ve ever made at 100 pounds.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Featured Colleague Tonaysha Askew – A Product of Valencia Who’s Paying It Forward

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

By Jennifer Keefe

It’s a little-known fact, but the East Campus Science department is home to a modern marvel of … math? Administrative Assistant Tonaysha Askew has the unique ability to quickly multiply two-digit numbers in her head, something she’s very proud of.

“I don’t advertise it, but when it happens, it spirals into people yelling numbers at me in shock and amazement while they type the numbers in their calculator,” she says.

Amazing others with her mathematical genius is just one “product” Tonaysha finds that makes her role at Valencia College really special. If you ask her what her job is all about, she’ll tell you she sees herself as a real helper at the College, “I think my job requires me to wear many hats. One of the most important hats I wear is probably that of a guide for when I’m helping faculty and students.”

For Tonaysha, every chance she gets to help someone is a teaching moment. She explains, “They usually come to me knowing what they want or need; they just need help getting it. As often as I can, I like to guide them to the resolution instead of doing it for them. That way, if the problem comes up again … they can solve it for themselves unassisted.”

In her time at the College, Tonaysha’s encountered a lot. She recalls that some of her favorite moments involve the students she meets as they move along their academic journeys.

“There have been many students I’ve seen from their first semester to their graduating semester,” she said. “I enjoy when they come to me their last semester excited to tell me about their next steps beyond Valencia.”

Tonaysha’s supervisor, East Campus Dean of Science Jennifer Snyder, calls her “the beating heart of the science department,” adding, “we wouldn’t run without her.”

Jennifer also really appreciates Tonaysha’s unending dedication to student success.

“Personally, I am grateful every day for the opportunity to work with her,” Jennifer shared. “She always has the students in mind and thoughtfully executes her job for their success.”

Born and raised in Orlando, Tonaysha started her Valencia career as a student assistant for the Science, Math, Social Science and Communications divisions back in 1999, when they all shared a suite on East Campus Building 4. A year later, she became the area’s part-time staff assistant and, in 2003, was hired into her current role. She explains why her tenure at the College is so special to her.

“When people reach out to me (especially those I don’t know) for help it’s because they respect my time and experience, I am proud to have earned that reputation,” she said.

Even with all of her experience, Tonaysha hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be new at the College. She says, “I am a strong advocate for helping anyone stepping into a new role at the college. So, if there is something I can say or do to help them acclimate to Valencia, I will always do what I can to help.”

Opportunity and clarity are the two words that come to mind when Tonaysha ponders what Valencia means to the community. She recalls her own experience coming to the College as a student and earning her Associate in Arts degree here.

“I graduated high school having no idea what I wanted to do and not ready for a big university. Valencia allowed me to focus my goals and prepare for the big university.”

Tonaysha recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in general integrative studies with a focus in human behavior and letters and writing. Now, she has her sights set on a master’s degree in legal studies.

When Tonysha isn’t at work, she’s at home working on DIY projects or spending time with her three-year-old nephew and four-year-old niece. Perhaps she’s passing on her talent for multiplication?

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 He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

UCF Connect Centers Are Open

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The UCF Connect Centers have reopened at Valencia College’s East, Osceola and West Campuses. Valencia students who plan to attend the University of Central Florida (UCF) after graduation should connect with a UCF success coach as early as possible. While students are still attending Valencia, the success coaches will provide assistance with UCF requirements, help with the transfer process, and offer strategies for success to enter UCF and successfully graduate.

The following UCF Connect Centers are open on the campuses Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  • East Campus – Building 1-B, Room 265
  • Osceola Campus – Building 4, Room 234
  • West Campus – Building 11, Room 104

On Fridays, the teams work remotely from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Students can reach a UCF Connect specialist by calling 407-823-4547 anytime during operating hours, Monday through Friday.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

October Is Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Identifying Malicious Links

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Message from Patrick Criss, Director, Information Security Operations

One of the most common cyberattacks is phishing. A staggering 91% of cybercrime starts with email, according to a report by security firm FireEye. These emails are designed to deceive and trick recipients into taking action, such as clicking a malicious link or opening an attachment with a virus. These types of attacks can be from email as well as text messages. To protect yourself, before you click any link, make sure it’s valid.

Here is a helpful resource to help identify bad links before you click.

Additional resources are available via the Office of Information Technology (OIT) Knowledge Base to help you understand cybersecurity risks and how to protect your information and data at work and at home. You may also take advantage of the following courses in the Valencia EDGE.

If you have any questions, please contact the OIT Service Desk at or by phone at 407-582-5555.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Join a Table Talk and Learn New Ways to Help Our Community

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021
Time: 1 – 2:15 p.m. 
Location: Online. Click here to register

Every day, ordinary people change our community for the better with a kind word, a helping hand or a simple gesture that makes life easier for someone else. Just imagine what we could do if we bring all our good intentions together, think up new ways to help the community and receive the right support to get our ideas off the ground.

Join us at a virtual table as we talk openly and honestly about these three questions:

  1. What do you like best about your community?
  2. What could change for the better? (Think of one big change and one small change.)
  3. How could you personally contribute to that change?

Join us — and invite a friend as we start a conversation to spark the change! Following the Table Talk we will complete a short anonymous evaluation survey, and then there will be an opportunity to apply for a micro grant if you have an idea to improve our community.

Learn more about Table Talk events here.

For questions, contact Britney Pierce, implementation coordinator, at or (407) 582-6531.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Sustainability Perspectives: Climate Tech, Public Policy and Science Panel Discussion

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Zoom

As part of the upcoming Valencia College Sustainability Conference happening this week, an evening session will be offered on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 — Sustainability Perspectives: Climate Tech, Public Policy and Science Panel Discussion. At this session, leaders from science, policy and business and technology will discuss how these areas are individually and collaboratively developing solutions to the climate crisis.

You’ve heard of cleantech, but have you heard of climate tech? A new area of innovation is developing to address the wide-ranging ways that the effects of climate change are being felt. Learn more about this new area that venture-capitalists are pouring money into and the types of innovations they are supporting.

Join the session as we discuss this and what is being done in Central Florida to make our community more prepared for more extreme weather events, while working to reduce our carbon emissions.

Session panelists will include Orange County Commissioner Nicole Wilson, On Deck Climate Tech Fellow Ben Soltoff, Professor of Earth Science James Adamski and Florida Senator Linda Stewart.

To celebrate our 10-year anniversary, don’t miss Valencia College’s Sustainability Conference: People + Planet + Prosperity on Tuesday, October 12 through Thursday, October 14, 2021. Click here for details.  

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Kathleen Plinske Recognized by Orlando Magazine

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Congratulations to College President Kathleen Plinske for being named on the list of “Ones to Watch” in Orlando Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People of 2021. To view the full list of “Ones to Watch,” as well as the 50 Most Powerful People, visit the Orlando Magazine website.

In addition, Kathleen was also quoted in the October issue of the Orlando Family magazine as a part of a Q & A of leaders in higher education. To read her thoughts on the changing landscape of higher education, read Orlando Family Magazine’s “Leaders in Higher Education Roundtable” article.”

Monthly Archives: October 2021

Submit a Proposal for Spring Arts Week: Intentional Imagination

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Message from Rebekah Lane, Professor, School of Arts and Entertainment and Director, School of Arts and Entertainment

Spring Arts Week: Intentional Imagination  — a celebration of the creative community across Valencia College that spans all campuses — will take place again this year from Monday, February 28 through Friday, March 4, 2022, and we need your help. We are seeking faculty and staff, as well as students working in collaboration with a Registered Student Organization to submit proposals to lead in person or virtual open classes, performances/exhibitions or workshops for the event.

The theme for this year’s Spring Arts Week is “Intentional Imagination.” The COVID-19 Pandemic is in a new phase, and we are at a point of transition. We are venturing back into places together. The terrain is achingly familiar, yet disconcertingly different. It’s also full of new possibilities. Now we are in need of artists. Artists serve society by helping us grieve that which is lost, find joy in that which remains, and imagine that which might be. Spring Arts Week 2022 invites you to share your vision for an inspired “new normal” through performance, visual art, and creative activities.

Open Classes
In open classes, teachers open up a regularly occurring class session to the general public for participation or observation. If a student is curious about a specific subject or teacher, this is an excellent opportunity to get a feel for what the class might be like. If the opened class is not within an arts discipline, we request that the featured assignment includes creative or art-based tools for inquiry and discovery.

Performances or Exhibitions
In these sessions, everyone is invited to experience crafted performances or finished artwork. These sessions may be organized by faculty or staff or by students who are working in collaboration with a Registered Student Organization. Valencia students are the featured artists or performers.

In workshops, students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in hands-on training. The workshops are not connected to existing classes but are unique to the festival. Facilitators may be local artists, Valencia faculty and staff, or talented students working in collaboration with a Registered Student Organization.

Minimal funding is available for supplies at the discretion of festival leadership.

For event details and to submit a proposal for a project to be included in Spring Arts Week, please click the button below. Proposals are due by Tuesday, November 23, 2021.

Spring Arts Week is designed to create meaningful and inclusive arts experiences and programming at the collegewide level, while inspiring students to connect purpose and imagination to their lives, strive for career and artistic excellence, and contribute to the cultural and workforce needs of Central Florida and beyond. For more information, click here.

For questions, contact me at or 407-582-2195.

Monthly Archives: October 2021

2021 Holiday Hiring Guidelines

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Message from Carla McKnight, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources

As teams prepare and plan for recruitment during the approaching holiday season, please keep in mind that, because the College closes in December for winter break, we do not generally hire employees to start work during this period. All full-time employees hired in the next two months should begin work on or before Monday, November 22, 2021.

Offers of employment can be made throughout December; however, candidates selected for hire will be scheduled to begin work after the New Year, beginning on Monday, January 3, 2022.

Please note that this process does not pertain to the hiring of part-time employees, who can begin work at any time after all employment paperwork is approved.

If you have questions on the recruitment and hiring process, or have circumstances that require special consideration, please contact Val San Marco, director, talent acquisition, at or at 407-582-3802.