Tuesday, February 2, 2021
By Rachel Meister, Coordinator, Conferencing and College Events
What is the most important part about working at Valencia College? Our students. And each of us — no matter our job title or role — has an opportunity (and obligation) to help make a difference for the students we serve.
During the session I attended, which was a forum about improving our students’ career readiness, we were asked to put our heads together to determine what we can do as a College to meet our goals for our 2030 Strategic Impact Plan. The plan has an ambitious and clear equity focus, and it describes the “what” and “why” of Valencia’s work in broad aspirational goal areas: college access, graduation, transfer success and career credentials. Where we come in is in helping explore how we will reach the goals laid out in that plan.
The forum started with a brief presentation about the process, followed by small group discussion. The group discussion is where we were really able to focus and talk about what barriers we have seen or experienced as students, employees and parents.
In my breakout session, we were asked to determine what institutional actions might be causing barriers that prevent students from receiving career credentials (A.A, A.S, Accelerated Skills Training certificates, etc.), in addition to thinking about how these actions might be creating barriers for Black and Hispanic students. We were able to openly discuss what we thought may be causing barriers, as well as think of creative solutions in an open and safe environment. Our breakout session included employees from various departments within the College, which helped guide the conversation based on our different perspectives.
Before attending the session, I was a little nervous. I was not sure what to expect, especially in the small group breakout sessions. However, I was so glad I was able to attend and give my feedback about barriers our students are facing. Through the small group discussion with colleagues I don’t have the chance to work with every day, I was able to articulate my ideas and listen to others.
If you are looking for a way to impact Valencia’s future and help our students knock down barriers, I highly recommend attending one of these sessions if you have the capacity. Trust me, you don’t have to have fully formed ideas in order to participate. From my experience, it helps just to offer some insight and, oftentimes, others have similar ideas and you can build on one another. Our input is valued by Valencia and our ideas will help shape our institutional goals.
Plus, there are plenty of ways to participate. There are three different session types to choose from: forum sessions, brainstorming sessions and on-demand sessions. These provide us with the opportunity to focus on all or one of the four specific goal areas and contribute in a way that meets our needs. Click here to view a schedule of sessions.