As a part of Valencia’s continued commitment to equity and belonging, we want to improve access for all members of our community to services and support as we strive to realize a collegiate community where everyone feels welcome. To improve that access, we’ve created an assistant vice president of equity and access position — which will directly report to Organizational Development (ODHR) and Student Affairs and will be a full member of both teams — to improve communication, outreach, responsiveness through better access and proactive development to prevent issues, and to continue improving our work through equity-minded practices.
Because Valencia College is considered a single entity, we are required to identify one person to serve as the College’s Title IX coordinator and equity officer for all members of our community including employees, students, applicants, vendors and community members. This designation rests in ODHR. In the past five years, we have made meaningful strides in our efforts to support a community free from discrimination and harassment through the creation of an Equal Opportunity and Employee Relations team, the collaborative development and implementation of a dispute resolution policy and procedures that enable individuals to resolve differences through informal and formal means, the formation of an Equal Opportunity Response team to support the resolution of concerns and construction and delivery of training for all employees and more than 21,000 students. As a result of these efforts, we hear more frequently from our colleagues about their concerns, and we hear earlier in the situation so we can help resolve issues sooner — before they balloon into major concerns and require formal interventions and investigations. Our team is well trained, we’ve added trained mediators to our team, and we have offices in each region to support employees and others in resolving concerns.
However, we’ve heard from students and others that it does not seem intuitive to reach out to ODHR to address a student concern. Though our team includes several individuals trained first as student affairs professionals who are specifically attuned to supporting students through times of concern, it is not evident in the organizational structure or titles.
In an effort to address these concerns and to centralize the work, we have asked Ryan Kane to assume the role as Valencia College’s assistant vice president of equity and access. Ryan most recently served as the assistant vice president of organizational development and inclusion and as the College’s Title IX coordinator.
Since Ryan began at Valencia in 2015, he has led the College’s work in responding to allegations of discrimination and harassment for students and employees. Additionally, Ryan has worked to foster a sense of inclusion and belonging for our campuses through student and employee training and initiatives, such as faculty and staff reading circles, student sexual harassment prevention training and the College’s Be The One inclusion campaign. In this new role, Ryan will continue to lead this work in equal opportunity and Title IX for all members of the College community, as well as support the College’s Behavioral Assessment Team and ODHR in developing processes and procedures that are guided through an equity mindset.
Additionally, his role will expand to include oversight of employee access services such as employee accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and nursing mothers’ rooms, and he will assume responsibility for employee grievance procedures; oversight of all employee disciplinary actions; and student accommodations, as he joins the Student Affairs team to lead students with disabilities and support faculty who serve students with disabilities; and support deans of students and assistant directors of student conduct in student conduct processes and sanctions.
“It is through deliberate and thoughtful collaboration and connection that we will take the next step toward fostering an environment that removes barriers and supports equity and belonging for all of our students and employees,” Ryan shared. “I am excited and deeply honored to be afforded this opportunity to serve our community and continue to move the needle toward a truly equitable culture.”
If you have any questions, please contact us at (Amy) firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-299-5000, extension 8255; (Joe) email@example.com or 407-299-5000, extension 3351; or (Ryan) firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-299-5000, extension 3421.