Apply Now for Valencia Foundation Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2015-2016 Valencia Foundation Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership through Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

faculty-insight-news-idThe program provides resources needed for advancement of instruction at Valencia, and tenured-faculty members are encouraged to apply. This year, the Valencia Foundation is offering 40 chairs, totaling $202,400.

Here are examples of the work Endowed Chair recipients are undertaking at the College:

jolene-rhodes-ec-270wJolene Rhodes, professor of mathematics and Raymer Maguire Teaching Chair, was provided the opportunity to purchase and use Vernier’s science sensors and color graphing calculators to collect data in the intensive algebra courses. This allows students to investigate the connections between data from science experiments, including physics, chemistry and biology, and the formulas and techniques in their math course.

“All of the mathematics courses from intermediate algebra through the calculus sequence have a course outcome which requires the ‘use of technology tools’ and also a course outcome calling for the ‘use of applications emphasizing connections with other disciplines and with the real world,'” Jolene explained. “The use of this technology allows the students to make those connections in class in a meaningful and realistic way. They see the mathematical functions and how they apply to science. Now when we collect data, it is not only fun, but it gives students the chance to experience mathematics as opposed to just reading about data in a textbook. Days are filled with comments such as ‘Wow! Cool! and Look at this!’ The discussions are enriching and thoughtful, and as a professor, I love to see my students learn and also realize that math can be useful, realistic and fun.”

karen-cowden-ec-270wKaren Cowden, professor of reading and faculty fellow, West Campus, is the recipient of the William C. Demetree, Jr. Endowed Chair for 2014-2015. Karen partnered with the Office of Students with Disabilities and the Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation to create a new course, “1-2-3 Captioning is Easy.” For more information on this course, click here.

Said Karen, “Over my years of teaching both developmental reading and English for Academic Purposes courses to non-native speakers, I am ever mindful that in many of our classrooms we have diverse learners who appreciate every opportunity to engage with material in a way that meets their individual needs.”

Karen believes that faculty members must check their perceptions of “accessible” instruction and support learners in this brave-new-world of video-immersed learning given the dramatic shift of delivery models such as YouTube, Blackboard, and the like, that has affected the educational infrastructure. Her experience as a nine-year-old English speaker living in Madrid, Spain informed her work. Cartoons with English captions helped her navigate the Spanish language and captioning was the learning tool that helped her to manage the immersion-language experience.

“It has been a delightful and deeply rewarding experience to be afforded the Endowed Chair and continue to provide open-access education for all learning styles in our 2015 college environment,” Karen said.

If you are interested in applying for an Endowed Chair Award, click here for more information about the criteria for eligibility and selection.


For questions about the endowed chairs program, please contact Leda Pacheco, coordinator, employee development, at or at extension 5796.

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