College Update – May 2017

A Special Message from Sandy Shugart, Valencia College President

Commencement is behind us, the legislature has adjourned, the temperatures are in the mid-90s and the rain has, at last, returned to our sultry Florida afternoons. It must be summer. Therefore, it is time for a new college update.

Record Numbers of Graduates

This year’s Commencement was the best I’ve attended in my 18 years at Valencia. More than 1,500 students marched in the two ceremonies at the University of Central Florida’s CFE Arena. The spirit was festive, the crowds were joyful, yet mostly civil. Even the one unusual outburst from a member of the audience served to remind us how precious our students and our culture are to us. I was very proud of you all.

The students represented 8,106 degrees awarded in 2016-17, an increase of more than 600 over last year and the largest number in our history.

Thanks to all of you for all the ways you contribute to the learning of our students and its ultimate expression in their earning of a degree.

Safety Concerns Regarding Unsolicited Contacts

Several faculty members have shared with faculty leadership and other college leaders that they have been approached on campus or engaged at their home by individuals representing a faculty union. There is nothing improper about this, assuming they follow the clearly defined rules for considering this kind of representation.

In some cases, the faculty members who have experienced these home visits have been confused as to the affiliation and legitimacy of these individuals, as the union representatives have identified themselves as being from the “Faculty Forward” or “Valencia Forward” program (Valencia Forward happens to be the name of the College’s new employee onboarding program). Please do not be confused: These unsolicited contacts are not part of any Valencia program. These individuals are not representing Valencia, and their program has absolutely no affiliation with Valencia College. Should you receive a visit or other contact from a union representative, the decision to engage in conversation is entirely your own.

A few faculty members have expressed that the unexpected visit, especially at their home after hours, caused them concern for privacy and safety. You should, of course, use caution when opening your door to someone you don’t know. Should you have any of these concerns, you may contact Mike Favorit, managing director, safety and security, at 407-299-5000, extension 1336.

If you have any questions or comments related to this topic, feel free to contact your elected faculty leaders through Professor of English Neal Phillips, president of the Valencia Faculty Association, at 407-299-5000, extension 1134.

Budget Recommendations to the District Board of Trustees

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, the District Board of Trustees received the budget recommendations from the senior staff for the upcoming 2017-18 fiscal year.

Although the legislature reduced our funding by some $1.1 million, growth in student tuition revenue, extraordinary growth in revenues from Global and Continuing Education and your good stewardship have placed us in a position to recommend a very favorable budget. Highlights include:

  • An additional 15 tenure-track faculty positions;
  • Launch of the Poinciana Campus this fall;
  • Implementation of the Canvas Learning Management System;
  • Expansion of the Nursing degree program;
  • First steps toward the opening of the Downtown Campus in fall 2019;
  • Opening of the Arts and Entertainment Film, Sound and Music Technology building in fall 2017;
  • A variety of other staff positions, equipment additions, technology refreshment, continuing expansion of the LifeMap 2.0 initiative and other projects;
  • Free Lynx transportation for every Valencia student beginning this fall;
  • A 3 percent increase in compensation to eligible part-time staff, annually appointed faculty, part-time faculty and overload pay;
  • A 3 percent increase in compensation to eligible full-time staff (employees at or above the maximum of the pay grade will receive a lump sum payment equivalent);
  • One full step, plus a 1.1 percent adjustment to the baseline (an average increase of 3 percent) for tenured and tenure-track faculty.

As I’ve expressed before, I am immensely proud of your tremendous effort, collaboration and dedication. For 50 years now, Valencia has signified hope and opportunity. As we continue to celebrate our 50th anniversary year and prepare to write new chapters in Valencia’s history, let us continue to believe in our students and their ability to change their lives for the better.

Without you and your renewed commitment to serving our community, none of this would be possible.

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