College Update: Spring Semester, Searches for Provosts and VP for Equity Strategy and Partnerships, and Job Growth Grant Award

Friday, January 7, 2022

A Special Message From Kathleen Plinske, Valencia College President 

I hope that you had a wonderful Winter Break and that 2022 is off to a terrific start! In this update, I will share a reminder about our COVID protocols for the spring semester, an update on our search for provosts, our timeline for adding a vice president for equity strategy and partnerships, and recent news about a significant investment in our training programs.

Spring Semester

We remain committed to the priorities that have guided us throughout the pandemic: to protect the health and safety of our students, employees, and community while at the same time providing for the continuity of our students’ learning. I sincerely appreciate everyone’s efforts to support our students’ ability to make progress toward their goal of earning a certificate or degree from Valencia this spring.

Given the current level of COVID transmission in Orange and Osceola counties, masks will be expected on campus. Further, we continue to accommodate physical distancing in our classrooms and offices. Additionally, we have made significant investments in improving the air quality in all of our buildings and have acquired a supply of KN-95 masks available for on-campus employees and students. To request masks, please stop by the security office on your campus or send an email to Courier Manager Larry Fox at lfox10@valenciacollege.edu and include the number of masks requested, contact person and delivery location.

As fatiguing as this season of the pandemic may feel, I urge you to please continue to take care of yourselves and your loved ones. If you are not feeling well, I ask that you please stay home and request that you encourage your students to do the same. Our COVID case management team continues to support our college community with illness reporting and contact tracing. If you test positive for COVID, have symptoms that could be COVID-related or have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, please contact our case management team at covidillness@valenciacollege.edu. The team will assess your unique circumstances and provide guidance for isolation, quarantine and return to work/class.

I know that each of us has been affected personally by the pandemic in some way, and for some of us within the Valencia community, the impact has been devastating. Please continue to extend flexibility and grace to one another, to our students and to yourself.

Search for Provosts

I have been extraordinarily impressed with the finalists for our five provost positions and enjoyed meeting them in person before the winter break. Thanks to everyone who participated in the design and facilitation of the virtual and on-site experiences. It was an enormous undertaking!

If you have not done so already, please submit your feedback about our finalists here by Wednesday, January 12, 2022. If you were not able to watch the Zoom forums in real-time, the recordings are available for your review online.

The search committee will meet for the final time on Friday, January 14, 2022, and the planned timeline is to announce our new provosts within a week or so afterward. We will convene conversations with campuses and our career and professional programs during the last week of January to gather input on the gifts and talents that each new provost brings in an effort to inform the decision about the placement of each individual into the different roles. Please be on the lookout for the invitation to those conversations in the coming weeks.

Search for Vice President for Equity Strategy and Partnerships

We will plan to begin the process for our search for a vice president for equity strategy and partnerships after the provost search process concludes. If you are interested in serving on the search committee for this important role, please submit your interest online (if you have not already done so) by Friday, January 21, 2022.

Job Growth Grant Award

You may have seen the news earlier this week that Governor Ron DeSantis selected Valencia College to receive $3.7 million to offer a robotics technician accelerated skills training program, including a specialized track in semiconductor production. This 20-week program will be offered at the Osceola Campus, which is across the street from NeoCity, an innovation hub in the space of nanoelectronics and digital technologies. I am excited about this new pathway for our students, which will help prepare them immediately for high-wage, high-demand jobs as well as provide the opportunity for them to continue their education to earn an associate degree and beyond.

I wish each of you a wonderful start to the spring semester, and I look forward to seeing you soon. In fact, I hope you will join me for our next Ask Kathleen Anything at 3 p.m. on Monday, January 31, 2022. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments or concerns.

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