District Board of Trustees Celebrates Universal Orlando Resort Partnership

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Valencia College’s District Board of Trustees celebrated our partnership with Universal Orlando and the Universal Orlando Foundation during its Thursday, December 2, 2021, meeting on the East Campus. After a tour of the School of Arts and Entertainment — including participating in a sound studio recording — student musicians welcomed trustees as they entered the meeting, where they learned about the College’s partnership with the entertainment and theme park company and its foundation.

In addition to Universal Orlando’s executives participating on advisory committees for the College’s workforce programs and on both Valencia’s and the Valencia College Foundation’s boards, Universal Orlando helped the College think about how to design the spring 2021 Grad Finale drive-thru graduation celebration for more than 1,800 graduates and 10,000 family members. This included designing, creating and building the photo sets for the event. This December, Universal Orlando is supporting the College again for the fall 2021 Grad Finale, our first-ever December graduation celebration in which more than 1,300 graduates have registered to date to participate.

Six years ago, Universal Orlando and the Universal Orlando Foundation also created the Art of Tomorrow, which introduces students in Orange County Public Schools to what a career in the arts could look like and helps them develop the skills necessary to pursue art careers. More than 170 students have participated in the program since its launch. To learn how the program impacted one of our students, as well as about a new scholarship for Art of Tomorrow students, watch the video below.

Additional topics covered during the meeting included:

Florida College System Chancellor Kathy Hebda Attends Meeting 

Chancellor of the Florida College System Kathy Hebda shared with the board her appreciation of the work state colleges have done during the pandemic, including being nimble and responsive; having a working relationship with local communities and the people and businesses in those communities; and reaching and teaching students in a variety of ways, resulting in more than 60,000 students earning Associate in Arts (A.A.) degrees and approximately 70,000 students completing workforce credentials in the state college system.

“The wonderful thing about our college system — and Valencia College is such a shining example of this too — is this is not the end. It’s the beginning, not just for a new workforce opportunity, or a job opportunity or a new job opportunity for a family, but it’s a building block to continue education throughout an individual’s life,” she said.

Chancellor Hebda also explained that while enrollment in workforce programs in the state college system is bouncing back after the pandemic, not all A.A. programs are returning to their previous enrollment levels. The Florida College System must address this challenge to continue making the A.A. a viable and relevant educational opportunity for prospective students.

After the District Board of Trustees meeting, Chancellor Hebda met with Valencia’s Vice President, Technology, Research and Analytics Brandon McKelvey to discuss the Central Florida Education Ecosystem Database (CFEED) and other metric-based aspects of higher education. She also had an opportunity to tour the new Center for Accelerated Training – Northwest Orlando facility along with Commissioner Regina Hill, Vice President, Global, Professional and Continuing Education Joe Battista and Assistant Vice President, Professional and Continuing Education Carolyn McMorran.

Graduation Goal Discussion 
College President Kathleen Plinkse led the board’s strategic discussion regarding the 2030 Strategic Impact Plan graduation goal:

  • By 2030, the five-year graduation rates for degree-seeking students of each race and ethnicity will exceed 50%, so that more than half of all degree-seeking students of each race and ethnicity who enroll at Valencia College in the 2025-26 academic year will complete an associate degree from Valencia by summer of 2030.

This included reviewing the percentage of degree-seeking students who have completed an associate degree within five years, in which we’ve seen a .5% improvement between the 2015-2016 and the 2016-2017 academic years (Note: Current data is based on the 2016-2017 year as we wait five years for student degree completion).

Dr. Plinske also shared that our graduation goal leading indicators are: the percentage of students reaching the 15 college-level credit milestone within two years of declaring an intent to earn an associate degree from Valencia, as well as the percentage of students earning an A, B or C in all five of their first five classes. These indicators were selected because student success in their first 15 credits and first five classes directly correlates to their overall success in college.

The board also discussed that Valencia College has the second highest number of completers of state colleges, yet that the College’s state appropriation — in which we’ve seen significant increases over the past five years — is the lowest among state colleges.

To view the presentation, click here.

Faculty Association  Update 
Faculty Association President Michael Robbins explained faculty members’ role in creating an equity-minded learning experience and how they need to be strong advocates for the equity-minded work being developed, adding that every student should be provided with the necessary resources and opportunities unique to their individual needs to result in fair and inclusive outcomes. He also expressed that we must ensure that faculty have the resources to make good decisions and understand the policies and issues we’re facing as a College.

Additionally, Michael discussed how the College and association collect and consider faculty voices. Although he hears from faculty who are pleased by our processes, he also is contacted by faculty who are frustrated because they feel like their voices are not included. As we consider inclusion, Michael plans to encourage the Faculty Council to determine how to include more faculty voices and ensure faculty that they are being heard. Michael expressed appreciation for faculty voices being heard in hiring new leadership and faculty and planning for a new governance model.

Provosts Search
Dr. Plinske stated that in late October, 71 candidates for our five provosts positions were invited to participate in an asynchronous digital interview via HireVue. Our search committee identified 15 finalists who have participated in a set of virtual interviews during the week of November 29, and a tour of our campus locations for a three-day experience during the week of December 6. Read more about the provosts search.

Financial Update
Vice President of Business Operations and Chief Financial Officer Loren Bender presented the College’s financial update and Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) Awards summary. So far, Valencia College has dispersed 35.2% of HEERF dollars totaling more than $71 million, and all funds must be distributed by June 2022. Currently, the College is working on more than 60 projects funded by HEERF dollars.

East Campus Report 
East Campus Student Government Association (SGA) leaders provided an update on SGA activities, including the Club Rush and Resource Fair, Veterans Day activities, messaging to students who receive their first unsuccessful grade, and an East Campus initiative to gain a better understanding of the international and undocumented student experience. The students also announced the College’s campaign to submit ideas for a new mascot. So far, the campaign has received more than 500 submissions.

The East Campus report included highlights from the School of Arts and Entertainment.

Valencia College Foundation 
So far this fiscal year (Thursday, April 1 through Sunday, October 31, 2021), the Valencia College Foundation raised more than $2.4 million from 392 donors who made nearly 2,400 gifts.

Alumni Relations reports that Valencia has nearly 200,000 alumni, who remain the College’s and the foundation’s most significant opportunity for support. In the coming year, the Foundation’s alumni engagement efforts will focus on finding new ways for our alumni to stay connected to the College, gathering information about their careers, interests, life stages and continued involvement with the College.

In the Foundation’s 2019 Alumni Attitudinal Study, we learned that our alumni expect the College to continue to provide resources to them. They expressed a significant interest in connecting with the College and learning how the current Valencia College experience differs from when they attended. The survey also showed that our alumni intend to give to the College if asked.

To meet these needs, in early 2020 the Alumni Association transitioned from a free, opt-in membership model to an Office of Alumni Relations, which focuses on broad-based engagement. Recently, the office has implemented the following broad-based alumni programming:

  • Valencia College Alumni Network — vcalumninetwork.org, an online engagement platform that hosts a variety of resources, such as access to webinars, job boards, mentorship opportunities, career development, an alumni-owned business directory and affinity groups.
  • Alumni panels on topics including alumni sharing their student experience, transferring to the University of Central Florida, career development for first-generation college graduates, enrolling in the Bachelor of Applied Science in business and organizational leadership (BASBOL) program and post-graduation immigration options.
  • Legacy Alumni Program, which recognizes and honors the more than 1,400 alumni who work at Valencia College (comprising approximately 32% of the employee population). The office shares the stories of our legacy alumni to let our students know “they started here.”
  • Spring Alumni Data Verification Project, in which, in early 2021, we launched an alumni data verification project to more than 50,000 alumni from the classes 1968 to 2001.

Read the full Valencia College Foundation report.

Additionally, in accordance with Florida statutes, each college foundation must conduct an annual financial audit that must be submitted to the District Board of Trustees for review. Trustees accepted the 2021 Valencia College Foundation audit report.

Amended and Repealed Policies

The board approved the following amended policies:

In addition, the trustees repealed 6Hx28: 10-08.02 Drug-free Workplace as language was consolidated with 10-08 Drug-Free Campuses and Workplace.

For more information on the meeting, click here.

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Thursday, January 27, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. at the West Campus, Building 8, Room 111 and via Zoom.

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