District Board of Trustees Learns How Valencia Creates Optimal Conditions for Learning

With lemon tarts — featuring a blueberry chutney topping, almond brittle and meringue, all made by Poinciana Campus culinary students — in hand to give our District Board of Trustees a morning sugar rush during the Wednesday, December 11, 2019, meeting on the Poinciana Campus, Chef and Professor of Culinary Management Jennifer Denlinger explained to the board that students in her International and Regional Cuisines course were completing their practical this week. The practical required students to prepare a meal based on a region of the world with chicken and just the ingredients provided in a mystery basket.

“But don’t worry,” Chef Jenn shared. “I set the students up for success by what I included in their baskets.”

With that, Faculty Association President Stanton Reed explained Valencia College’s Big Idea that anyone can learning anything under the right conditions and that Chef Jenn created that right condition for her students to learn about international and regional cuisine.

Stanton followed with a video that he recorded with students on the Poinciana Campus about that Big Idea and highlighted what the right conditions are for learning at the Poinciana Campus. Watch the video below.

Poinciana Campus Early Alert 
Continuing the discussion on creating the right conditions for learning, Poinciana Campus Executive Dean Jennifer Robertson explained the campus’ Early Alert program, in which 100% of the campus’ professors submit grades for students in jeopardy of failing by mid-semester. Members of the Poinciana Campus team then conduct targeted and personalized outreach to those students by phone, email and text and assist them through academic advising, an academic support plan, financial aid advising and learning support tutoring by discipline. Additionally, professors may obtain training on supporting students through Faculty Development, and the Learning Support team and faculty partner to create embedded tutoring.

This model has proven to be successful to help students pass their classes. For example, in spring 2019, 295 Poinciana Campus students were notified through the Early Alert program. Of those students 156 or 53% passed their classes. To review the Early Alert presentation, click here.

Poinciana Campus Student Government Association 
To further set up Poinciana Campus students for success, Student Government Association (SGA) President Adelina Cardona and Vice President Sebastian Valenzuela explained that the Poinciana Campus SGA has created a Student Outreach Committee that proactively alerts students of resources available on campus to help them remove barriers, improve learning and provide support.

Adelina and Sebastian also explained to the board how the opening of the Poinciana Campus has helped create conditions for learning in their community by showing how the Osceola County college-going rate has increased from only 40.1% in 2010 to 57.4% in 2017, as well as the drastic increase of college-going rates of high schools that serve the Poinciana Community now that the new campus has opened. To view the rates, click here.

The Power of the DirectConnect to UCF Pathway
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske explained that for many of our students, DirectConnect to UCF represents the next step in their journeys. Since the 2014-15 academic year, more than 32,000 Valencia students have earned an Associate in Arts, the degree that students typically pursue if they intend to transfer to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor’s degree. By exploring the National Student Clearinghouse database, we are able to identify how many of these students enrolled in a postsecondary institution after having graduated from Valencia. More than 80%, or over 26,000 students, continued their studies after having earned an A.A. from Valencia. Not surprisingly, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is the most popular transfer destination for our A.A. graduates. In fact, nearly 18,000 of students who earned an A.A. from Valencia between 2014-2019 have enrolled at UCF; in other words, nearly 70% of all A.A. graduates who continued their studies after graduating from Valencia did so at UCF.

To read Kathleen’s full update, read the December 2019 Provost Update.

Construction Update
Vice President of Business Operations and Finance Loren Bender presented the construction report. The Osceola Campus Careers in Industry and Technology building opened for classes on Monday, January 6, 2020. A schematic design is underway for renovations to Osceola Campus, Building 1, Floor 2. We expect renovation to begin in February or March 2020 and to be completed in August 2020. In addition, the schematic design is complete and bidding for construction management services is underway for pre-qualified firms for the Downtown Campus event space that will be located in UnionWest at Creative Village. We expect renovation to begin in February or March 2020 and to be completed in August 2020.

Valencia Foundation Update
Valencia Foundation Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michelle Matis, who has worked with the Foundation for 18 years, will be departing Valencia for a new role at the Northern Arizona University. Thank you, Michelle, for your service to provide financially for the educational needs of Valencia that cannot be met through state aid or student tuition income.

Policy Adoptions
In order to clarify the College’s policy and practice with respect to the provision of reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants for employment with documented disabilities, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, trustees approved the adoption of one new policy: Policy 6Hx28: 2-02 – Workplace Accommodations for Applicants and Employees.

Trustees also approved amendments to the following policies to better align with applicable laws and regulations, to eliminate obsolete language and to reflect current and improved practices:

Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campus President Search 
To help in our pursuit of the best talent to fill the role of president of the Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses, we hired AGB Search, a search firm that specializes in all aspects of executive search exclusively for higher education institutions. AGB representatives will conduct extensive outreach to its networks to identify potential candidates; however, candidates will apply through Valencia College, and our own internal hiring committee will review resumes and interview candidates. To read more about the search, click here.

For more information on the meeting, visit the meeting webpage.

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. at the Downtown Campus, Room TBD.

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