Thursday, May 27, 2021
Hello, my Valencia family.
I am so excited to see another day, week and month. It is the merry month of May, and we are in full swing of spring. I am so elated that Valencia is moving right along like a well-oiled machine.
Well, my time as president will be ending soon, and I would be remiss to not focus on the history that has been made at Valencia by way of diversity and leadership of color. First thought, we’ve made history with back-to-back Black with Stanton Reed, interim president, Osceola and Lake Nona Campuses, and me serving as presidents of the Faculty Council.
How many of you were aware that out of the 50-plus years of Valencia’s existence, Stanton was the first person of color to serve as the Faculty Council president? Not only was he the first, but he also was one of the most outstanding and outspoken presidents of our time on the Council. His presidency was most touching to me personally because after he had served so well, he had to stay on in the position as my voice because of my throat cancer battle during my presidency in 2020-2021.
In August 2020, while I was recovering, Stanton passed the gavel to me, another man of color, of course. Again, history was being made with the Valencia College family, and I feel as though this is worthy of report.
Because of my illness, I was reluctant to take the position. Stanton, being the positive and influential person that he was and is, shared why it was vital for me to step into the role of president. I heeded the call and, not only did he groom me for my term as president, Stanton’s role as president was extended, a dual effort on his part as he also filled the role of immediate past president until my return at the start of the new year. I must say my Valencia family was my strength and shield. I will never be able to thank you all enough for working with me through the worst period of my life.
When my tenure ends in July 2021, Valencia will have an outstanding Faculty Council president in Michael Robbins, professor, English. Michael has been a lifesaver as well. He stepped right up and ran the meetings and so much more. He will be a president who pays attention to every detail of every word and action he takes. You will be in safe hands because Michael has an unconditional love for the position and the College at large.
Now, let us continue with history-making moments. Michael will have the opportunity to groom and work with the first woman of color Doreen Watson, professor, sociology, who will also be the first Black woman to serve as Faculty Council vice president on the 2021-2022 council and and then president in 2022-2023. I have had the privilege of working with this wonderful young woman when I served as president of the Faculty Senate on West Campus. Valencia, you are in for a dedicated and wonderful woman on the council. Congratulations, Doreen, and much success to you in your new role.
I know that I have mentioned this in my previous Faculty Insight message but, as we’re talking about history being made, I feel that I should say it again. Congratulations to Kathleen Plinske for her new role in the fall as the first lady to serve as Valencia College president. I am so proud and happy for her, and looking forward to great things. Valencia family, get ready, because we are going to the next level with this remarkable woman leading us.
Finally, I wanted to send a shout out to the fantastic Senior Team. I have learned so much watching and listening to the leaders of Valencia make challenging decisions for the College. If you ever have the opportunity to be a part of faculty governance, you should. You will learn so much that can be beneficial to you and your growth with the College.
I am asking that you really consider becoming a part of your campus governance committees. We need your participation and input. Do not sit back and complain when you can take part in the decision-making process at Valencia. Your voice is very important and should be heard, so do not be silent.
As always, make it a great day, week and month and always make a positive difference in the lives of others.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me via text at 407-529-6595 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.