Four Appointed to District Board of Trustees

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

During the Valencia College District Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, it was announced that the Governor has reappointed trustees Daisy Lopez-Cid and Michael Sasso to the board, and he has appointed John Martinez and Robert “Bobby” Olszewski to the board. The two continuing trustees were congratulated, and the two new trustees were introduced and welcomed to the board.

John is executive director at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Previously, he was director of PNC Bank’s Capital Markets and a member of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. He is the president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Orlando and earned his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and juris doctor degree from the Florida State University College of Law.

Bobby is managing principal of the Emerson Management and Consulting Group. A former member of the Florida House of Representatives and a former commissioner for the city of Winter Garden, he has served as an adjunct professor at Valencia, University of Central Florida (UCF), Rollins College and Barry University, as well as online for Boston University, Colorado State University and the University of California-Irvine. He earned an undergraduate double major in organization communication and radio/television from UCF, a master’s degree in corporate communication and technology from Rollins College, a master’s degree in management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a doctorate in business administration from Northcentral University.

Left to right: John Martinez and Robert “Bobby” Olszewski

Organizational Updates  

The board elected Daisy Lopez-Cid as chair and Beth Smith as vice chair, each for the first year of the customary two, one-year terms. Tracey Stockwell was elected as the District Board of Trustees’ representative to serve on the Valencia Foundation Board of Directors.

To thank Chair Stockwell for serving as Board chair for two years, Kathleen presented her with the traditional caricature in recognition of her service.

The board also approved its meeting schedule for 2021-2022 and authorized the board chair and secretary (president) or their designees to sign all official documents on behalf of the College.

Strategic Discussion

During her first Valencia College District Board of Trustees meeting as college president, Kathleen Plinkse led a discussion with trustees about the students Valencia serves. She started the discussion with a presentation that summarized our students’ persistence from semester to semester, graduation rates, the impact of the pandemic, our 2030 Strategic Impact Plan goal areas and details about our students, such as their chosen program types, average age, race/ethnicity, enrollment status, employment status, and their chosen modality and how it’s changed during the pandemic.

As part of the presentation, Kathleen revealed that in the Fall 2020 term, the College saw a 21% decline in the number of first-time-in-college students, due to the pandemic. She also presented results from a survey of 500 current Valencia students about how the pandemic has impacted their lives and their educational journey. Results revealed that:

  • 20% of student respondents reported contracting COVID-19;
  • 31% of respondents reported at least one household member having been infected;
  • 68% of employed student respondents are essential workers;
  • More than 1/3 of respondents lost their jobs, and 60% had hours reduced;
  • 40% of respondents reported that they were unable to buy adequate amounts of food during the pandemic due to financial reasons; and
  • 30% of respondents reported spending most of their time taking care of children.

Trustees then discussed the data shared. To view Kathleen’s full presentation, click here.

President’s Goals for 2021-2022 
During her first president’s report to the board, Kathleen submitted her goals for 2021-2022. The goals reflect her understanding of key priorities and opportunities based on her prior experience at the College; documents prepared for the presidential search process; and her initial conversations with trustees. While she expects to make significant progress toward each of these goals in 2021-2022, the majority of these goals will continue into 2022-2023 and beyond, serving as a framework for her leadership for the next three to five years. View the goals.

Projects to be Funded by Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds
To improve air quality to minimize potential exposure to airborne particles that may contain hazards such as COVID-19, trustees authorized the College to negotiate a contract with Climate Control Mechanical Services, Inc. for bi-polar ionization for the College’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Bi-polar ionization takes oxygen molecules from the air and converts them into charged atoms that then cluster around micro particles, surrounding and deactivating harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens and viruses. The use of bi-polar ionization is reported to reduce airborne coronavirus by 99.92% within 30 minutes and capture 99.9% of all microbes.

The board also approved Valencia to enter into an agreement with Quadient, Inc. for the purchase of Campus Stores parcel lockers. This investment will provide a new way to distribute educational materials to students in a timely, safe and contactless manner. There will be seven parcel locker locations: East, Lake Nona, Osceola, West and Winter Park Campuses and the School of Public Safety.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, the College must procure additional custodial supplies and equipment, such as sanitizers and eco-friendly sanitizing chemicals, spray bottles and paper towels before the Fall 2021 term. Trustees authorized the College to purchase sanitation equipment and supplies at a cost of $419,400.

The three projects will be funded with Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF).

Valencia College Policy Repeals 
The board repealed the following policies:

View additional details about the regular meeting. View the full agenda of the organizational meeting.

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. on Osceola Campus, Building 1, Room 123 and via Zoom.

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