Recent changes in developmental education have increased the need to establish a strategic focus on improving college readiness skills of students coming to Valencia College. For this reason, College President Dr. Shugart has named Joyce Romano to serve as Valencia’s first vice president of educational partnerships. This marks a “strategic decision with a twin focus,” stated Dr. Shugart.
With a large number of students coming to Valencia from the School District of Osceola County and the Orange County Public School System, the 10th largest in the nation, it’s imperative that we focus our efforts on readying students to enter Valencia prepared for college-level work. Currently, over one-third of Valencia students come to us from the Orange County Public School System, and approximately half of those require some remediation.
The second focus of this role will include strengthening partnerships with the University of Central Florida (UCF) via the DirectConnect program. One-quarter of UCF’s graduating class comes from Valencia, and equipping our students to make the transition from Valencia to UCF is a critical factor contributing to their success in the university environment. Recent work on Valencia’s strategic plan has captured this emphasis on the program in the DirectConnect 2.0 work team, with the working theory of “transfer readiness requires preparation.”
To expedite the twin-focuses of working with the school districts to improve college readiness and with UCF to prepare students to transition, we “needed someone who is familiar, who is proven and was able to build on our relationships with both the school districts and UCF,” shared Dr. Shugart. Joyce was a natural choice given her work with these organizations over the years in various roles within Student Affairs.
Joyce shares that she is “looking forward to the opportunity to deepen our partnership with local school districts and DirectConnect to UCF so that more students can benefit from the pathways we build together.” She shared that “the new position [will give me] the time to focus my attention on these partnerships, which I have been involved with for many years … I will be working with the campus presidents and College transitions on the alignment of their work with the school districts and making connections that create intentional pathways for students from secondary to college to university education.”
Valencia has begun the search for the next vice president of student affairs. The position is currently posted, and interviews are tentatively scheduled for April. Dr. Shugart is chairing the search committee and will be meeting with all direct reports in Student Affairs to gather input on needs for the role.
Opportunities for feedback on candidates during the search process will be available through open forums that will be held on campus. The aim is to fill the position by early summer. In the interim, Dr. Romano will remain the vice president of student affairs until the position is filled. Afterwards, she will assume the role of vice president, educational partnerships.