July 2016 Kudos

Week of July 17 – 23, 2016

President Sandy Shugart Named One of Orlando’s Most Powerful People  Orlando's-Most-Powerful-grove

Widely respected leaders such as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando City Soccer Club President Phil Rawlins and Walt Disney World Resort President George Kalogridis are all among those named to Orlando Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People in Orlando for 2016. And we’re proud to say that our own Valencia College President Sandy Shugart has yet again also earned his place on the prestigious list.

The magazine touts his innovative work and lists the planned Creative Village project and new Poinciana Campus among his most recent accolades.

For the first time, the magazine categorized the list of 50 of Orlando’s most powerful people into six sections: government and politics, tourism and transportation, education, business, entertainment and arts, and philanthropy.

In the education category, President Shugart tied for second with Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins. The first place slot was awarded to University of Central Florida (UCF) President John Hitt, who President Shugart has worked closely with on programs like the revolutionary DirectConnect to UCF program.

But no matter their category — as Orlando Magazine explained — “what they all share is the power to change our lives and our community’s future.”

Now that’s power.

Week of July 10 – 16, 2016

Carol Millenson Publishes Poetry on the Impact of War


A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West Campus

“Each of us has a story … that story may be our connection to others’ stories. Therein is the basis for community.”

These are words of wisdom from Carol Millenson, manager, continuing education and clinical compliance, who recently shared her story by becoming a first-time published author in “Beyond Freedom,” an anthology of poems from three writers, including herself.book-270w

The book features true-to-the-heart, provocative poetry about the impact of war on family from the perspective of soldiers’ children. As a daughter of a World War II and Korean War veteran, Carol’s poems detail her own experiences dealing with the hardships of war.

“He [my dad] spent much of his life attempting to cope with the horrors of war without assistance,” Carol said. “His drug of choice was alcohol, and his family experienced his pain in a variety of ways.”

Carol says the five published poems in the anthology came with ease — a testament to her honesty and bravery in telling her personal story.

“What I enjoyed most about publishing my work is giving voice to my heart and allowing others to make use of my experiences,” she said.

Those interested in reading what’s sure to be the first of many published pieces penned by Carol can purchase her book on Amazon. To learn more about Carol’s journey through life and her resilience throughout life’s obstacles, view her video segment below from the Your Story, Our Valencia video series.

Learning Support Services Initiative Earns Exemplary Practice Award


A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West Campus

Learning support centers play a crucial role in student learning and success at colleges across the nation. Valencia, of course, is no different, as Valencia’s learning support services teams are constantly working hard to empower students with the tools and resources they need to achieve academic success. In fact, our West Campus learning support services staff members were recently recognized for their outstanding commitment and dedication to students through The Association of Florida Colleges’ (AFC) Learning Resource Commission’s 2016 Exemplary Practice Award for Learning Support Services.

The award was given for the Don’t Cancel That Class initiative. Spearheaded by West Campus’ Montez Bates, manager, learning support services, and Amanda Forth, tutorial center support specialist, the initiative provides faculty programming for their classes for when they cannot teach the class themselves, whether because they fall ill or have a planned absence. In either case, the initiative allows professors to choose from four educational programs their students can take in lieu of a typical class — ensuring that, no matter the professor’s circumstance, students can continue to learn.

The four programs available include: a test anxiety workshop, presented by Teresa Gallagher, tutorial center support specialist; a sustainability workshop, presented by Resham Shirsat, director, sustainability; a library scavenger hunt, led by librarians Nardia Cumberbatch, Regina Seguin and Beth King; and a learning support resource tour, given by staff at any one of West Campus’ centers including the Writing Center, Computer Access Lab, Tutoring Center or Math Center.

The award serves to increase awareness about the role that learning support service centers play in student development and is given to colleges that exhibit practices that support the AFC’s mission and exemplary student learning outcomes. Other criteria for the award includes: practices that serve a promotional outcome; adaptability of ideas and concepts; evidence that the practice is making a difference; innovativeness; and recommendations provided by students, colleagues or faculty.

The team members behind Valencia’s award-winning initiative will formally receive their award and present their entry at the AFC annual conference in Orlando on Wednesday, November 2 – Friday, November 4, 2016. During the award presentation, they will also receive a check from AFC for $500.

Week of July 3 – 9, 2016

John Hughes Publishes Full-Length Poetry Collection


A Message from Stacey Johnson, President, East & Winter Park Campuses

After teaching for 28 years, East Campus English and Humanities Professor John Hughes published his fifth book — a poetry collection, entitled “Music From a Farther Room.” This book is his first full-length poetry collection and consists of poems written over a 30-year period.

The poems embody imagery using allegory: words and lines within a poem that form a collection of experiences to suggest a deeper understanding of the emotional backbone of life.

In the collection, John speaks to the fragility of life through poetry penned to evoke an emotional journey through a combination of simple scenes and complex narrative.

You can find information on all of John’s books at johncalvinhughes.com. “Music From a Farther Room” is now available on Amazon.

East Campus Professor Honored with Blackboard Exemplary Course Award

Professor Honored-Grove

A Message from Stacey Johnson, President, East & Winter Park Campuses

Jerry Hensel, professor, computer programming and technology, along with the other members of the Computer Maintenance Essentials development team, earned the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award from the education technology company Blackboard, which highlights technologically rich, engaging and well-designed courses that showcase best practices for the user community.

While Jerry is recognized for the award, he says he could not have achieved this without the collaborative efforts of those he worked closely with: Page Jerzak, associate director, online teaching and learning, Migdalia Otero-Olan, faculty developer and instructional designer, and Heith Hennel, professor, information technology.

The award recognizes Jerry and his team for designing a user-friendly Blackboard interface that utilizes an easy-to-understand modular approach, which has ultimately enabled students to earn a networking certificate.

Jerry hopes this work will help in the process of developing a consistent, easy-to-understand course format experience for students. This achievement will also contribute in the effort to construct a consistent template for online classes. He wants to continually help in establishing online success and further developing student help tools. Jerry believes that “Valencia is on the cusp of online learning and learning-management systems.”

For additional information on this award, click here.


  • Dr. Yasmeen Qadri said:

    Congratulations John! Would love to review your work. It is so great to see this wonderful couple’s accomplishments….John and Debi:)

    AMFri, 08 Jul 2016 10:00:19 +0000Fri, 08 Jul 2016 10:00:19 +0000am16,10:00 am

  • Dr. Yasmeen Qadri said:

    Congratulations Jerry! Would love to view your exemplary work and bring it to Teacher Education!?

    AMFri, 08 Jul 2016 10:02:02 +0000Fri, 08 Jul 2016 10:02:02 +0000am16,10:02 am

  • Dr. Edie Gaythwaite said:

    Congratulations Jerry for being "exemplary" and to Page, Migdalia and Heith for being a talented support team! A great demonstration of the power of collaboration! Hope to review and learn from your work soon!

    AMSat, 09 Jul 2016 09:37:06 +0000Sat, 09 Jul 2016 09:37:06 +0000am16,9:37 am

  • Jamy Chulak said:

    Very nice articles. Great work Carol. Publishing while incapacitated is demonstration of your true strength.

    PMThu, 14 Jul 2016 18:40:26 +0000Thu, 14 Jul 2016 18:40:26 +0000pm16,6:40 pm

  • Brian said:

    How amazing! Congratulations Carol!!! We miss you!

    PMTue, 19 Jul 2016 21:16:12 +0000Tue, 19 Jul 2016 21:16:12 +0000pm16,9:16 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

    Happy Anniversary to College President Kathleen Plinske

    Tuesday, July 5, 2022 Congratulations to College President Kathleen Plinske who is celebrating one year in her role. Thank you Kathleen for continuing our mission to provide opportunities for academic, technical and life-long learning, while encouraging us to meet our impact plan goals designed to advance equity for students of every race and ethnicity — […]

    Celebrating Educational Advancements — Summer 2022

    Tuesday, June 28, 2022 Valencia College’s recognition program is robust — spanning from career anniversary awards to appreciation badges to the Educational Advancement program. In the Educational Advancement program, which celebrates non-instructional employees who have been employed in a full-time position for a minimum of six months and who have earned a degree from a regionally accredited institution, the College awards […]