Kevin the Robot Visits Valencia’s Board of Trustees

Kevin the Robot strolled in to meet Valencia College’s District Board of Trustees during the Wednesday, October 16, 2019, meeting on the East Campus. Kevin, a telepresence robot — operated by Professor of Computer Programming and Analysis Dennis Hunchuck from another building across campus — presented with Professor of Computer Programming and Analysis David Brunick on this technology purchased through the Valencia Foundation Dr. P. Phillips Chair in Education for the Physically Challenged.

The robot — on a Segway-like base with an iPad-like head and donning a Valencia Tech Club T-shirt — is designed to assist students who want to be in class but are unable to be there physically. The technology allowed Dennis and the board to see and correspond with each other, like he was there in person.

This fall, Valencia is determining the logistics and limitations of the technology, and, in spring 2020, the Office for Students with Disabilities will test the technology with a student to allow him or her to attend classes remotely.

Other topics covered in the meeting included:

East Campus Report 
In addition to the introduction of Kevin the Robot, during the East Campus report, David Brunick conveyed the success of the Valencia Tech Club, which currently has more than 100 members, with 30 to 60 students meeting every Wednesday. During the three-hour meetings, six professors conduct engagement hours, and those professors, as well as students, provide homework assistance and answer technology-related questions.

Lisa Macon, professor, software development, recounted East Campus’ success with the new Bachelor of Applied Science in Computing Technology and Software Development program. The program, which launched this fall, welcomed 39 students into the inaugural class with five new courses: Object-oriented Development, Software Development I, Advanced Database Development, Mobile Application Software Development and .NET Programming with C#.NET. To date, Valencia has received 127 program applications, and an additional 40 new majors are expected in spring 2020.

Wendy Givoglu, interim president, East and Winter Park Campuses, revealed East Campus’ top five feeder schools, Timber Creek, University, Colonial, Boone and Winter Park high schools, as well as other data about the campus. She also invited the board and community to Valencia College Theatre’s presentation of “Aida,” an award-winning Broadway musical that will be held at the Performing Arts Center through Saturday, October 26, 2019. The “Aida” cast of 30 students is one of Valencia College Theatre’s largest casts ever.

For the East Campus presentation, click here.

Trustee Appreciation
President Sandy Shugart recognized three Valencia College leaders for their substantial contributions to Valencia’s success. Former trustees Lew Oliver, owner of the Oliver Title Law Firm, LLC — who served on the board longer than any other trustee — and Rosene Johnson, executive director of the PACE Center for Girls, were presented with caricatures depicting their service to the College, as a token of appreciation. Current trustee Bruce Carlson, owner of Imagination Reality, Inc., was also presented with a caricature for his service as the 2017-2019 board chair.

Provost Update
Kathleen Plinske, executive vice president and provost, and president, Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses, presented an inventory of Valencia program offerings, which included a breakdown of top meta-majors for students pursuing an Associate in Arts degree, including:

  • Health Sciences – 20.6%
  • Business – 18.3%
  • STEM – 16.7%
  • Arts, Humanities, Communication, Design – 10.2%
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences, Human Services – 4.9%

She also shared how our meta-majors correlate with the University of Central Florida’s top areas of study that DirectConnect to UCF students selected following Valencia graduation:

  • Business – 22.6%
  • Health Professions – 12.9%
  • Psychology – 9.4%
  • Education 7.5%
  • Engineering – 7.3%

Additionally, Kathleen explained that the highest enrolled Associate in Science program is Business Administration, and the highest enrolled Bachelor of Applied Science program is Business and Organizational Leadership.

For her full presentation, click here.

Opportunity and Equity Report
Amy Bosley, vice president, organizational development and human resources, and Ryan Kane, assistant vice president, equity and access, provided the board with an Organizational Development and Human Resources equity update and explained our opportunity and equity impact goal — to increase the diversity of the faculty, staff and leadership of the College — as well as our objectives:

  • Create and implement a strategic recruitment plan to maximize exposure for Valencia job vacancies to individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Review and revise training programs for employees serving in the employment search and selection process.

Amy and Ryan also shared graphs on how the racial/ethnic diversity of our employees has changed over time and strategies for 2020 faculty recruitment. To view those graphs and strategies, see the presentation.

Valencia Foundation Annual Audit Plan
Michelle Matis, Valencia Foundation vice president and chief operating officer, presented the Foundation’s annual audit to the board. For the 2018-2019 fiscal year ending Sunday, March 31, 2019, the Foundation’s revenue was $8.1 million. The Foundation raised $6.6 million and disbursed more than $5.6 million for Valencia program and support services and nearly $2.5 million in scholarships. More than 3,000 students received scholarship support from the Foundation during the fiscal year. For the full audit report, click here.

Faculty Council Report
Since trustees rarely have a chance to visit the classroom, Faculty Association President Stanton Reed brought the classroom to the board with a special video, “What Makes a Valencia College Educator.” The video featured Professor of English Rudy Darden, Professor of Biology Nadine Daniels and Professor of Mathematics Genie Mogollon. To watch the video, click here.

Analysis of the Impact of “Got College?” and the Opening of the Poinciana Campus
Kathleen Plinske also presented a report on the improved Osceola County college-going rate since the opening of the Poinciana Campus. In 2010, Osceola County ranked 61 out of 67 counties in Florida in terms of the percentage of high school graduates who enrolled in a Florida post-secondary institution in the fall after graduating from high school (the college-going rate). Osceola County’s college-going rate was 40.1% in 2010; the state average was 51.7%.

With the launch of “Got College?” — a grassroots campaign to increase Osceola County’s college-going rate — and the opening of the Poinciana Campus in 2017, Osceola County’s college-going rate increased to 54.3% in 2017.

To read the full report, click here.

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

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. on the Poinciana Campus in Room 125.

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