May 2013 Kudos

May 12th-18th

Two Adjunct Professors Honored at Winter Park Excellence in Learning Awards Ceremony

By Aaron Bergeson

At this year’s Winter Park Excellence in Learning Awards Ceremony, two adjunct instructors were nominated by students and employees to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award for demonstrating a commitment to learning.

excellence-learning-adjuncts-groveAnthony Baker, who teaches English and humanities, was recognized for his passion for working with students. One student described him as, “simply the most informative and interesting teacher I have ever had.” Other students described him as knowledgeable, positive, engaging and having a wonderful sense of humor. Professor Baker is known for devoting hours of extra time on campus when he is not teaching.

William Oelfke, who teaches astronomy, was recognized for his commitment to education through his passion for teaching and learning. During his 20 years of teaching at Valencia, Dr. Oelfke has established a reputation with his students as being an excellent teacher, inspiring, respectful and optimistic. Due to his sharing some resemblance to the actor Harrison Ford, it is not uncommon to see him every semester dressed as Indiana Jones delivering the message that “astronomy is an adventure.” Another student said, “Professor Oelfke is so great! He is such a fun teacher and makes class so entertaining! His knowledge of, and passion for, his subject really shine through during his lectures!”

Kudos Anthony and William for your contributions to Valencia’s excellent learning environment!

East Campus Employees Doing Noteworthy Work

From Linda Neal, Interim Dean of Communications on East Campus

In case you haven’t been reminded lately, we work with some amazing educators! Although I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list, please congratulate your colleagues on the following accomplishments:

  • Tanya Bizon, English as a Second Language instructor, was recently named as a semifinalist for the 2013 Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) Professor of the Year award. On May 17, Tanya will travel to Sarasota to compete against the five other semi-finalists from around the state. If she wins in May, she will be a finalist in the November competition.
  • Tori Grajeda, English professor, has been selected to participate in the 2013 Bank of America Summer Institute; Tori will be one of nine participants who will visit Spain for two weeks at the beginning of August 2013.

Melissa Alicea Receives Grapevine Award


Congratulations to Melissa Alicea, student services advisor on East Campus, who is the recipient of the Career Staff Association (CSA) Grapevine Award. Melissa was recognized for her exceptional work in financial aid and support to the East Campus Answer Center staff, and for continuously going above and beyond to help the students she serves. Melissa’s contagious and positive attitude keeps the work environment friendly and welcoming. She is a true example of being student-centered. Kudos, Melissa!

Paralegal Instructor to Serve on a Florida Bar Standing Committee

Wendy Toscano, paralegal studies chair and instructor at East Campus, was appointed to serve on the Florida Registered Paralegal Committee. Her participation for this three-year appointment begins July 1, 2013. Please help us in congratulating Wendy on this notable role!

Peace and Justice Initiative Featured on Blog

Peace-Tree-clearValencia’s Peace and Justice Initiative (PJI) is featured on the personal blog of David Smith, who formerly served at the United States Institute of Peace. The article focuses on the work that community colleges are doing to support peace building, conflict resolution and related fields, specifically highlighting the work of Professor James McDonald for his contribution to the field of criminal justice and peace building through his new course titled “Peace, Conflict and the Police.” Read the post here.

Kudos to everyone who contributes to the work of the Peace and Justice Initiative!

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