May 2018 Kudos

Week of May 20 – 26, 2018

East Campus Phi Theta Kappa Chapter Earns International Acclaim

No. This isn’t déjà vu. The Alpha Gamma Omega chapter (AGO) of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) has earned more recognition for the chapter’s remarkable success and community service efforts — this time on an international scale.

Following the chapter’s recognition at a regional conference in March and the Chancellor’s Student Service Award, the team earned additional kudos for its Honors in Action project on peace and war on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at PTK’s Centennial Catalyst Convention, which marked PTK’s 100-year anniversary. The project, which resulted in a suicide-prevention You Are Not Alone event last fall, resulted in the chapter’s designation as a top-three project internationally for the peace and war theme.

Also in recognition of the chapter’s Honors in Action project and its College Project, the Valencia College Homeless Initiative’s First and Second Annual Sleep-out for Homeless Youth events, the chapter garnered acclaim as an internationally-recognized Distinguished Chapter. This designates Alpha Gamma Omega as a top 35 chapter in the world, with approximately 1,300 chapters worldwide.

Finally, Alpha Gamma Omega Chapter President Michael Onuchovsky (who, unsurprisingly, also is a Seneff Honors College student and member of the National Society of Leadership and Success), was honored as the flag bearer of the British Virgin Islands. While Michael has no affiliation with the territory, he was selected based on his many achievements and notability as a PTK member.

Week of May 6 – 12, 2018

Vishma Kunu Defends Her Dissertation on Early Syriac Christian and Indian Buddhist Literature

A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West and Downtown Campuses

Valencia students aren’t the only ones achieving academic milestones. West Campus’ Vishma Kunu, professor, humanities, is also celebrating an educational accomplishment.

On Friday, April 13, 2018, Vishma defended her dissertation, titled “Renunciant Stories Across Traditions: A Novel Approach to the Acts of Thomas and Buddhist Jatakas,” in the Department of Religion (College of Liberal Arts) at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The dissertation is an interdisciplinary comparative study of early Syriac Christian and Indian Buddhist literature. In it, Vishma argues that popular stories about the Buddha’s previous lives made their way into a 3rd-century Common Era Christian text via avenues of mercantile exchange on the Indian Ocean.

Please join me in congratulating Vishma on this milestone in the comments below.

Dean of Students Ben Lion Earns NASPA Award

A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West and Downtown Campuses

Congratulations to Dean of Students Ben Lion on receiving the NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) Outstanding Community College Professional in Region III Award. The award, which is given through peer nomination, is presented to a student affairs professional who has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to NASPA and/or his or her profession.

In Ben’s case, the award celebrates his 13 years of service in higher education and his commitment to supporting NASPA in the organization’s commitment to invest in student affairs professionals at two-year institutions like Valencia.

“I believe the opportunity for me to receive this award demonstrates Valencia’s commitment to faculty and staff engagement as leaders in the academe within our respective disciplines,” Ben commented. “I’m grateful for Vice President of Student Affairs Kim Sepich’s leadership that allows for her team to take leadership roles within professional organizations and to my West Campus Dean of Students team that provides amazing services to students so that I can carve out time to give back to the profession.”

Ben will officially receive the award at a ceremony during the NASPA Region III Summer Symposium held Sunday, June 10 – Wednesday, June 13, 2018 in New Orleans.

Matthew Kenney’s Work Appears in Florida A&M University’s Law Review

A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West & Downtown Campuses

Congratulations to Matthew Kenney, professor, business, for his new journal publication entitled “The Past, Present and Future of Predictive Coding,” which appeared in the most recent edition of Florida A&M University’s Law Review.

Predictive coding is a dimension of electronic discovery, which is one of the fastest growing areas of the legal services industry. As Matthew explains, “Electronic discovery is a broad concept used to describe the collection and sorting of digitally stored documents in pursuit of evidence. Predictive coding is an approach that blends technology and statistics to avoid irrelevant documents. Essentially, it helps lawyers find a needle of relevant evidence within a haystack of electronic data.”

The global market for electronic discovery, or e-discovery, is growing rapidly. Law firms are expected to pay e-discovery vendors $20 billion by 2019.

“All areas of e-discovery, including predictive coding, represent a real opportunity for Valencia students and alumni,” Matthew shared. “Law firms contract with technology companies that specialize in e-discovery. These companies are hiring people with computer science skills. Society is increasingly going digital, and lawsuits will always arise. E-discovery provides students an opportunity to enter the ground floor of a young, multi-billion dollar industry. Students who like technology and statistical analysis may find exciting career possibilities in this arena.”

Week of April 29 – May 5, 2018

Congratulations East Campus 2017-2018 Endowed Chairs

Left to right: Heith Hennel, James Adamski, Jeremy Bassetti, Amanda Kern, Stacey Johnson, Jane Maguire, Diane Dalrymple, April Engel, Courtney Lewis

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

Congratulations to East Campus tenured faculty members who were honored at the 2017-2018 Endowed Chair dinner and awards ceremony, on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, at the Orlando Citrus Club. During the program, two faculty members shared information regarding their Endowed Chair awards.

Professor of Nutrition April Engel, who received the Chesley G. Magruder Foundation Chair in Allied Health, shared a presentation on “Addressing the Food Insecurity Problem Among Valencia Students.” She is currently a member of the Hunger and Housing Insecurities Committee on East Campus, and has generously provided funding from her Endowed Chair to purchase a refrigerator for Pooky’s Pantry. In addition, the Endowed Chair funded the design of marketing materials to educate students on the pantry and proper nutrition.

Also recognized during the reception was James Adamski, professor, earth science, who shared information pertaining to his “Natural History and Environmental Issues of the Colorado Plateau” Endowed Chair. Funded by the Lockheed Martin Endowed Chair in Science, James shared stories from a trip in which nine students learned about the geology, hydrology and natural history of the Colorado Plateau and explored the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. He thanked Professor of English for Academic Purposes James May for his assistance with using Valencia’s 360-degree Richoh 360 camera, which facilitates 360-degree virtual reality.

Valencia College Foundation President and CEO Geraldine Gallagher and Vice Chair of the Valencia College Foundation Board of Directors Reginald Riley presented the Endowed Chair winners with certificates and cords.

For additional information on the 2017-2018 Endowed Chair awards, click here.

Terri Daniels Nominated for Chancellor’s Leadership Seminar

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

Terri Daniels, executive dean, Winter Park Campus, has been nominated by Stacey Johnson, president, East and Winter Park Campuses, to participate in the Chancellor’s Leadership Seminar that will be held on Valencia’s West Campus from Wednesday, May 16 to Friday, May 18, 2018. Since 2001, this annual seminar has brought together distinguished leaders from across the Florida College System.

This program focuses on key issues about leadership challenges and resource management development, stressing concerns faced system-wide to increase understanding of how to access and manage campus culture and change processes. Representatives from all 28 Florida College System institutions will be present, as well as, statewide speakers and campus presidents.

East Campus Phi Theta Kappa Wins Chancellor’s Student Service Award

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

Congratulations to Valencia’s Alpha Gamma Omega Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter for winning the Chancellor’s Student Service Award, on Friday, April 6, 2018, at the University of South Florida. The Florida College System recognizes student organizations for outstanding efforts to increase civic engagement through campus-wide student involvement, education and awareness initiatives.

PTK chapters are encouraged to submit a short video highlighting civic involvement within their community. This year, Valencia’s PTK chapter submitted a video showcasing its numerous events and activities, all centered around mental health. Watch the chapter’s video below.

Students Michael Onuchovsky and Emily Reyes created the video while on spring break in New York. The chapter received an award, a check for $500 and statewide recognition.

Allan Maxwell’s Work Chosen for National and International Art ShowsA Message from Stacey Johnson, President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Cheers to Allan Maxwell, adjunct professor, art, on being chosen for exhibition in two national and one international juried art shows.

In November, 2017, his photography was featured at the Center for Photographic Art in the International Juried Exhibition in Carmel, California. Another photo was featured at the 4th Annual Allegany National Photography Competition Exhibition in Cumberland, Maryland, in April 2018. Currently, one of his photos is featured at the Photo Spiva National Photographic Competition and Exhibition in Joplin, Missouri, from Friday, March 16 – Sunday, May 13, 2018.

When asked about his role as a conceptual artist, Allan replied, “I use photography to express ideas about life, human nature and aesthetics. My constructed, non-documentary images have no other reason to exist other than as an expression of my own idiosyncratic musings. The control of the studio and the formal approach of ‘building an image’ appeals to my most basic instinct as an artist. Photographers such as Duane Michals, André Kertész, Olivia Parker, Jan Grover and Irving Penn have influenced my thinking about a more studied and structured approach to image making.”

Allan uses his own conceptual interpretation of still-life photography to explore themes concerning modern life, family histories, non-linear narratives and classicalism.

For more information about Allan’s work, visit his website.

Kathleen Plinske Named Legacy Award Winner

Congratulations to Kathleen Plinske, president, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses, for being named the Legacy Award recipient during the Student Leaders Awards Ceremony held on the Osceola Campus on Friday, April 13, 2018. The award, now in its fourth year, is given to someone who has left a legacy on the campus.

Kathleen received the award for her dedication to the Osceola Campus and the paths that she has created for many students throughout her time working as campus president. She was presented the award by a past student leader, Alexandrea Castro, who worked very closely with Kathleen during Alexandrea’s studies at Valencia.

The Student Leaders Award Ceremony is dedicated to celebrating students’ accomplishments and achievements, and was attended by approximately 180 students and their family members, as well as faculty and staff. The event theme was “Diamonds and Pearls,” celebrating the transformation of a diamond and the rareness of a pearl — signifying individuality and the transformation of our students.

Valencia Leaders Named Aspen Presidential Fellows

From left to right: Amy Bosley and Falecia Williams

Congratulations to Falecia Williams, president, West and Downtown Campuses, who has completed the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence.

The fellowship is a highly selective year-long program to prepare leaders aspiring, or recently appointed, to the community college presidency. Fellows completed a series of innovative seminars and are participating in ongoing mentorship focused on a new vision for leadership, delivered in collaboration with Stanford University faculty and top community college leaders.

Also, kudos to Amy Bosley, vice president, organizational development and human resources, who has been selected to participate in the third cohort.

To read more about the fellowship, click here.


  • Irina Struganova said:

    Congratulations Dr. Williams and Dr. Bosley!

    PMTue, 01 May 2018 19:05:13 +0000Tue, 01 May 2018 19:05:13 +0000pm18,7:05 pm

  • Jennifer Page said:

    Well deserved congratulations!

    AMWed, 02 May 2018 06:46:01 +0000Wed, 02 May 2018 06:46:01 +0000am18,6:46 am

  • Karen Reilly said:


    AMWed, 02 May 2018 09:22:56 +0000Wed, 02 May 2018 09:22:56 +0000am18,9:22 am

  • Marsha Clarke said:

    Congratulations! Two inspirational role models.

    AMWed, 02 May 2018 10:00:48 +0000Wed, 02 May 2018 10:00:48 +0000am18,10:00 am

  • Bonnie Osgood said:

    Congratulations to Dr. Bosley and Dr. Williams!

    AMWed, 02 May 2018 11:23:27 +0000Wed, 02 May 2018 11:23:27 +0000am18,11:23 am

  • Traci Bjella said:

    Congrats! How wonderful Dr. Williams and Dr. Bosley!!

    PMWed, 02 May 2018 13:56:55 +0000Wed, 02 May 2018 13:56:55 +0000pm18,1:56 pm

  • Terri Daniels said:

    Awesome. Congratulations Dr. Williams and Dr. Bosley!

    PMWed, 02 May 2018 14:25:11 +0000Wed, 02 May 2018 14:25:11 +0000pm18,2:25 pm

  • Melissa Johnson said:

    Congratulations on this well deserved accomplishment!

    PMWed, 02 May 2018 21:12:22 +0000Wed, 02 May 2018 21:12:22 +0000pm18,9:12 pm

  • Liza Schellpfeffer said:

    Congratulations Dr. Williams, for your work completing this leadership program! Additional congratulations to Dr. Bosley for your selection to start this exciting journey! Looking forward to innovative ideas for Valencia's future development.

    AMThu, 03 May 2018 10:26:14 +0000Thu, 03 May 2018 10:26:14 +0000am18,10:26 am

  • Upasana Santra said:

    Congratulations Dr. Williams and Dr. Bosley on this very well deserved accomplishment and being the perfect role models!

    AMFri, 04 May 2018 01:00:52 +0000Fri, 04 May 2018 01:00:52 +0000am18,1:00 am

  • Karen Cowden said:

    What an achievement, Dr. Williams! Well done. Congratulations, Dr. Bosley.

    PMFri, 04 May 2018 13:20:38 +0000Fri, 04 May 2018 13:20:38 +0000pm18,1:20 pm

  • Karen Cowden said:

    What an achievement, Dr. Plinske.

    PMFri, 04 May 2018 13:21:35 +0000Fri, 04 May 2018 13:21:35 +0000pm18,1:21 pm

  • Angela Blewitt said:

    Congratulations to Dr. Williams, Dr. Bosley, and Dr. Plinske! True excellence! And, a special congratulations to my friend and colleague Dr. Vishma Kunu. Love you, Vishma!

    AMFri, 11 May 2018 06:39:05 +0000Fri, 11 May 2018 06:39:05 +0000am18,6:39 am

  • Ana Caldero said:

    A very special congratulations to Dr. Williams, Dr. Bosley, and Dr. Plinske. To my colleague and friend Dr. Kunu, I knew it! You did it! You rock! I am honored to be your friend!

    AMFri, 11 May 2018 08:17:18 +0000Fri, 11 May 2018 08:17:18 +0000am18,8:17 am

  • Megan Simon said:

    Congratulations Dr. Kunu. Your work sounds very interesting!

    AMFri, 11 May 2018 08:19:47 +0000Fri, 11 May 2018 08:19:47 +0000am18,8:19 am

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