Employees Share What They Did on Their Much-needed Break

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Whether it was strawberry picking, baking, boating, fishing or working on home improvements, Valencians maximized their time off during Spring Break. Check out this photo montage of how Valencia employees spent one of our favorite total rewards.

Strategic Planning Update: Next Steps for Institutional Plans

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Message from Brandon McKelvey, Vice President, Analytics and Planning

Building on the ambitious goals of our Strategic Impact Plan, work is underway to map out the way we will achieve those goals and create a blueprint for opportunity and equity.

Before spring break, I shared an invitation to join one of four Institutional Planning Work Teams that would help build the plans that will inform our Impact Plan goals. I received an overwhelming response for service on the Institutional Planning teams and am looking forward to continuing the strategic planning work.

The four Institutional Planning Teams are:

  1. Academic Program Plan
  2. Equity Plan
  3. Learning Plan
  4. Student Experience Team

A fifth team will be established for Community Impact after a community survey is conducted.

Institutional Planning Meetings

Each institutional planning team consists of between 15 and 25 participants including faculty, staff, administrators and students. Each planning team is co-chaired by a campus administrator, district administrator and/or faculty council member. These teams will meet bi-weekly.

Next Steps for Institutional Planning

Following the institutional planning kick-off meeting on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, each of the institutional planning teams will meet at least four times to:

  • Review the feedback from the ideation sessions along with draft, emerging strategies that have been gathered from this feedback.
  • Edit the draft, emerging strategies.
  • Add additional strategies when appropriate.
  • Complete a high-level, work plan for each strategy.
  • Place the strategies on a three-year timeline to monitor and track progress.

Communicating Results

Between each week of meetings, an update of the progress will be provided. At the conclusion of the institutional planning process, the teams will have identified strategies, built work plans and constructed a three-year work timeline. This information will be shared at the end of the institutional planning process. Please stay tuned to your email for updates via The Grove and employee newsletters.

Thank you to all of you who have participated and continue to engage in this strategic planning process. As always, please feel free to reach out to me at jmckelvey@valenciacollege.edu if you have questions or would like additional information on the work teams or the institutional planning.

Roadmap for Reopening: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Ventilation

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Facility safety is paramount to our learning environment. Last summer, as we prepared for Phase 2 operations for the Fall 2020 term, we shared how we were preparing our facilities to welcome back a small number of faculty, staff and students to our campuses. As we prepare to move to Phase 3 operations for the Summer 2021 term, it seemed like the perfect time to talk with Assistant Vice President of Facilities and Maintenance Shaun Andrews — who leads our Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance and Construction teams — to discuss the frequently asked questions he receives about air quality on campus.

Shaun — a Certified Hospital Facilities Manager who previously worked within hospital and medical facilities management and construction, designing constructing and operating hospitals, surgery centers and medical office facilities — is no stranger to providing the safest indoor environment possible. In fact, he was attracted to Valencia College because of the investments the College had already made in computerized controls to efficiently control and monitor the indoor environment, as well as the excellent facilities professionals who were on our team to monitor and repair our complex mechanical systems.

Here are questions he receives most often about campus safety and air quality.

Can you explain the air filtration that is used at the College and any changes in air filtration that may have developed in response to the pandemic?
I get asked about building sanitation and air quality daily since COVID-19 altered our learning environment last March. We are fortunate here at Valencia, since our buildings are engineered and designed to provide exchanges of outside air, and some of our newer buildings also utilize bi-polar ionization and ultraviolet technology to further eliminate contaminates in the indoor air. We also monitor CO2 levels in areas to be sure that the systems are maintaining proper fresh air levels.

Prior to COVID-19, Valencia College utilized different Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filters to clean the indoor air as recommended by the space usage, so a lab space that may have certain contaminates would have a different MERV filter than say an atrium or a lecture space. We are currently moving to a MERV-13 filter in all of our systems to provide hospital-grade air filtration. Our goal is to not only address the immediate need to combat COVID-19 but also help in the fight against other infectious viruses and bacterial contaminates.

How often are the filters changed?
We have air conditioning technicians and maintenance technicians checking or changing filters at least every three months. We monitor filter appearance and proper fit to be sure that all air is passing through the filter and that there is no abundance of airborne materials that are potentially clogging the filter. We also base our filter change frequency on airflow data collected to ensure that filters are changed when they are no longer providing designed airflow to meet design parameters. Different types of systems require filter changes at a different frequency, and with the move to MERV-13 filters in all of our systems, we will most likely see a required frequency of filter change for some areas.

Do you feel that our facilities are safe?
In general, the larger the building, the more likely it is engineered and designed for outdoor air exchange, so that is one reason that I feel much safer here in my office at West Campus than I do at home, where there is no designed outdoor air exchange, or in a small establishment that also most likely does not have a system designed to utilize outdoor air exchange. Combine our building engineering and design with our preventive maintenance, filtration and systems monitoring, and I believe that we provide a really safe indoor environment.

Looking back over the past year, is there anything that you would have done differently?
I am very impressed with Valencia’s leadership over the past year. I felt that every decision mirrored what I believed to be the safest response and set up the facilities team to succeed in providing the safest environment given the circumstances. Leadership also included Facilities in discussions and planning throughout the pandemic and vetted all plans through Orlando Health, so from my perspective there is very little that I would go back and change. I think that our success is evident in that we made decisions with health and safety being paramount.

Do you feel that Valencia will continue to be a safe place?
I never fathomed that my past experiences as a Certified Hospital Facilities Manager would be needed to help the College safely maneuver through the current pandemic, but that experience allows me to feel confident that Valencia will continue to be a safe place for everyone.

I was responsible for creating emergency management plans and performing drills in the hospital on how the Facilities team would prepare and respond to outbreaks such as Ebola and other airborne contaminates, and I am now using those experiences to safely address our current battle with COVID-19. As we progressed through the scientific findings of how COVID-19 spread, we were able to adjust the facility response and prepare the team to be successful.

As we all adjust toward eventual Phase 4 operations, what will be needed?
Patience, communication and trust will be important for all of us moving forward. You are all our customers, and we will continue to support everyone in the best fashion possible to ensure that our facilities are safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing. The team is always available, and we appreciate the opportunity to serve Valencia College.

Do you have other questions about campus safety and air quality? Ask them in the comment section below or send them to Shaun directly at sandrews28@valenciacollege.edu or call him at 407-299-5000, extension 1179.

Important Zoom Notice for Mac Users

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Mac users, if you previously installed the Zoom plugin in Outlook, in order to continue scheduling Zoom meetings directly from Outlook, you must download and install the Zoom for Outlook add-in (versus the plug-in) by Saturday, May 1, 2021.

As of May 1, the plug-in will not load when you attempt to schedule or start meetings. While it is recommended that you download and install the add-in for the same ease of experience, you can also schedule Zoom meetings from Zoom’s Web Portal.

To install the Zoom for Outlook add-in, follow these steps:

  1. In the Outlook for Mac Home ribbon, click on Get Add-Ins (or Store if running an older version of Outlook for Mac).
  2. Search for Zoom for Outlook.
  3. Click Get It Now.
  4. If prompted, enter your Valencia email address and password.

How do I know if I have the plug-in or add-in installed?

If your ribbon menu looks like this, you have the plug-in installed and should install the add-in. 

If it looks like this, you already have the add-in installed:

You do not need to uninstall the former plug-in, as once the change takes effect, Outlook will ignore and not load the plug-in.

For assistance or questions, submit a request for the OIT help desk online, via email or by phone at 407-299-5000, extension 5555.

You’re Invited: Black Advisory Committee Incentive Awards

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Date: Friday, March 26, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m. 
Location: Zoom 

You’re invited to join the Black Advisory Committee to recognize our students — who have persisted in their academic success and endeavors despite adverse circumstances — during the 44th Annual Incentive Awards on Friday, March 26, 2021.

For an event flyer, click here. 

Grad Finale to Feature Two Campus Photo Opportunities

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

As a part of our commencement celebration, Valencia College will host Grad Finale, a three-day, drive-through photo experience.

Graduates may select a time from Thursday, April 15 through Saturday, April 17, 2021, between 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. to visit either the East, Osceola or West Campuses. The experience, which will be led by the campus’ leadership teams, will be the same on each campus. Upon arrival to campus, students will have two photo opportunities:

  • An official graduation photo of the student and a Valencia College leader in regalia on an outdoor stage, taken by a professional photographer; and
  • A celebratory selfie station where the student may take photos with family and friends.

To continue the experience, the Marketing team is designing a commencement social media toolkit that will contain Valencia graduation-themed filters, frames, GIFs and other digital assets for  students, their families, and our faculty and staff members to celebrate graduation on social media.

Since we know that an important part of the graduation experience, and this photo opportunity, is our students taking their photos in their caps and gowns, decorating their caps and tossing them in the air, we’ve mailed each 2021 graduate a box that contains a cap, gown, tassel and diploma cover. And as a special gift from the Valencia College Alumni Relations office, a Valencia College license plate holder is also included (perfect for a drive-through event).

To be inclusive of our participating 2020 graduates and provide them with an in-person recognition event to honor their achievements, we are inviting them to reserve a spot to join in on the celebration. We expect approximately 200 individuals from our 2020 graduating class to participate, in addition to our 2021 graduates. As 2020 graduates received a cap and tassel but not a gown last year, they will have an opportunity to request a gown.

All 2021 graduates and those 2020 graduates who expressed interest in attending Grad Finale will receive an email on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, to register for the date and time to attend. To view a sample of the email that will be sent to 2021 graduates, click hereTo view a sample of the email 2020 graduates will receive, click here.

If you’re interested in volunteering to be a part of the on-campus experience to help celebrate our graduates, please contact your campus leadership.

Collegewide Student Awards Nominations Now Open

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

This year, Student Development is introducing a new collegewide opportunity to recognize and celebrate student achievements as part of our end-of-the-year, college-life celebrations.

Nominations are now open for the 2020-21 academic year to recognize students in the following areas: academic excellence, outstanding event and program, and student of the year. Please click on the buttons below to nominate a student, club or organization.  

All Valencia College employees are encouraged to submit a nomination on behalf of a student, club or organization.

Please submit by Sunday, March 28, 2021, at 12 p.m.

Recipients of these awards will be recognized during Student Development’s Virtual Awards Ceremony at the end of the term. All nominators will receive details about the Virtual Awards Ceremony so that they and their nominee(s) may participate.

If you have any questions, email studentdevcw@valenciacollege.edu.

West Campus Vaccination Site Update

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Message from Paul Rooney, Assistant Vice President, Operations

The West Campus state/FEMA COVID vaccination site will continue to administer 500 first doses per day of the Pfizer vaccine from Wednesday, March 24, 2021, through Tuesday, April 6, 2021, an extension of the original time planned for first doses. Those vaccines will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. The site will only offer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine from Wednesday, April 7 through Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

Through Tuesday, April 6, 2021, the state/FEMA COVID vaccination site at West Campus is open to:

  • Local college and university employees regardless of age. This does not include dependents. You will need your Valencia ID or paystub (either on your cell phone or a printed copy) and your driver’s license;
  • Federal and Institutional Work Study Students/Employees. You will need to show your paystub (either on your cell phone or a printed copy) and your driver’s license;
  • Persons 50 years and older;
  • Long-term care facility residents and staff;
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact;
  • K-12 school employees; and
  • Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older;
  • Firefighters 50 years of age and older; and
  • Individuals deemed extremely vulnerable for COVID-19. An individual in this category must bring the COVID-19 Determination of Extreme Vulnerability form, which must be completed and signed by the physician who determined the individual to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

Vaccines are being distributed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or as long as supplies are available each day. Individuals are served on a first-come, first-served, walk-up basis. When coming to the West Campus for the vaccine, please remember to use the North entrance (the entrance nearest Wawa).

Although pre-registration is not necessary, the state has a preregistration system for COVID-19 vaccinations. To preregister in Florida, individuals can either call the designated phone number for their county or visit myvaccine.fl.gov.

As I receive updates, I will keep you posted.

If you have any questions or concerns related to this event, please contact your West Campus Security team at 407-299-5000, extension 1000, or reach out to me directly at prooney@valenciacollege.edu or 321-689-7077.

Get Healthy and Celebrate National Nutrition Month — Part 2

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

As shared last week in part one of our series, March is National Nutrition Month. And we at Valencia want you to be a healthier you. So, if you’re ready to embark on a lifestyle that embraces cleaner eating that’s sure to lead to better health, we have a few tips for you.

How do you know what’s a a healthy snack? How do you decide what your body needs for a snack? Watch this video from the Orlando Health – Center for Health Improvement that explains good snack choices.

How can you best decide how to balance your nutrition and control your portions? Watch this video from the Orlando Health – Center for Health Improvement, which includes a quick Q&A video on the basics of good nutrition and the concept of “My Plate.”

You can also register for this on-demand Orlando Health webinar on Smart Snacking to learn how snacks can fit into a healthy eating plan. A registered dietitian will provide tips on choosing nutritious and convenient foods to help sustain your energy between meals and fit your eating style. To access the seminar, you will need the access passcode: Bf=oZ%M0. Please note you must type in the password (not copy/paste it) in order to access the webinar.

For dietary guidelines from UnitedHealthcare, click here.

And don’t miss these UnitedHealthcare mindful eating tips.

Valencia African Heritage Association Celebrates Black History Month, Name Change

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Message Carmen Laguer Diaz and Lauren Thomas, Co-chairs of the Valencia African Heritage Association

As it has become tradition, the Valencia African Heritage Association (formerly known as the Valencia African Heritage Committee), celebrated Black History Month. Following the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) annual theme for 2021: The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity, the Valencia African Heritage Association (VAHA) had a month full of activities that focused on the importance of the Black family from a variety of perspectives. With the collaboration of Student Development, Black Student Union, the Orlando Magic Family and faculty and staff, our events ranged from trivia nights, panel discussions, student-led events, guests from Brazil and Mozambique and a healthy Soul Food Cooking demo. We closed the month of celebration with performances and conversations in our own Family Reunion.

It was during the Family Reunion that we announced publicly our re-design. We realize that as our group has grown, we have also increased our presence and influence throughout the College. As we continue to build and expand upon the work that Danielle McKinnon began, it was one of our goals to have a name and a logo that better represent us, both in this current moment and as we move forward as a collective group. Part of this redesign includes a name change as we are now moving from a “committee” to an “association.” We believe this name change gives us a sense of permanency, credibility and more accurately reflects our size and scope.

We would like to thank all of our members for their continued support. Special thanks to everyone who helped to make these events a success: Counselor Fontella Jones and the Counseling team, Professor of Portuguese Richard Sansone and his guests Luciano Mota from Brazil and Sádia Chicalia from Mozambique, Graphics Processing Specialist Whitly Charles for her fabulous work with our flyers and logo, and Director of Campus Technology Keith Hill for his patience and expertise, as he makes our magic happen.

Many thanks to all who helped in the planning and in ensuring the success of the events: Professor of English Danielle Strong-Robinson Smith, Professor of Student Life Skills Larry Herndon, Professor of Economics Tarteashia Harris, Professor of Biology Nadine Daniels, Professor of Health Information Technology Quaneisha McLeod, Part-time Faculty of Nutrition Isaac Floyd, Professor of Nutrition April Engel, Professor of Nutrition Kristin Bartholomew, Professor of Political Science Adrienne Mathews, Professor of Criminal Justice Technology Lauren Sykes, Professor of Sociology Doreen Watson, Professor of Psychology Melonie Sexton, Professor of Psychology Diane Thompson, Professor of Nursing Coleen Cox, Retail Specialist Joe Maxwell, Professor of English Tamara Madison and so many others. Of course, we do this for our students and were happy to count on the help of Ty’Jon Streets, Fior Santana, Adrian Demuth and Nubia Tillman.

February might be over, but watch out for more events from VAHA throughout the year. #BlackHistory365