East Campus Library Participates in National Study Abroad Celebration Week


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

National Study Abroad Celebration Week took place from Monday, February 28 – Friday, March 4, 2022. Hosted by the Study Abroad and Global Experiences Office (SAGE), events took place each day with engaging speakers who shared their knowledge regarding live walking tours, cultural excursions and study abroad fairs.

The East Campus Library highlighted relevant events from its collection, as well as a slideshow of images that depicted notable landmarks that were featured during the weeklong event.

Thanks to our Brian Calhoun, librarian, and Ciara Hensley, emerging technology librarian, who spearheaded the project and provided beautiful displays that connected viewers to a variety of educational materials.

Valencia Brain Bowl and Team Coach Recognized


Left to right: Assistant Coach Sean Platzer, visting professor, humanities; Marli Watson; Xander Dillman-Meyers; Rohan Khelani; and Coach Chris Borglum, professor, English (not pictured Kimi Wright)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

The Valencia Brain Bowl team took fifth place at the virtual Community College Championship Tournament hosted by National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) on Saturday, February 26, 2022. Even though the tournament was virtual, four players and the two coaches gathered together in a classroom on West Campus to facilitate better player communication.

Student and team captain Xander Dillman-Meyers was an all-star as the seventh place overall scorer, while student Marli Watson was the top scoring female player in the tournament, finishing ninth overall. Students Rohan Khelani and Kimi Wright round out the team’s roster.

This is only the third time since NAQT has hosted a community college national tournament, starting in 2001, that Valencia has finished out of the top three. “Finishing fifth in the nation is nothing to be ashamed about,” said Professor of English and team coach Chris Borglum. “I know the players hoped for a higher finish. But we lost two very close games, and that’s how it goes sometimes.”

Chris was recently recognized with the Gordon Carper Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academic Competition Federation (ACF). This award is given to members of the national quiz bowl community who exhibit dedication to and long-term support for academic competitions. ACF’s announcement noted that “Few people have had such a long-term impact on the college game. By directing so much of his energy into the community college circuit, Chris has done as much as anyone to make quiz bowl available to students from non-traditional backgrounds.”

Congratulations to Chris and the team!

Spring Arts Week Inspires Participants in East Region

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Art is inspiring, touching, thought-provoking and surprising, which is exactly what Spring Arts Week 2022 celebrated during the week of Monday, February 28 – Friday, March 4, 2022. The festival included open classes, performances, exhibitions and workshops that took place on all Valencia campuses. More than 300 participants attended a total of 60 events, 30 of which were hosted by the East and Winter Park Campuses.

The most popular sessions on East Campus were the contemporary music ensemble performance, led by Professor of Music Alan Gerber, and the theatrical production of “Voices of Dissent,” led by guest director Rob Urbinati and collaboratively supported by the Peace and Justice Institute and Professor and Artistic Director of Theater John DiDonna.

It was difficult to determine the most popular event on Winter Park Campus since the festival brought in high energy at all events.

“I love that Spring Arts Week holds space for the creative energy inside all of us,” shared Rebekah Lane, professor and director, School of Arts and Entertainment. “I helped out at the crafting tables on East Campus, and the phrase I heard most often from participants was, ‘Thank you, I needed this today.’ I’m proud of the School of Arts and Entertainment in that we can offer a moment of creative space to the whole College.”

East Campus Duo Presents at League of Innovations Conference


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Dean of Academic Affairs Michelle Foster and Dean of Learning Support Leonard Bass presented on the new East Campus Academic One Stop (AOS) Student Services Center at the 2022 League for Innovation in the Community College Conference, which took place from Monday, February 28 – Thursday, March 3, 2022.

The virtual conference provided a forum for collaboration among academic experts and thought leaders, while granting participants exclusive access to the most creative and inspirational community college programs from around the world. The deans’ presentation, titled “Designing New Campus EcoSystems: Bridging Academic and Student Affairs,” outlined the inventive academic student services center piloted at the East Campus this past fall.

This project is in response to the College’s reaction to the pandemic. Although most classes remained remote, the administration worked to prepare some onsite classes in fall 2021. The East Campus “Scheduling Team” drafted design principles for the class schedule. The massive transition back to a hybrid learning environment gave rise to the AOS project.

“While the pandemic presented many challenges in the educational arena, it gave us the opportunity to innovate the creation of a new campus ecosystem, supporting student engagement and success,” Michelle said.

“Valencia’s East Campus designed and piloted a centralized center aimed at strengthening collaboration, coordination and communication between academic and student affairs,” Michelle added. “The Academic One Stop offers multidisciplinary, student-centered and just-in-time support in multiple delivery modes for face-to-face students. We’re very proud of this centralized support center that has helped stop student anxiety and churning while improving on-campus navigation.”

Currently, the AOS provides services that are immediate and in-person and offers a social aspect for East Campus students. It focuses on improving student on-campus navigation from the Answer Center to multiple campus academic discipline division offices. The creation of the AOS also promotes reduced in-person traffic at academic discipline divisional offices.

“We had the privilege of connecting with colleagues from around the country during the League of Innovation’s Annual Conference,” Leonard shared. “We received great feedback from participants in our sessions. In fact, many attendees mentioned their institutions were exploring similar strategies designed to centralize and collocate academic affairs and student support services. It became obvious that we are not alone in our efforts to remove silos, expand cross-training opportunities for front-line staff, and find ways to streamline processes for students.”

Ilyse Kusnetz Writing Festival Welcomes Employees, Students and Community Members


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

More than 50 employees, students and community members participated in the 2022 Ilyse Kusnetz Writing Festival, an evening of workshops and readings by diverse authors from around Central Florida, held in person and via Zoom on Thursday, March 3, 2022.

This year’s theme was reACTION:

Years as fraught and difficult as 2020 and 2021 can elicit an entire range of reactions: fear, anger and anxiety, but also resolve, empathy and love. The COVID-19 pandemic and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery (among many others) have led to action, but is that enough?

How do you move yourself and others to action and reaction in writing? Who and what inspire you to make a change? How do you respond to the world around you and how does it respond to you?

Festival organizers, Chris Brown, teaching lab supervisor, and Chris Borglum, professor of English, accepted word-based art, including prose, poetry, audio recordings, video performances and visual arts. Some online readers performed their work for the live, in-person audience. In total, the festival featured more than 15 readers, including students, staff, faculty and community members.

All submissions can be viewed on the festival’s blog.

Shawn Welcome, Orlando’s Poet Laureate, was the featured speaker. Shawn is a powerhouse of energy and artistry who delivers poems about the intersections of race, gender and place. For this event, he recited a piece about Orlando that was previously used as his Laureate acceptance speech at Orlando City Hall.

This year’s theme was “what we experience and survive is a story worth telling.” This theme resonated with Ilyse Kusnetz, for whom the festival is named. No matter your life or writing experience, there is a place for all at the festival each year.

AIG Workshops Help You Meet Expectations of Your Financial Future


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

A Message from Tom Keller, Director, Total Rewards

Improve your financial knowledge and retirement confidence through the following AIG Retirement Services workshops to promote financial literacy and help you get your finances and retirement in order.

Plan for 100

Date: Friday, April 15, 2022
Time: 9 – 9:30 a.m.
Location: Online. Click here to register.

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2022
Time: 1 – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Online. Click here to register.

Are you saving enough to cover a retirement that might take you to age 100 or beyond? While living a long life was once relegated to a lucky few, today it’s increasingly becoming the norm, thanks to medical advances and healthier lifestyles. As you think about your future and plan for retirement, it’s important to recognize that life expectancy is a mid-point, not an end-point. Attend this webinar to learn how to review your savings strategy and make sure it can meet the expectations of your financial future. Local AIG Financial Advisor Kelly Craft will present this interactive workshop for Valencia employees.

AIG FutureFit® Financial Wellness Webinar Series

Cash Management

Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Online. Click here to register.

Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Online.
Click here to register.

All aspects of financial planning start with proper cash management. Attend this webinar if you’re new to financial planning or want to benefit from ideas on how to better manage your day-to-day financial resources.

Investment Planning

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Time: 12 p.m. 
Location: Online. Click here to register.

Investing for a brighter financial future doesn’t happen by chance. It takes planning. In this learning session, you’ll discover how to develop an investment strategy based on your risk tolerance and time horizon. We’ll help you understand the benefits of a diversified portfolio and the advantages of proper asset allocation.

Risk Management

Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Time: 12 p.m. 
Location: Online. Click here to register.

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2022
Time: 5 p.m. 
Location: Online. Click here to register.

You can’t predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Join this webinar to learn the process of assessing risks and developing strategies to manage them. It involves identifying a risk, measuring the potential impact, managing circumstances to the extent possible, then reassessing your situation and risk.

Financial Wellness

Date: Thursday, April 14, 2022
Time: 2 p.m. 
Location: Online. Click here to register.

Financial wellness focuses on our ability to manage all aspects of our financial life. At times it can feel difficult and complicated to get our finances under control. By attending this workshop, you can learn how to gain control over your financial life and become more productive in other areas of your life, including the ability to focus on family, friends and work.

On-demand AIG Financial Services Webinars

AIG Financial Services also offers on-demand webinars that you can access at any time on topics such as investment planning, tax planning, planning for retirement, student debt solutions and more. Check them out here.

Financial Planning Advising Sessions

Don’t forget that one of your Total Rewards — for both full- and part-time employees — is meeting with one of Valencia College’s dedicated AIG financial advisors. You can schedule a WebEx or phone consultation to discuss your financial planning, voluntary retirement plan options, review your retirement goals and/or enroll in your voluntary retirement plan. Your family members are also welcome to join you for the advising session. To register for sessions, click here. 

Meet Your Financial Advisors

John Hall is the advisor for East, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses, as well as the School of Public Safety and the Advanced Manufacturing Center. To read more about John, click here. Brendan Loflin is the advisor for Downtown, West and Winter Park Campuses, as well as the District Office. Read more about Brendan here.

If you have questions, contact the Total Rewards team at benefits@valenciacollege.edu, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Valencia Celebrates Earth Month With Onsite and Online Activities


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

April is Earth Month and there are many ways you can celebrate and recognize our planet’s natural resources. Take time to be outside, walk in a park, turn off the lights to enjoy natural lighting and attend one of Valencia’s events.

Beach Clean Up

Date: Friday,  April 8, 2022
Time: 7 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: The group will meet on East Campus, Building 4 and will travel to Daytona Beach.
RSVP is required. Click here to sign up

Valencia volunteers and wellness ambassadors have partnered to organize a beach clean-up activity in Daytona Beach.

Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to our planet by reducing plastic pollution from the marine ecosystem and protecting local wildlife. The group will meet on East Campus, Building 4, at 7 a.m., and the bus will leave at 7:30 a.m. The group will be back at Valencia College at 1:30 p.m.

Summer Splash Event

Date: Thursday, April 14, 2022
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Osceola Campus, Building 4 Courtyard

The event will include rock painting stations and awareness about the earth and how we take care of it during summer.

Earth Day Webinar: Understanding How to Reuse and Recycle Water

Date: Thursday, April 14, 2022
Time: 2 – 3 p.m.
Location: Online. Zoom

This webinar will commemorate Earth Day by learning more about water reclamation, recycling and Valencia’s solid waste reduction program. Carrie Black, director of energy conservation and sustainability, and Kim Schionning, City of Orlando water reclamation public awareness specialist, will be the guest speakers.

Plant-powered Cooking: The Intersection of Mouthwatering, Healthy and Sustainable Cooking

Date: Thursday, April 14, 2022
Time: 2 – 3:30 p.m. 
Location: Online. Register here

Plant-powered cooking with Isaac Floyd, professor, nutrition. Proudly brought to you by #ValenciaNutrition.

Earth Day, Every Day

Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Winter Park Campus, Courtyard

An event focused on turning awareness into action; with activities, giveaways and food.

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2022
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Poinciana Campus Garden

The event will allow students to plant vegetables, flowers and seeds in the Poinciana Campus garden.

You’re Invited: ‘Quilombolas and Feijoada’ Virtual Event


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Time: 3 – 4:30 p.m. 
Location: Zoom

Richard Sansone, professor, Portuguese, and Valencia College Student Development, invite you to a live, interactive event with Brazilian Councilman Jeová Horácio, from the city of Dona Inês, Paraíba.

Jeová will be taking the audience to a Brazilian community of “quilombolas,” or descendants of escaped slaves in his native state of Paraíba and will share his interviews with several of the residents.

The word “quilombo” comes from Yoruba and relates to a settlement of runaway slaves. There were many such “quilombos” in Brazil during its colonial period, the most famous being the quilombo of Palmares, Alagoas, which existed as an independent colony for almost a century until attacked and defeated by the Portuguese military.

You will also be treated to a recipe for “Feijoada” — a black bean stew considered the national dish of Brazil. Its ingredients reflect contributions from the primary three ethnicities of Brazil: African, Portuguese and Indigenous.

Jeová will present in Portuguese via Zoom and be available for questions from the audience. Steve Cunningham, professor EAP, will translate for Jeová. Victor Rosa, tech support specialist, and Daiane Lodi, campus tech support specialist, will support the event.

Going for Gold: Valencia Student Now Training for 2024 Paris Olympics

Monday, April 4, 2022

Florida may be known for producing Olympic swimmers and, now, Olympic speed skaters.

But in the next summer Olympics — set for Paris in 2024 — look for another Central Florida product: boxer Omari Jones.

Jones, a 19-year-old Valencia College student, is currently training with USA Boxing in the Olympic training center in Colorado — that is, when he’s not touring the world, participating in boxing tournaments.

“There are a lot of tournaments coming up for me to get Olympic points, for me to get in the best position for Olympic seeding,” says Omari. “If all goes well, I’ll be in the Olympics before you know it.”

Watch this video of Omari training.

Read more about Omari on the Valencia News site.