Now Accepting Student Awards Nominations

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Nominations are now open for the 2021-22 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 27, 2021, at 12 a.m.

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

If you have questions, contact Student Development at studentdevcw@valenciacollege.edu.

Attend Sanford Speaks: A City of Sanford Event in Partnership With PJI

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Date: Thursday, March 24, 2022
Time: 12 – 2 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Register here.

Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Time: 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Crooms Academy of Information Technology. 2200 Historic Goldsboro Boulevard
Register here.

Date: Thursday, May 19, 2022
Time: 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Sanford Civic Center. 401 E. Seminole Boulevard.
Register here.

The City of Sanford is committed to ensuring it is inclusive and accepting of all people because the strength of our community is its diversity. Building on the national initiative to create more equitable communities, the City of Sanford, in partnership with Valencia College’s Peace and Justice Institute, is hosting community conversations to identify inequities and develop strategies to address them.

Workshop goals include:

  • Develop trust and sensitivity to support interaction with one another across cultural, ethnic and racial lines.
  • Strengthen interpersonal relationships through the sharing of personal stories and experiences.
  • Increase awareness and understanding of embedded injustices in healthcare, education, housing, finance, law enforcement, criminal justice, community development, employment and other systems.
  • Expand citizen engagement to allow for healing and reconciliation as a pathway to community resilience.

Take the Food Services Survey for a Chance to Win a $100 Visa Gift Card

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Our Food Services provider, Aladdin Foods, is conducting a survey to better understand your campus lifestyle and preferences, as well as your current experience with Valencia College’s food services.

Click on the button below and complete the survey by Friday, April 1, 2022, to have a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card.

Foodies Welcome: Register Now for the Grand Buffet

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Get your appetites ready, as Valencia College’s Culinary and Confectionary Arts Student Association will present the Grand Buffet – Grand Patisserie — at the Downtown Campus in the Walt Disney World Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality. Plan to feast on exquisite culinary sensations that will be skillfully prepared by our talented culinary and pastry apprentices in training.

Date: Friday, April 22, 2022
Time: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 
Location: Downtown Campus, UnionWest, Fifth Floor Culinary and Pastry Labs. 

The cost is $25 per person. Reservations are required. To make a reservation, click here.

For more information or to book a private room, contact Elisa Brewer, manager, laboratories, hospitality and tourism at ebrewer5@valenciacollege.edu.

Facilities Team Makes Significant Strides During Past Two Years

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

A Message from Shaun Andrews, Assistant Vice President, Facilities and Maintenance Operations

At times, two years can fly by or feel like an eternity but adding in a pandemic really skews our perspective. Two years ago, the College closed for Spring Break and we’ve not been back together in the same ways since. We have all adjusted to a new way to support students, faculty and staff. The adjustment varied between departments, and we collectively kept the mission and vision intact as we navigated and maneuvered together.

Since we’ve crossed the two-year mark from when COVID-19 changed our lives, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the positive projects that the Facilities teams (Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance, and Planning and Construction) accomplished to not only respond to the pandemic, but also to support sustainability, update our campuses, enhance aesthetics, continue maintenance and construction projects, and maintain and improve sanitation and air quality, while focusing on ways to improve support for students and employees.

For the Facilities teams that continued to work on campus, health and safety became paramount, but there was also a rare opportunity to take advantage of limited occupancy and student traffic, which afforded time for extensive cleaning and maintenance along with many ongoing and special projects.

Some of the highlights of accomplishments and items that we are currently working on are:

Cleaning, Sanitation and Indoor Air Quality

Facilities continues to focus on ways to take our pre-pandemic indoor air quality from great to exceptional with the addition of new bi-polar ionization units, pressure and CO2 sensors, MERV-13 filters, improved indoor air monitoring software and replacement of older air handler units.

Sanitizer is here to stay, and gone are hand dryers, so there will be continued support of the more than 2,000 sanitizer dispensers and new touchless paper towel dispensers installed. The Custodial team will also continue to utilize electrostatic misting equipment to sanitize areas, which will keep students, faculty and staff safe from surface viruses and bacteria.

Sustainability

Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility, and the Facilities team continues to partner with Carrie Black, director, energy conservation and sustainability, on projects that impact Valencia’s energy use, carbon footprint, and conservation and recycling opportunities.

Energy Conservation
Exterior parking lot lighting has been upgraded to LED on all campuses, and rooftop sun reflecting material is being used for all new roofing and roof replacement projects. We are also testing some different window film products to potentially reduce window heat transfer. Additionally, the Facilities and Sustainability teams are also working with an outside consultant to create an energy transition plan that will guide us through opportunities to become even more energy efficient.

Carbon Footprint 


Reducing time spent in vehicles impacts carbon reduction, so the new traffic circle on West Campus and the new extension of the road around the Osceola Campus were designed to keep traffic moving more efficiently and reduce commute times.

Conservation and Recycling
Water bottle refill stations are now installed in every building, and recycled materials are being used in projects, when available. The new upgrades to walking/running trails on East and West Campuses and the School of Public Safety utilized natural crushed shells and will hopefully encourage more access to exploring and enjoying outdoor areas.

Updates and Aesthetics
Facilities teams continue to work on not only the continued maintenance of the grounds and buildings, but also upgrades to areas that may be outdated or need some additional attention. Florida-friendly and natural native plants and trees have been added and grounds have been updated with increased attention to areas that can be utilized by students, faculty and staff. We are also working with South Florida Water Management to remove invasive plants in the wetlands on the West side of the Osceola Campus.

Interior spaces continue to be painted and refreshed with updated flooring, ceiling tile and window blind upgrades. Replacement of older/damaged common area and classroom furniture is another area of focus, which we are currently working on updating collegewide.

Working with the Marketing team, exterior vehicular signage is also being updated with new branding and should be completed by the fall term. The goal is to review and replace all Valencia signage (exterior & interior) in the upcoming years.

Deferred Maintenance & Construction
Many large, deferred maintenance and construction projects were not affected by the pandemic and continued as planned. Two chillers were replaced at the School of Public Safety and one on the East Campus. The District Office and West Campus SSB received new roofs, while East Campus Buildings 1 and 2 are currently awaiting new roofs as well.

The Osceola Campus Building 1, first- and second-floor renovation and the new Center for Accelerated Training – Northwest Orlando were completed in 2021 on time and within budget.

We are currently working on design concepts for Campus Store and Food Service area renovations, additional lab space for the Poinciana Campus, and Plant Science storage space on West Campus.

Customer Service and Beyond
Customer service is very important to us, so we are currently working on a pilot project to add QR codes in restrooms, classrooms and common spaces to make it easier and faster to reach custodial and maintenance support for any immediate needs. New signs with QR codes that can be simply scanned via a cellphone will provide a quick simple way to let us know that something needs to be addressed. Here’s a mock up for your reference:

The signs will be installed in areas this month, and we look forward to testing this new communication tool through the remainder of the spring term and through the summer term.

I would like to personally thank the Facilities teams for all the continued support of the students, faculty and staff. We are here to serve you all, and we are excited to see what opportunities we will have as we strive to maintain and create an impactful learning environment.

Stay on Track With Your Annual Health Goals

Monday, March 21, 2022

A Message from Jessica Johnson, UnitedHealthcare Nurse Liaison 

Preventative care and regular screenings are essential to staying healthy, and I want to help you achieve your individual health goals throughout the year with these tips.

Our benefits partners are the best resource for questions on eligibility, coverage and claims:

Dental
MetLife
800-942-0854

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
United Behavioral Health
866-637-7503

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) 
Chard Snyder
800-982-7715

Medical & Pharmacy
UnitedHealthcare
Call the Member Services Number on the back of your ID card
www.myUHC.com
Mobile app: UnitedHealthcare

Vision
UnitedHealthcare Vision
866-638-3120

Click here to download the My Annual Health Goals guide.

If you have any questions, contact me at jessica_r_johnson@uhc.com or 407-866-8134.

You’re Invited to the Humanities Speaker Series: The Great Restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

Monday, March 21, 2022

Date: Friday, April 1, 2022
Time: 1 p.m. 
Location: Zoom. ID: 9551456689 Password: 259066

On Monday, April 15, 2019, the world watched in horror as Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris went up in flames. Soon after, medieval architectural historians and restoration specialists began the work of restoring this Gothic masterpiece.

Join the Valencia College Humanities Speaker Series and the medieval art and technology historians of the Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Medieval Technology, Science and Art, with special guest Dany Sandron of the Sorbonne Université, for an inside look at the progress made in the last three years and discover how modern scholars address the many questions posed in the restoration of a millennium of architectural and cultural history.

The event is free and open to the public and will be hosted by Professor of Humanities George Brooks. Additional speakers include Lindsay Cook from Ball State University and Jennifer Feltman from the University of Alabama.

For questions, contact George at gbrooks@valenciacollege.edu.

Featured Colleague: Tamika Martin Brings a Wealth of Expertise to All She Does

Monday, March 21, 2022

By Jennifer Keefe

No two days are the same for collegewide Director of Student Financial Aid Services Tamika Martin, but the challenge of making it all balance out may be what she enjoys most about her job.

Tamika came to Valencia College as an assistant director of financial aid services in 2013. In 2016, she became the collegewide director.

She sees her role at the College as an intermediary between students, the front-line financial aid teams and College leadership.

Over the past several years, she’s worked to find ways to “encourage, empower and support the financial aid teams” and to help them find more and better ways to serve students.

Assistant Vice President of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs Daniel Barkowitz says Tamika is right on the money when it comes to helping to make the financial aid process more accessible for students and staff.

“Tamika’s passion for serving students and her commitment to supporting the staff who report to her are shining strengths,” Daniel says.

“A natural and charismatic leader, Tamika is a tremendous asset to the College,” he adds, “She wears her heart on her sleeve, and I truly treasure her partnership and voice in our enduring mission to make Valencia College affordable for all.”

Although she has had many, Tamika makes it a point not to keep track of her individual accomplishments.

“My accomplishments are in the everyday things,” she explains.

“Empowering people to be the best version of themselves, recognizing the strength in individuals and providing them with opportunities to showcase those strengths in places where they can make a change,” she adds.

One of the things Tamika likes most about working at the College is that we are not afraid to take chances to find new ways to serve students.

She also enjoys the level of collaboration at the College.

“I am nothing without my team,” she says.

“They are what I LOVE about working at Valencia,” she adds, “I have never worked with a more amazing group of individuals that I can serve with, learn from, laugh, cry and celebrate with. They are my tribe.”

Tamika also recognizes the role that she and her team play in setting students up for success in the future by helping them to manage the cost of college and to navigate the process of getting through college.

If you didn’t already know, Valencia isn’t the only institution that’s been able to cash in on Tamika’s expertise.

Prior to coming to Valencia, she was an assistant director of financial aid at Seminole State College for seven years.

She also spent 10 years at Daytona State College as a financial aid specialist and financial aid counselor.

But there’s a lot more to Tamika than just her career in financial aid.

First, she earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida.

Now, in her free time, she likes to watch shows on Investigative Discovery TV – IDTV – (probably a throwback to that criminal justice degree?).

She also likes to spend time with her children and her granddaughter, try new restaurants, lounge by the pool, and listen to music with a glass of prosecco in hand.

And just in case you didn’t think this financial aid guru had expensive tastes, she does.

She explains, “I absolutely love exotic car shows and cigarette boat races.”

Tamika was also a preschool teacher for about five years before making the leap into higher education financial aid.

These days, she also enjoys spending time alone relaxing and contemplating how lucky she is to work with the “people I call family.”

She adds, “You are all such unique, knowledgeable, driven, compassionate, way makers, problem solvers. I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with any other group of individuals.”

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.

Announcing Osceola Prosper: Free College for Class of 2022 Osceola County Grads

Monday, March 21, 2022

A Special Message From Kathleen Plinske, Valencia College President

I am thrilled to share that the Osceola County Commissioners announced today that they will provide free college or technical training to Osceola County Class of 2022 high school graduates! At pep rallies held at Osceola high schools earlier this morning, graduating seniors learned that they have the opportunity to earn a degree, certificate, or industry certification at Valencia College or Osceola Technical College (oTECH) with no out-of-pocket cost.

Students were excited about the news — many were relieved to no longer have to worry about paying for college, while others realized, perhaps for the first time in their lives, that going to college was a real possibility. To learn more about this incredible opportunity, called Osceola Prosper, please watch this brief video or read more below.

Overview of Osceola Prosper

Osceola Prosper, made possible by the Osceola County Commission, will cover tuition and fees (after any grants or scholarships a student receives) at Valencia College or oTECH. All 2022 graduates from all Osceola County public, charter, and private high schools, as well as home-schooled graduates, are eligible to participate, regardless of financial need or immigration status. Students may enroll at any of Valencia’s campuses in Orange and Osceola counties in our associate degree or certificate programs, in our accelerated skills training programs, or in a technical training program at oTECH.

Thanks to Osceola Prosper, no graduates from Osceola County’s Class of 2022 have to worry about the cost of going to college or enrolling in a technical training program. In this way, the program represents a major milestone toward our College Access Goal in our Strategic Impact Plan of working with community partners to ensure that, by 2030, 80% of Orange and Osceola County high school graduates of each race and ethnicity will attend a postsecondary institution in the year following high school graduation. Osceola Prosper reflects a tremendous investment by the Osceola County Commission in our students, their families, and our community’s future.

While we know some students do not desire to earn a college degree, at least some postsecondary education after high school is strongly correlated with higher lifetime earnings and economic prosperity. Accordingly, I am delighted that Osceola County has chosen to include technical certificates, accelerated skills training programs, and vocational training programs as eligible for funding. This, in turn, supports our Career Credentials Goal that by 2030, Valencia College students will earn 12,000 high-quality workforce credentials each year.

Special Characteristics of Osceola Prosper

We are fortunate that our Osceola County Commissioners understand the realities and challenges that our students face. Unlike most “college promise” programs across the country, students do not have to enroll on a full-time basis in order to be eligible to participate in Osceola Prosper. Instead, to maintain eligibility, degree-seeking students must complete at least 12 college credit hours per academic year. This will keep students on track to earn an associate degree before the program funding ends in summer 2027 and aligns with our Graduation Goal.

In addition, recognizing that tuition and fees are only one component of the cost of going to college, the Osceola County Commission will provide stipends of $500 per semester to every Osceola Prosper participant who demonstrates significant financial need. You can read more about the program details on the Osceola Prosper FAQ site, available in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Portuguese.

How You Can Help

The work you already do every day in service of students and our community is a key reason the Osceola County Commissioners have partnered with Valencia to make this investment, and why their gift of free college will change so many lives. Thank you!

Because many seniors may not have had postsecondary education in their plans before today, we’re organizing a grassroots effort to ensure that they understand what the Osceola Prosper program is all about and what potential postsecondary pathways might interest them. If you’d like to help be a part of getting the word out to Osceola County high school seniors and their families by visiting high schools or participating in community events at our campuses, please email Nelson Sepulveda, director, student development, at nsepulveda@valenciacollege.edu.

In closing, I’d like to share reflections from a few of our current students about what not having to worry about paying for college has meant to them and their families. Imagine what Osceola Prosper will mean to the entire Osceola County Class of 2022.

We are so fortunate to have incredible community partners, like the Osceola County Commissioners, who are interested in working with us to make our community a place in which everyone can thrive. I am equally grateful to know that together, our work will ensure that the gift of free college will positively change lives, families, and our community for years to come.

 

Sonia Pasqual’s Play, ‘Conscious Voices’ To Be Performed at Valencia

Monday, March 21, 2022

Date and Times:

  • Friday, April 1; Saturday, April 2; Thursday, April 7; Friday, April 8; and Saturday, April 9, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 3, 2022, at 2 p.m.

Location: East Campus, Performing Arts Center, Building 3

Join our Valencia College Theater department for a performance of “Conscious Voices” — a collaborative performance piece that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion and presents the challenges that come with the identities with which we associate.

Sonia Pasqual, professor, theater technology in the Live Entertainment Design and Production program who earned her master’s degree in liberal studies from Rollins in August 2021, wrote the play as part of her thesis.

When Sonia began working on her thesis, she organized a group of devisers to form a series of monologues, dance, art and poetry that eventually formed a play. The nation was in turmoil during that time. George Floyd had died at the hands of police in Minneapolis; Black Lives Matter protests had taken to the streets across the country; and a pandemic had forced people into their homes and dramatically changed Americans’ lives.

Sonia said she saw no representation for people of color within the literature unless they were portrayed by celebrated writers as slaves.

After this experience and spending a year and a half researching societal issues, Sonia was inspired to create this experimental theater piece, a devised ethnodrama that is a work of theater for social justice theater. Her goal was to capture the voices of people who face discrimination, racism, fatphobia, colorism, gender identity every day — and how that steady drumbeat of discrimination wears them down — and weave their narratives into a play.

The play was performed in early June 2021 at Rollins College’s Annie Russell Theater, and it made history. It was the first time that a play written by a Black woman had been performed at the Annie Russell Theater in the theater’s 99-year history, according to Rollins theater officials. And now this play will be presented at Valencia. To read more about the play, visit the Valencia News site.

Tickets cost $10 for Valencia employees and students, senior citizens and military personnel, and $12 for general admission. Tickets will be available two weeks prior to the performance date on the Valencia College Events Calendar.