Save the Dates for Destination 2022

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 

A Message from Campus Directors of Faculty and Instructional Development Dori HaggertyShara Lee and Sally Leslie and Faculty Director of the Teaching/Learning Academy Claudine Bentham

Mark your calendars for Destination 2022, which will take place virtually during the first five Friday afternoons of the summer term — May 13, 20, 27, June 3 and June 10, 2022.

Destination is an annual professional development program that brings Valencia College colleagues together to explore teaching and learning innovations, challenges and solutions. We hope you will join us for another virtual, synchronous program to connect and learn alongside colleagues from diverse fields in this collegial, immersive, learning experience. We guarantee that your learning environment will never be the same.

This year, we are planning another robust program focused around equity-minded teaching practices and a track led by Neuroscientist and Founding Coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Center at Pima Community College Mays Imad on traumatic stress and resilience. Further details will be available on the Destination webpage after Spring Break, including the application to participate.

All tracks will award participants $500 for successful completion and, since a stipend is awarded, Professional Development (PD) hours are not available.*

If you would like more information or have any questions about the program or process, please reach out to your campus director.

*Your employment status at the time of application will determine compensation. Full-time, non-exempt staff and part-time staff are paid their hourly wage; overtime may be paid, if applicable. Please note that overtime is paid after 40 hours of work, not inclusive of leave or paid time off. If you have any questions about how you would be compensated for participation in the program, please contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Casting Call! Employees and Students Needed for a Collegewide Photoshoot

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A Message from Traci Bjella, Assistant Vice President, Marketing

We are looking for our faculty, staff and students to participate in an upcoming photoshoot on Monday, March 21 – Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

We are updating our photography library with images of real employees and students doing various activities on campus. Our goal is always to have our library assets represent our Valencia College community. These photos will be for possible use in future Valencia College communication materials.

We want to accurately reflect and include our diverse population, so we welcome employees and students of all ages, genders, sizes, ethnicities and lifestyles to participate. Come out and join us and show your VC smiles.

For a chance to participate, email with the subject line VALENCIA 2022, a current photo (#nofilter) along with your full name, VID number, your department (for employees) or area of study (for students) and something interesting about yourself like a hobby or favorite activity. Emails must be received by Friday, February 25, 2022, to be considered.

Volunteer to Help Our Graduates Celebrate During Grad Finale

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Valencia College’s Grad Finale events will take place at indoor locations on Friday, April 22, 2022, from 2 – 7 p.m., and on Saturday, April 23, 2022, between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on East, Osceola and West Campuses.

We will need volunteers for all three locations, so if you are interested in helping our graduates celebrate, please inform your supervisor of your interest and sign up for a shift by clicking on the links below:

As we get closer to the event, volunteers will receive additional information from their designated campus team.

For general event questions, contact Shauna Anstey, director, conferencing and college events, at or 407-582-5490.

Bank of America Awards $300K to Valencia to Retrain Residents Impacted by Pandemic

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Valencia College has been awarded $300,000 by Bank of America to train a growing number of Orlando residents who are seeking to gain employment in the skilled trades through the Accelerated Skills Training programs. This is the largest award given by Bank of America to an Orlando-based non-profit this year.

While most of the tuition for these adult students is covered by CareerSource Central Florida, the U.S. Department of Labor and other sources, there remains a tuition/cost gap that creates an insurmountable financial barrier for those students already facing additional challenges. Bank of America’s grant will bridge that gap — creating opportunities for 180 to 200 learners to gain skills and high wage jobs.

“This grant will allow us to reach deeper into economically distressed communities, to help unemployed and underemployed residents gain the skills needed for a high demand, high wage career,” said Carolyn McMorran, assistant vice president, professional and continuing education.

Read more on the Valencia News site…

Watch How Valencians Enjoyed Learning Day

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Thanks to everyone who shared photos of your virtual Learning Day experience. Take a look at how Valencians spent the day learning, celebrating and inspiring one another in the slideshow below.

Reemployment After FRS, CCORP or SUSORP Retirement

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A Message from Tom Keller, Director, Total Rewards

When you retire under the Florida Retirement System (FRS), CCORP (Community College Optional Retirement Program) or SUSORP (State University Optional Retirement Program), you are subject to reemployment rules for any FRS-participating employer.

The FRS considers you to be retired under the following circumstances:

1. Pension Plan

  • You are considered retired when you have terminated all employment with all FRS-participating employers, established an effective retirement date through the application process, and cashed or deposited a benefit payment.
  • You are considered retired if you cash out or rollover your Pension Plan account after separating from an FRS employer, regardless of your age or years of FRS service.

2. Investment Plan, CCORP or SUSORP

  • You are considered retired once you terminate employment with all FRS-participating employers and request a distribution (including a rollover) from your Investment Plan, CCORP or SUSORP account, regardless of your age or years of FRS service. Your first distribution date would be considered your retirement date.

After you retire under the FRS, you can work for any private employer, for any public employer not participating in the FRS, or for any employer in another state. Your FRS benefits will not be affected.

In order to return to work for an FRS employer following retirement, you must follow specific reemployment rules established by the Florida Retirement System. This includes reemployment with an FRS employer in any capacity (FRS-covered or non-covered positions, including temporary, part-time, part-time faculty or instructor, other personal services (OPS) and regularly established positions).

If you are a retiree and return to work with an FRS employer:

The reemployment laws are very complex, and returning to work for an FRS-participating employer after you’ve retired may have significant financial consequences. Before retiring or returning to work for an FRS-participating employer, the FRS strongly recommends you call the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line at 866-446-9377 for guidance on your specific situation.

For additional resources regarding the rules and restrictions of reemployment, visit the Reemployment After Retirement page on the website. The reemployment laws are very complex, and returning to work for an FRS-participating employer after you’ve retired may have significant financial consequences. Before retiring or returning to work for an FRS-participating employer, the FRS strongly recommends you call the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line at 866-446-9377 for guidance on your specific situation.

If you have additional retirement questions, please visit the website, email the Benefits team at or call the HR4U Helpline at 407-582- HR4U (4748).

Featured Colleague: ‘Coach’ Ron Owens Helps Students and Staff Strike Mind-body Balance

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

By Jennifer Keefe

Coach Ron Owens knows a little about the level of endurance Valencia students need to be successful.

You see, Ron has finished more than 80 marathons (that’s almost 2,100 miles!) and about as many triathlons.

He and his wife are both endurance athletes. In fact, Ron proposed to his wife at the finish line of the Walt Disney World Marathon back in 1996.

As a teaching lab supervisor and department chair for physical education at the West Campus, Ron is enhancing the lives of our students.

“The positive feedback that I get from former students is all about how what they learned has improved their lives,” he explains.

In addition to teaching health and fitness classes, Ron also manages the campus health and fitness center, a facility that is available to students, faculty and staff.

During the College’s closure due to the pandemic, Ron wrote a series of columns about how to stay active.

Susan Dunn, dean, behavioral and social sciences, calls Ron a “powerful and motivating force” at the West Campus.

“Ron is passionate about educating our students, faculty and staff about wellness and inspiring them to make positive changes in their lives,” she explains. “He is a walking encyclopedia of human health topics!”

Ron certainly knows a lot about physical education. He earned a master’s degree in physical education with a specialization in exercise physiology and wellness from the University of Central Florida. He also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.

Ron is also a master life coach, certified personal trainer, and strength and conditioning specialist, certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

In addition to his work at Valencia, Ron has taught health and wellness, coaching theory, medical self-assessment and kinesiology for occupational therapy assistants at the University of Central Florida, Rollins College and Keiser University.

He was also a corporate fitness coordinator for the Walt Disney Company.

Since 2008, Ron has been playing a role in helping students develop their minds and bodies at Valencia.

It’s a role he says is really working out for him because of the way the College helps its employees to be our best selves.

“Valencia is real. Real people accomplishing real things,” he says.

“Valencia provides a sense of community, which is an important part of having a healthy work/life balance,” he adds.

Ron is inspired by the fact that the College allows him to have the “freedom to teach what I know and positively impact the health and lives of students each semester,” he says.

He also appreciates that Valencia has opportunities for students in all phases of life from high school dual enrollment to lifelong learners.

In his free time, Ron enjoys what he calls the “3 Rs,” which he defines as “running, reading and relationships.”

Those relationships are all about spending time with his “amazing” wife and two “awesome children.”

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 He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.

Behavior Assessment Team and Campus Safety – Spring 2022

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Faculty, staff and student safety is always a priority at Valencia, and the College will continue to work hard to ensure a safe environment across all campuses and offices. One way the College is achieving this is with Valencia’s Behavior Assessment Team (BAT).

Formed in 2011-12 as part of the College’s Emergency Response Plan, the team follows protocols to review threatening behavior, assess potential issues and take action to reduce risk for Valencia community members — faculty, staff, students and visitors alike.

The team is co-chaired by East Region Dean of Students Joe Sarrubbo and Chief of Security Mike Favorit. Other team members include deans of students, managing directors and directors of the Security department, Faculty Association representatives, counselor representatives, and Organizational Development and Human Resources representatives.

Members of the BAT meet regularly to discuss reported behaviors, share information and receive continual training on what to look for and how to appropriately respond to threatening behavior.

The BAT has created two online reporting forms, both available on Valencia’s safety, security and risk management webpage.

  • The Incident Reporting Form is for incidents that have occurred and have been observed by a person who is willing to identify him/herself and provide the details of the incident.
  • The Anonymous Reporting Form is for incidents that have occurred and have been observed by a person who would like to remain anonymous and provide the level of detail that is available at the time.

Reports from both forms are reviewed and acted upon as appropriate.

It’s absolutely crucial that everyone be aware of their surroundings and report any threatening behavior in order to keep all of us safe. To help with this, please register for the Response to an Active Threat (Run-Hide-Fight) training. This is a required training for all Valencia faculty and staff. As sessions are offered, they will be posted in the Valencia EDGE.

Always remember, if you see something, say something!

In the event of an imminently threatening situation, please call 911. You may also contact campus security by calling 407-582-1000, which connects you to the West Campus Security Office’s line that is now monitored and answered 24/7. Or, contact your campus security office:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Training Center: 407-582-4000
  • District Office: 407-582-3000
  • East Campus: 407-582-2000
  • Lake Nona Campus: 407-582-7000
  • Osceola Campus: 407-582-4000
  • Poinciana Campus: 407-582-6500
  • School of Public Safety: 407-582-8000
  • UCF Police Substation (Downtown Campus only): 407-823-5555
  • West Campus: 407-582-1000
  • Winter Park Campus: 407-582-6000

And remember, if you haven’t yet downloaded the Valencia College Safety mobile app, do it today. This app allows users to simultaneously call and send their location to security in case of an emergency on Valencia campuses.

Venezuelan Electric Harpist Leonard Jacome to Perform at Valencia

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Time: 7:30 p.m. 
Location: East Campus, Performing Arts Center
Get your free tickets here

Date: Thursday, March 3, 2022
Time: 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.
Location: Downtown Campus, Seneff Plaza

Venezuelan Electric Harpist Leonard Jacome will perform at Valencia’s East and Downtown Campuses.

Leonard Jacome is a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer and producer, and is one of the world’s most prolific and accomplished harpists. He has won numerous awards representing Venezuela abroad and has toured and performed throughout Latin America, the United States, South Africa, Europe, Africa, Japan, Malaysia, and the UK.

The concerts are free and open to the public; however, tickers are required to enter the concert on East Campus. Limited seating will be available to allow social distance. Masks that cover the nose and mouth are expected.

No tickets are required for the outdoor concert at the Downtown Campus.

Are You Saving Enough? Find Out During America Saves Week with AIG Resources

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A Message from Tom Keller, Director, Total Rewards

America Saves Week, held from Monday, February 21 through Friday, February 25, 2022, is a great time to check your saving strategy to make sure you’re saving enough for the future you envision. This can include saving for retirement, building an emergency savings account or paying down debt.

Fortunately, Valencia’s relationship with our AIG Retirement Services partners provides you with many resources to educate you and help you explore the savings opportunities available.

AIG Short Videos

AIG Articles

On-demand AIG Financial Services Webinars

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

Financial Planning Advising Sessions

Be sure to take advantage of these individual financial counseling opportunities offered by AIG advisors to Valencia College employees.

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 saving for retirement, building a savings account or paying down debt. 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 or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).