Bachelor’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Earns ABET Accreditation

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Valencia College Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) recently received ABET accreditation, a significant step in ensuring quality standards for the degree.

The accreditation is important to students, as graduates of Valencia’s ECET program can now sit for the Professional Engineer licensure exam in the state of Florida. Although accreditation was earned recently, this benefit is retroactive and effective as of October 1, 2016.

Additionally, the accreditation garners respect and recognition for Valencia and the ECET Program from other institutions and industry partners.

“This is a significant milestone for Valencia College to have a very high quality external validation of its first baccalaureate program,” said Paul Wilder, dean, engineering, computer programming and technology. “ABET accreditation is a game changer for our students and the program. I am honored to work with a faculty that is dedicated to high value and quality of education. They worked tirelessly to accomplish this monumental task.”

Paul specifically wished to recognize the work of Masood Ejaz, professor and department chair, electronic and computer engineering technology; and Ali Notash, professor, electronic and computer engineering technology.

“Both of them worked tirelessly to help produce a stellar assessment process that has been recognized as outstanding,” said Paul. “I appreciate their hard work.”

Additionally, Paul thanks the West Campus for its support on this process, as well as Will Goodman, lab supervisor, electronics engineering, and Tommy Dillen, lab supervisor, building construction and engineering.

ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental agency that accredits programs in applied and natural science, computer, engineering and engineering technology. ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards for the profession for which that program prepares graduates.

Ring in the New Year With a SHRM CP/SCP Certification

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

If you’re interested in increasing your knowledge in human resources, our Continuing Education team will offer a course to prepare students to earn Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) or Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credentials every Monday from February 22 through May 24, 2021, from 6 – 9 p.m. This hybrid course is offered online and on the West Campus.

This course is appropriate for human resources professionals who are eligible for SHRM CP/SCP certifications, as well as individuals who want to increase their education and training in human resources or to enhance their marketability and advance in the profession.

The program fee is $1,395. Full-time employees who have been employed at the College a continuous six months or more qualify for $1,100 per fiscal year to use toward professional development opportunities like this course. For details, click here.

To register, click here and search for SHRM, or call 407-299-5000, extension 6688.

For questions, contact Shelly Davis, administrative manager, at or 407-299-5000, extension 8238.

Girl Power: Electrical Powerline Technician Jessica Giles

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Meet Jessica Giles, the first female graduate of Valencia College’s Electrical Powerline Technician Accelerated Skills Training program. In this program, Jessica learned to install, maintain and repair the nation’s power infrastructure to keep our homes and businesses running. Watch a video about her experience in the program (and her climbing a very tall pole) below.

After graduating, Jessica received an employment offer from one of Florida’s largest electric utilities, and she’s excited about starting her new role.

Online Art Exhibit Explores Fantasy, Violence and the Female Body

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Through Thursday, March 4, 2021, the Valencia College Anita S. Wooten Gallery presents “Faun Manne: Tattoo Me!,” an online exhibit that explores themes of fantasy, violence and the female body.

“This series is largely concerned with the inner workings of men’s fantasies about women,” Manne said about her work. “It came about while browsing in a bookstore, where I found a wonderful, colorful and well illustrated Pulp Art book from the 1940s. While entranced with the quality of art, I began to realize the portraits of women were very demeaning. They concerned men’s sexual fantasies about women, which were disturbing in their violent nature. Women, always beautiful and mostly half naked, were pictured being beaten, tortured and terrified in the most disturbing ways.”

Manne, a fashion designer and fashion illustrator who turned her hand back to her first love of art, added, “I went about a method of showing this dark side of sexual fantasies. I chose to depict the women as completely unaware of the effect they were having on men, as a woman certainly cannot fathom the depths of the male mind. I decided to stylize the women as though they were models from fashion magazines, as models are, for the most part, advertising sexuality. I decided the women must wear the illustrated fantasies as if they were garments, thus clothed in depravity.”

Carlye Frank, professor, art, and gallery curator added, “Faun Manne’s work fascinates and disturbs, in equal measure. Manne’s figures mimic and mock the figures depicted in early 20th century pulp magazines and novels — the beguiling, unsettling blankness of the painted faces calls out the exaggerated fear and vacant desire in the vintage drawings upon which they are based and built.”

To view the exhibit, click here. Please note that this exhibition contains depictions of nudity and adult themes. Viewer discretion is advised.

Join the Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Region’s Leadership Team at a Town Hall

Friday, January 15, 2021

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Zoom

You are invited to our spring Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana regional town hall, hosted by the leadership team. This is an opportunity to connect with colleagues and ask any questions that may be on your mind. Attendance is completely voluntary. You are welcome to participate as much or as little as your schedule allows.

West Region Town Hall Welcomes Back Employees

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A Message from Terri Graham, Interim President, West and Downtown Campuses

The West Region welcomed all faculty and staff to the spring semester via a West Region Town Hall held on Thursday, January 7, 2021.

In all, 387 Valencia employees attended the Zoom event to celebrate the start of another term, share information and discuss important matters at hand.

Terri welcomed the faculty and staff back from the holiday break, thanked them for their dedication to the students and provided general updates.

Student Affairs representatives Edna Jones Miller, dean of students, Downtown Campus, and Andel Fils Aime, dean of students, West Region, announced the conclusion of a successful calling campaign during which more than 31,600 calls were placed to students collegewide to encourage spring enrollment.

In addition, they indicated that 1,000 students received virtual assistance with spring 2021 enrollment over Winter Break thanks to extended Student Affairs holiday service, which was available to students between Monday, December 28, 2020, and Saturday, January 2, 2021.

Edna also announced that new Valencia student residents at UnionWest at Creative Village, on the Downtown Campus, will need a negative COVID-19 test result to move in.

In addition, the Downtown Campus will continue to work with the University of Central Florida to provide joint initiatives for Downtown Campus staff such as staff training for First Stop (Answer Center) and a collaborative professional development series for staff, as well as joint student development activities for students.

Jennifer Tomlinson, interim dean, learning support, proudly shared the news that all New Student Experience instructors have received the Digital Professor certification and praised all faculty for having 100% grade submission.

She also said that new Real-time Virtual (RTV) course sections as well as additional face-to-face SLS 1122 New Student Experience sessions for international students were added to the region’s roster of course offerings for students.

In addition, Jennifer said students may now request one-on-one virtual meetings with a librarian and shared that a future West Region Learning Support employee communication was in the works, among other announcements. You can view a list of important resources shared by Jennifer here.

With the assistance of the West Region Leadership Team, who reviewed the chat online, Terri utilized a significant portion of the meeting to answer questions on various topics. She concluded the Welcome Back by assuring the region that she would attend at least one division meeting again this term for a more intimate setting.

Join PJI for The Dream Community Dialogue Series

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Join the Peace and Justice Institute — in partnership with the Orlando Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission — for The Dream Community Dialogue Series. The foundation of these workshops highlights our shared humanity by inviting participants to explore race and systems of privilege and oppression while focusing on our lived experiences. The overarching goal of this series is to cultivate a renewed mindset that prioritizes the value of relationships, belonging and trust within the local community.

DREAM Session 1: Waking Up to Our Shared Humanity

Date: Thursday, January 21, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Online

In this workshop, facilitators share the stories of their unique paths of identity development and the powerful changes it brought to their lives. These stories invite participants to consider how a deep exploration of identity, through the lens of race, might transform one’s life. Click here for more details and to register

DREAM Session 2: Understanding Bias

Date: Thursday, February 4, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Online

Learn about the emerging science of implicit bias, along with strategies and tools to skillfully navigate implicit bias, fundamental attribution error and confirmation bias. Registration and information on how to join the session will become available on the City of Orlando website on Friday, January 22, 2021.

DREAM Session 3: Conversations on Race

Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Online

Conversations on Race invites participants to discuss the topic of race and how it affects each of us in our daily lives as we consider action steps to help us move forward together toward more equitable communities. Registration and information on how to join the session will become available on the City of Orlando website on Friday, February 5, 2021.

DREAM Session 4: Understanding Privilege

Date: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Online

In this session, participants will gain an understanding of what is meant by privilege (unearned advantage) and explore multiple areas of privilege, including white privilege. Registration and information on how to join the session will become available on the City of Orlando website on Friday, February 19, 2021.

DREAM Session 5: Family Conversations on Race

Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Online

Moving beyond shame and blame, this workshop invites participants to explore methods to discuss these topics within the family and personal spheres of influence. Registration and information on how to join the session will become available on the City of Orlando website on Friday, March 5, 2021.

DREAM Session 6: Moving Into Action: Becoming an Ally

Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Online

In this culminating workshop, participants will pull together the knowledge, skills and practices learned over the course of the series and put them into practice. Registration and information on how to join the session will become available on the City of Orlando website on Friday, March 19, 2021.

For details on all events in the series, visit the City of Orlando website. 

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. With VAHC Events

Thursday, January 14, 2021

To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s activism and leadership, the Valencia African Heritage Committee (VAHC) invites you to the following events that will celebrate civic engagement and activism.

Downtown Campus Parramore Room Virtual Tour

Dates: Monday, January 18 through Saturday, January 23, 2021
Time: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Daily
Location: City of Orlando Website

The Parramore Room Virtual Tour celebrates Dr. King’s commitment to working within the community by highlighting our community, Parramore. The virtual tour will feature the artwork by artist Nancy Gutkin O’Neil, which honors the heritage and history of Parramore. The event is a collaboration with the University of Central Florida and local Parramore residents and business owners.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Man, Myth and Message

Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Time: 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom

This discussion panel, Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr.: Man, Myth and Message, will focus on the portrayals of Dr. King in film, theater and television. Panelists include Terri Graham, interim president, West and Downtown Campuses; James Webb, professor, Bronx Community College; Anthony Milburn, associate professor and chair of Department of Humanities, Central State University; and Bill Grant, author of “Post-soul Black Cinema: Discontinuities, Innovations and Breakpoints, 1970-1995.”

Special VAHC Talks! “I’m Speaking”: Inauguration Watch Party

Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Time: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Pending finalized official schedule)
Location: Zoom

“VAHC Talks!” will hold a special event for the inauguration. Join colleagues and students as we celebrate the swearing in of the first BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) woman vice president and reflect on what this means to us and the women of previous and future generations.

The Actively Engaged Community

Date: Thursday, January 21, 2021
Time: 11 a.m . – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Facebook Live

The discussion panel, “The Actively Engaged Community” will engage in a critical discussion about the value of being an active citizen working in, with and for the community. The panelists include Professor Patricia Broussard from FAMU Law and elected official Rep. Travaris McCurdy. The event is a collaboration with the University of Central Florida and FAMU Law School.

All events are open to Valencia College employees and students. For more information on these events and the importance of leaders like Dr. King, visit the newly created LibGuide, Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: From Selma to Minneapolis – The Struggle ContinuesTo view a list of additional events planned by VAHC, click here. 

In Memory of Colten Aberaham Kamal

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A Message from Kamal Kamal, Professor, Biology

Our deepest condolences to Professor of Biology Kamal Kamal whose son, Colten Aberaham Kamal, passed away at the age of 20 on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

Kamal shared Colten became eligible for Valencia’s honors program after placement testing. He also shared the following message:

Thank you, my Valencia fellow coworkers, for the kind words you expressed and the flowers you sent in remembrance of my son Colten. God blessed me with a bigger circle, the Valencia Family who stood with my family during the celebration of Colten’s life. 

To leave a message for the family, click here. 

West Region Celebrates Its Cancer Slayers

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A Message from Terri Graham, Interim President, West and Downtown Campuses

To show our support of faculty and staff who have faced a cancer diagnosis, the West Region is celebrating and honoring our cancer survivors.

I became reflective about this illness during October, a month during which I lost several family members to various types of cancer. To honor those who have battled or are battling this disease, I sent an email asking survivors to share their stories.

I definitely didn’t expect to receive so many responses, which speaks to the levels of courage and determination we have within our organization. When Catrina Semakula, staff assistant II, and someone whom I’ve never met, responded that she had just been diagnosed, I was even more motivated to do a story to encourage her and others within our region who may be privately going through the same situation.

I’m hopeful that this story honoring our survivors will not only encourage those like Catrina who are still battling cancer, but also let them see the team of “cancer slayers” all around them.

I’d like to honor the following cancer slayers (please note that this list does not include every West and Downtown Campus cancer survivor, but those who responded to my email):

Ruby Alvarez, interim dean, nursing
Breast cancer
Remission: Two years

Kourtney Baldwin, professor, architecture
Colon cancer
Remission: Three years

Daniel Barkowitz, assistant vice president, financial aid and veteran affairs
Colon cancer
Remission: Eight years

Patrick Bartee, professor, speech
Throat Cancer

Paul Blankenship, dean, mathematics
Remission: Five years

Tanisha Carter, director, Bridges to Success
Breast cancer
Remission: Three years

Elizabeth Coleman, professor, nursing
Thyroid cancer
Remission: Three years

Penny Conners, part-time faculty, radiologic and imaging science
Multiple myeloma
Remission: Three months

Bareaa Darkhabani, director, facilities
Breast cancer
Remission: 10 years

Janice Delahunty, professor, nursing
Breast cancer
Remission: Eight years

Bob Gessner, dean, science
Skin cancer
Remission: Four years

Celeste Henry, counselor
Ovarian cancer
Remission: Four years

Renato Mendonca,  technical support specialist
Colon cancer
Remission: One and a half years

Beverly Moore-Johnson, coordinator, career program advisor
Colon cancer
Remission: One year

Christine Moran, coordinator, career development services
Thyroid cancer
Remission: 20 years

Jasmine Nokaly, part-time faculty, English
Breast cancer
Remission: Seven years
Thyroid cancer
Remission: 15 months

Robin Poole, professor, dental hygiene
Breast cancer
Remission: 12 years

Andy Ray, professor, building construction technology
Prostate cancer
Remission: 14 years

Catrina Semakula, staff assistant II
Breast cancer
Diagnosed on July 31, 2020

Danielle Strong-Robinson, professor, English
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Remission: Four years

Allie Vatcher, Director, Marketing
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Remission: Seven years

Read on for meaningful quotes from the men and women who fought and slayed this disease:

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, may you draw hope and encouragement from our many cancer survivors. Congratulations to all our West Region Cancer Slayers!