You’re Invited to Serve as a Council Member in Our Newly Expanded Governance

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A Message from Katie Tagye, Director, Organizational Design and Development, and Michael Robbins, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

Last month we shared an update on Institutional Planning and Governance. This month we are seeking faculty and staff to serve in our newly expanded governance.

If you recall, our goal is to connect the work in the institutional plan with our Strategic Impact Plan goals. Therefore, in spring 2022, we will expand governance through the formation of strategic councils aligned with our institutional plans: Academic Program Council, Equity Council, Learning Council and Student Experience Council. These new strategic councils will be in addition to our Faculty Council and will broaden the scope of governance in alignment with our continued institutional growth and our stated goals in the College’s Strategic Impact Plan.

The strategic councils invite full-time employees to serve as council members. As a council member, your active engagement provides you with opportunities to offer your unique perspective to ongoing work at the College, develop and implement tactics related to our named strategies, and aid us in achieving our articulated institutional goals. Council members will have the following responsibilities:

  • Prepare for, attend and actively engage in council meetings
  • Participate in development opportunities
  • Participate in work teams, where applicable/needed
  • Contribute to governance communication

We encourage self-nominations via the following strategic council nomination forms and encourage you to use the final question in this form to describe connections between your strengths, experiences and/or talents and the charge of the council for which you are self-nominating. If you would like to self-nominate for more than one council, please complete this form for each nomination.

Faculty self-nominations are due no later than Thursday, February 3, 2022.

Administrator and staff self-nominations are due no later than Monday, February 14, 2022.

Interested in learning more? Consider attending the governance session during Learning Day.

Full-time faculty members can reach out to Michael Robbins at for more information on serving on one of the strategic councils. Full-time administrators and staff can reach out to Katie Tagye at for more information on serving on one of the strategic councils.

Pooky’s Pantry Partners With Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Just in time for its 10th anniversary this month, Pooky’s Pantry has a new partner — the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida — which will help stock the shelves to support Valencia College students and in need.

Now, the Student Development team, which manages Pooky’s Pantry, can view online what Second Harvest has available in its warehouse and order what’s needed for our pantries at any time, at no cost to the College.

With this new partnership, instead of the previous limit of five items per day, students may now take up to 20 items from the pantry per day.

If you would like to donate to Pooky’s Pantry, there are three ways to donate:

– Visit the Valencia College Foundation donations page and select “Pooky’s Pantry Fund” from the Designation dropdown menu.

– Donate funds directly by visiting your business office and telling them you want to donate to Pooky’s Pantry.

– Write a check made out to Valencia College Student Development with Pooky’s Pantry in the memo line and mail to:

Valencia College Student Development
701 N Econlockhatchee Trail
EC, 5-212E, MC: 3-8
Orlando, FL 32825

– Donate food and other items at our campus Pooky’s Pantry locations, Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. All Pooky’s Pantry locations are located in Student Development offices, except for East Campus, located in Building 4, Room 134. Pooky’s workers follow strict safety guidelines outlined by the Florida Department of Health, so all donations must be unused/unopened and not expired.

If you have any questions, contact Dayane Villatoro-Vazquez, student development program specialist, at or 407-582-2536.

Bridges to Success Hosts Fall 2021 Bash for Students

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

By Ray Kennard, Academic Advisor, Bridges

Following the success of our Spring 2021 Bash, the Bridges to Success (BTS) program decided to make this celebration a semester tradition. Our Fall 2021 Bash was special because it was the first time we had seen all of our students in person since the pandemic began. The event was held on Friday, December 17, 2021, on West Campus in the Special Events Center.

It was an energetic event complete with music and food. As the students arrived, they were given a menu with a selection of food items to choose from. As they made their choices, we had a team of BTS student volunteers wait on their peers and serve them their meal. Our Bridges to Success Program Director Tanisha Carter was behind the scenes in the kitchen making sure all the food was properly prepped and organized and had everything running like a well-oiled machine.

We typically give awards to our students, recognizing them for outstanding achievement in the semester, and this was no different. We recognized 68 students that achieved a 4.0 fall semester GPA! They received a scholar pin, a congratulatory postcard and a gift box full of goodies (granola bars, fruit snacks, etc.).

Next, we wanted to honor our fall 2021 graduates. Their schooling was abruptly interrupted in March 2020 with news of the COVID outbreak, yet they persevered, stayed the course and graduated this past December. All 21 of them also received a gift box full of goodies; they were also presented with a Bridges to Success medallion and a certificate detailing the number of hours they volunteered in the community while in the program.

We asked some of the recognized students to offer some advice to their peers. Sophomore student Yurkedhan Munoz said, “Do not wait until the last minute to complete your assignments, but work ahead.”

Another sophomore, Fritznel Serdon, stated, “Time management is no joke; it is a skill you will have to learn and master. This will keep your workload manageable and make sure to do some fun stuff to keep your morale high and stress low.”

In total, there were 89 students honored.

Tanisha was on double duty that day as she also gave a brief speech to conclude the event. She encouraged them to take advantage of the school’s resources like tutoring and the writing workshop. She also urged them to find their “why.” Why do they want a college education? Why are they pursuing their degree in a particular field?

“We are here to offer support and encouragement but please remember YOU are in the driver’s seat on this journey,” said Tanisha.

Share Your Spring 2022 First-week Photos

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

We hope you had a great first week of your Spring 2022 semester. We want to see your photos!

Whether you’re back on campus or still working remotely, send along your photos of your first week to by Monday, January 24, 2022, at noon. We will share your photos in The Juice and The Grove on Tuesday, January 25, 2022.

Rally Part 2: What Is a Mission?

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A Message from Jessica Johnson, UnitedHealthcare Nurse Liaison 

Last week, I announced a new, healthy living tool for employees with Valencia College’s UnitedHealthcare benefits designed to help you improve your health — Rally. Not only does this tool help you create healthy habits, but if you achieve your goals, you can earn coins that you can use to enter to win prizes such as an Amazon Fire TV Stick or iRobot Roomba. If you missed my announcement last week, you can check it out here. And don’t forget that if you register for Rally and complete its health survey by Friday, February 18, 2022, you’ll be entered into a Valencia College drawing for one of four $25 Amazon gift cards.*

One of my favorite parts of Rally is the ability to complete missions. A mission is a customized digital action plan designed to help you improve your life. Mission recommendations are made just for you under four categories: Move, Eat, Feel and Care. For example, my recommended missions range from “Do yoga every week” and “Stick to a regular bedtime” to “Swap a sugary drink for water” and “Spend more time outside.” There are hundreds of missions to choose from, and each mission is designed to be simple, action-focused and attainable.

How Will You See Your Recommended Missions?

Rally uses your responses to the health survey to determine which missions can be most helpful to you. For example, if you indicate in the survey that you don’t exercise regularly, Rally might recommend easier missions in the MOVE category that could benefit your health and are within your reach. You can see your recommended missions by clicking the MISSIONS tab in the top navigation bar.

How Do You Join a Mission?

STEP 1: To join a mission, select the MISSIONS tab at the top of any page in Rally, and click on BROWSE ALL. You’ll see the missions recommended for you at the top. In addition to the personal recommendations, you can view all available missions in the missions gallery.

STEP 2: Select the mission(s) you’re interested in and click the blue JOIN button. Each mission is a little bit different, so be sure to read the description.

STEP 3: Some missions may ask you to self-report data or integrate with a device (read these FAQs on how to sync your devices). Set up any dates/times at which you would like to be reminded about your mission. Simply populate the hour and minute squares accordingly. Then click the green SAVE REMINDERS button at the bottom. To see other recommendations, look in the ALL MISSIONS section. You can browse or use the filters to find missions you’d like to join.

How Do You Get Started?

Visit and select “See if you have Rally.” Then sign in with your UnitedHealthcare username and password. You will be directed to create a separate Rally username and password.

After you create your online Rally account, you may also take advantage of the Rally mobile experience by downloading the Rally app from the Apple Store or Google Play. Tap “Register for an account” and enter the mobile registration code BEWELL. Have your UHC card ready, as you’ll also need your member ID and group number.

To view Rally FAQs, click here.

Read the next article in my Rally series next week in The Juice and The Grove on how to check in, track your progress and complete a mission.

For questions, contact me at or 407-866-8134.

* Gift cards provided to employees of the College are considered cash equivalent items, and therefore, are taxable and will be added to W-2 earnings.

You’re Invited to Week of Welcome Events at the Downtown Campus

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

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

Although most of our Welcome Week events have come to a close, our Downtown Campus, in partnership with the University of Central Florida, has several “Week of Welcome” events remaining. You’re invited to join for the following events:

It Happens Downtown Resource and Registered Student Organization Fair
Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Location: Outside of Dr. Phillips Academic Comments

This event, open to all students, faculty and staff and held by Student Engagement and First Year Programs, provides information on Downtown Campus departments, resources and student organizations.

Downtown Market Day
Date: Thursday, January 20, 2022
Time: 12 – 4 p.m.
Location: Communication and Media Building Courtyard

Engage with student organizations on campus departments and community partners and learn about fun opportunities and events in Downtown Orlando.

Class Notes to Swan Boats
Date: Friday, January 21, 2022
Time: 12 p.m. 
Location: Lake Eola Amphitheatre 

Join Downtown Campus, faculty, staff and students for one of Downtown Orlando’s staple adventures, riding the swan boats. Registration is required here due to limited seating. 

For questions, contact Ashley Spry, coordinator, student engagement, at or 407-582-2785.

Thank You to Our EMS Faculty Who Participated in Osceola Cohort of Paramedics Recognition Ceremony

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

We would like to express our gratitude to our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) faculty who are providing the best learning experiences for our EMS students: Professors of EMS Cindy Bell, Bruce Weisenbarger, Bryan Spangler, Jamie Lowery, Louis Sabat, Travis Roberts, Pat Kelly, Steven Page and Lulu Matile.

It’s not every day that our Valencia College students have the opportunity to be recognized for their dedication. It is exponentially rewarding when the College has the opportunity to bring together our industry leaders to help with that recognition.

On Thursday, December 9, 2021, the Osceola cohort of paramedic students participated in the first recognition ceremony on that campus. Thirteen graduates had the opportunity to receive paramedic pins to recognize their achievement after a year of class and clinical work and also to mark their entry into the healthcare field during a time when our community’s need is immense. Orange County Fire and Rescue Division Chief Mike Wajda provided the ultimate inspiration in his speech that outlined four reminders for our recent graduates:

1. “You have an obligation to be your best. Your patient does not get to choose their paramedic — they get who 911 sends, so you owe them to be the best.”

2. “Be nice to your patients. It’s their worst day. They will not know if you gave the right medication, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

3. “Pay it forward. A lot of very smart instructors and preceptors showed you the way. Do the same for the next generation.”

4. “Love what you do. You have a chance to make miracles happen, and you will work beside the best people on the face of the earth. Love every minute of that privilege because it will not last forever.”

These thoughtful reminders will follow our graduates out into the field as they care for our family members and us. These are true reminders of how powerful health careers can be and how impactful our future health career graduates are to each one of us.

Students Recognized as Chefs During Baking/Pastry Medal Ceremony

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

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

More than 50 Valencia College culinary management and baking and pastry management students were recognized during the Walt Disney World Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality Culinary/Baking and Pastry medal ceremony held last month.

This tradition began on West Campus in spring 2018 to honor students completing Culinary Management and Baking and Pastry Management programs. The medal symbolizes that they completed the program with an A.S. in culinary management or an A.S. in baking/pastry management, and they are now recognized as a chef.

Michelle Crawford, a chef and owner of Bakers Cottage Cakes in Oviedo, served as the commencement speaker. The students and more than 100 family and friends enjoyed a beautifully decorated cake made by our students that was in the shape of a produce box.

Word Processing Services Available This Spring Term

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 

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

The West Campus Word Processing Center will continue to provide printing and word processing services this spring term.

Word Processing Services provides professional word processing and copying services to our faculty and staff, including typing and/or copying of letters, labels, certificates, syllabi, classroom handouts, tests and quizzes.

Printing requests can be submitted electronically utilizing ​the online order form ​found on the Word Processing Services website. Typing requests should be emailed to Materials related to either a print or typing project can also be sent to the Word Processing Center via interoffice mail using mail code 4-2. All completed projects will be returned to the requestor via interoffice mail.

All design work ​including books, brochures, flyers, programs and posters​ will be completed at the East Campus Print and Design Center. For details and to place a design request, click here.

Holiday Gifts Delivered to OCPS ACE Students

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

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

This year, in lieu of toys, the Orange County Public School Academic Center for Excellence (OCPS ACE) asked to help raise funds for the purchase of T-shirts for their students. These shirts will help foster a sense of community and school pride and will be something that the children can wear repeatedly now and in the future.

The United to Promote Cultural Awareness (UPCA) committee, in conjunction with Valencia College Downtown Campus and the Parramore Education and Innovation District (PEID), helped raise approximately $2,500 this year.

The day before the last day of fall term classes, representatives from UPCA, PEID and the UCF Police Department helped the administration of OCPS ACE to deliver these holiday gifts to each classroom and the students.