Voices of Valencia Perform Uplifting Spring Concert

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 

Voices of Valencia (VOV) recently recorded an “inspiration concert” to uplift us all during trying times.

The concert featured the songs “You Never Walk Alone,” “One Song,” “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks,” “Let There Be Peace” and a piece by A Cappella Valencia, a small group from within Voices of Valencia, titled “When I Fall in Love.”

VOV is composed of students, community members and Valencia professors who teach across several disciplines.

Some key members of VOV include James Jones, part-time faculty, music, who serves as both producer and choir director; accompanist, Darren Lacoste, a mathematics professor who sang in the choir for 23 years and has also created the tracks for some of these songs (he regularly creates practice tracks to help the choir); and Jimmy Jones, part-time faculty, digital media. Jimmy, who is James’ son, has sung with the choir from its inception and is currently in charge of audio recordings mixing and editing video material.

“This is an excellent example of how different singers from different backgrounds and different professors from different departments can come together to create something that I believe is amazing,” said James. “It is a lot hard work and somewhat time-consuming, but it is worth it.”

VOV will celebrate its 25th anniversary in the fall 2021 by performing excerpts from its holiday show “Noel.”

You can listen to VOV’s most recent concert below:

Valencia’s Black Advisory Committee Honors Students During Annual Incentive Awards

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Black Advisory Committee (BAC) honored 13 students on Friday, March 26, 2021, during the 44th Annual Incentive Awards ceremony, held virtually.

Ten students were named 2021 Incentive Award Winners. Nominated by Valencia staff or by self-nomination, this annual award is granted to students who have participated in social justice and equity initiatives for the Black/African American community and/or have achieved academic success despite adverse circumstances. To qualify, students must be degree seeking and have completed at least 12 hours of coursework at Valencia with a GPA of 2.0 or better.

The Incentive Award recipients each received a $400 check and a certificate.

In addition, three students, Jaime Casseus, Sasha Serville and Savanna Hufner, received a $350 Eula P. Jenkins Scholarship. This scholarship is granted to nontraditional students with a GPA of 2.5 or better who have completed the Valencia Foundation’s online application.

For a list and biography of the Incentive Award and scholarship recipients, click here.

If you are interested in donating to the scholarships awarded by the BAC, please visit the Valencia College Foundation. Please select “other” and write BAC Incentive Awards in the “other designation” area.

Innovative Practices at Valencia: View The Innovation of the Year Award Nominees

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 

Innovation is a pillar of excellence at Valencia College. With the shift to remote work, this last year, faculty and staff were pushed to innovate more than ever before. In fact, despite the year of uncertainty, we received four outstanding nominations for the 2021 Innovation of the Year Awards, designed to recognize faculty, staff and administrators who have created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies and activities that improve our ability to serve students and the community.

This year’s nominations are presented below:

Decreasing Online Anxiety and Maintaining Personal Connections Via Integrated Learning Sessions

Michael Moniz, Professor, Speech; Melonie Sexton, Professor, Psychology

A new feature on course design for the Downtown Campus is the integrative learning model for the general education program. Downtown Campus faculty established an interdisciplinary curriculum to provide students from different classes with a shared learning experience. During the pandemic and switch to online classes, certain faculty members have kept up their commitment to this work. Specifically, Professor of Speech Michael Moniz partnered with Professor of Psychology Melonie Sexton to develop online sessions on how to lower anxiety during times of stress. These joint sessions were specifically created to address the unique situation that we are all experiencing. The faculty members hypothesize that this model will lead to deeper learning, higher course success, enhanced retention rates among participants, and most importantly, a stronger connection to each other during these difficult times.

Nominated by: Melonie Sexton, professor, psychology

A Free Open Educational Resource (OER) Based Intermediate Algebra Course

Amanda Saxman, Professor, Mathematics; Joel Berman, Professor, Mathematics; Steve Francis, Professor, Mathematics; Richard Weinsier, Instructional Lab Supervisor

The Open Educational Resource (OER) Intermediate Algebra course began as a discussion among math faculty members who wished to provide a no-cost alternative to students taking one of the department’s largest course offerings (Intermediate Algebra) without compromising quality. The course was created with the intention of it being shared with as many faculty and across as many campuses as possible. The hope was to also provide a template for other disciplines and colleges to use as they consider creating OER course templates. Because of this, the team responsible for realizing this OER Intermediate Algebra course is constantly responding to the needs of students and faculty, providing training when needed, and adapting and updating the course materials to improve the experience.

No one could have predicted that we would go fully online in the middle of spring 2020, and not come back for more than a year. But those faculty members who have been using these materials have been complimentary and thankful that their students are not experiencing the issues with access codes and delayed textbooks their colleagues have experienced. More and more faculty are interested in OER, in general, and in using the OER Intermediate Algebra course, in particular. The innovative OER course saves students valuable time and money allowing them to start each term with the tools they need to succeed, a challenge that has only grown during COVID-19. The OER course improves Valencia’s ability to serve our students and the community with high quality, no-cost materials.

Nominated by: Alison Hammack, professor of mathematics

FAME Virtual Homeschool

Yasmeen Qadri, Professor, Education

FAME is an innovative approach to a problem that arose due to the unique situation that pandemic has caused. Service learning in teacher education became extremely difficult when schools were shut down and students that needed to fulfill that requirement were not always able to find willing virtual programs or teachers to shadow. FAME arose as a virtual homeschool program that allowed Valencia students to help get service learning hours, not only fulfilling the requirements of the College, but also ensuring that there are future educators who are able to handle whatever situations arise in the field of education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the globe; the transition from face-to-face to virtual was not easy for educators and institutions. The challenges of health issues and technological know-how may have been overwhelming in some areas of the country. Despite this situation, there was still the expectation of providing the best education with no compromises to children.

In order to support students who needed to complete service learning hours and the objectives of the teacher education program, Yasmeen opened the FAME Virtual Homeschool. In doing so, she was able to provide moral support, mentorship and training to student teachers. Approximately 20 student teachers underwent the intensive orientation and completed their service hours.

Nominated by: Omer Kazmi,  professor, English

Outstanding Leadership in Times of Change

Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources

It is quite possible that there is nothing more important at a college than selecting the next president. Students, faculty and staff must feel confident that the president is upholding the mission of the institution, listening to the needs of the employees and setting a vision for the future. Amy designed and executed a search process that was transparent, equity-minded, and put students and our community at the forefront. Thanks to Amy’s thoughtful approach, there were numerous opportunities for the candidates to engage with all of these key stakeholders. Similarly, her design of the Roadmap for Reopening plans allowed for maximum input from the employees at the College. The cautious design of the reopening plans allowed for a safe path to reopening, which has allowed our students to continue learning and our community to be healthy. The amount of work Amy dedicated to these efforts is tremendous, and as a result, our College is safer and stronger.

Nominated by: Nichole Segarra, dean, mathematics

Next week, we will announce the 2021 Innovation of the Year Award winner in The Juice and The Grove.

In the meantime, please take a moment to congratulate the nominees in the comments below.

360º Global Learning Experiences Allows Students to Virtually Travel

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Valencia College Libraries and Study Abroad and Global Experience are pleased to host the 360º Global Scavenger Hunt for students. There’s no need for participants to dust off their passports or book plane tickets. This international quest allows participants to tour famous sites and landmarks from the comforts of their own homes with the chance to win prizes like Bluetooth earbuds, a power bank and a cushioned laptop lap desk. The scavenger hunt started yesterday and will continue through Sunday, April 18, 2021.

Students can tour countries like England, India and Greece and then answer five questions about the sites to enter to win. Students can begin their journey here.

The journey takes place via 360º Global Learning Experiences, a self-paced, interactive platform that faculty can use to internationalize the curriculum. Students and employees can use it to access virtual international travel, which is a great way to experience various international cities without worrying about mobility limitations, financial limitations or travel restrictions like those set by COVID-19.

Faculty and staff who would like to register for a 360º Global account to explore what it can offer may register for a free account here with a Valencia College email address.

For questions, contact Librarians Karene Best at kbest7@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 6025 or Ciara Hensley at chensley1@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 2812.

April Is Stress Awareness Month: 10 Tips to Help You Cope

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

April is Stress Awareness Month. Check out these 10 tips for less stress from UnitedHealthcare.

1. Speak nicely to yourself. When you hear negative self-talk rumbling in your head, replace it with an encouraging or kinder thought. Show yourself the same compassion you’d give a good friend.

2. Set yourself in motion. Do anything active — even if you don’t feel like it. Once you get started, you may be surprised by how good it feels. Walk on a work break. Stretch for a few minutes. Dance around your room.

3. Breathe stress away. Calm your mind with deep breathing. Even a few minutes can help. If your mind starts to wander, just return to focusing on your breath.

4. Focus on what’s good. Do you sometimes dwell on negative events or encounters? Try not to give them more space in your mind than what’s worth appreciating. Take it to the next level: Use a gratitude app or write in a journal what you’re grateful for. It may take some effort at first — but you may find you get better at it with practice.

5. Spend time with a friend. Being around caring people who make you feel valued can be a real boost. Even better: Put your phone away — and give your full attention.

6. Nourish yourself. Take time to make yourself a healthy snack — like a tasty smoothie. Wholesome foods can help boost your energy and mood. When it feels like a treat, that’s an added perk. For example, check out this burrito bowl recipe from Orlando Health.

7. Look to nature. Being in natural settings can be good medicine for the mind — helping calm nerves and relieve mental fatigue. Can’t get outdoors? Even gazing out a window at the sky and clouds might do the trick.

8. Give yourself some credit. Feeling down on yourself? Write down at least three things you’re good at or like about yourself.

9. Shake up your routine. We can all get in ruts sometimes. Eat lunch under a shady tree. Drive a different route home. Try a new recipe or workout. Do something fun and creative.

10. Call it a day early. Skimping on sleep can affect your mood — and make it harder to cope with everyday challenges. If you’ve been shorting yourself, a good night’s rest might do you wonders.

Also, check out this on-demand Orlando Health webinar, Foods that Fight Stress, to learn about foods that impact of stress and the habits that can ease your stress levels. To access the seminar, you will need the access passcode: @+Yuv36r. Please note you must type in the password (not copy/paste it) in order to access the webinar.

Valencia College Theatre Debuts Docudrama ‘Privilege’

Tuesday, April 6, 2021


  • Thursday, April 15, 2021
  • Friday, April 16, 2021
  • Saturday, April 17, 2021
  • Sunday, April 18, 2021

Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Online

Valencia College Theatre is debuting “Privilege” on the virtual stage this month. This gripping original docudrama explores the ramifications of the word “privilege” by drawing on a broad range of participants in a revealing collaboration of multiple cultures, genders, races, economic statuses, sexuality, ages, ability and more.

A link to the performance will be available 30 minutes prior to showtime on the Valencia Arts webpage.

Read more on the Valencia College News site.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

A Message from Paul Rooney, Assistant Vice President, Operations

The West Campus state/FEMA COVID site is now administering the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine to people 18 years and older. All federally operated vaccination sites in the state, including Valencia’s, have switched to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Individuals who have already received a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the only vaccine approved in persons 16 and older, will be guaranteed a second dose, but FEMA is not administering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine at this time.

Vaccines will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and approximately 3,000 doses will be administered daily. If you’re scheduled for your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, please do your best to keep your appointment. Also, please bring your vaccination card to your appointment.

Please note that while Valencia will not administer vaccines to 16- and 17-year-olds, they are still eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine at other state sites.

Vaccines are being distributed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or as long as supplies are available each day. Individuals are served on a first-come, first-served, walk-up basis. When coming to the West Campus for the vaccine, please remember to use the North entrance (the entrance nearest Wawa).

Although pre-registration is not necessary, the state has a preregistration system for COVID-19 vaccinations. To preregister in Florida, individuals can either call the designated phone number for their county or visit myvaccine.fl.gov.

As details about the West Campus state/FEMA COVID vaccination site are rapidly evolving, please check Central Florida’s local news websites for future updates. You can also stay updated on vaccine site locations on the Florida Department of HealthOrange County Government and Osceola County Government websites.

As you’re planning your vaccination, a reminder that for a limited time, Valencia College will provide a maximum of 12 hours of paid time off for employees (on an as-needed basis) to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and/or recover from the side effects. For details, click here.

How Is the Spring Term Going?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources

It’s been over a year since we began responding to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic and what a year it’s been. Circumstances seem to be changing just as quickly this spring as they did last, and we wanted to check in with you to see how things are going. In the past few weeks, vaccines are now available to all College employees and now to anyone 18 or older, we’ve announced our move to Phase 3 operations for summer, and we are thinking about what the fall will look like.

We want to hear from you about how you are doing in the midst of continued change. Whether you returned to campus or you’re still working remotely, please complete this short survey about your experiences, challenges or successes. In this survey, you may also request to be contacted by a member of the Organizational Development and Human Resources team. 

Please complete the survey by Friday, April 16, 2021.

For immediate questions, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

It’s Earth Month; Celebrate by Getting Outdoors and Visiting Local Parks and Trails

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

A Message from Carrie Black, Director, Energy Conservation and Sustainability 

Happy Earth Month!

Did you know that Americans spend 90% of our time indoors? This Earth Month, safely get outdoors to explore the beautiful natural spaces we have in our community, de-stress before the end of term and have fun.

Grab your bike or rent one at the Chapin Station and explore the 22.26-mile paved trail in Winter Garden and Apopka on the West Orange Trail.

Are you close to West Campus? Check out Eagle Nest Park, just one mile away from campus and accessible by bike or by walking on multi-purpose trails along Kirkman Road. This park is a great place to visit for a picnic, and walk on paved walkways, with lots of bird watching. There are softball fields near the entrance, but be sure to explore further back. There is a beautiful lake and the park serves as a trailhead for the Shingle Creek Trail, miles of paved, multi-purpose trail.

Near East Campus? Less than 10 minutes from campus is the Little Econ Greenway, a 7.4 mile riverside paved trail with recreation, picnicking, wildlife watching and canoeing available. Several of the bridges along the trail are great for photo-ops.

Further south, near the Lake Nona Campus, explore Split Oak Forest, which offers horseback riding, wildlife viewing and hiking.

Too hot to bike or hike? Cool off and go tubing at a natural spring park. Learn where by attending the:

Earth Day Virtual Celebration Event: The Great Outdoors – Local Edition

Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Time: 1 – 2 p.m.
Location: Zoom

Celebrate Earth Month and Earth Day by safely exploring the great outdoors — in our own community. From local springs and swimming to bike trails and hiking, Orange County Parks have much to offer. Hear from Alicia Baxter, sustainability coordinator for Orange County Parks and Recreation about our local parks, and start planning your next trip.

Campus Store Offers West Campus Pickup and Free Shipping Again for Summer

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

With the successful curbside pickup and free shipping programs this spring, Valencia College’s Campus Store will again offer a West Campus pickup option and free shipping for the summer term.

Window Pickup
Due to the West Campus vaccination site utilizing the parking lot where we held the curbside pickup option in spring, the Campus Store will offer a window pickup location on West Campus at the Building 2 book buyback windows.

Starting on Sunday, April 18, 2021, students can choose window pickup when purchasing course materials online. Students who select window pickup will receive an email when their order is ready and they can pick up their order.

Window pickup will be available between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays between Monday, April 19 and Saturday, May 29, 2021.

When picking up materials, students must have a photo ID such as a driver’s license or Valencia College student ID and are encouraged to bring a mobile device (if they have one) to access their order confirmation email and number. When they arrive, students should park in Parking Lot C (if needed, Parking Lot A will also be available). From there, students must click on a link in their confirmation email, complete a virtual check-in form and then proceed to the pickup window. Students must follow COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing a mask, when picking up their orders.

Free Shipping Until June 30
For Campus Store orders placed between 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 5, 2021, and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, shipping is free.

The Campus Store Needs Your Help
To help facilitate a more efficient and seamless order processing and pickup experience for our students, the Campus Store needs your help. Volunteers are needed to help process orders and assist with the pickup service on West Campus. If you are interested in volunteering to help the Campus Store, contact Camille Hernandeztalent sharing coordinator and assistant director, conferencing and college events at chernandez165@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 5786.