Provost Update — January 2019

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost

In this January 2019 Provost Update, I’m sharing details on this year’s Big Meeting and several, strategic organizational changes that will help us better support our campuses and position us to serve a growing number of students over the next decade.

Bottom Line Up Front

  • If your schedule allows, please plan to attend Big Meeting, which is scheduled for Friday, February 8, 2019, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the West Campus Special Events Center. All employees are welcome and invited to attend, but seating is limited, so please register online.
  • As we prepare to welcome new vice presidents for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, we have a unique opportunity for reorganization within both divisions. The reorganization includes the creation of an assistant vice president of educational partnerships within Academic Affairs and an associate vice president of enrollment management within Student Affairs. The reorganization will have no impact on the budget and will not create additional administrative positions at the College.

Big Meeting – February 8, 2019
Please plan to join us for Big Meeting on Friday, February 8, 2019, at the West Campus in the Special Events Center. Refreshments will be available at 8:30 a.m., and Big Meeting will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. At Big Meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about our student outcomes, hear from the teams that have been researching our hypotheses about the conditions that affect student learning at Valencia and help us design our next steps in working to improve student outcomes collegewide.

All employees are welcome to attend, but seating is limited. Please register in advance online to reserve your seat at Big Meeting. I look forward to seeing you there!

Reorganization within Academic and Student Affairs
There is no question that we are in a season of change at Valencia. In December, Joyce Romano retired after more than 25 years of service, most recently as vice president of educational partnerships. On Monday, February 18, 2019, we will welcome Isis Artze-Vega, our new vice president of academic affairs. And we are currently searching for our next vice president of student affairs.

While change can feel unsettling, it also can represent opportunity. Given the vacancies in several senior-level roles, we are uniquely positioned to adjust our organizational structure to better support our large, distributed organization, which will continue to grow in scale and become even more distributed as we add campuses and prepare to serve a growing number of students over the next decade.

Changes in Academic Affairs
First, rather than replacing the position of vice president of educational partnerships, we will create an assistant vice president of educational partnerships role, reporting to the vice president of academic affairs. The assistant vice president of educational partnerships will provide leadership for a portfolio of programs that are designed to create access and opportunity for current and potential students, including Bridges to Success, Horizon Scholars, Dual Enrollment and LSAMP. We will also create a new position, director of college readiness and aspiration, to partner with our school districts to proactively address students’ preparedness for college.

I have asked Eda Davis-Lowe, who currently serves as director of STEM Programs and formerly served as director of our LSAMP program, to serve as assistant vice president of educational partnerships. At Valencia, Eda has provided extraordinary leadership to increase the number of underrepresented students who complete an associate degree and transfer into a STEM baccalaureate major by more than 20 percent. Furthermore, prior to joining Valencia, Eda led the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences Program at Oregon State University, which was designed to raise aspirations among underserved students and help them reach their full potential. Eda has made a significant impact throughout her career among students interested in STEM; in this new role, she will have the opportunity to make the same impact for students interested in all disciplines.

Second, we will not fill the position of assistant vice president for curriculum and assessment, which has been vacant since August 2018. To provide leadership for our curriculum committee and catalog development processes, as well as for curriculum alignment efforts with our university partners across the state, I have asked Cheryl Robinson, who has been serving as director of the Seneff Honors College, to serve in a newly created role of director of curriculum and articulation. Cheryl has a passion and a gift for this work, and I am confident she will thrive in this role.

Certain elements of our work, like our curriculum processes, must continue to be managed centrally to ensure consistency across all of our campuses. However, as we continue to grow in scale and distribution, a model focusing on coordination, rather than direction, for collegewide programs may be more responsive and flexible to allow the student-facing expression of those programs to be designed and implemented at each campus. As we look to develop a coordinated, collegewide model for Honors with local campus expressions, we will not fill the position of collegewide director of honors. Rather, I have asked Robyn Brighton, director of curriculum initiatives, to provide leadership for this new model. She will convene conversations with faculty and deans this spring to begin identifying the elements of our Honors program that must be consistent across all of our campuses, as well as design a process by which campuses can propose their own unique expressions of the Honors program. I am certain you will find her to be an excellent partner in this work. As Robyn leads the Honors design work, we’ll transition the leadership for our Study Abroad and Global Experiences programs to Lisa Eli, our assistant vice president for Global and Continuing Education. This transition will also allow for a stronger partnership and collaboration between our SAGE programs and our International Student Services and Global Engagement teams.

In addition to these changes, two areas will connect more strongly with Faculty Development. Nichole Jackson will serve as director of learning assessment, reporting to Wendi Dew, our assistant vice president for teaching and learning. This reporting relationship will help strengthen the connection between faculty development and assessment. Moreover, we will create a faculty fellow for sustainability position to support curriculum development efforts related to sustainability; the director of education for sustainability position will not be filled as of the end of the spring term.

Changes Within Student Affairs
In an effort to support better alignment between our enrollment processes, we have created a new position, associate vice president of enrollment management, to whom the assistant vice presidents of college transitions, admissions and records, and financial aid will report. I have asked Sonya Joseph to step into this new associate vice president role. Sonya has more than 27 years of experience at Valencia, having served in various roles including professor of mathematics, coordinator of student development, dean of students, and most recently assistant vice president of student affairs. I am confident she will successfully lead the important work of integrating our enrollment processes so our students are better able to navigate our systems, ultimately leading to improved student outcomes. In addition, we will create a new position, director of student communications, who will help the college communicate more effectively and efficiently with students.

This reorganization, which has no budgetary impact nor net impact on the number of administrative positions at the College, will allow us to meet the changing demands of an organization that is growing in scale, distribution and complexity, and position us well for growth in the future.

I look forward to seeing many of you at Big Meeting to continue our discussions related to efforts to improve student learning and student outcomes at Valencia. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

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