Provost Update — September 2019

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost

I hope the fall semester is going well. It’s hard to believe it’s the end of September. This month, I want to share an update on our campus forums to discuss student outcomes, a reminder that we’re not alone in our work toward improving equity in student outcomes, our work to design a single tool for students to understand their transfer pathway to a baccalaureate program and a neat feature of Canvas.

Campus Forums: Student Outcomes

Thanks to everyone who has participated in our forums at Lake Nona, Osceola, Poinciana and Winter Park Campuses. The conversations have been robust and will help to inform and shape our work related to improving and achieving equity in our student outcomes.

All faculty and staff are invited to participate in an upcoming campus forum, during which we will discuss our student outcomes data and review our hypotheses about the conditions that promote student learning and success as well as our hypotheses about the conditions that may have led to disparate outcomes. We will also discuss why we have engaged in the practice of disaggregating our student outcomes data as well as the potential unintended consequences of that practice. Please join us!

  • Tuesday, October 1, 2019 – 1-2 pm – West Campus, Building 3, Room 111
  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – 1-2 pm – East Campus, Building 8, Room 101
  • November TBD – Downtown Campus

Equity in Student Outcomes

Valencia is not alone in our efforts to improve and achieve equity in our student outcomes. A number of peer institutions across the country are also working to create the conditions necessary for significantly more of their students to learn and succeed.

I found a recent article in Politico about Pasadena City College’s efforts to improve outcomes for students of color both informative and inspiring. It can be useful to review and reflect on what others are doing, not in an effort to copy best practices, but rather to help inform our thinking and perhaps add a different perspective to our hypotheses about the conditions that support learning and promote student success at Valencia.

I’ll plan to share other articles throughout the year; please feel free to send me articles that you have found insightful, interesting or thought-provoking.

Update on Degree Pathways

As I’ve shared in previous updates, the Learning Council commissioned a work team to develop a single tool for students to help them identify the courses in which they should enroll not only to meet graduation requirements at Valencia, but also to meet program prerequisites and requirements for their intended baccalaureate programs.

The work team asked students for feedback about what to call this new tool, and our students recommended that we use the term “Degree Pathway.” This fall, work team members will develop three sample Degree Pathways for academic programs with varying levels of flexibility (numbers of common program prerequisites and open electives, for instance). These Degree Pathways will be shared with students, advisors and faculty associated with these programs, as well as with the Learning Council. Based on the feedback collected, their content and format will be revised, and Degree Pathways will be created for all existing pre-majors and transfer plans.

In late January, the work team will host regional forums to gather additional input from faculty and staff, aiming for the official roll-out of the new Degree Pathways in the 2020-21 catalog.

If you have any questions or would like to provide additional input, please email Isis Artze-Vega, vice president, academic affairs, at or Sonya Joseph, associate vice president, enrollment management, at

Canvas Tip: “Message Students Who…”

Several weeks into the fall term marks a great time to reach out to students to communicate how well they’re doing. Students who are excelling can benefit from encouragement to keep up the great work; students who may be struggling will benefit from an invitation to connect with you to discuss their performance and how they might improve.

The Canvas gradebook makes it easy to send customized messages to students based on their performance on assignments. You can send a custom message to students who haven’t yet submitted an assignment or who scored higher or lower than a point value you define. For instructions on using the “Message Students Who…” tool in Canvas, please visit this online Canvas Guide.

For assistance using the “Message Students Who…” feature, or any other tool in Canvas, please visit your campus’s Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation.

Please reach out directly to me with your thoughts, comments, questions, suggestions and feedback at

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