Archive for the ‘Valencia Life and Ideas’ Category

  • Spring Budget Update

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    The Florida Legislature completed its budget work earlier than normal this year, a function of their decennial redistricting activity. While the…

  • College Update December 2011

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    It has been quite a week for Valencia, and before many of you begin to depart for a period of well…

  • Valencia Wins Top Aspen Prize!

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Dear Friends, Only moments ago, I enjoyed one of the highlights of my career and of Valencia College’s 43-year history when…

  • Summer Update, 2011

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    As you move towards wrapping up the summer terms and gearing up for the fall term, I have just a few…

  • Breaking Ground, Building Community

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Rarely do you get to be in conversation with those who are envisioning a new community, especially one where education is…

  • College Update May 2011

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    1.  Reorganization – Many of you are already aware that I have taken time over the past year to reconsider several…

  • Honoring our Graduates’ Dreams

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Commencement–my favorite day of the academic year–was Saturday, May 7 at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. We had a wonderful…

  • The Florida College System Needs Your Support

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Now is the time to strengthen rather than blunt the work of the 28 state/community colleges now known as the Florida…

  • A Different Kind of Learning Day

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    On February 11, more than 1,000 Valencia employees gathered under one roof – the UCF Arena – for a rare convocation we call Learning Day. Attendees heard from three remarkable alumni about their lives – lives that were shaped in part by Valencia.

    They came to share their inspirational stories and to thank Valencia for having played such an important role in their success. It isn’t often that we gather the entire Valencia family to learn and serve together. It was a real treat to see these graduates again and to connect their narrative to our core mission.

    Francis Angibeaud Montjen was a typical community college student, which is to say he didn’t fit in anybody’s box. He’s a native of Cameroon, West Africa, who earned a degree from Valencia in 2002. He later moved to the United Kingdom, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southampton. He hasn’t stopped there as he is currently working on a master’s degree in finance and banking at Queen Mary University in London.

    Abeer Beshir Abdalla, a 2005 Valencia grad – also named that year’s distinguished graduate – works as a writer and a communications specialist in Washington, D.C. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCF. A master storyteller, she spoke with passion of the value of learning and serving others.

    Eddie Ruiz is the principal of Jackson Middle School, the same place he once attended as a teenager. Ruiz received his A.A. degree from Valencia in 1999 and went on to UCF where he is currently pursuing his doctoral degree. He was a finalist for Orange County Teacher of the Year in 2006.

    All three of them demonstrate the power of an opportunity. Each seized theirs and are making a difference. I invite you to watch the video where they share what Valencia has meant to them.

  • Moving Forward: A Valencia Update

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Now that the dust has settled on the transition to the spring term, I’d like to share a few thoughts with you.

    1. We had a little extra dust to settle this year in the transition from fall to spring terms, mostly relating to “missing or phantom grades.” If you weren’t in the fray, here’s what you need to know. Valencia had some difficulty getting grades to post properly from the fall term. Some had to do with software design, some with an actual “glitch” in the software, and some from miscommunication. What I observed was the usual heroic effort to solve any issues these problems may have created for students – faculty, deans, division assistants, registration and records staff, OIT staff, and many others worked very hard to ensure our students weren’t compromised in this situation.

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the spirit of cooperation in a crisis that is rare in many organizations, but the normal response at Valencia. Meanwhile, both the software and communication issues have been worked out, though there is still some work to do to reach closure on the matter. Bottom line: you can trust the integrity of the grades in our system and the goodwill and competence of the people responsible for keeping it that way. In addition, we learned a few useful lessons along the way. To all who pitched in, thank you, thank you, thank you.

    2. As I have used our transition time in academic affairs to visit and listen to many of you around the college (a process that will continue through the spring.) I have heard several recurring themes in your questions and observations. An important question concerns our recent growth and plans for the future. This is understandable, as the college has grown 50% over the past five years, driven largely by the economic downturn. How should we think about this and what should we expect over the next few years?

    First, let me say that growth in and of itself is not a particular goal of the college. We’ve stretched ourselves not because we want to be huge, but because our students and our community needed us to.