Valencia Update, October 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I hope the dust is settling from the fall semester start-up and you are all finding your stride in the new academic year. I have just a few items to share with you by way of an update:

1. At their September meeting, the State Board of Education approved Valencia’s applications for two bachelor degrees, a B.S. in Computer and Electrical Engineering Technology and a B.S. in Radiologic and Imaging Technology. With the approval came some additional kudos, with one member of the Board declaring that these were the best degree proposals she had seen at the State Board and that they should be shared with the other 27 colleges as models. This, of course, reflects the work of a great team in academic affairs. Meanwhile, we are continuing to prepare a third application for a B.S. in Cardiopulmonary Sciences. You may have noticed a lack of major hoopla relating to adding these degrees. This is by design and is consistent with our approach to these as simply new programs that, like all of our degree programs, meet a need in the community.

2. Meanwhile, the discussion of a possible name change continues. We have now held more than a dozen “blind” focus groups with students and prospective students, conducted forums on three campuses, discussed the matter with retirees and alumni, and will shortly engage in community leadership forums that will touch on this topic. We should be ready to bring a recommendation to the Board of Trustees by December. I’m still interested in hearing from any staff or faculty who want to share thoughts on this with me. Feel free to email, call, or “button-hole” me.

3. For more than a year, both the Board of Trustees and student leaders have expressed interest in adopting a policy to make Valencia “tobacco and smoke-free.” The core of their interest is protecting both staff and students from the effects of second-hand smoke, but there is also a sense of wanting to model good health in our policies. I have asked Dr. Bill Mullowney, Vice President for Policy and General Counsel, to develop a collaborative work group to explore the feasibility of adopting such a policy. There are many questions and details to be explored and the work team will seek input from a broad array of students and staff before making recommendations, perhaps as early as the middle or end of the spring term. Again, I want to encourage you to contribute to this important conversation. Look for more details to come from Dr. Mullowney very soon.

4. Homecoming at a community college? Who ever heard of such a thing? Well, Valencia’s Alumni Association has created a new model for homecoming, a celebration of many smaller communities within the larger Valencia family, over the course of this year. You can learn more about this creative approach to connecting with alumni at http://valenciacc.edu/alumni/Homecoming2010.cfm .

5. Planning and innovation never really cease at a healthy college, and you may notice opportunities to stay engaged with this work. Specifically, note an invitation from Susan Kelley to participate on one of the four Goal Teams that keep the college accountable to the goals we have set and revise them as necessary. Also, on November 12, there will be a college forum on our Gates Foundation Developmental Education Initiative. Watch for details.

6. The West Campus search for a new Provost is progressing. Three candidates have been identified for in-depth interviews, forums, etc. that will occur on October 18. If all goes well, we may be able to bring a new Provost on board in January. Meanwhile, I’m told that Dr. Graber will be able to continue his leadership of West Campus until November 12. Watch for various celebrations of his many years of service to Valencia as that date approaches.

The weather finally broke this week and those of us who exercise outdoors were reminded of just what a precious gift a breath of fresh air can be – especially when it is cool and dry air… Thank you for being a breath of fresh air to our students and our community.

–Sandy Shugart

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