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.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
As you have heard, the name change is official. We will be “Valencia College.” It will be effective July, 2011 and we have plans for rolling it out, changing signs, etc. Quite a number of students have written me to determine if their diplomas from this spring will read Valencia Community College or Valencia College. The answer is nothing changes until July…
As I announced to West Campus Monday, let me now announce to the entire college that Dr. Falecia Williams will serve as Interim Provost of the West Campus beginning January until the selection of a new leader for the campus is completed, probably around June. She has served Valencia for some ten years in a variety of leadership roles and came to us from a career in gifted education at the secondary level.
We have a large selection committee involved in a very open and collaborative process recruiting candidates and discerning together who may be the best fit for West Campus at this time: Lisa Macon, Russell Takashima, Gustavo Morales, Diane Orsini, Sharyn Gaston, Suzanne Lynch, Elizabeth Renn, Nasser Hedayat, Ty Johnson, Kathleen Plinske, Vicki Brooks (community member), Cathie Hansen, Michal Ewing, and a professional staff rep to be named, along with an SGA rep to be named.
After much reflection, I have decided to change the title of the chief campus leadership positions from Provost to Campus President, effective July 1. It is a change in title only, but it signals a couple of important things. First, our provost title has never been very well understood around the state or country because it is an unconventional title for the chief campus leader, a holdover from when Valencia had no chief academic officer. Second, this ambiguity makes it more difficult to recruit candidates to the position since it makes little sense to them, hence the decision to do this prior to the search for West Campus’s leader. (We were lucky to get Dr. Plinske to Valencia in spite of this issue!) And third, it signals the level of leadership we desire from the chief campus officers in their work with faculty, deans, and staff.
Jane and I hope with all our hearts that you will have enjoy a very special Christmas this year. See you in 2011!
Monday, November 8, 2010
This year is proving to be one of transition in Academic Affairs. Just three months ago we welcomed Dr. Kathleen Plinske to Valencia as the Osceola Campus Provost. Last week we bid farewell to Dr. Kaye Walter as she starts her new assignment as President of the Indianapolis Campus of Ivy Tech. This afternoon we wish Dr. Jared Graber a long and happy retirement after many years service as a professor, dean, and provost. We’ll miss him.
Meanwhile, we’ve just completed a search process for a new provost of the West Campus. After much reflection over the feedback from more than a hundred staff and faculty, I have reached the conclusion that we have not yet found just the right leader for the West Campus. Therefore, we will need to start a fresh search for this position with the intention of filling it by June 1, 2011 and we will need to appoint an interim provost for the spring.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Inside Higher Ed explores the issue of Florida’s community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees in this article published today.
Not Just a Foot in the Door
August 12, 2010
“Given that there was still demand for these programs, Central Florida wanted Valencia to take on at least two of them. So, if Valencia wins the state board’s approval, it plans to begin offering baccalaureate degrees in engineering technology and radiology imaging. Shugart acknowledged that if his institution did not offer these degrees they probably would not be offered in and around the Orlando area. Still, he is not eager to add any more four-year degrees.
‘We would not have done this if [Central Florida] had not approached us,’ Shugart said. ‘We have our hands pretty full already. As long as the need was met elsewhere, we wouldn’t have done this. … At least for now, ‘community’ is our middle name. I’d like to keep it that way.’”
Saturday, June 12, 2010
by Sandy Shugart
June 1, 2010
I have good news to share. First, the legislature is out of session as of a couple of weeks ago – always good news. Second, in spite of ongoing budget challenges due to the recession (next year is expected to be the toughest, and then we’ll see recovery in state revenues), the legislature recognized the extraordinary efforts made by community colleges to preserve access to the flood of new students in recent years and approved a very manageable budget for us. Not generous, but manageable. Third, as of Friday, the deadline for the Governor to veto elements of the budget passed with no action that would adversely affect Valencia. (You may have read in the news how others were not spared the veto…)
Thursday, June 10, 2010
“Can Our Institutions Accommodate to People Who Don’t Believe in Them?”
Sandy Shugart served as one of the keynote speakers at the Big Ideas Fest in 2009. Not your usual education conference, the three-day Big Ideas Fest is an immersion into collaboration and design with the focus on inspiring and modeling cutting-edge thinking in K-20 education. The next Big Ideas Fest 2010 is December 5-8 in Half Moon Bay, California.
President Sandy Shugart with famed Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez and Valencia Professor Richard Sansone.
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