white house invites women leaders from valencia to summit on working families

presidentobamastraightened
By Carol Traynor, director, public relations, Valencia College

Just a few months after President Barack Obama visited Valencia College to launch a new initiative focused on women’s economic issues, five women leaders—including a student—from the college have been invited to continue that conversation at the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23.

Attendees from around the country are expected at the one-day summit, including leaders from business and academia, legislators, policy experts, advocates and ordinary citizens. Representing Valencia will be Amy Bosley, vice president of Organizational Development and Human Resources; Kathleen Plinske, president of the Osceola and Lake Nona campuses; Falecia Williams, president of the West Campus; Lisa Macon, dean of Engineering, Computer Programming and Technology; and Alexandrea Castro, a Valencia student from Poinciana.

The summit will be hosted by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden, and cohosted by the Center for American Progress and the Department of Labor. It will include a mix of panel discussions aimed at identifying concrete policy solutions, showcasing employer best practices, and discussing the positive impact potential policies can have on businesses’ bottom lines, as well as for the overall economy.

On March 18, Obama gave a speech at Valencia’s West Campus to kick off a series of five regional forums on women’s issues culminating in the June 23 summit. It was no coincidence that Obama chose Valencia for his visit: In 2011, Valencia was the first winner of the Aspen Prize, a national competition that President Obama announced to recognize exceptional community colleges.

Women make up 56 percent of the 70,000 students whom Valencia serves. Graduates of Valencia’s Associate in Science degree programs have a 95 percent placement rate with average starting salaries of $38,000.

As Central Florida tries to rebound from the recession, the unemployment rate remains at 6.4 percent. According to U.S. Census data, median earnings for women who completed high school but not college are just $21,342 (Community Survey, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area, 2012).

The summit will be streamed from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at http://workingfamiliessummit.org/.

alumni magazine available online

vitae-cover-news-siteValencia alumni…read all about them! The most recent issue of our alumni magazine, Vitae, is available online. Read it here.

taste recap

1M3A0037How do you take 100 and turn it in to 249,000? Take a look at what the 100 signifies and you will find the answer. That 100 represents the 25 sponsors that signed on as Taste for Learning benefactors and the 16 master chef and beverage donors who provided gourmet tastings and treats the night of the event. It includes the vintners and spirit producers that were on-site to pour their finest libations and the volunteers who gave tirelessly of their afternoon and evening. It was the more than 750 people who gathered in the Gatlin Ballroom on May 17 for Taste for Learning to make a difference in the lives of others. 100 percent of all funds raised at Taste will go directly to scholarships at Valencia and medical education at Orlando Health. Here’s how it looks:

Orlando Health Foundation proceeds: $83,000
Valencia Foundation proceeds: $83,000
Valencia amount eligible for match: $83,000

These numbers may still change slightly as they are finalized but we feel confident in saying that Taste 2014 will have an impact of $249,000 on education in Central Florida. Thank you once again to our sponsors below and to all who helped build that 100 percent to almost a quarter million dollars for local students.

You can find more event photos on our Facebook page – A Taste for Learning.
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Sommelier sponsors: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Hotels and Resorts, Rosen Shingle Creek

First Press sponsors: Freeman Co., McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc., SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintner sponsors: Jess and Betsey Bailes, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Coca-Cola, Jack Holloway Foundation, Martinez Manglardi PA, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Signature Systems of Florida, Valencia College

Cabernet sponsors: BIOTRONIK Inc., Charles Perry Partners Inc., Clancy and Theys Construction Co., Emergency Physicians of Central Florida LLP, HuntonBrady Architects, Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, PSAV Presentation Services, SeaWorld Parks and Resorts Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort, Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants

notes from the world classroom, endowed chair series

Centropa
guest author: Richard Gair, reading professor, East Campus
I attended the CENTROPA Summer Academy for Teachers, held in Berlin, Germany. The idea for attending the academy was that they use a unique approach to Holocaust education. While many institutions focus more on the horrors of what the victims went through, CENTROPA focuses on their lives before and after the Holocaust.

Many survivors have voiced concern that their identity is often tied to the fact that they are a survivor. They say the Holocaust does not define who they are. They had beautiful, rich and fulfilling lives before the horrors occurred. Likewise, they have rebuilt their lives with offspring and often many grandchildren, which they say is their greatest revenge against the Nazis. With that in mind, CENTROPA fanned out across Europe to find survivors who were willing to tell their stories. Instead of video recording their testimony, as most institutions do, they asked these survivors to tell their stories and show pictures of their families as they spoke. Recorders wrote down or audio taped their testimony, focusing on their life in the Jewish community before and after the Holocaust.

Using this material, CENTROPA works with educators to build instructional lessons for teachers to use, and places all information on their website. The philosophy is quite simple. “Nobody teaches teachers better than other teachers.” Through this process, the beauty and fabric of Jewish culture in these countries is expressed.

Students can then make their own video projects similar to the ones CENTROPA has on their website. Instruction in basic movie making with Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie is on the CENTROPA website in the form of video tutorials and a sample project.

Teachers can submit student or class projects that use the CENTROPA model for placement on their own website. This approach appealed to me because it was a chance to develop instructional strategies and content that focus more on life rather than death. The Holocaust as a whole is a difficult subject to teach in any case due to the sadness and horror that is such an integral part of it. Here was an opportunity to show more of the other side in my course and encourage students to pursue that line of thought in their required projects.

Those same tutorials are now on my website. Upon my return from Berlin, I added a new option for the final project in my Holocaust course syllabus: To use the CENTROPA material and style to create an original video slideshow telling the life-family story of a survivor in the CENTROPA archives and databases. A few of my students did video projects for their final in the fall. They can be viewed on the “Student Video Showcase” page of my website which is www.professorgair.com. This spring, several students will also be making similar videos which will go online when they are completed. Students are required to meet with me as they plan so I can guide them and suggest ways to make sure it is done well.

The endowed chairs are important and we at Valencia are quite blessed to have such a resource. They offer us an opportunity to hone our skills, further knowledge of our craft, and regenerate and broaden our commitment to the profession and thus directly influence student learning through better scholarships and teaching. The benefactors, as always, are the students sitting in our classrooms. The chairs give us an opportunity to enrich the already rich environment that Valencia is known for. It adds a dimension to our “learning centered approach” that the normal budgetary funds cannot cover. It adds to our skill set and makes us the leaders we are in the world of community colleges. I am so proud every single time I am a recipient of an endowed chair. My face lights up and I truly get excited with the new opportunity it provides me. Words are not adequate to express my deepest gratitude to Valencia Foundation and administration of the college for giving me the opportunity to be reborn each time my project is accepted for a chair.

a closer look: 2+2+2 architecture program model

Student project
guest author: John P. Ehrig, FAIA, LEED AP, vice president, CASE project manager, HHCP/Architects Inc.

As a New Jersey transplant to the Sunshine State, I began my career in architecture at the University of Florida, graduating with a bachelor of architecture degree. I have been involved with American Institute of Architects for over four decades, first as a student and later serving in various positions throughout the Institute. In 1993, I became the youngest Florida architect to be elected to the AIA College of Fellows. After I moved to Orlando in 2000, I served as president of AIA Orlando in 2001 and that’s where the story about the 2+2+2 architecture program begins.

As background to AIA Orlando’s relationship with Valencia, in 2002, one of our members, CT Hsu, FAIA who was also a member of the Valencia Foundation board of directors, approached the chapter with the idea of joining forces in fundraising efforts to benefit both the chapter and Valencia Foundation’s scholarship program. As discussions unfolded, Valencia’s Geraldine Gallagher made a presentation to the AIA Orlando board of directors about joining forces and as they say, “The rest is history.” Over the past 12 years, AIA Orlando has been a part of generating over $240,000 for the foundation creating a strong connection between the chapter and the college.

Central Florida architects had been talking about having an architecture school in Orlando for decades and the last big push was way back in the 1970s. At that time, creating a new school or program required legislative approval as well as approval of the Florida Board of Regents.

In the fall of 2007, the AIA Orlando chapter, created an Educational Task Force (ETF) to spearhead this effort. During this time frame we discovered that Dr. Shugart was an “architect at heart.” I heard him say once “had he not gotten into education he would’ve wanted to be an architect.” CT Hsu and Alan Helman, FAIA, told Sandy about the work of the ETF in trying to get a professional degree program here in Orlando and he said he would try to assemble the right people to discuss the possibilities.

Around that time Valencia had worked out an “articulation agreement” with the University of Florida – School of Architecture where students would graduate with an associate of arts in architecture and would go right into upper division as juniors without skipping a beat. This was important to me because when I transferred to UF, I transferred in as a junior but I had to start over in all my design coursework. Ultimately it took me six years to get a five-year degree because of that “transfer gap,” something I did not want to see happen to students today.

The articulation agreement was working and students that were graduating from Valencia were heading off to Gainesville and elsewhere. Everything was going along fine except the openings in the upper division for transfer students were dwindling year after year. Competition was exceptionally tough because of the program’s notoriety. So, the task force believed it was time for a creative solution. We knew the university wanted to increase their focus on urban design in their undergrad and graduate programs. The ETF also knew that UCF had indicated an interest in creating an architectural program in the past.

So as things were starting to evolve the ETF developed a list of things that we wanted in a program and generated a formal White Paper. This paper included what the profession would do to help move this effort forward; like providing adjunct professors, employing students as interns in local offices and securing additional funding to support the program.

We called Dr. Shugart and said, “Here’s what we’d like to do.” And he said, “I’ll set up a meeting in a couple weeks to see where this may go.” Then one day I got a phone call inviting me to a meeting consisting of people from UCF, UF and Valencia. On meeting day, Dr. Shugart made some opening remarks and immediately looked at me and said, “Okay John, you asked for this meeting, what do you want to discuss?” This was the opportunity and audience I needed to present the white paper and openly discuss the need for an architectural program in Orlando.
Student project2

The current scenario was a student would go to Valencia and get a two-year degree then they’d apply to UF or other colleges. They were accepted at major universities across the country and once they received their degree, they would very seldom return to Orlando. So our goal was very selfish – keep the talent here in Orlando. We wanted the ability for students to get an education here, complete their internship here and stay here to design their professional life in Orlando where they started.

We knew that there was a really good working relationship between Valencia and UCF in several programs involving the DirectConnect to UCF program, so that was our roadmap. And if something could be worked out with UF to obtain a two-year graduate program that was all we needed for the professional degree. UCF became the critical link to what would be a unique architectural program with three separate institutions, hence the 2+2+2.

There are always up and downs in anything new but, the bottom line for the most part is we have the consistently strong Valencia portion with the first two years, we now have the third class of graduates from UCF, and this year we graduated our first class of UF students. Sixteen walked the stage in Gainesville on May 3 and of the 16 graduates, nine went through the 2+2+2 right here in Orlando.

Read the Valencia News article on the first 2+2+2 architecture grads

I know Sandy is a Christian leader and I appreciate his direction and passion in this entire effort. There are some things that we humans try to manage and manipulate to get what we want but, there are so many things that have occurred that I know are not “coincidences”. Too many things “fell into place” at just the right time for us mortals to take the credit for it. For instance the funding for the studio space in Building 9, the building of the UCF Joint Use Facility, UF’s support of the Orlando program, and the talented students that had the faith in signing up for a program with no previous track record, just to name a few.

The Orlando architectural program is now a proven, new educational model.

This year you have the special opportunity to support the 2+2+2 program through AIA Orlando’s 25th annual golf tournament June 20, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Non-members can play for $175 and sponsorships start at $250. Here is a link to more information.

shop to benefit valencia foundation

AS_sprite__V385949411_Valencia Foundation receives a small percentage of sales from donors who choose to use smile.amazon.com. You only have to choose to use us once.

Visit http://smile.amazon.com/ and log in. Type Valencia College Foundation in the search field and select. Start shopping!

valencia, orlando health foundations to host ‘taste for learning’ fundraiser

untitledWhile the economy is on the mend, recovery has been difficult for nonprofits. The landscape has changed and those that survived, and thrived, have had to find unique ways to partner and bring support to those who need it most and during an extended period of time.

It is in this spirit of partnership that Valencia College Foundation and Orlando Health Foundation join together to host Taste for Learning on Saturday, May 17, at Rosen Shingle Creek. Taste for Learning is an evening of food, wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

Making this event unique, 100 percent of all sponsorships, tickets and auction receipts directly benefit student allied health scholarships and medical education. Every Valencia health scholarship is doubled, expanding the reach of each gift into our community.

Tickets for Taste for Learning are $125 per person and may be purchased online at www.ATasteForLearning.com

When Taste was first proposed in 2005 by Valencia Foundation board member Jess Bailes, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits executive vice president, the idea was to create an event that could be sustained by the support of community partners. The generosity of contributors who donate all necessary items has resulted in $2.27 million to support learning. In-kind contributions include the venue, food, wine, auction items, publicity, printing and décor.

For this year’s tasting and auction, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits has invited vintners from around the world who donate hundreds of their finest wines, as well as provide exceptional auction items. Taste will feature over 100 wines coming to Orlando from throughout this country, as well as Australia, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

This year’s event will feature a selection of worldwide spirits, craft beers and a personalized Maker’s Mark dipping station.

Guests will enjoy gourmet hors d’oeuvres and sample entrée selections donated by A Land Remembered, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill, Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que, Cabin Creek Catering, Cala Bella, Hard Rock Cafe, Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria, Rainforest Cafe, Shutters at Old Port Royale (Walt Disney World – Epcot Resort Area – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort), Taverna Yamas, Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, T-REX, and Yak & Yeti.

This year’s generous sponsors include: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits; Rosen Shingle Creek; Rosen Hotels and Resorts; Freeman Co.; McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc.; SunTrust Robinson Humphrey; Walt Disney World Resort; CliftonLarsenAllen LLP; Coca-Cola; Martinez Manglardi PA; Orlando Health; Orlando Magic; Signature Systems of Florida; Valencia College; Charles Perry Partners Inc.; Clancy and Theys Construction Co.; HuntonBrady Architects; Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery – Dr. Mark Sand, Dr. Jeffrey Bott, Dr. Stephen Hoff; Universal Orlando Resort; and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a study released by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan research group, found that most students drop out of college when faced with the hardship of juggling their dream of education with having to financially support themselves. Far too often, work must come first. We see this struggle in Valencia students, working a full-time or several part-time jobs, as well as balancing family, community, volunteer and personal commitments. Scholarships make a tremendous difference in their ability to attend college.

In the past 13 years, the foundation has disbursed $30 million, making education possible for thousands of students. But there is still crucial work to be done. Valencia Foundation board and leaders strive for a day when anyone who wants to go to Valencia can, regardless of financial circumstance.

Valencia won the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence based on student performance and graduation data. Valencia was lauded for focus on college completion and job preparation. The Aspen Prize was a selection factor for President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Valencia to discuss the economy and leveling the playing field for women.

For more information or to make a donation, please call (407)582-3150 or visit WWW.VALENCIA.ORG

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