Angel Buckland—Dreamy Cakes Bakery

Angel Buckland, a 2012 graduate of Valencia, started out in Culinary Arts planning to become a chef. Once she completed her culinary degree, she pursued baking and pastry management as a secondary degree. “I also joined the Valencia coangel-silver-medalist-1mpetition team with Chef Ken Bourgoin and discovered I had a passion for baking and pastry.”

And that was the start. “I am a cake artist and bake a lot of cakes and create custom cake designs; however, I also bake many other sweet and savory treats using a lot of my training in French techniques that I learned from the Valencia Culinary program.”

She loves playing with flavor fusions—her favorite (right now) is chocolate salted caramel. Her favorite class at Valencia was Garde Manger, which is a class that focuses on things like reception foods, a’la carte appetizers, and grand-buffet arrangements, because it was so creative; and Restaurant Production, where students were able to create desserts from their own ideas.  “I also loved competition class where we were able to compete for Florida at the ACF competitions. Best experience of my life.”

She got her start right out of Valencia, in 2012, which is not to say she got her start right out of college—angel-with-baby-cake-1she had one of those winding paths to a degree, starting out in computer science and moving on to marketing management. But once she got her degree at Valencia, she started Dreamy Cakes Bakery, and the rest, as they say, is history.

She started out by renting a commissary kitchen and began baking. It took her a while at first, building a clientele, but now, three years later, she’s opened her first bakerydreamy-cakes-staff-1 in historic downtown Sanford, at 114 W. 2nd Street (you can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DreamyCakesBakeryFL)

You can also find her website at http://dreamycakes.net/store/ with dozens of pictures to drool over.

“I just want to say that it has been a life-long dream to graduate from college.  I was determined to get my degree before I turned 50. I was 48 years old when I graduated, so I would like to inspire those who have a dream, to never give up.  Pursue your dream and passion in life. I never wanted to look back at my life and say, I wish I could have. Now I can look back and say, I did it. To chase after my dream, accomplish something in my life and achieve my goal–that is the best feeli ng in the world.

“Valencia College gave me that chance to pursue my dream, and it was the best years and experience in my life.”

 

Colin Archibald – “Big Data” is not ready for Valencia

Professor Colin Archibald, computer programming professor, used part of his University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology this year to explore the world of “big data.”

“In this project colinarchibaldwe explored the emerging field of big data. Also called data analytics, and closely related to other emerging fields in computing, such as predictive analytics and business intelligence. Big data is not a well-defined field of study. In fact, most of what is called big data is really the rebranding of well-known mathematics. The new part is that we have data being collected from many different sources, including from a myriad of internet-connected devices.”

 

Dr. Archibald attended an intensive three-day course during the Christmas break. This course was offered by Learning Tree International, and called Introduction to Big Data. This was a very valuable course – although what was learned wasn’t what was expected!

One of the most valuable lessons was that the computer science department has determined that “the wme-and-earl-1eek long, intensive, boot-camp style courses are not the most effective way to learn this material”; they chose to go a different route, and purchase some online video courses that would help people in the computer science department learn this new technology. One plus is that taking the courses on an ad-hoc basis means that they can take these courses as needed and as time allows, without disrupting their usual day-to-day teaching.

A series of several video courses were purchased instead, making it a very high learning-value. Additionally, they generated some interesting discussion among the advanced students. One student did his project for the honors program on “big data” (Correlation or Causation).

Although the original objective was to create a course for Valencia programming students in big data, that proved to be a bit beyond the reach of faculty and students at this time.  Dr. Archibald says “We’ll keep an eye on it. When it is a bit more solid, and a lot less ‘hype,’ we’ll have another look at whether it should be part of the curriculum.”

 

Mayra Holzer (Speech): intercultural traditions

eva-perons-grave-1“The purpose of my sabbatical work was to allow me to cultivate my intercultural competence and to become a more competent global citizen and educator.” Mayra Holzer, professor of speech, used her Rhymer F. Maguire Jr. Endowed Chair in Communications to that end.

Through her sabbatical, she “sought personal and professional renewal and development,” in large part by immersing herself in the culture of Argentina. While in Argentina, she visited museums, cultural and historical monuments, and was able to experience their food, music and community.

In addition to full immersion in the culture, she participated in a variety of professional development activities in the area of intercultural communication. She received personalized training in intercultural communication through Iceberg Inteligencia Cultural Iceberg, an international organization that promotes multicultural understanding and global competency for effective intercultural communication in professional acasa-rosada-2nd educational settings, specializing in Latin American cultures.

“My overseas experience enriched my world view in general, and my multicultural approach to education in particular.” Through her travels to Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was also able to re-connect with her Hispanic heritage, was able to practice her Spanish language skills, and learned about a new culture in a country she had never visited.

While on sabbatical, she worked on internationalizing her curriculum for SPC1017 (Interpersonal Communication) and SPC1608 (Fundamentals of Speech), with a strong emphasis on the impact of culture on communication styles. Upon her return she created two INZ toolkits (SAGE) for SPC1017 and have submitted a request to offer an internationalized course as part of Valencia’s Global Distinction Program. She has also developed a workshop to be offered in the 2016 fall term during Global Peace Week. The workshop is titled “Cultural attributions and their impact on communicating with others.”

 

Chef Manny Washington—Orlando Fire Department’s finest chef

“Chef Manny” 11141778_377244982472413_4444921235404832610_nhas been cooking since he was eight. He started with desserts–in fact, the first thing he learned to cook was southern staple sweet potato pie. Next he graduated to sides, and finally to main dishes.

He learned from his grandmother, then his mother and his father, also a firefighter (in Miami).

He’s best known for his appearance on national cooking shows, which he’s been doing for only a year. (Since August, 2015, when he first appeared on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.) The one thing that scared him the most about competition cooking? Plating. “Firefighters don’t require plating; they just want good tasting food.”

With all this cooking, you’d think he majored in something culinary, but Washington, it turns out, is kind of a science geek. From Valencia, he got an AS in Emergency Medical Services. From there, he went on to UCF, where he got a BS in Chemistry Education, with a minor in Emergency Management. “My favorite class was Organic Chemistry I with Dr. Eric Crumpler (west campus). By far one of the hardest classes I have ever taken, but I love how I get to take an acid naturalization and apply it to work.”

He is an engineer/paramedic with the Orlando Fire Department, stationed at Fire Station 1 (downtown). mc7_706-16-15-lobsterelim_0313_hires2He works on the Hazardous Materials team, which works with everything from gas spills to weapons of mass destruction.

How does he balance his career as a firefighter with this new “career” as a part time gourmet chef? Due to their schedule (24 hours on, 48 off) he has the time to do live food demos, private dinners, and even cook for other fire stations nationwide. His favorite thing to cook is skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, white rice, black beans and caramelized plantains. Did we mention he’s from Miami?

You can follow Chef Manny at @chefmannyfd on Facebook, Instagram, Twittter and YouTube.

 

 

Karen Cowden, professor of reading and EAP, and team, “Hands on Accessibility”

Dr. Cowden’s team has been working via the William C. Demetree Jr. Foundation Chair in Education for Special Needs. This project resulted in the “Hands-On Accessibility” workshop, offered in three sessions to full and part time faculty/staff. Additionally, they created the “Accessibility Advisory Group” in partnership with Dr. Deborah Larew, Director of Office of Students with Disabilities, which now has made in-roads with college-wide policy to have two full-time captionists on staff, and a required “Intro to Accessibility” course for all employees.

OSD Welcome Back Panorama Commons Area (1)

“Hands-on Accessibility” means that faculty and staff were able to come to a campus-based session hosted in the computer lab and work on their syllabi, tests, quizzes and videos to update and revise such with helping hands from the O.S.D. staff. Chris Cuevas is the technical support manager for the college and not only presented valuable information to the participants, but was there to engage with them one-on-one as they worked on their course material to make such more accessible. Stephanie Crosby was just as engaged with support for their needs, and Karen Cowden provided the faculty focus on the “best practices” for all learners and inclusion and diversity concepts.

Allowing faculty to participate in workshops that allow them to work in their own course materials with support while they are doing it has really empowered faculty with the skills and understanding to create materials that are accessible.

OSD Welcome Back Panorama (1)In meeting the diverse needs of students “we want to make sure that we do not assume we know our audience’s learning needs for support and that we design all course material with ‘best practices’ not as an after-the-fact response to paperwork for special accommodations.” As an example, when “our society was first introducing sidewalks, we didn’t consider cutting the curbs so wheeled items could easy flow on and off.  However, after a push from multiple facets of society inclusive of the ADA and others, having cut curbs now supports not only wheelchair access, but also that of children on bikes, moms with strollers, and others.”

So, it makes sense that all content is designed – college-wide information and course content – to be accessible for all, regardless of having paperwork for accommodations presented or not. To be accurate in the discussion of this topic it is important to realize the burden of paying for the documentation required to support eligibility for accommodations is on the student and therefore many times goes undiagnosed, which does not remove the need for support that the college can potentially provide by making all material more diversely delivered and designed.

Valencia’s student body includes students who have every type of disability, and some who have concurrent disabilities. The curriculum materials, student services, campus activities, and media must be accessible to students who have mobility impairments, are blind, are deaf, have learning disabilities, have processing disorders, have attention disorders, as well as other types of disabilities.

In order to meet this wide range of needs, Valencia’s OSD partners with CTLI and academic departments to provide training to faculty members and staff. Under the leadership of Dr. Deborah Larew, the Accessibility Advisory Group is developing processes that can be implemented institution wide to advance the use of technologies that can be used by any student, faculty, or staff member. Each term, the OSD creates alternative format textbooks t12339208_932911686744187_2709609143336267278_o (3)hat are compatible with screen readers for students. Chris Cuevas (pictured, right) works closely with faculty to insure that their Blackboard pages and online courses will be able to be accessed by students with various disabilities. On each campus, OSD advisors provide early advising to students, to allow them to plan for the use of their accommodations and to develop a schedule that will meet any unique needs. The OSD also provides services to Valencia’s deaf population. Donna Kimmeth schedules interpreters and captionists to guarantee that deaf students will have full access to courses, meetings, activities, and tutoring. Since access is provided in collaboration with each student, accommodations may vary greatly.

Valencia has been taking large steps in advancing the accessibility of all of its online materials to all students. Patti Davis has been an incredible ally in promoting accessible technologies and web design. Craig Blazejewski has also been instrumental in developing procedures to make sure that all online marketing materials can be accessed by any student interested in Valencia.

 

 

Kenneth Bourgoin–a taste of greatness

This year, the Hunton Brady Architects Endowed Chair in Hospitality Management allowed a select few of the Culinary Art StIMG_6588udent Association club to attend the National Restaurant Association meeting in Chicago.

The show hosts purveyors from all over the world. There are about 65,000 attendees to the show and it takes about 2-3 days to see all of it. “It is like a food and beverage theme park,” says Bourgoin.

Sometimes, the trip alone is the farthest a student has ever travelled, and that can be challenging in and of itself. At the show they are networking, sharing education programs, involved in chef demos and learning about how the number one private employer hospitality industry works.

The students have to earn points doing volunteer houIMG_6595rs within and outside Valencia College to get the privilege to go to the show. They are exposed to not only the show but the food of Chicago. The faculty and students meet after the show and go to places like Frontera Grill – Rick Bayless’s famous restaurant serving Mexican Cuisine, The Berghoff– a German Restaurant, and The “Girl and the Goat.”  The Chef there is a James Beard award winner.

One student’s reaction: “Getting the opportunity to meet and network with some of the biggest names in the food industry like Thomas Keller [chef at The French Laundry], Anne Burrell and Mauricio Londono, who is the Vice President of the World Association of Chefs,” was a predictably “wow” moment, one that the student is sure will benefit him in years to come

Diane Dalrymple–enhancing information literacy

ALA Photo Cropped

 

The Freeda Foreman Chair in Collaborative and Creative Problem-Solving has been beneficial to both faculty and students at Valencia College. “The process of collaboration between myself, a librarian on east campus, and east campus composition faculty and administration was rewarding and insightful. The endowed chair offered me the opportunity to work with the east campus dean of communications (Dr. Linda Neal) and the composition division chair (Randy Gordon), which I have not had the chance to do in the past,” Diane Dalrymple, east campus librarian, says about her current project.

She brought to these administrators the concept of using a standardized test to measure the level of a Valencia student’s information literacy. In addition, Dalrymple met with classroom faculty who volunteered to offer the test through their classes to describe the test and to answer any questions or concerns they had.

This project was a larger-scale attempt to measure a general education student learning outcome than the assessment tools the librarians have been recently employing. Students polled after taking the tests related that they found the questions very enlightening.

One student responded, “I just do research. I really don’t think about how I do it. Maybe I should.” Another student added, “This was hard. I usually just go to Google to find what I need. I never knew there were special places to go for special facts.”

The results from the test showed that Valencia College students scored above average on understanding economic, legal, and social issues related to information. That is, their understanding of copyright and plagiarism is a much higher level than at comparable schools.

The areas where Valencia student need to improve are in retrieving and evaluating sources. Future students will benefit from these assessment results because faculty and librarians now know where we need to focus our efforts in teaching information literacy.

“My conversations with Dean Neal and Professor Gordon were very enlightening to me. I personally had to think about aspects of program assessment that were new to me because of discerning questions about the standardized testing raised by Dean Neal and Professor Gordon. Their questions included what type of results would be received from the testing, were the results actionable, and were the results linked to particular students in particular classes.”

The questions related to application will be answered in future conversations between the librarians as a group and fellow faculty members and administrators interested in using this type of assessment tool. Currently, future conversations have been scheduled with Dr. Laura Blasi and the Valencia College
Librarians Assessment Committee. The hope is that with the support of Dr. Blasi and the
Assessment Committee to be able to offer open sessions for faculty where the results of the test can be presented and robust conversations can be continued. Some of the assessment changes have been implemented already, and the results of the test as a whole will be shared with classroom faculty this fall.

“This project took a village to accomplish and it will take a village to determine where we go from here.”