Andrew Ray, program chair AS built environment programs

1M3A0100 %281024x683%29 (2)Professor Ray is using the Hubbard Construction Company Chair in Technical and Engineering Program for study abroad scholarships.

The Hubbard Construction Chair supports educational programs in building construction, drafting and design, land surveying, and other technology areas. These funds will provide scholarships to allow students in the above programs to participate in a study abroad trip to visit renewable energy facilities in China during summer, 2016. Professor Ray also plan to escort students to Germany/Switzerland in 2016, but the opportunity arose to join Jennifer Robertson’s business students on a 10 day trip to Beijing and Shanghai in July, 2016, to see renewable energy production and accelerated/automated construction techniques.

 “My personal interest in sustainable energy production, including solar, wind and geo-thermal power, spans almost 40 years; the thesis for my Master of Architecture involved creating software and graphics to analyze energy usage in historic buildings.”

The sabbatical Professor Ray completed during fall semester, 2015, included visits to all cities along the path of the proposed trip that Professor Deymond Hoyte and he plan to lead in summer, 2017. “This ‘dry-run’ allowed me to research each site, obtain tourist maps and be able to provide background information to students before and during the study abroad trip.”

The sabbatical itinerary through 29 countries also included visits to a solar plant east of Berlin, geothermal springs and sustainable indoor greenhouses in Iceland, as well as many stops to document various solar and wind power facilities wherever accessible.

Pre-trip meetings with students will focus on popular forms of renewable energy (photovoltaic and thermal solar, wind, geo-thermal, and biofuels), the sociopolitical support of renewables by some governments within the European Union and China, with background on the specific sites they will visit. This will also include an introduction to the culture and people of China for the 2016 trip, and Germany and Switzerland for 2017, and basic language phrases. Since the trip will include students in Built Environment programs and also students taking business courses at Valencia, the cross-discipline approach should foster unique perspectives and discussions. Assessments will include journals and reflection papers on the projects visited and insight gained from the cultural experience.

Study abroad experiences are life-changing for students, opening them to global perspectives, and providing insight into alternate solutions to systemic issues. Most students in the Built Environment program have previously undertaken research on issues related to sustainability, completing an oral presentation on a “green” topic to their classmates. Report topics include the alternate power generation methods and current construction practices featured on this trip, but also include garden roofs; this is the major amenity of an apartment building they will visit in Darmstadt with the students. In addition, students will be exposed to state-of-the-art technologies used in China and Europe, as well as traditional construction techniques predating anything built in the USA.

Professor Ray has been involved in the Central Florida design and construction community for many years. After graduating with a Master’s in Architecture from Texas A&M, he moved to Fort Myers, FL, and was involved with historic preservation and commercial projects while completing his internship. Upon becoming a registered architect, he moved his family to Orlando in 1990, founded Array Design and started teaching at Valencia in 1991. A past president of the local chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute, and former Construction Manager with Habitat for Humanity, Mr. Ray enjoys travel and learning about construction. His wife, Alison, is also an architect, and they have two sons, Alex and Tony.

 

Valencia nursing is extraordinary

First-time exam takers from Valencia College taking the recent round of the NCLEX-RN® (the National Council Licensure Examination) scored big.

4th quarter: 10/01/2015 – 12/31/2015 – 100%

That’s right – 100%.

“In each course throughout the nursing program, students are given standardized exams which are nationally normed. These standardized exams prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN® (the National Council Licensure Examination).”

The standardized exams also allow the faculty to evaluate whether the Nursing Program Outcomes have been met.  After the students graduate, they then take the NCLEX-RN, which is the national licensure exam that all nursing graduates take to become licensed as an RN,” says Anita Kovalsky RN, MNEd, CNE, Valencia’s Clinical Nursing program director.

Passing this exam reflects that the new RN is able to give safe and effective care to patients, as well as function as an entry-Level RN at the patient’s bedside.

And while not to take away from that 100%, the nursing program’s year to date numbers are remarkable as well: 01/01/2015 – 12/31/2015 – 95.2%

 To compare, statewide,

STATE OF FLORIDA – pass-rates

Year to date: 01/01/2015 – 12/31/2015 – 72.02%

 

While across the nation,

NATIONAL – pass-rates

Year to date: 01/01/2015 – 12/31/2015 – 84.51%

 

Congratulations to the students and teachers of Valencia College’s nursing program!

Pamela Sandy, professor of dental hygiene

Another in our series on the endowed chairs.

Pam 2015Pamela Sandy, RDH, BS, MA, professor of dental hygiene and dental hygiene program chair, is using this year’s Ira Vinson Henderson Chair in Nursing and Allied Health grant to revitalize the curriculum and calibrate faculty in the dental hygiene program.

Ms. Sandy participated in the Academy for Academic Leadership’s Institute for Allied Dental Educators with the goal of acquiring the skills of a master educator with the ADEA/AAL Institute for Allied Health Educators. The program is a series of five live online ninety minute sessions, and was attended by  Valencia full-time faculty Robin Poole and Rebekah Pittman;  Valencia adjunct faculty Natasha Cook and Danielle Driscoll;  and Valencia senior lab manager, Tiffany Baggs.

The series she selected was titled “Revitalizing Curriculum and Calibrating Faculty,” which included faculty calibration, creating a flipped classroom, designing hybrid courses, curriculum design, and management.

The AAL goals for this class included

  • Creating a flipped classroom: giving an overview of the flipped classroom, identifying advantages and role of faculty as facilitators and applying the concepts by combining the basic sciences with clinical care, including utilization of evidence-based learning, cases and reflective exercises.
  • Curriculum design and management, discussing curriculum mapping and how mapping relates to student assessment, and comparing curriculum mapping and course sequencing for optimal student success.
  • And, finally, faculty motivation, including team-building and applying motivational techniques to better engage peers in an effort to motivate fellow faculty.

In addition, one of her goals—and two of the goals for the class—was to explore other methods for faculty calibration FDHA 2012(calibration is faculty being on the same “page” during clinical evaluation of students; it is developing and adhering to a set of guidelines for student evaluation) in the clinical setting and to assist faculty in designing hybrid courses which will keep the dental hygiene curriculum current. To that end, two faculty completed another course in community dental health to refresh their skills in teaching the course and to enhance course content.

 Dental hygiene student learning can be positively impacted by faculty who are skilled at using the flipped classroom concept and are competent in designing learning activities in an online environment.”

Most of the faculty have been using the flipped classroom concept for several years, and the course gave them some additional ideas for technologies and learning activities they could use in their classes.

In all, the sessions drove the instructors’ learning and impact on the classroom immensely. “It was,” says Ms. Sandy, “a very successful session.”

 

 

 

Michael Robbins, professor of English

Michael Robbins, tenured professor of English composition, is using the Jessie and Eugene Drey Endowment of English-Speaking Union Chair in English and Humanities to investigate shifting Valencia’s approach to ENC1102 (Composition II) to a critical thinking and argumentation course. He says “We currently focus on using literature to teach research method in Composition II; this does not align well with other college and university programs, nor do I think it allows us to better teach higher level analytical skills to students.” His goal is to develop a model for Composition II using critical thinking and argumentation course work. He continues, “It is my hope that this will assist in better teaching students how to foster more accepting attitudes of diverse views and perspectives.”

“As a faculty member, I would like to better learn how to integrate both critical thinking skills into the learning objectives for Composition II. Specifically, I’d like to develop my ability to explain what critical thinking entails to the student, but most importantly how to efficiently practice critical thinking—that is, to move away from what Gerald Nosich [professor at Buffalo State, member of ‘the critical thinking community’] describes as black-and-white thinking, and get the student engaged in the practice of synthesizing and accepting multiple views, and analyzing what those views mean.”

He will assess the project by comparing a baseline Composition II course (literature-based) with a Composition II course that utilizes course material focused on critical thinking and argumentation (specifically, he will use Gerald Nosich’s book Learning to Think Things Through and Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say).

The objective will be to collect qualitative data from student essays, assessing whether the material reflects critical thinking skills (such as establishing personal views, valuing alternate views, and basing views on researched material). “I will compare this to what I am able to learn by attending the Thirty-fifth International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform.

“In ENC1102, students are required to demonstrate the following skills: Information Literacy, Critical Thinking, and Written Communication. My ability to better teach critical thinking skills, as well as our use of course material focused on critical thinking and synthesizing alternate views, will be clearly focused on both Critical Thinking and Information Literacy. The students will be able to better articulate their own views, as well as synthesize the views of others.”

Professor Robbins teaches at the Osceola campus.

Richard Sansone—professor of Portuguese and EAP

IMG_6836Richard Sansone, professor of Portuguese and EAP (English for Academic Purposes), is the recipient of this year’s Valencia Foundation Board Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies. He is using this grant to fund a Service Learning Project “bridging disciplines, institutions and cultures.”

“This endowed chair enables future grant development/cultural exchange while implementing an intensive English/American culture course for teachers at the Federal University in Diamantina, Brazil (UFVJM).” Strengthening relations, it led to a proposal for 100,000 Strong in the Americas, President Obama’s initiative to create greater academic synergy.

“Our work with the team to develop ideas for a grant both at the UFVJM and at Valencia was extremely fruitful even though it was determined that the 100,000 Strong grant opportunity was not an ideal fit. The process of developing the contacts, resources, and project ideas, however, enabled both Valencia’s resource development team and our partners at the UFVJM to develop targets and make a working plan to help accomplish those goals. These include these searching for the grant opportunities both within and beyond the college.” Both institutions benefit through the professional development it provides, and the grant proposal and student/faculty exchanges it facilitates.

Among his goals: “Through the cultural and linguistic immersion that this experience will provide me, I will update my skills in terms of contemporary Portuguese language and Brazilian culture. Languages are alive and constantly evolving and need to be revisited to ensure that as educators we provide students with the most current information.”

Through this endowed chair, Sansone’s intention is that Valencia students will have expanded opportunities for deepening language/cultural skills through both study abroad and interaction with Brazilian students the grant will bring to Valencia, “thus building pathways of understanding.”

“The intensive English/American culture course that we were able to offer at the UFVJM was so enthusiastically wellIMG_6824 received that the enrollment filled to overflowing in three days. Additionally the UFVJM has requested we return for July 2016 and would like to add a third professor/3rd level of English language instruction to broaden the course offerings. The impact that our course had both on future English professors and on our colleagues at the University was extremely positive, productive, and nurturing to our very good relations both personally and academically.”

Finally, Professor Sansone says, “I cannot express strongly enough deep gratitude I feel toward Valencia Foundation for the support of this extremely worthwhile project which enabled me and Professor Steve Cunningham to travel to Brazil to work with future professors of English at the UF V JM, an area which is historically and culturally rich but impoverished in terms of resources and economy.”

Professor Sansone works at the west campus.

Help Us Identify Distinguished Graduate 2016!

The Valencia Alumni Association needs your help!

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The application process for the Mary Smedley Collier  Distinguished Graduate 2016 Award is in full swing.  Along with the distinction that comes with being selected, the Distinguished Graduate 2016 will serve as the keynote speaker at both the morning and afternoon Commencement ceremonies this year and will receive $2,000. We know from experience that many of our eligible students are too humble to see themselves in this role.

This is where you come in.

Don’t let your candidate slip by.  If you know an eligible applicant, please encourage them to apply today.  The deadline for accepting applications is February 19, 2016.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: -Must have a minimum overall 3.5 GPA.

-Must be nominated by a member of the Valencia faculty or staff.  (The nomination letter is required as a part of the online application packet the student submits.)

-Must graduate during the academic year in which the scholarship is awarded. This includes Summer ’15, Fall ’15 and Spring ’16 terms.

-Must be available to attend both commencement ceremonies on May 8th and give their commencement speech at both.

APPLY HERE: https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/ScholarX_ApplyForScholarship.aspx?applicationformid=4650&AYID=444

Please contact the Alumni Relations office for more information at alumni@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-3217.

 

Richard Gair, professor of Holocaust studies and reading

Rich_smallRichard Gair used his Abe and Tess Wise Endowed Chair in the Study of the Shoah this year to travel to Poland, an important part of his Holocaust studies.

The title for his project is “Discovering Fragments of Jewish Life in Poland,” and it was Professor Gair’s intent to spend nearly three weeks in that country, spending his time talking with local historians, officials and museum staff.

“I also toured four Nazi death camps, studying and photographing them,” Professor Gair says. The towns on his travel agenda were Lodz, Chmielnik, Auschwitz, Rzeszow and Lublin. “In each location I made day trips to the sites and smaller villages.” Moreover, he explored the archives in places like Auschwitz.

The purpose of his stay? To visit, study and photograph key sites of Nazi persecution, ghettos and Nazi death camps, and to study and photograph fragments of Jewish life that once existed in Poland to deepen his understanding of that time. He also planned to examine the archives and exhibits at Auschwitz-Birkeneau to enhance his teaching and to help him plan future study abroad trips to the camps.RichardGair

He met with local historians to learn first-hand about the lives of Jews in the towns, and—perhaps most importantly, he deepened his scholarship to enrich all his Holocaust knowledge and teaching. The trip added a new perspective to what he understands about Jewish life in Poland then. It will also help him to add new components to future study abroad trips he leads.

As Professor Gair visits these places, he’ll be adding a wealth of new knowledge and experience to his professional background as a Holocaust educator and representative for Valencia in his role as a member of the Florida State Task Force on Holocaust Education. The photographs, videos and knowledge will all be infused into his classroom teaching of his Holocaust course, as well as his annual Holocaust study abroad trip.

Students have told me that when I can integrate my own experiences visiting, studying at the sites we study, it adds a level of authenticity to my teaching,” Gair says.  The pictures and videos from the trip will be shared in class, along with interviews he conducts with a historian or others. “By showing students the remnants of Jewish life, as small as they may be, they will further appreciate the magnitude of the Holocaust and its effect on a culture that has vanished.”

Videos from his trip can be found at https://vimeo.com/album/3516403

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