welcome to the Valencia family

Valencia Welcomes Dr. Kathleen Plinske, New Provost of the Osceola Campus

On July 19, Dr. Kathleen Plinske began as Valencia Community College’s new provost of the Osceola Campus and Valencia at Lake Nona High School.

“I am truly delighted to have the opportunity to join Valencia,” said Plinske. “They’ve earned a national reputation for creating a learner-centered environment focused on student success, and it will be a privilege to provide leadership for the Osceola Campus.”

Prior to coming to Valencia, Plinske served in a number of positions at McHenry County College, a community college located in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. During her nine-year tenure there she progressed rapidly into positions of greater leadership, serving as a coordinator, director, executive director, associate vice president, vice president, and ultimately as the interim president.

Her experience includes distance education, professional development, institutional research, marketing and public relations, and institutional effectiveness. She also served as a Spanish instructor, with experience teaching face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses.

A graduate of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Plinske attended Indiana University-Bloomington as a Herman B. Wells Scholar, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Physics with highest distinction and honors. She completed a master’s degree in Spanish from Roosevelt University, and a Doctorate in Educational Technology with honors from Pepperdine University.

Committed to advancing the community college mission, Plinske has published a number of articles in professional and peer-reviewed journals, and is frequently invited as a speaker at national and international conferences. She was selected as a community college leadership doctoral fellow by the University of San Diego and was recently recognized as one of 24 Emerging Leaders in the world by Phi Delta Kappa International.

In her role as a Valencia provost, Plinske will be responsible for providing academic, administrative and fiscal leadership for the Osceola Campus and the Valencia at Lake Nona High School site.

Source: Melissa Tchen, Marketing & Strategic Communications, 407-582-1778, mtchen@valenciacc.edu

with new location, valencia expands to southeast orange county

On Tuesday, Aug.10, Valencia Community College will host an open house at its newest location, Valencia at Lake Nona High School. The event will take place from 4-6 p.m. at 12500 Narcoossee Road in Orlando.

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the facility, register for fall classes and meet with faculty, staff and Valencia’s president, Sandy Shugart.

For the past year, Valencia at Lake Nona High School has already been home to the Collegiate Academy at Lake Nona High School. This unique dual-enrollment program, created in partnership with Orange County Public Schools, enables enrollees to complete anywhere from one or two college-level courses to a full Associate in Arts degree while in high school.

This fall, the Lake Nona High School location will open its doors to all Valencia students, with courses beginning Aug. 30. Twelve different courses will be offered, including biology, chemistry, math, speech, English, humanities, student success and psychology. A full listing of available courses can be found at: http://net5.valenciacc.edu/schedule/.

Occupying its own building on the Lake Nona High School campus, Valencia will now be able to save many students who live in southeast Orange County and northern Osceola County from having to make a long drive, since the new location is about halfway between Valencia’s East and Osceola Campuses.

Students who attend classes here will have access to Valencia’s services, with advising, tutoring and a student lounge available on-site.

For more information about Valencia at Lake Nona High School or the Collegiate Academy at Lake Nona High School, please visit http://valenciacc.edu/lakenonahs/. For Open House information, call 407-956-8300 ext. 2401.

SOURCE:  Valencia News, Marketing and Strategic Communications, 407-582-1778

faculty member gives thanks

Dr. James S. May, Professor of English as a Second Language, expresses his appreciation for the endowed chair process:

Thank you!  Click here for a video of Dr. May's work.

Every year in June, endowed chair recipients submit a form that quantifies how funds are utilized over the course of a year. Unfortunately, reports of this nature often fail to capture the depth and breadth of the impact endowed chairs have on students, faculty, and staff. Many of the most profound effects that endowed chairs have go unrecorded because, simply put, they are difficult to quantify. This post is an effort to qualify, rather than quantify, a few of these effects.

It is easy to quantify the purchase of Camtasia (screen-casting software) and the use of Jing and Screenjelly (Free Web 2.0 applications that allow students and other teachers to make screen-casted videos themselves), but how do I quantify the looks on my students’ faces when they first watch individualized feedback videos for essays they have written? Or when they Jing their own videos and tweet or facebook them to their friends? How do I quantify the looks on colleagues’ faces when I show them the possibilities that these new technologies offer?

It’s easy to quantify the purchase of Dragon Naturally Speaking (software which turns my voice to text), but how do I quantify the feelings of inclusion felt by a Deaf student watching a closed captioned YouTube instructional mash-up I have made? How do I quantify the feelings of inclusion felt by a soon-to-be mother home on bed rest who sits next to me “digitally” as we go over one of her papers on a digital/video conference call?

I can quantify the money I spend buying books or going to a conference for training and the purchase of software and hardware to improve materials for my students. I can list the tools and tricks: Adobe CS4, Soft Chalk, Flip Cameras, WordSmith, Camtasia, Snag It, Voice Thread, Word Clouds, SCORMS, Screencasts, Mashup Videos, etc… But how do I quantify the moment of realization when I tell a student, “No, you don’t have to buy a book for this class. Go ahead and put that money to better use. Your book is online and it is free, interactive, and embedded with audio and video”? How do I quantify the charge I get when I see the light bulb come on in the mind of a student because of something I am doing as a result of an endowed chair? Or when a colleague asks me, “Hey James, can you show me how you did that?” Or when lab staff asks, “Hey, can we use that, or will you come teach us that?”

Last year, I was privileged to receive the Maguire Family Teacher Endowed Chair. As a result, this fall I will pilot a free digital text for writing students, and the text includes embedded practice tests and quizzes. I will also be offering this content to others who wish to reduce the cost of texts for their students. During the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 academic years, I utilized funds from the  Dr. P. Phillips Foundation Endowed Chair to bring learning leaders into EAP classrooms and to enhance student engagement opportunities through the use of Web 2.0 technologies. This year, as the recipient of the Jessie and Eugene Drey Endowment, I have the honor of continuing my work and exploring how vocabulary learning can be enhanced through the use of digital corpora. I would like to thank these families for helping me to do what I do, but the word “thanks” can’t really quantify my sincere appreciation for what these endowments do for teaching and learning. Even expressing the word “thanks” in the various languages of my students just doesn’t get it. So, in an effort to better qualify and give others a better feel for how endowed funds continue to cultivate the learning landscape for teachers and students, I have created a brief showcase to share some of the things endowed chairs have allowed me to do with my students.

The interactive word cloud above this post was created to give you a brief glimpse of how endowed chair funds have allowed me to turn static text into dynamic learning. So, take a moment and think back to your college days, remember those heavy, expensive, and considerably dense texts and then roll over the words in the cloud, click on them, and imagine how these new technologies are changing learning for students.

With sincere thanks,

Professor James May

James S. May
Professor of English as a Second Language
Visit online at:  TeachTricks.org
Valencia Community College

rogue scholars benefit concert

The Rogue Scholars is having a Rock N Roll Sing Along benefit concert for a Valencia Foundation scholarship (see scholarship details below). 

PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT CHARITY AS WELL AS ENJOY A GREAT SHOW!!  Also, please invite your friends, family, and even people who are not your friends.  Just tell random people on the street.

 WHEN:  Friday July 23 at 7:00 pm

WHERE:  Valencia Community College Osceola Campus Building 2 Auditorium

 DONATIONS:  Tickets will be a $5 donation minimum each person at the door and there will be snacks and water for donations.  (Sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa)

 WHAT TO EXPECTED:  A Rock N Roll live music sing along benefit concert for charity.  The music is by the Rogue Scholars (Facebook:  Rogue Scholars Band).  It will be Rock N Roll through the decades including Elvis, Beatles, Aerosmith, Matchbox 20, and much more. 

 ANY QUESTIONS:  E-mail:  Al Groccia at agroccia@valenciacc.edu

DETAILS on the Scholarship:

The Dewey-Bilyue Scholarship
This Valencia Foundation scholarship is named in memory of Jane Dewey and Monty Bilyue. They both spent their professional lives in emergency healthcare services as a nurse and paramedic, respectively. Jane Dewey was a graduate of Valencia’s nursing program. When fully endowed, the Dewey-Bilyue scholarship will provide tuition assistance to students pursuing a degree or certification in nursing, EMT, or paramedic programs.

a grateful grad

A Grateful Grad, by David Urena ’09, for VITAE Magazine, Summer/Fall 2010

Rejected. The one word that flashed across my mind after being denied acceptance into the University of Florida. I didn’t apply to any other colleges. UF had the best architecture program in the state, and I had placed all my hopes into getting in.

So after graduating from Lyman High School, when most of my friends went off to college, I stayed behind in Altamonte Springs. I transitioned from a part-time to full-time employee at Panera Bread, where I worked throughout high school. In a year’s time, I was promoted to middle management. Although the pay was very little for the workload I had, I stuck with it hoping an upper management position would open up. However, when new management came in, the restaurant underwent downsizing, and I was the first one out. Rejected again.

I was 19, hopeless and confused. I wondered what I would do next in life. Reluctant to give the workforce another try, I mustered just enough money and courage to take courses at Valencia Community College. Although I enrolled part-time, every class engaged my interests and challenged my curiosity. Along the way, I met fascinating classmates, worked a few great jobs, including a land development-drafting job, and was inspired by the best faculty and staff around. I want to especially acknowledge and thank a few people:

 • Richard H. Weinsier, Director of the Math Support Center
While working as a tutor in your Math Support Center, I met several fascinating people and made a new family in all of you.

 • Leesa L. Sward, Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
Your Biology of Human Sexuality course was both enlightening and entertaining.

 • Thomas S. Zurosky, Professor of Chemistry
Attending your Chemistry II course was like being in a laboratory and comedy club at the same time – not every chemistry student can say that!

 • Areej Zufari, Professor of Humanities
You were the only non-literature professor who took an intrinsic interest in my writing. The passion I hold for creative writing is still very strong, mainly due to your encouragement.

 • James L. Chase, Professor of Economics
You are the first Renaissance man I have ever met, and I was fortunate enough to be your student.

 • Merton A. Hollister, Professor of Physics
You are a brilliant thinker who challenged me, through the instrument of Physics, to view the world in different perspectives.

 • Chris D. Borglum, Professor of English
You infused an appreciation for literature I would not have had if it were not for your zealous instruction.

 • Richard L. Russell, Professor of Mathematics
I followed you through seven different mathematics courses, including a sit-in for self-enrichment! I am minoring in mathematics, in large part, due to your impact on my mathematical interests.

 • James D. Lang, Professor of Mathematics
Your calm, collected teachings resonated strongly in my mathematical reasoning and, for that, I have a firm understanding of multivariable calculus today.

 • Patsy G. Buckley, Professor of Student Success
You played an important role in my transition from a good high school student to a great college student through the very first course I took at Valencia: Student Success.

Eventually, I found enough courage and hope to reapply to the University of Florida. This time, I was accepted into a program I was more passionate about: civil engineering.

I hope my story can be one of many that will help and inspire anyone who got rejected and felt like giving up.

Again, my warmest thanks go to those mentioned above for making Valencia a better place to start.

Photo courtesy of David Urena

catch up with two of Valencia’s retirees

Where Are They Now?

Marlene Petty-Geis retired in 1999 as the Employment Manager in Human Resources after 30 years of service at Valencia. 

“Hard to believe that it has been 10+ years!

I have taken several trips with my brothers and their wives. All four brothers still spoil their sister! I traveled to NYC with friends for shopping and the theatre, have taken several cruises and went to Italy with my daughter, Twighla, and her family, traveling to Venice, Tuscany, Florence and Rome. What a wonderful trip! I took a trip to Atlanta and Virginia to visit with friends in June. Keeping my bags packed just in case another trip comes along!

I have delighted in seeing two of my grandchildren get married this past year, and my granddaughter Trisha receiving her Master’s degree and buying her first condo.

I serve on the Retiree Connection Committee and volunteer at ORMC two days a week. I love being a part of giving back to the community. I am so blessed!”

Dr. Carole Law Trachy retired from Valencia as a Professor of Humanities on the West Campus in 1995 after 18 years of service. She is enjoying her retirement and is excited to have become a great-grandmother in August 2009!

Valencia Retiree Connection
Annual Luncheon

Lunch, Program & Networking!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Valencia West Campus Special Events Center, Bldg. 8
1800 South Kirkman Road, Orlando, FL 32811

(Reprinted from In The Mix
Summer/Fall 2010 VITAE Magazine Issue 6)


annual florida playwrights competition open!

Annual Florida Playwrights Competition open for new plays!

The Valencia East Campus theater program is accepting plays from Florida playwrights for its annual Florida Playwrights Competition which has been held every year since 1991. Scripts must be original, previously unproduced, full-length plays (scripts that have received staged readings may be submitted). Collaborations are eligible, but children’s plays, musicals and adaptations are not. Deadline for entries is October 15, 2010.

The winning play will be announced in early December and be staged in April 2011, as part of Valencia’s regular subscription series. The playwright will be invited to develop and workshop the play beginning in January, and will receive a stipend to cover travel and other expenses related to the production.

Electronic submission of manuscripts is requested. Playwrights residing in Florida are invited to send the first 15 pages of no more than two scripts each to Valencia’s Artistic Director, Julia Gagne, at jgagne@valenciacc.edu .

For further submission information or a mailing address, please call 407-582-2296.

Source:  Marketing and Strategic Communications, 407-299-5000, ext. 1015; ctraynor@valenciacc.edu

valencia partners with the TSA


Valencia Partners with TSA to Provide Security Officers with Training and a Path Toward a Degree

Valencia Community College has been contracted to participate in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) training program, which offers educational opportunities to Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) already employed by the agency.

“Valencia is looking forward to launching this important partnership with TSA to train critical front-line personnel so vital to national security,” said Gaby Hawat, Valencia’s special assistant to the president for strategic initiatives and executive dean for economic development.

Valencia will deliver TSA training courses on-site at the Orlando International Airport. The college is one of 32 selected to partner with airports throughout the United States – and is the only partner in Florida.

The TSA is responsible for security checkpoints at all U.S. airports, with OIA being one of the busiest. In 2009, the airport saw more than 33 million travelers, with a record-breaking total of 2,977,920 of them traveling internationally.

TSOs who complete the training program will receive a TSA Certificate of Achievement. They will also receive college credits for the training courses, which they will be encouraged to apply toward an associate degree from Valencia.

Global Corporate College, which is contracted to work with the TSA Educational Programs and Partnerships Office, will help Valencia implement the training program and possibly to develop a homeland security associate degree program eventually as well.

The first training course that will be offered is Introduction to Homeland Security, which will start fall 2010.

Source: Melissa Tchen, Marketing & Strategic Communications, 407-582-1778, mtchen@valenciacc.edu

faculty member asks: what’s a HOSA?

Valencia faculty Jamy Chulak shares how students pay it forward at HOSA event

I have to admit, “What’s a HOSA?” was among the first questions that came to mind after discussing the possibility of partnering with the AARC at Disney’s Coronado Springs for the 2010 HOSA Conference. It didn’t take long to find HOSA online and discover this national leadership conference is 100% healthcare oriented. What a great venue to discuss the profession of Respiratory Care to prospective candidates and who better to discuss their own stories about choosing our field then students from Valencia Community College’s 2010 graduating class.

It became apparent that caliber of high school student, dedicated to the healthcare career choice in front of them, was exactly who we should be speaking to regarding the future of our profession. This national conference brought students to Orlando from all areas of the country. The curiosity, compassion, and possibility of a profession in healthcare lingered on the hopes and dreams of each student who passed the AARC booth. Most discussions began with questions from our Valencia students such as, “Have you heard of Respiratory Care?” This was usually followed by a positive acknowledgment and recital of the respiratory system, which then required some clarification, “Have you heard of the Respiratory Care Profession?” Many of these high school students demonstrated resolve in their understanding in our profession and yet a commitment to other health science professions such as Nursing, EMT/Paramedic, and Dental Hygiene. WHAT?

This highlights the challenge we have in our profession. The brightest and most dedicated student, interested in healthcare, still has reservations, already made a choice or a lack of understanding of what we do. It is not all lost. The AARC booth was among the busiest and most interactive booths at the conference. Our primary competition came from the U.S. Army military tent (HUGE), which housed a Laerdal Simman, push-up/pull-up challenge, and recruiters in uniform. We countered with our own transport ventilator delightfully attached to an actual pig lung demonstrating the “power of positive pressure”. I do not know if this mystified the career minded students but it certainly grossed them out a bit, but in a good way. They all loved it! This attracted counselors, instructors, students and other vendors whose curiosity eventually won them over.

Beyond the lung lay informational material provided for each participant but they suddenly found themselves being assessed by our students. Breath sounds were hard to come by but everybody wanted to have their oxygen saturation checked out with eager anticipation to explain away any fatigue rendered by the excitement of the days in conference. We used a portable SpO2 monitor, which traveled throughout the vendor hall with a pair of Valencia students and a bedside monitor at our booth. Needless to say, many of these students were at or near 100%.

The crowds gathered as student, instructor, and counselors alike tested themselves by attempting to place an advanced airway at our intubation station. The students were eager and excited to have the opportunity to intubate. Instructors were revisiting their days in the community when they had to call out “RESPIRATORY!” when an airway emergency arose. The advisors were simply stunned that we, Respiratory Care, do this sort of thing. We reminded them all, for comfort, “You cannot hurt this manikin—take a stab at it.” Each Valencia student provided a little instruction, support, and feedback and the participants were intrigued. Many intubated well, some right main stem, and a few esophageal placements but that did not deter the participants. It was common to have participants dragged to our booth by a previous visitor. It was an exciting day for all of us.

We had a wonderful time at this leadership conference. This HOSA conference was an excellent display of where our future healthcare workers can be reminded of the Respiratory Care profession as a critical and significant option to meet the future challenges within our healthcare population.

Source: AARC.org

nursing students sponsor bone marrow drive

Valencia Student Nursing Association (VNSA) organized a bone marrow registry drive in partnership with Kids Beating Cancer, an associate of the National Marrow Donor Program.

Striving to be more than a social group, the Valencia Student Nursing Association (VNSA) organized a bone marrow registry drive, in hopes that even one match could save a life. Partnering with Kids Beating Cancer, an associate of the National Marrow Donor Program, the drive took place July 1, on Valencia’s West Campus.

With four quick swabs of the cheek, genetic material is collected, analyzed and entered into a nation- wide database that runs searches 6,000 times a day, in hopes of making a match.

John Kennedy, vice president of the VSNA was inspired to run a bone marrow drive after attending a national student nursing conference. Kennedy heard of a bone marrow drive at Villanova University which, resulted in three donors being matched including an 18-month old child.

“People associate bone marrow with 12 inch needles and lots of pain,” said Kennedy. “It’s just not like that anymore. All it takes is a couple seconds to save someone’s life.”

The bone marrow drive at Valencia registered 116 people to be potential donors.  Their information will stay in the registry until the age of 61. Anytime there is a match, the potential donor is contacted and screened to determine if they are a good match for the patient.

Bone marrow transplants are a common treatment for leukemia and other cancers that manifest in the marrow. 75 percent of those who will need a transplant will not find a donor in their family. Some never make it off the transplant list succumbing to their illness before finding a donor.

The Valencia Student Nursing Association plans on running more bone marrow drives in the upcoming semesters, and hopefully extending the drive to all Valencia campuses.

Source: Valencia Marketing & Strategic Communications 407-582-1017

meet valencia’s 2009-10 distinguished graduate


Kim Do was the president of the Alpha Phi Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and has been recognized for her academic excellence, community service and student leadership.


 Dream big and have courage to take on big roles. Do not pass on an opportunity to be a leader in your school or community.
               -Kim Do, 2009-10 Distinguished Graduate


Academic excellence, community service and student leadership have earned Kim Do the honor of being named the 2009-10 Distinguished Graduate by the Valencia Alumni Association. 

Born in Vietnam, Kim moved to the United States with her family when she was just nine years old. While her father had his own business back home, he gave it up and took a minimum-wage position here in order to provide Kim and her younger sister the opportunity for a U.S. education. His efforts were not in vain.

Kim quickly adapted to her new life, overcoming culture shock and learning a new language in order to make friends and succeed in school. Now, as a graduating Valencia student, she holds a 3.64 GPA and has earned a reputation for her involvement around campus and within the community.

As president of the Alpha Phi Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society on the Osceola Campus, Kim wanted to inspire other students to become active as well. To increase membership, Kim promoted the group, hosted orientations for new members and developed a rewards program for participation. Under her leadership, the group’s number of active members has nearly tripled.

“Kim really wanted to improve the chapter and make a difference in our college and community,” said Albert Groccia, mathematics professor and PTK advisor. “She really believes that phi Theta Kappa is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn how to communicate, become leaders and help the community.”

Through PTK, Kim has led many community service initiatives. She has helped to organize bake sales, car washes and cookouts to raise funds for Relay for Life, and has volunteered with several organizations, including BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, Give Kids the World, Second Harvest Food Bank and Florida’s Nature Conservancy.

“It’s important for me to give back,” Kim said. “Because I have been given opportunity, I want to pass that on. It’s almost like a rent you pay – giving back to those around you and to the community.”

During her time at Valencia, Kim has also served as the parliamentarian for Phi Theta Kappa, as the treasurer for the Student Government Association, and as historian for the Honors Student Advisory Committee. She has been named to Valencia Dean’s List, the National Dean’s List and the 2008-09 All Florida Academic Team. She is the recipient of Phi Theta Kappa’s High Star Achiever Award and was nominated for 2009’s Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Kim graduates from Valencia with an Associate in Arts degree focused in biology. She plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and is currently awaiting admission to University of Notre Dame, University of Central Florida and Florida State University. Kim’s ultimate goal is to become a plastic surgeon so that she can help children with birth defects.

As she leaves Valencia, Kim continues to encourage other students to get involved.

(Reprinted from Association UpdateSummer/Fall 2010 VITAE Magazine Issue 6)

gifts of stock for students

If you're considering a major gift to the Valencia Foundation or planning your end-of-year gift, a gift of public company stock to charity provides two major benefits. First, there is a charitable deduction for the value of the stock. Second, the charity does not pay tax on the sale of the stock and you, therefore, bypass the capital gain.

What will the market do this year? Perhaps the best answer is, “It will go up and down.” Stock returns vary to a significant degree each year. However, long-term stock returns have been reasonably substantial.

Between 1990 and 2010, the average stock return was about 6%. While there was a very substantial increase during 1990-2000 and decreases during 2002 and 2008, the total return over two decades was approximately 6%.

Longer holding periods have generally resulted in higher total returns. The total stock return for seven decades between 1940 and 2010 was in excess of 10%. Returns for long periods of time have paralleled this amount.

You can select to support education in our community! Because many stocks have increased in value over time, you may hold stocks with substantial appreciation.  If you’re considering a major gift or end-of-year gift, a gift of public company stock to support education through the Valencia Foundation provides two major benefits. First, there is a charitable deduction for the value of the stock. Second, the charity does not pay tax on the sale of the stock and you, therefore, bypass the capital gain. 

Click here for a video and example of this process.

Two fairly common reasons for making a substantial gift of stock are that you may have sold an appreciated asset with a large capital gain or you have good income. If you have a large gain or substantial income, you may want to offset that gain or income with a charitable deduction through a gift of stock. Because you receive both the charitable deduction and a bypass of capital gains tax, there is a double benefit for your gift of stock.

How to Make a Stock Gift

If you would like to make a gift of stock to support students through the Valencia Foundation, please call 407/582-3150 for assistance or to have your questions answered about this process.

Most stock is held in an account at a brokerage firm. Relatively few people now wish to hold the actual certificates in their safety deposit box. If you hold actual certificates, you may mail the certificate and a signed stock power in separate envelopes to the charity. Because most stock is held by the brokerage firm, the stock is transferred directly from the account at the brokerage firm to an account for the charity.

Source: © Copyright 1999-2010 Crescendo Interactive, Inc.