the valencia college era begins

The Valencia College Era Begins

Valencia Community College officially becomes Valencia College tomorrow. Along with a new name, the college introduces a new ad campaign to support student enrollment and communicate Valencia’s impact on the community.

“The word ‘community’ may be out of our name, but it is part of our DNA,” said Valencia President Sandy Shugart. “We are deeply committed to the principle of an open door to higher education and empowering students to achieve their greatest goals.”

The campaign underscores Valencia’s belief that “anyone can learn anything under the right circumstances,” a philosophy that has transformed the college into a leading learning centered institution and the top producer of associate degrees in the nation.

Helping students attain a college degree includes helping them afford tuition. Valencia awarded $180 million in financial aid this year and offers workshops on financial literacy throughout the year. Tuition remains low at under $100 per credit hour, approximately half that of a state university.

Valencia is the primary entry point into higher education in Central Florida. More than twice as many local high school graduates enroll at Valencia than at all public universities in the state combined. Through DirectConnect to UCF, Valencia paves the way for more students to transfer to a university than any two-year college in the country. More than 20 percent of UCF’s upper division is made up of Valencia transfers.

Valencia begins two new bachelor’s degree programs this fall with electrical and computer engineering technology and radiologic and imaging science. They add to an already strong presence of bachelor’s programs offered through UCF’s regional campus at Valencia.

UCF offers complete bachelor’s degrees in applied science, architecture, business administration, criminal justice, electrical engineering, elementary education, interdisciplinary studies, legal studies, nursing, political science, psychology and sociology at Valencia’s West Campus.

On Osceola Campus, UCF offers bachelor’s degrees in applied science, business administration, elementary education, interdisciplinary studies and psychology.

Valencia’s workforce offerings are highly regarded with signature programs in film, nursing, hospitality and culinary, digital media, and computer technology. This year it began a new program in cyber security and digital forensics and is developing one in homeland security.

Valencia also operates several programs, including Take Stock in Children and Bridges, that identify at-risk students prior to college and provides them with mentors coupled with financial support throughout their academic careers.

The college operates six campuses and centers in Orange and Osceola counties offering credit and continuing education programs. Last month it broke ground on what will become the Valencia Lake Nona Campus. The college was founded in 1967 as Valencia Junior College and renamed in 1972 as Valencia Community

Television spots can be seen on YouTube and will air locally in July and August.
In addition to TV, the college plans to have outdoor billboards, bus shelter ads, cinema advertising, and online ads. You can see more of the campaign at

visit valencia

Visit Valencia

Wherever you happen to live, Valencia is easy to get to. The college has four main campuses and two centers throughout Orange and Osceola counties, with plans for a fifth campus in southeast Orlando.

 Campus Tours/Information Sessions

The best way to get a sense of what Valencia is really like is to stop by for a visit. You’ll have a chance to explore campus, ask questions, hear from current students, and decide if Valencia is right for you.

 There are two options for your visit:

Sign Up for a Campus Tour (30-minutes)

  • 30-minute walking tour of the campus guided by a Valencia Student Leader
  • Check out classrooms, labs and the cafeteria
  • Receive answers to your general questions

Sign Up for a Valencia Preview (90-minutes)

  • 1.5 hour introduction to Valencia
  • Presentation by the Transition Services Department
  • Discussion on steps to enrollment, admission process, financial aid and career options
  • Guided campus tour

To request a campus tour or schedule a preview, please visit 


valencia professors love for math knows no borders

Cliff Morris retired from Valencia in 2005, but that doesn’t mean that his days as an educator are over. In fact, the former West Campus dean of mathematics is back in front of the classroom—it just happens that the classroom is halfway across the world— in South Africa.

Cliff's students at Portland High School, Cape Town, South Africa

As often as three times a year, Morris makes the trip to Cape Town, South Africa, where he teaches mathematics to students at Portland High School for two and three week intervals. “I connect with educators around the world, especially in South Africa,” said Morris. “They have the same concerns and challenges that we do. They don’t have enough teachers or enough resources. That’s where I can help.”

Morris first realized his calling in South Africa back in 2000, when he traveled there through a nonprofit group called People to People International. He joined 37 other U.S. math educators for 10 days to tour South African schools and meet with education officials. Wanting to help improve the state of education there, Morris and the other group members asked how they could be of assistance. They were told to share their expertise in the classroom. Morris decided to do just that, making his first solo-teaching trip to Portland High in 2002 and sparking a long-term relationship with the school.While Morris’s trips to Portland High have become routine, his experiences there certainly haven’t. Sometimes he’ll spend an entire visit assisting one teacher, other times he’ll hop around from class to class. Oftentimes he ends up being the on-call math substitute, stepping in to teach anything from algebra to calculus.

In addition to teaching, Morris has helped in many other ways. In the beginning, this meant raising funds for students’ tuition. (In South Africa, even public schools charge tuition, which can range from $30 a year, to $300, depending on the school.) Eventually though, he felt he could make a more lasting impact by helping to bring more resources to the school. The first thing that Morris accomplished was to get Texas Instruments to donate graphing calculators to the school. He and other volunteers also painted classrooms to cover graffiti, outfitted classrooms with new cabinets and chalkboards, and got the school its own router and server so that it could receive quicker Internet access.

One of the biggest resources that Morris has brought, and continues to bring, to South African schools is more volunteer instructors. Morris partnered with some of his colleagues from his first trip to create the Volunteer Education Support 4 Africa Trust, or VES4A. The purpose of the trust is to create a cross-educational exchange program where U.S. educators can travel to South Africa to teach both the students and instructors there.

By focusing on collaboration and remaining constructive rather than critical, Morris and the other visiting instructors are able to have the greatest influence. “We don’t want to export the common philosophy that America’s way is the best way,” said Morris. “We’re there to export help.” It is this philosophy that has made Morris a welcomed visitor, colleague and friend to Portland High and the students and faculty there. Lending a hand is a tradition that he hopes to continue long into his retirement. “I was fortunate that I got paid for 30 years to do something I loved and fortunate to be able to continue on,” said Morris. “I retired at 52 and at 58 I can still travel, get around fluidly, and I have the pleasure to teach— so I do.”

Source: Melissa Tchen Valencia Vitae

valencia is again top producer of associate degrees in nation

For the second year in a row, Valencia Community College ranks first in the nation in the number of associate degrees awarded by a community college. The ranking was published on Monday by Community College Week.

The report was compiled using preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and focused on degrees conferred during the 2009-2010 academic year. In that year, Valencia awarded 6,303 associate degrees, including 2,650 earned by minority students.

“Valencia’s focus on improving student success, particularly in the critical first year of college, is paying off,” said Valencia president Sanford C. Shugart. “The rankings also underscore the role Valencia plays as the primary entry point to a college education in our region.”

Also noteworthy, the college ranks second in the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students and third in the number awarded to African Americans.

Aside from overall associate degrees conferred, Valencia ranked high across a number of academic disciplines: first in the number of degrees awarded in general studies, 9th in registered nursing and 18th in engineering technology.

Valencia offers three types of degrees: the Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.) and the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The A.A. degree parallels the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree. In Florida, graduates with an A.A. degree are guaranteed acceptance as juniors into the state university system.

A long-standing partnership between Valencia and the University of Central Florida has contributed to Valencia’s transfer rate, considered to be among the highest in the country. DirectConnect to UCF guarantees Valencia grads acceptance and accelerated admission to the university. Since the program’s inception in 2006, approximately 45,000 students have indicated that they are DirectConnect to UCF students.

On July 1, Valencia will drop “community” from its name and become Valencia College. Starting in August, it will expand its offerings to include several bachelor’s degrees.

Source:  Carol Traynor

construction set to begin on lake nona campus

On Wednesday, June 22, Valencia College will break ground on the first building of its new Lake Nona Campus, opening opportunities for students to study biomedical and life sciences and earn their associate degrees.

Located in the northeast quadrant of Lake Nona’s “medical city,” the campus will join UCF’s medical school, the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, Nemours Children’s Hospital and the VA Medical Center.

“We are delighted to bring a campus to the Lake Nona community that will allow us to expand our course offerings and develop new programs to support the unique economic development needs of the region,” said Kathleen Plinske, president of the Lake Nona and Osceola campuses.

In addition to offering advanced science and math courses leading to the A.A. degree, the campus will focus on meeting the technical training and employment needs of the surrounding research facilities and hospitals, as well as Orlando International Airport.

Valencia has offered college courses in a wing of Lake Nona High School since 2009, both to the general community and through its Collegiate Academy, where high school students can enroll in advanced placement and dual enrollment courses leading to an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree. There are currently 364 students enrolled in the Collegiate Academy, and 9 out of the top 10 students at Lake Nona High School are Collegiate Academy members.

When it opens in August of 2012, the three-story, 83,000 square-foot building will contain 18 classrooms, six science labs, a library, a bookstore, small café and administrative offices.

Built at a cost of $21.7 million, this is the first of four buildings proposed for the campus, which will eventually accommodate about 5,000 students and total a minimum of 250,000 square feet.

The campus features an environmentally friendly design based on specifications set by Green Building Initiatives, a Portland, Oregon based non-profit. “Green” features include energy saving lights and air conditioning, reflective roofing materials, recycled construction materials and native landscaping that requires very little piped irrigation.

The Lake Nona Campus website has additional information:

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia Community College; Valencia News;

new online scholarship application

Valencia Foundation offers a new online scholarship application that makes it even easier for our students to access essential financial support as they juggle their coursework with family and professional responsibilities.

Scholarships may be specific to a degree, program, profession or demographic. They may include community service, academic achievement or financial-need components. Each one is a little different so students will qualify. Fall-semester decisions will be made over the summer, and new funds also are available throughout the year.

Students can visit and complete to complete the application and essay online.

Valencia Foundation scholarships represent the leadership, investment, and kindness of philanthropic individuals, corporations and organizations that are deeply rooted in our community.  In the past three years, we’ve disbursed more than $10 million in private scholarships.

If you have any questions about online scholarship application please contact Celica Cofield.  If you would like more information on how you can establish a Valencia scholarship or have questions regarding the Valencia Foundation please contact Donna Marino at 407-582-3128.

student life at valencia college

Clubs and Organizations

Clubs and Organizations

Valencia offers more than 60 groups, clubs and organizations, including clubs for movie, book, art and animal lovers, clubs for African-American, Latino, Caribbean and Muslim students, career interest groups, student government and Valencia Volunteers. We also offer intramural sports and campus fitness centers for aspiring athletes and those who just want to stay in shape.

Campus Activities
Campus Activities

From film festivals to music and dance concerts, plays, guest speakers and cultural events, there’s always something happening on Valencia’s campuses.

The biggest student event is Matador Day, a festival held each fall. A long-standing tradition, this fun-filled event features music, food, games and contests. (Little known fact: the matador is Valencia’s mascot.)

Student Life

Around Town

Year-round sunshine, local theme parks and nearby beaches have made Central Florida a vacation destination – and a great place to live. As a Valencia student, Disney, Universal, Islands of Adventure and SeaWorld will practically be in your backyard, along with more than 5,000 restaurants and shopping destinations like Mall at Millennia, Florida Mall and the outlet stores.

For a more local experience, there’s also downtown Orlando, which is home to unique arts venues and a thriving music scene. If sports are your thing, you can cheer on the UCF Knights at their new football stadium nearby the East Campus or catch a Magic game at the completed Amway Arena in downtown Orlando.