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.


summer dance: repertory concert July 15-16

Save the date! 

A more recent addition to Valencia’s Dance Series, the Summer Repertory Concert is designed to showcase Valencia’s resident dance company, Valencia Dance Theatre and provide a performance opportunity for the annual Valencia Summer Dance Institute.

The Repertory Concert includes faculty and guest artist choreography, including choreography by former Valencia Dance graduates. The Summer Repertory Concert provides a summer performance opportunity for not only our dancers, but for our Valencia viewing audience as well.

Performance Dates:
Friday, July 15, 2011 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 16, 2011 8:00 p.m.
East Campus Performing Arts Center
Box Office: 407-582-2900
Tickets: $8.00 General Admission/$6.00 Valencia Employees, Students and Seniors

valencia offers weekend-degree program

Community colleges try to keep up with rapid rise in student population

Instructor Daeri Tenery, right, discusses an experiment with chemistry students Ashley Munns, left, and Steffanie Graber recently at Valencia Community College's East Campus. The college will offer a weekend track to associate-of-arts degrees. (George Skene/Orlando Sentinel / June 7, 2011)

Instructor Daeri Tenery, right, discusses an experiment with chemistry students Ashley Munns, left, and Steffanie Graber recently at Valencia Community College's East Campus. The college will offer a weekend track to associate-of-arts degrees. (George Skene/Orlando Sentinel / June 7, 2011)

By Denise-Marie Balona, Orlando Sentinel

6:51 PM EDT, June 8, 2011

Like community colleges statewide, Valencia has had to turn away students because there aren’t enough classrooms to keep up with surging enrollment.

Now, to try to fit more people on campus and also meet a growing demand for courses that accommodate working adults, Valencia is introducing a weekend associate-degree program.

In August, Valencia will roll out the new program, designed to help students complete a degree in about seven semesters exclusively through classes Friday nights and during the day Saturdays and Sundays.

Although the college has long offered some classes on weekends, this is the first time it has packaged a variety of courses in a way that allows students to fit everything they need to earn an associate of arts into the weekend.

No other community college or state college in Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole or Volusia counties offers the option. But it’s an emerging trend among state-funded colleges in Florida — and one of the innovative ways educators are trying to stretch their limited state construction dollars while also serving a student body that has grown by more than 100,000 during the past four years.

Enrollment within the state-college system jumped 14 percent from the 2005-06 school year to last school year, according to the Florida Department of Education.

At Valencia, already one of the nation’s largest community colleges, growth was even bigger. Enrollment there spiked almost 30 percent.

Valencia’s new weekend-degree program will be introduced first at the East Campus on North Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando — its largest. It was built for about 14,000 students but serves about 21,000, said Michelle Foster, assistant provost there.

If the program goes well, she said, it might be expanded to other locations.

In 2010, weekend degrees were introduced on a limited basis at Miami Dade College and Polk State College. Both institutions plan to expand their programs this coming school year.

Ken Ross, vice president for academic and student services at Polk State, based in Winter Haven, predicts that weekend degrees will eventually catch on with other institutions.

One of the main missions of a state college, Ross said, is to help students earn a degree in the fastest, most convenient way possible so they can move into the work force or get started on another degree. Right now, in an economy that is still sluggish, people can’t afford to leave their jobs during the week to sit for a lecture or do science experiments.

Weekend degrees offer a perfect fit for these students and higher-education institutions struggling with a space crunch, he said.

That’s why Polk began offering a bachelor’s degree in applied science in a weekend format last year. Next school year, students will be able to complete a bachelor’s in nursing on a weekend schedule.

“It’s kind of a no-brainer,” Ross said.

Colleges everywhere are trying new things to stretch their available space. A number of colleges nationwide — for example, Bunker Hill Community College in Massachusetts and Northern Virginia Community College — have introduced “graveyard” classes, which begin around midnight, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.

Seminole State College is adding classes in the early mornings at its Altamonte Springs campus to squeeze more courses into the regular weekday.

This fall, two to four classes will be offered at 6:30 a.m. — an option that Lynn Colon, provost of that branch, hopes will appeal to working adults. The plan is to offer some classes on a Monday-and-Wednesday schedule and some on a Tuesday-and-Thursday schedule.

“Someone who did work could possibly take two classes before work in the morning,” she said.

Many colleges are expanding their online offerings so students can work from home whenever they like.

“We’re seeing more demand for online classes, and that’s what we’re working on expanding,” said Chuck Mojock, president ofLake-Sumter Community College.

Valencia’s new weekend-degree program will allow students to complete an associate of arts degree by attending classes fewer times a week but for longer chunks of time. They will take primarily general-education courses — those foundational courses students need to take before they can move on to upper-level courses to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Although students will be able to choose from a variety of classes and class times, the selection will be considerably smaller compared with offerings available during the week, Foster said.

Friday classes will run from about 7 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Classes offered Saturdays and Sundays will run from about 7 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. or from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. or from 1:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The last class of the day Saturdays and Sundays will be longer so it can accommodate a science lab. or 407-420-5470.

Copyright © 2011, Orlando Sentinel

art exhibition pays tribute to gallerys namesake

The Anita S. Wooten Gallery at Valencia College’s East Campus will host a memorial exhibition titled, “Friends of Anita S. Wooten Exhibition,” beginning Friday, June 17, with a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The collection will be on exhibit through August 5.

The exhibition will feature the work of Victor Bokas, Eric Breitenbach, Rocky Bridges, Michael Galletta, Cicero Greathouse, Nancy Jay, Mitchell Long, Robert Rivers and Que Throm.

Valencia Professor and artist Anita Wooten was well-known throughout the Central Florida arts community before her death from cancer in 2001. Wooten’s soulful work reflected the hopes, anxieties and fears of her decade-long battle against the disease.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Summer gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

The gallery is located in Building 3 on Valencia’s East Campus at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando.

For information, call 407-582-2298 or 407-582-2268. For a schedule of upcoming exhibitions, visit

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

fore student scholarships

Please join Central Florida’s top architectural design and building professionals at the 22nd annual AIA Orlando Golf Tournament, benefiting AIA Orlando and Valencia Foundation’s scholarship fund. Last year’s event raised $10,000 in scholarship funding for students in need. This year we plan to beat that number. In total, AIA has generated $248,000 in scholarships.

When: Friday, June 24, 8:30 a.m. shotgun start

Where: Waldorf Astoria Golf Club

For more information, please contact AIA Orlando (407-898-7006) or Valencia Foundation (407-582-3150).

Spaces are limited, don’t miss out!

what is

LifeMap is a student's guide to figuring out "what to do when" in order to complete their career and education goals.

MeInTheMaking is part of Valencia’s LifeMap program and is a way to reach student who are experiencing Valencia as new college students and assist in setting and achieving goals.  However, LifeMap is not just for ‘new’ students!

LifeMap links all of the components of Valencia (faculty, staff, courses, technology, programs, services) into a personal itinerary to help students succeed in their college experience. LifeMap is a student’s guide to figuring out “what to do when” in order to complete their career and education goals.

Students have access to LifeMap web resources, online planning tools, and connections to people and college services through Atlas.  Atlas is Valencia’s online system that allows a student to receive e–mail and check student record information using a secure personal identification number and can be accessed at

The website is aimed at increasing students’ understanding and use of LifeMap and the many resources available to help them set and achieve goals at Valencia.

Students will notice environmental graphics/murals on all the campuses that reinforce LifeMap messages and drive interest in the MeInTheMaking website.     The LifeMap tools—My Job Prospects, My Career Planner, My Education Plan, My Portfolio and My Financial Planner—are avialble to all student through their Atlas account!

register for fall classes now!

Need help registering for classes? Here are some helpful tips on how to get ready for the fall semester.

Atlas Web Registration
The Atlas system provides Web registration at Valencia . Point your Web browser to and follow the directions to log on. On campus, you can use the Atlas Access Labs in the Student Services Building on the East Campus (Building 5, Room 213), West Campus (Student Services Building, Room 142), Osceola Campus (Building 1, Room 151), and Winter Park Campus (Building 1, Room 220). Atlas registration provides current class listings and a search feature to find the courses you need. Students with holds cannot use Atlas registration until the holds have been cleared. Help is available in the Atlas Access Labs and through the AskAtlas site in Atlas. If you have a hold on your account, please visit the Answer Center.

Wait List:
Some departments use a wait list to prioritize seat availability. If a course that you want has a wait list, you must add your name to the wait list from the drop-down menu that will appear when you attempt to register. Wait listed students will be notified via their Atlas e-mail account as seats become available. You will have a limited time to respond to the e-mail or the seat will be offered to the next wait listed student. Important: Check your Atlas e-mail account frequently. Please note that if you needed to get an override in order to register for a course, you will NOT be able to add your self to a wait list for that course on Atlas. You must come in person to the Answer Center so a Student Services Specialist can manually add you to the wait listed course.

Assisted Registration
Assisted registration is a limited option for registering on campus. Course selection and required approvals are entered by a Student Services Specialist in the Answer Center. Assisted registration is only an option for senior citizens, internship placement students, students who wish to audit a course, and students who received a course override and need to be added to a wait list. All other students must register for courses on their Atlas account.

Dual Enrollment Registration
Dual enrolled high school students may only register for classes by:

  • Contacting the Dual Enrollment Office at (407) 582-1600 or visiting the office on West Campus in SSB-132.

Class Cancellation
Classes may be canceled during registration due to low enrollment or the ability to find a qualified instructor. If a course is canceled, every effort will be made to notify the students involved and to help them find a suitable substitute class. Notifications will be sent to students’ Atlas e-mail account. Important: Check your Atlas e-mail account frequently.

Need additional info? Visit