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!

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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

Julie Phelps, professor of mathematics

picture“Today, there are many free online resources that can be used to enhance students’ learning.

Unfortunately, these materials are not all created equal! The goal of this project is to provide our students with the technology tools needed to create student-led tutorials that support Valencia College algebra content. Engaging in this activity helps students see the relevance (usefulness) or importance of what they are learning.”

Julie Phelps, professor of mathematics, is using the Raymer F. Maguire, Jr., teaching chair to combine the three strategies that she is currently using to assist the front-door (first year) mathematics students while bringing down the cost of textbooks.

First, Valencia East campus math faculty created an on-demand website called math help 24/7. “A student created on-demand tutorial would be a perfect addition. This project would help to obtain the necessary technology for student-created tutorials. Also, I am currently using a Valencia faculty-written free online textbook. These resources could help faculty create interactive worksheets to support the free online textbook. Last, I would like to create an online lesson that connects to the psychological interventions (i.e. mindset and utility value) designed to increase student performance and interest in mathematics,” adds Professor Phelps.

The student-led tutorial serves a dual purpose. First, in the term the student creates the tutorial, this video will serve as an alternate assessment to a pencil/paper test on the same topic or unit. Second, if the student-created video is a high quality video, then the video will be a permanent addition the online tutorials already online for all future students taking the course.  “While I was describing this project to the current students, the idea that they could put on their resume that they contributed to Valencia College online tutorial resources and they can share the link, was tremendously exciting.”

Professor Phelps will design a lesson that requires each student to “teach” an algebraic topic. These lessons will be graded, and if they are sound in theory, the student-led tutorial will be included as a supplement to the textbook for future students to use.

She will also create tutorials to demonstrate how other faculty can use these resources to create interactive worksheets which will recruit front-door educators who can implement these interventions.

And finally, she will assess her psychological online intervention learning outcomes by collaborating with an external researcher regarding the best delivery of these interventions to students.

Valencia algebra courses have a course outcome which requires the “use of technology tools” and a course outcome calling for the “use of applications emphasizing connections with other disciplines and with the real world.”

Additionally, Think, Valencia’s core competency, is defined as “thinking critically, and creatively, analyzing, synthesizing, integrating and evaluating.” This competency explains the level necessary to design a math content tutorial. The potential of motivating students to teach content using technology is great way to assess student learning while inspiring them to contribute to our academic digital community. The opportunity to influence student outcomes (i.e. decreasing course drop rates, increasing math interest, and increasing gateway mathematics course success rates) by implementing the psychological interventions will provide students with potentially life-changing attitudes.

 Professor Phelps holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, a master’s degree from UCF, and a doctorate, also from UCF.

 

See also this blog post from December 2, discussing the group project: http://bit.ly/1T1W63z