Mayra Holzer (Speech): intercultural traditions

eva-perons-grave-1“The purpose of my sabbatical work was to allow me to cultivate my intercultural competence and to become a more competent global citizen and educator.” Mayra Holzer, professor of speech, used her Rhymer F. Maguire Jr. Endowed Chair in Communications to that end.

Through her sabbatical, she “sought personal and professional renewal and development,” in large part by immersing herself in the culture of Argentina. While in Argentina, she visited museums, cultural and historical monuments, and was able to experience their food, music and community.

In addition to full immersion in the culture, she participated in a variety of professional development activities in the area of intercultural communication. She received personalized training in intercultural communication through Iceberg Inteligencia Cultural Iceberg, an international organization that promotes multicultural understanding and global competency for effective intercultural communication in professional acasa-rosada-2nd educational settings, specializing in Latin American cultures.

“My overseas experience enriched my world view in general, and my multicultural approach to education in particular.” Through her travels to Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was also able to re-connect with her Hispanic heritage, was able to practice her Spanish language skills, and learned about a new culture in a country she had never visited.

While on sabbatical, she worked on internationalizing her curriculum for SPC1017 (Interpersonal Communication) and SPC1608 (Fundamentals of Speech), with a strong emphasis on the impact of culture on communication styles. Upon her return she created two INZ toolkits (SAGE) for SPC1017 and have submitted a request to offer an internationalized course as part of Valencia’s Global Distinction Program. She has also developed a workshop to be offered in the 2016 fall term during Global Peace Week. The workshop is titled “Cultural attributions and their impact on communicating with others.”

 

Kenneth Bourgoin–a taste of greatness

This year, the Hunton Brady Architects Endowed Chair in Hospitality Management allowed a select few of the Culinary Art StIMG_6588udent Association club to attend the National Restaurant Association meeting in Chicago.

The show hosts purveyors from all over the world. There are about 65,000 attendees to the show and it takes about 2-3 days to see all of it. “It is like a food and beverage theme park,” says Bourgoin.

Sometimes, the trip alone is the farthest a student has ever travelled, and that can be challenging in and of itself. At the show they are networking, sharing education programs, involved in chef demos and learning about how the number one private employer hospitality industry works.

The students have to earn points doing volunteer houIMG_6595rs within and outside Valencia College to get the privilege to go to the show. They are exposed to not only the show but the food of Chicago. The faculty and students meet after the show and go to places like Frontera Grill – Rick Bayless’s famous restaurant serving Mexican Cuisine, The Berghoff– a German Restaurant, and The “Girl and the Goat.”  The Chef there is a James Beard award winner.

One student’s reaction: “Getting the opportunity to meet and network with some of the biggest names in the food industry like Thomas Keller [chef at The French Laundry], Anne Burrell and Mauricio Londono, who is the Vice President of the World Association of Chefs,” was a predictably “wow” moment, one that the student is sure will benefit him in years to come

Christy Cheney, life skills = travel

Christy Cheney, professor of student life skills, and Jocelyn Morales, counselor, headed up the REACH (Reaching Every Academic Challenge Head On) student experience, traveling to Venice, Italy. The University Club of Orlando Chair in Humanities was key to funding this project.

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The REACH student experience was transforming because these students had very little experience traveling and being away from the families, which resulted in more growth and development than we expected. “For example, one student in particular spent time in my [Cheney’s] office (almost daily) preparing for the trip. Through her questions as well as my input on expectations, she felt fully prepared for her travels. Upon arrival at the airport and saying goodbye to her mother and grandmother, it was evident she was nervous and seemed a bit unsure of her decision. She sat right next to me on the plane, but was still connected to her family and friends through her cell phone. Once we departed and arrived in Venice, Italy, her connection seemed intermittent due to lack of WIFI. She seemed apprehensive and concerned that her family would be worried about her, but we reassured her that it would be okay, and to embrace this new opportunity by ‘disconnecting.’”

 

The REACH students roomed together for the first couple of nights, which helped them feel a bit more comfortable, but they were eventually mixed up as they traveled throughout the country. The students quickly realized that the adult leaders were not always available for their every need, and they were forced to break out of their comfort zone and engage with other students on the trip.

The transformation/adaptation to this new environment and cultural experience became apparent as they progressed through their trip. REACH students made new friends, took advantage of their free time in unique ways (from each other) and really explored the cities separately.IMG_15601 (1)

 

Jocelyn’s role began in the spring term when she met with them one-on-one at their meetings. In addition, Jocelyn developed a Qualtrics survey to identify student fears and apprehensions. “We knew students were excited about their travels, but we also wanted to know their concerns about leaving the country.”

 

Through Jocelyn’s time with the students over the term and, of course, throughout their travels, a few viewed Jocelyn as a role model and even as an adult family figure. One student in particular didn’t leave her side for a large portion of the trip. In many ways, Jocelyn was her “safety net” and she felt very comfortable as long as she was with her.  Jocelyn slowly “let go” so that the student gained the confidence to experience her travels with her fellow classmates and embrace being in a new place with a set of different values (daily living style). “We could see their growth and development (transformation) by the second half of the trip, and we are incredibly proud of the positive impact this journey had on them.”

In addition, Jocelyn held a session on personality traits, emailed students throughout the term and also called all students (including REACH) to ensure they were prepared for the journey (moral support, tips, etc.).

They also met with the students after the trip was over, looking for additional feedback.

 

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.

 

Christy Cheney—professor of student life skills and Jocelyn Morales—counselor

Christy Cheney and Jocelyn Morales are using their University Club of Orlando Chair in Humanities to defray the costs of study abroad for students (and counselors) in The Uncommon Scholar: REACH Study Abroad 2016 – Italy program.

The REACH (Reaching Each Academic Challenge Head On) program is a cohort-based learning community at the Osceola campus designed to support and guide students through their first 21 college credit hours. Students are nominated by their high school counselors because they demonstrate the work ethic and desire to succeed in academics, but require college readiness skills and support to begin their college career. Most REACH students question if college is right for them and are typically the first in their families to pursue a college degree.

“While certainly many of our students face financial challenges in earning a college degree, a study abroad experience benefits REACH students on a greater level as they have not only had to overcome financial barriers, but also academic obstacles, as well,” says Professor Cheney. Through integrated lessons, co-curricular programs, and fundraising for the Osceola community, students build strong connections with faculty, classmates, and the learning support service providers to help them succeed in college.

The REACH experience continues to be an invaluable opportunity for students who didn’t think college was an option for them. The Valencia Foundation Board will provide students with additional scholarship funds to experience globalized learning through a study abroad program to Italy in 2016 with an experienced Counselor to provide strategies to address personal challenges and support throughout the study abroad program.

We will provide REACH students with the opportunity to experience globalized learning through the study abroad program to Italy in July, 2016. Through Service Learning or Humanities, students will earn college credit while immersing themselves in the rich cultural contributions of Italy.

The vast majority of REACH students are the first in their family to attend college, and are on financial aid with minimal exposure to life outside of Osceola County. An opportunity to travel abroad is a dream that seems unattainable due to financial challenges, as well as having the experience to be away from their families. The endowed chair will fund additional scholarship dollars to support financial need as well as support a Valencia counselor to assist students in adjusting and acclimating to the global experience.

Prior to traveling, REACH students and the traveling counselor will participate in required meetings to discuss expectations and concerns, and learn about how to transition to the culture/country of Italy. Students will reflect through journal writing to share pre-departure plans on preparing for their trip as well as throughout their trip. Through journal reflections, students will be able to express their excitement, fears and new experiences with the support of the SLS and counselor. Faculty will participate in on going open-discussions before, during and after the study abroad experience to ensure full support and guidance for all REACH students.

Professor Cheney teaches the New Student Experience course. She says “I will have built strong connections and relationships with REACH students in the fall of 2015; therefore, my role in addition to Jocelyn’s role will help students to successfully adjust and study abroad.”

Professor Cheney teaches at the Osceola campus. She has worked with REACH students since 2010.

Ms. Morales teaches at the east campus, where she has worked with REACH students for approximately 20 years.

Join us for A Night of Celebration

You are invited to the Valencia Alumni Association’s
 “A Night of Celebration” event.

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Please join us as we celebrate this year’s
Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

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