Steven Cunningham, professor of English as a second language: language as art

The idea for Steven Cunningham’s endowed chair project to bring Brazilian artist Clovis Junior to work with students inimg_4494 an elementary school was inspired by Cunningham’s campus president, Dr. Kathleen Plinske. Dr. Plinske forged a partnership between the Osceola Campus and Central Avenue Elementary School about two years ago when she was asked if Valencia could send some students to volunteer as tutors. “We were told that the biggest need of the elementary school students was just to have someone who cares about them. As a professor of English as a Second Language, I was aware that Central Avenue had many students from many different cultures who did not speak English as their native language. I thought, what better way to boost self-esteem than to connect them to a successful artist from another country? At the same time, we could stimulate creativity and provide affirmation of the wonderful diversity in their classrooms.”

When he contacted the school to see if they would be interested in the project, they were very interested and informed him that this particular elementary school just had its art program reinstated that year! Cunningham sent the art teacher some information on the artist and his art.

When they aimg_4482rrived on the appointed day, one of the students couldn’t hold in his excitement and shouted, “It’s the famous artist from Brazil!” Clovis worked with five different art classes throughout the day. First, he talked about his art and taught the kids a few phrases in Portuguese. Then the students created their own paintings as he did a demonstration painting that he left with the school as a keepsake of his visit.

They had each student sign their painting. Clovis signed them too animg_4445d had a picture taken with each student who had a signed photo release. One pupil asked me where she should sign her painting. “I told her, “You are the artist. You can sign it wherever you want.” She responded, “I’m an ARTIST?!?””

It was a very successful project and a fulfilling and rewarding day. “I felt like we had really captured the true intention of the Tupperware Corporation Endowed Chair in Community Quality by investing in the students at Central Avenue Elementary School and making them feel proud of themselves”.”

Advertisements

Help Us Identify Distinguished Graduate 2016!

The Valencia Alumni Association needs your help!

d

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.

 

Join us for A Night of Celebration

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

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

draft image 3

Main bottom

linkedFB icon2000px-Twitter_Logo_Mini_svg

Brian Macon—professor of mathematics

Brian3

Brian Macon is a community-minded professor of mathematics. He plans to use his Raymer F. Maguire Jr. Chair in Mathematics endowment to build a student community for those students interested in STEM careers. “At a non-residential college like Valencia, there is a strong need to create a sense of belonging and help students with shared interests connect and network outside the classroom,” says Professor Macon.

What he wants to do is to build a community of students interested in STEM fields and to spark an interest in creating campus-based activities long-term after this project is complete, and to build connections to local leaders in STEM fields and gain their support for Valencia’s students.

Ideally, he says, “we’ll invite guest speakers from within our community to visit the campus. Speaker events will help like-minded students meet each other and local industry leaders. Speakers will become more interested in Valencia students, which could lead to possible internships or other opportunities.” Also under consideration, “a ‘math/science problem of the month’ program, where students can earn points for prizes from the bookstore.” The problem-of-the-month will be available for all students, disseminated to students through faculty and student development announcement boards.

His goal, then, is to create a sense of community among students interested in STEM fields through a variety of activities (guest speakers, forming of clubs, problem of the month) intended to create connections between students, faculty and local leaders in current STEM related jobs.Brian1

Professor Macon teaches mathematics at the Lake Nona campus. Many students walk in to his class with a negative attitude about mathematics at the beginning of the semester and he loves the challenge of helping students gain an appreciation of the subject.  He has been teaching full time at Valencia for 15 years, and “I can’t imagine doing anything else other than interacting with students and sharing my passion for math and its applications. This is the fifth time I have been honored with an endowed chair project, and I appreciate the opportunity the Foundation and its donors provide for faculty.”

1 week to the big day- let’s make some noise!

Header

Collage

 

What: #DollarsforScholars is Valencia College Foundation’s end of year campaign.

Why: #DollarsforScholars will make the difference for many students to get the education they’ve always wanted.

When: Starting with #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving, on December 1 through the end of the year.

How: Donate any amount. Take an unselfie.  Spread the word.

 

Them

FB icon2000px-Twitter_Logo_Mini_svg

Alumni Update from Cece Burns, ’13

Chacoryia “Cece” Burns, Valencia’s 2013 Mary Smedley Collier’s Distinguished Graduate is currently a Broadcast Journalism major at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Those of us that have read Cece’s triumphant story and may have also had the privilege of meeting such a kind spirit know that she has manage to persevere through all odds. She has proven that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish any goal.

 c1(Top, 2nd left)

Cece shares “Recently, I’ve become the weather anchor for FAMU TV News-20 which broadcast live to over 8,000 Comcast viewers in the north Florida and south Georgia area. I am a Gospel Radio Personality for WANM 90.5 FM “The Flava Station” which airs on Sunday’s from 8am-11am. As I continue with my journey as a reporter, I plan to continue to work with FAMU TV News 20 as the lead desk anchor as well as intern for a local news station and print journalism company until my graduation on April 30, 2016. After that I plan to either move to Orlando or stay in Tallahassee and pursue a Masters in Fine Arts in Production as well as become a Multi-Media Journalist (MMJ) for a local news station or become a local Gospel Radio Personality.”

c2

c3

“My advice to the students is to continue to strive for your dream. Never let anyone deter you from being what you want to be in life. And also always volunteer and get internships in your profession. Be persistent and always be kind to others because you never know who you will meet and who will take you to the next level.”

Cece is a positive role model and is constantly giving back to the community, whether it be volunteering for children’s church or serving on the Transfer Student Association. Her story encourages us all.

c4

Cece is doing big things and is truly an amazing Valencia Alum….Way to represent!

Check out Cece’s story here

 

Yasmeen Qadri, professor in the teacher education program

This is another in our series of posts on this year’s endowed chairs.

 

Dr. YasQadrimeen Qadri is a tenured professor in the teacher education program at Valencia College. She specializes in multicultural education, peace education, conflict resolution, and diversity. With her partner, Anna Saintil, professor of student life skills, Qadri plans to use their Dr. P Phillips Foundation Chair in Education for the Physically Challenged Award to adopt the TeachLive Lab along with 43 other campuses, including the College of Education and Human Performance at UCF.

“Most of the future teachers may well serve in high tech, richly diverse, and creative classrooms at the future Creative Village in Downtown, Orlando, or may be in any of our nation’s digital schools,” says Qadri. “The endowed chair will enable our teacher education program to focus on advancement in technology, build pathways to exceptional and early childhood education, and strengthen our partnerships with the community.”  Digital schools (Colonial High School), special needs schools (UCP of Central Florida), richly diverse schools (Lawton Chiles Elementary), and early childhood providers (Horizons Child Care & Learning Center), have opened many doors of opportunities to the futur
e educators. “Not only are our students learning the best teaching practices in the above schools, but they are also contributing hundreds of service learning hours in these schools,” adds Qadri.

Additional goals include developing a 1-credit course in Exceptional Education (required by new certification rules) and increasing enrollment in Valencia’s new Early Childhood Education program, Special Needs program, and they hope to collaborate with the future Sign Language Bachelors and Deaf Education Program.

Professor Qadri teaches at the East Campus.