Andrew Ray, program chair AS built environment programs

1M3A0100 %281024x683%29 (2)Professor Ray is using the Hubbard Construction Company Chair in Technical and Engineering Program for study abroad scholarships.

The Hubbard Construction Chair supports educational programs in building construction, drafting and design, land surveying, and other technology areas. These funds will provide scholarships to allow students in the above programs to participate in a study abroad trip to visit renewable energy facilities in China during summer, 2016. Professor Ray also plan to escort students to Germany/Switzerland in 2016, but the opportunity arose to join Jennifer Robertson’s business students on a 10 day trip to Beijing and Shanghai in July, 2016, to see renewable energy production and accelerated/automated construction techniques.

 “My personal interest in sustainable energy production, including solar, wind and geo-thermal power, spans almost 40 years; the thesis for my Master of Architecture involved creating software and graphics to analyze energy usage in historic buildings.”

The sabbatical Professor Ray completed during fall semester, 2015, included visits to all cities along the path of the proposed trip that Professor Deymond Hoyte and he plan to lead in summer, 2017. “This ‘dry-run’ allowed me to research each site, obtain tourist maps and be able to provide background information to students before and during the study abroad trip.”

The sabbatical itinerary through 29 countries also included visits to a solar plant east of Berlin, geothermal springs and sustainable indoor greenhouses in Iceland, as well as many stops to document various solar and wind power facilities wherever accessible.

Pre-trip meetings with students will focus on popular forms of renewable energy (photovoltaic and thermal solar, wind, geo-thermal, and biofuels), the sociopolitical support of renewables by some governments within the European Union and China, with background on the specific sites they will visit. This will also include an introduction to the culture and people of China for the 2016 trip, and Germany and Switzerland for 2017, and basic language phrases. Since the trip will include students in Built Environment programs and also students taking business courses at Valencia, the cross-discipline approach should foster unique perspectives and discussions. Assessments will include journals and reflection papers on the projects visited and insight gained from the cultural experience.

Study abroad experiences are life-changing for students, opening them to global perspectives, and providing insight into alternate solutions to systemic issues. Most students in the Built Environment program have previously undertaken research on issues related to sustainability, completing an oral presentation on a “green” topic to their classmates. Report topics include the alternate power generation methods and current construction practices featured on this trip, but also include garden roofs; this is the major amenity of an apartment building they will visit in Darmstadt with the students. In addition, students will be exposed to state-of-the-art technologies used in China and Europe, as well as traditional construction techniques predating anything built in the USA.

Professor Ray has been involved in the Central Florida design and construction community for many years. After graduating with a Master’s in Architecture from Texas A&M, he moved to Fort Myers, FL, and was involved with historic preservation and commercial projects while completing his internship. Upon becoming a registered architect, he moved his family to Orlando in 1990, founded Array Design and started teaching at Valencia in 1991. A past president of the local chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute, and former Construction Manager with Habitat for Humanity, Mr. Ray enjoys travel and learning about construction. His wife, Alison, is also an architect, and they have two sons, Alex and Tony.

 

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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.

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

 

 

Deborah Howard, professor of mathematics

D HowardAnother in our series of endowed chairs.

Deborah Howard, professor of mathematics, is using her Lockheed Martin Chair in Mathematics to remove “barriers to success using mindset interventions.”

She says “Student success in gateway mathematics courses depends as much on attitudes and beliefs as it does on content knowledge. Many students believe that they are either inherently good or bad at math. Many claim they have had negative experiences with math by expressing two statements: ‘Math is useless in my life,’ and ‘I can’t do math.’”

She believes that implementing social-psychological interventions can empower students to overcome these barriers.

Professor Howard’s goal with the award is to build connections with external researchers with expertise in psychological interventions (i.e. mindset and utility value), so she can learn how to best train gateway math faculty to apply these interventions with Valencia’s gateway math students.

“Mindset research by Carol Dweck has found that by teaching people that the brain’s ability to grow and adapt—like a muscle—means that you can actually train it to improve intelligence and skill. This research has resulted in increased performance among students and closing of achievement gaps between race and ethnicity. Additionally, Chris Hulleman and his colleagues (Utility Value Study) have found that when students are asked to reflect on the usefulness of their class material, it actually increases their performance and interest in the course.”

She plans to bring in external researchers to work with her and other front door mathematics educators to learn together about how to make use of these strategies at Valencia. The researcher will work with Valencia’s team by collecting data, creating a continuous implement cycle on how and when they should deliver these interventions.

The opportunity to influence student outcomes (i.e. decreasing course drop rates, increasing math interest, and increasing gateway mathematics course success rates) through the researcher-practitioner collaboration will be the highlight of this project. “The mindset and utility value interventions will provide us with the opportunity to facilitate potentially life-changing psychological interventions for our Valencia front-door mathematics students. For me, the potential to help Valencia College mathematics students with the opportunity to overcome past academic / psychological barriers is the first step forward in their academic and life pursuits.”

Ms. Howard was born in Sanford, Florida, and received her MS in Mathematical Sciences from UCF. Married to Vince Howard, she has two daughters. She has been with Valencia’s math faculty since 1994. She teaches at the east campus.

 

For more information on the group grant, see also http://bit.ly/1T1W63z (Valencia college’s blog post on the grant itself.)

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.