Steve Cunningham, professor of EAP

SteveCunninghamPictureThe professor of English as a Second Language for Academic Purposes (EAP) at Valencia College’s Osceola Campus is using his Tupperware Corporation Chair in Community Quality to bring in a visiting Brazilian artist: Clovis Junior.

The artist is well-known in Brazil for his outstanding use of vivid colors, painting scenes that depict Brazilian folk heroes, and for the use of the cashew fruit in his paintings. The cashew tree is native to the northeastern region of Brazil where the artist lives.  It is a large spreading tree that is rapidly losing its habitat to development.  Clovis strives to raise awareness of this issue by including a depiction of the cashew fruit in each of his works.

“I feel strongly that bringing art into a community improves the quality of life,” says Professor Cunningham.clovis

This project will accomplish this in three ways:

  1. Clovis will exhibit his paintings on both the Osceola and West Campuses during the week of February 22-26, 2016.  The exact dates and locations are yet to be determined.
  2. Clovis will give an art class at Central Avenue Elementary School. During this class, the elementary school students will work with the artist to complete their own painting. Both Clovis and the student will sign their paintings. In addition to having a healthy dose of creativity during the class, the students will also be exposed to Brazilian culture and learn a few phrases in Portuguese.
  3. Clovis will leave one of his paintings for the Valencia Foundation to be auctioned at the next Taste for Learning.  The proceeds of the sale will go to student scholarships.

clovis-junior-540x432As well, “the artist will interact with our partners in the Brazilian community, and students in Valencia’s art, humanities, and foreign language programs, who will act as local guides and volunteer translators,” adds Cunningham.

This year, Professor Cunningham completed his 15th year at Valencia College as a full-time professor of EAP.  He received tenure in 2003.

He received his bachelor’s degree in Paper Engineering at Western Michigan University and his master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language at Michigan State University.  He has also taken classes at the University of Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia.  More recently, he has studied the Portuguese language at PUC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and at UFOP in Ouro Preto, Brazil.

Professor Cunningham teaches at the Osceola campus.

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.”

Kenneth Bourgoin–culinary instructor

 

“OneBourdoin of the many gifts that I have been blessed with, is that I am passionate about my subject!” Kenneth Bourgoin waxes poetic on said subject: which, of course, is learning about food. “I am also keenly aware that food has created a genre of great businesses which provide jobs to many people, especially in this area,” he continues.

His vision is that students see beyond just working for somebody. To dream that they, too, can own and run a food operation no matter what it is, big or small. That they can be the ones hiring and being a bigger part of growing the community.

This year in Chicago (May, 2016), he hopes to use the Hunton Brady Architects Endowed Chair in Hospitality Management to bring the experience of food to three students by attending with them, the National Restaurant Association Food Show in Chicago. “The students who are awarded this scholarship will be able to demonstrate this process because of the articulation in the learning outcomes and assessments.” In large part the food show gives them that peripeteia—or a reversal of fortune—moment. He wants to share with them moments like this one:

“When we went to Italy this past spring, the food was amazing.  They have a product in Italy called ‘Lardo.’ It is literally herbed, cured fat back they use as a kind of thinly sliced wrap around lean meats. In a wBourdoin in classord, ‘magnificent!’ My first love (in cuisine) was a fettuccine alfredo with a garlic tomato Provençale.”

Mr. Bourgoin shares with his students a love of good food that moves beyond the laboratory. He continues, “We did a field trip out to Edgewood Children’s Ranch with a Quantity three class.  The cantaloupe straight off the vine was dripping with sweetness.  They had hydroponics, potted strawberries and field vegetables and fruits. We also did a luncheon in the summer using their produce in class. Our new local favorite farmer’s market is out in Winter Garden, the Plant Street Market downtown.” Edgewood Children’s Ranch “was amazing.” He holds them up as an example of great work in bringing the “locavore” (someone who likes
to eat local, seasonal food) movement to the children there.

He admits that his favorite dish to make is barbecue: either St. Louis style ribs or Texas style brisket: because they “come out so good, and the styles can be used in other types of cooking.” At home, “I grow sweet potatoes. I am amazed the colors of the potato depending on the ground they grow.”

Part of his expected outcomes is the opportunity to share with students advances in technology (3-D edible menus, anyone? Too exotic? How about advances in credit card technology?)

Bourgoin was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, and studied at Hooksett, New Hampshire at Southern New Hampshire University. He teaches at the west campus. After decades in the industry, he wants to enhance what he already knows with the business and horticulture sides of food, as well as improving students’ opportunities.

 

 

Karen Cowden, professor of reading/EAP

Karen CC7E88DD3-E859-4DB4-BF52-A1F5DDA7DDAFowden is a professor of reading whose William C. Demetree Jr. Foundation Chair in Education for Special Needs is directed at “How to Build a Premier Learning Culture for Special Needs Students of the Orlando Community.”

The endowed chair will provide funds for Professor Cowden to research and visit special needs institutions/college(s) and capitalize on her expertise by focusing on the educational environment which best provides access and opportunities for special needs students and provides an inclusive learning culture.

In addition, this summer, Professor Cowden attended the A.H.E.A.D. (Association on Higher Education and Disability) National Conference.

The sessions included topics such as “How Disability Rights are Actually Civil Rights,” “Ways to Engage the Entire College Community in Serving Special Needs Students,” “Helping Faculty Learn How to Make Materials Accessible,” and more.

“Over the three days in July in the beautiful city of St. Paul, Minnesota, I truly did learn the diverse perspectives of serving students with special needs, and was surprisingly one of only two faculty members engaging in the conference experience.  Being able to attend this conference not only showed me that we have a long way to go in building bridges between our faculty and special needs support teams, nation-wide, but also that I am encouraged with our work thus far at Valencia College in creating a visionary college experience for the future,” says Professor Cowden.

“I believe if we can learn from other institutions (and other sources) how building a suitable learning structure to serve special needs students at the community college level that is comparable as is afforded at a private, special needs institutions, Valencia College will have provided the Orlando community and the students’ quality learning opportunities.”

The work of Professor Cowden’s endowed chair goes well beyond her delivery of engaging faculty trainings through2D236EE6-A2C6-4689-8F72-C148DD3EF387 the “1-2-3 Captioning is Easy” or “Hands-On Accessibility” courses (in partnership with Stephanie Crosby, Assistant Director of Special Needs Services and Chris Cuevas, Technical Support Specialist with Special Needs Services).  She has partnered with Deborah Larew, Director of the O.S.D., to serve on the newly-formed “Accessibility Advisory Committee,” a college-wide gathering of stakeholders from various roles in the college that are interested in enhancing and expanding the services to special needs students/staff.

Additionally, she has partnered with Dr. Falecia Williams and the “Learning Day” planning team to use some of the endowed chair funds for an honorarium, which would be awarded to the keynote speaker focusing on disability rights and engaging the community collaboration that the college provides for all citizens at this year’s west campus “Learning Day.” As always, Karen continues to promote cross-discipline collaboration and hospitality by organizing a “Lunch and Learn with the Office of Students with Disabilities (O.S.D.)” in the fall term and a “Dinner and Learn with the Office of Students with Disabilities” in the spring term, which brings together all staff/faculty and the staff from the O.S.D. for a meal and active learning experience that covers current trends and topics in special needs services.

Professor Cowden earned her master’s degree in elementary education at UCF with a specialty in reading and her bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in journalism and public relations at Florida State. She teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages, College Preparatory Reading, “1-2-3 Captioning is Easy,” “Hands-On Accessibility,” “Facilitating Online Learning,” and “Teaching in Our Learning College” at the West Campus.

“We really value the faculty collaboration from Professor Cowden and the endowed chair grant. She has understood and furthered O.S.D. goals far beyond what we could have done without this faculty champion. In particular I’d like to mention that she has taken her outcomes further than Special Needs. She has applied what she has garnered from this experience into best teaching practices for the diverse student body. She clearly delights in sharing this ah-ha moment with other faculty members. This is not about disability for Karen; it is about accessibility for all students,” says Dr. Larew.

 

Colin Archibald, professor of computer programming

ColinArchibaldYou’ve heard about it, maybe even work with it. But what IS Big Data, and how is it useful?

Colin Archibald, professor of computer programming, is using his University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology to investigate using Big Data to possibly create a course in Big Data.

“’Big Data’ is a new form of data processing that allows us to see trends and correlations in very large sets of data.  Some are calling this new research area ‘Data Science.’  The volume and lack of structure of Big Data prevents the use of traditional software development tools.  New methods of applying statistical processes on large data sets are emerging as a discipline within computing.   There is a shortage of talent in this area, and companies are limited by this,” according to Professor Archibald.

Data comes from almost everything we do now.  How frequently do you change the channel before you decide to watch a particular TV show?  There is a company trying to learn something from that data right now.  Your location, and movements as monitored by the smart phone in your pocket, are somehow valuable to some business, even if it’s only to present a more appropriate advertisement to you while you’re on Facebook.  Although there is room for nefarious uses of big data, most of it is business trying to find correlations that impact their bottom line.  Some will be very small, and might not be too meaningful.

Did you know that all the grocery stores run out of Poptarts when a hurricane is in the forecast?  Correlations and IntelAndroidcausations are very different.  It is not likely that a hurricane will come because the stores run out of Poptarts.  Although that one is easy to identify the ‘cause’ in the correlation, it’s frequently not obvious.  Many health-related studies, especially with the result “you should shouldn’t eat XYZ” are now considered to have been wrong and are referred to as “correlation” studies.  New methods in processing larger and more complex data sets may have widespread implications, not only in business, but for our well-being.

The endowed chairs are proposing to investigate the addition of Big Data Programming to the AS Computer Programming and Analysis curriculum at Valencia within the next two years (currently planned as a special topics course in the fall of 2016). If this is viewed as valuable to the curriculum, it will be added as a permanent course in the AS Computer Programming.

To facilitate that, they’re planning on Dr. Archibald and Professor Jerry Reed attending some short courses to study the techniques and programming languages used specifically for Big Data.

 

 

Mayra Holzer, professor of communications

 

ProfeHolzer_Mayra_Biossor Holzer plans to spend most of March, 2016, using her Rhymer F. Maguire Jr. Endowed Chair in Communications to obtain training in cross cultural communication as part of her sabbatical work in Argentina.

She will get training from Iceberg Inteligencia Cultural (an international organization that promotes multicultural understanding and global competency for effective intercultural communication) with the goal of internationalizing her SPC1017 course to be included in Valencia’s Global Distinction Curriculum and to better serve Valencia’s Peace and Justice Initiative.

Her goal is to improve her global citizen competency by further developing her knowledge, attitudes and skills of multicultural contexts and cross-cultural communication.

“By increasing my skills in cross-cultural communication, I will be better equipped to serve Valencia’s Peace and Justice Initiative, which aims to ‘nurture an inclusive, caring and respectful environment on campus and within our community’.”

In addition, she plans to internationalize her curriculum for SPC1017 (Interpersonal Communication), with a strong emphasis on the impact of culture on communication styles, and to offer her course as part of Valencia’s Global Distinction Curriculum and to propose a faculty development course related to inclusion and diversity.

“Training in cross cultural communication will better enable me to effectively internationalize my curriculum with great emphasis on communication styles across diverse contexts. Internationalizing my existing Interpersonal Communication Course (SPC1017) will allow me to increase students’ global competencies: appreciate the diversity of cultures, articulate self-awareness from a cultural perspective, understand impact of cultural dimensions on communication with others and develop interpersonal communication skills in a variety of cultural contexts. Also, I will engage students in Peace and Justice co-curricular opportunities on campus to help them develop communication skills to engage in civil discourse.”Holzer field pic

The two-week conference Professor Holzer will be attending takes place in March, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Professor Holzer was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Puerto Rico, a master’s degree in communication and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from UCF. She’s been married for 19 years.

Professor Holzer teaches at the West Campus.

 

 

 

 

 

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.