Diane Dalrymple–enhancing information literacy

ALA Photo Cropped

 

The Freeda Foreman Chair in Collaborative and Creative Problem-Solving has been beneficial to both faculty and students at Valencia College. “The process of collaboration between myself, a librarian on east campus, and east campus composition faculty and administration was rewarding and insightful. The endowed chair offered me the opportunity to work with the east campus dean of communications (Dr. Linda Neal) and the composition division chair (Randy Gordon), which I have not had the chance to do in the past,” Diane Dalrymple, east campus librarian, says about her current project.

She brought to these administrators the concept of using a standardized test to measure the level of a Valencia student’s information literacy. In addition, Dalrymple met with classroom faculty who volunteered to offer the test through their classes to describe the test and to answer any questions or concerns they had.

This project was a larger-scale attempt to measure a general education student learning outcome than the assessment tools the librarians have been recently employing. Students polled after taking the tests related that they found the questions very enlightening.

One student responded, “I just do research. I really don’t think about how I do it. Maybe I should.” Another student added, “This was hard. I usually just go to Google to find what I need. I never knew there were special places to go for special facts.”

The results from the test showed that Valencia College students scored above average on understanding economic, legal, and social issues related to information. That is, their understanding of copyright and plagiarism is a much higher level than at comparable schools.

The areas where Valencia student need to improve are in retrieving and evaluating sources. Future students will benefit from these assessment results because faculty and librarians now know where we need to focus our efforts in teaching information literacy.

“My conversations with Dean Neal and Professor Gordon were very enlightening to me. I personally had to think about aspects of program assessment that were new to me because of discerning questions about the standardized testing raised by Dean Neal and Professor Gordon. Their questions included what type of results would be received from the testing, were the results actionable, and were the results linked to particular students in particular classes.”

The questions related to application will be answered in future conversations between the librarians as a group and fellow faculty members and administrators interested in using this type of assessment tool. Currently, future conversations have been scheduled with Dr. Laura Blasi and the Valencia College
Librarians Assessment Committee. The hope is that with the support of Dr. Blasi and the
Assessment Committee to be able to offer open sessions for faculty where the results of the test can be presented and robust conversations can be continued. Some of the assessment changes have been implemented already, and the results of the test as a whole will be shared with classroom faculty this fall.

“This project took a village to accomplish and it will take a village to determine where we go from here.”

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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.

 

Laura Sessions–professor of chemistry

Our latest in our series about endowed chairs at Valencia this year.

 

“HoDr. Laura Sessionsw can we prepare students for the challenges of STEM (science/technology/engineering/math) careers?” This is the question Professor Laura Sessions asked while creating “meaningful internship experiences” at the Lake Nona campus with her Lockheed Martin Chair in Science this year.

She adds “I am currently interested in improving the learning experience for students in the science laboratory. The Lockheed Martin Chair in Science 2015-16 has allowed me to investigate best practices for training students in research skills and to create an internship program for a first cohort of five students in spring 2016.”

The intent of this program is to help students better understand the process of science, and the mindset and skills required to do research. Students will receive training in key laboratory skills through interaction with faculty members, through the use of tutorials, and, ultimately, by addressing a research question. Students with these skill sets are more likely to find internships in research labs.

Students will be able to attend the Florida Academy of Sciences Conference on March 19-21, 2016 at the University of South Florida, thanks to funding from the Lockheed Martin Chair in Science from the Valencia Foundation.

 

“One student, Shannon Finner, has already been working in the laboratory with me this fall. She is optimizing

Dr. Sessions and Assistantship Student Shannon Finner Discuss an Infrared Spectrum in the Lake Nona Chemistry laboratory, fall 2015.

Dr. Sessions and Assistantship Student Shannon Finner Discuss an Infrared Spectrum in the Lake Nona Chemistry laboratory, fall 2015.

the recrystallization solvent for purifying a Diels-Alder adduct that students make in the Organic Chemistry 1 class at Lake Nona’s campus.”

Dr. Sessions adds, “In the long term, I hope to create a sustainable program for scientific inquiry by students at the Lake Nona campus. I would like to create an interdisciplinary team, bringing together students and faculty from chemistry, biology, and our new biotech program, so that students can experience authentic scientific research and leave Valencia with real world skills.”

Dr. Sessions is professor of chemistry at the Lake Nona campus.  She was born and raised in Winter Park,and attended the University of Florida, obtaining a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in French. Dr. Sessions then attended Dartmouth College, where she studied organic polymer synthesis and nanoparticles. After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Sessions was very happy to move back to warm, sunny Florida. She taught as an adjunct at Palm Beach Community College (now Palm Beach State College) for three years while performing various duties for the South Florida Science Museum including science educator, grant writer, and, eventually, education director. Dr. Sessions joined the full-time faculty at Valencia College in 2010 and successfully completed the tenure track in 2014.

Dr. Sessions is married to Dr. Hampton Sessions, also a chemist, who studies medicinal chemistry at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in Lake Nona.  They have two adorable children: Evelyn, aged 5 and Henry, aged 3.

 

 

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.

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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.”

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“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.

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

Check out Cece’s story here

 

Join Us!

 

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Come Join Us!

Valencia Alumni, Students, Employees and Friends

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Valencia College Veterans will be meeting up near the Wall Street area

(corner of Orange Ave and Central Blvd) for the opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m.

Spectator Parking Information
Library Garage | Central Garage

Street Closure Information

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DON’T BE CAUGHT OFF GUARD!

Daylight Savings Time ENDS Sunday, November 1st.
Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour Saturday night.

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It’s not too late!

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Alumni Spotlight

2015 Veterans of Influence: Daila “Dee” Espeut-Jones

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Valencia alum Daila “Dee” Espeut-Jones ’09, program manager, ZelTech Training Solutions LLC, is one of Orlando Business Journal’s 2015 Veterans of Influence who was recognized at a this years awards luncheon.

Here, she tells a bit about how serving in the military
made her into the woman she is today.

Check out this amazing video of Daila “Dee” Espeut-Jones!