Key Points That Will Shape Valencia's Future
A Fall 2006 review of data by the Data and Situational/Needs Analysis Task Force revealed seven key points that the task force believes are critically important to the College as we plan our future.
1. Demand for higher education will grow in Central Florida due to continuing population increases, changes in the employment market, and workforce vacancies as baby boomers retire. While high school graduates will increase, the proportion earning a standard diploma will decline. University admissions limits will increase the number of students starting at community colleges.
2. The students in our future will be increasingly diverse in background and needs. Younger students will prefer non-traditional methods of learning. Prospective students over age 44 (a group that will increase at a higher rate than will the younger population) will be interested in career changes and growth, weighing the investment of their time in education as a cost.
3. Educational options available to students will continue to evolve. Private institutions will increase in number and enrollments, and financial aid policies and availability will make it possible for students to attend higher cost private institutions if they choose.
4. Working to improve learning results, and to document those improvements, will continue to challenge the College and our students. The College can expect increased community interest in how it can partner to increase high school graduation rates and improve college readiness. As students move on to their first experiences at Valencia, a large number will struggle, and we will need more information about why this is the case. As learning technologies evolve, the College will need more information about which students can be successful with different learning modalities, such as web-based courses.
5. The community's needs and related expectations are changing. More employees will be required who readily learn and adapt to new technologies, who work effectively and serve people from other cultures, and who contribute to solving societal and global problems. Employment in the biological sciences, health care, high-technology fields, business, construction, hospitality, and teaching will experience highest local demand. Cries for public accountability will intensify, adding to the need to collect, analyze and report to the public, and to improve our assessment of learning.
6. Valencia's costs of doing business will continue to rise, and so must our revenues. Our needs will exceed available State funds, meaning that we must continue to seek alternative revenue through gifts, grants, and revenue-generating activities. Significant investments in land, new facilities, renovations, and technologies will be required in a marketplace in which scarcity of many resources will drive up costs. Competition for qualified personnel and the need for the development of new leaders will intensify as baby boomers retire.
7. Defining community (which is, in fact, our middle name) is increasingly complicated and increasingly important. Just as the members of our immediate families are less likely to all live in one geographic location, it is increasingly difficult to pinpoint geographically the "community" that we serve or could serve, both due to technology opening up distance learning options, and due to growing numbers of people world-wide looking to Orlando as a place to come for higher education. Valencia will be expected to contribute to solving problems, both natural and human-made, that have no geographic boundaries, such as worldwide health crises, disaster recovery, or the prevention of violence. What we do here and now as we plan for 2008-13 will make a difference to our community, no matter how broadly or narrowly we define it.