Awards, Rankings and Recognition

(Compiled January 6, 2014 MT - Updated August 25, 2014 CB)

Education Initiatives

National Science Foundation grant for laser and fiber optics training
In Sept. 2013, Indian River State College, along with Valencia College and eight other colleges, was awarded a $2.9 million grant from the NSF to establish a regional laser and fiber optics training center.

National Science Foundation grant for minority students in STEM
In Aug. 2013, Valencia, along with Seminole State College and Lake-Sumter State College, was awarded the three-year, $1.5 million Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) 'Bridges to the Baccalaureate Alliances' grant by the NSF to increase the number of minority students moving into majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) when they transfer to four-year universities.

Achieving the Dream
From 2009 to 2012, Valencia served as a 'Leader College' for the Achieving the Dream Foundation.

Leah Meyer Austin Institutional Student Success Leadership Award
In 2008, Valencia was selected as the first winner of this award, given by Achieving the Dream, because of excellent execution of data-informed initiatives to close performance gaps among students from different ethnic and economic backgrounds.

Education Rankings

Top 50 List
Valencia named to Washington Monthly's list of the top 50 community colleges in the nation (2013).

Top Certificate and Degree Rankings, 2013
In Community College Week's latest rankings (for the 2012 - 2013 academic year), Valencia was at the top of the national list in several categories, including:

  • 2nd in the number of one-year certificates awarded.
  • 4th in the number of associate degrees awarded.
  • 5th in the number of associate degrees awarded to Hispanic students.
  • 7th in the number of associate degrees awarded to African-American students.

Valencia Makes the Top 100 Colleges for Hispanics list
The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine named Valencia to the list in 2013 based on the college's ranking as 17th in the nation for the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic college students.

DirectConnect™ Named Top Program for Latino Success
In Oct. 2012, Valencia College's DirectConnect™ to UCF program was selected by Excelencia in Education, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, as America's top program for increasing academic opportunities and success for Latino students at the associate level.

Winner of the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence
In 2011, the Aspen Institute named Valencia the top community college in the nation after a year-long effort to recognize excellence in the nation's 1,200 community colleges, based on student performance and graduation data collected by the U.S. Department of Education.


Family Impact Award
Valencia's Bridges to Success Program received the 2013 Family Impact Award from Orlando's BETA Center, a nonprofit agency that helps at-risk families, pregnant teenagers and teen moms.

Valencia named a 'military-friendly school'
In 2013, Valencia named a 'military-friendly school' for the second year in a row. The designation is awarded to the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.


Environmentally-Friendly Building Awards
In Jan. 2103, the United States Green Building Council's Central Florida Chapter awarded Valencia College a 'Building of the Year LEEDership Award' for the college's University Center, a joint-use facility that Valencia shares with University of Central Florida (UCF) on Valencia's West Campus.

In 2012, the Lake Nona Campus and Building 10 on West Campus were awarded Level 3 Green Globes certification by the Green Building Initiative (GBI). 

Winner of the National Purchasing Institute's Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award. (2011)

Degree Programs

Computer Engineering Technology
The National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have designated Valencia College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance 2-Year Education for the years 2012-2017.

Valencia's Culinary Management team won gold medal in the state American Culinary Federation competition and a silver medal in the ACF regional competition (fall 2011 - spring 2012).

Valencia's student-produced literary magazine, 'Phoenix,' is an award-winning publication, having received first place in the Florida College System Publications Association's completion for four years in a row.

Valencia's Film Production Technology students have worked on-set for professional movies, including 2012's 'Renee,' starring Kat Dennings. In 2011, International Cinematographers Guild Magazine named the program one of 'Super Six Cinema Education Programs.'

Graphic Design
Valencia students routinely sweep the ADDY Awards, an advertising and design competition. Within the student category, we have had local gold winners and a national silver winner.

Valencia's Nursing R.N. students consistently score above 90 percent on the national licensing exam for registered nurses—higher than state and national averages.

Audio Technology and Sound Production
In Nov. 2013, two Valencia students won second place in the 'Sound for Visual Media' category of the student competition at the annual convention of the Audio Engineering Society, an international sound-recording competition held in New York.

Faculty, Staff and Administration

United Arts of Central Florida
In 2013, Dr. Stacey R. Johnson, president of Valencia College's East and Winter Park campuses, was named to the board of directors of United Arts of Central Florida, the umbrella organization that supports more than 50 Central Florida arts and cultural groups.

National Association of College and University Attorneys
In 2013, Valencia College Vice President for Policy and General Counsel William J. (Bill) Mullowney has been elected chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

Top 40 Innovators in Education
In 2013, Dr. James May, who teaches English as a Second Language at Valencia College, has been named one of the Top 40 Innovators in Education by the Center for Digital Education (CDE). May is known for pioneered the use of cell phones and computer-assisted learning in the classroom.

Outstanding Female of the Year
Kathleen Plinske, Osceola Campus President, Named Outstanding Female of the Year by Orlando Business Journal (2012)

Recognition for Dr. Sanford Shugart, President, Valencia College