The Power To Serve
Valencia’s Five-Year Impact Plan
In Central Florida and across the nation, we are poised at the edge of a great generational challenge. How do we create genuine opportunity for everyone, no matter their background? This challenge has three parts. First, continuing to create real educational equity, equity not just in access, but in outcomes. Second, especially here in Central Florida, where we are blessed by one of the largest “entry” economies in the world, growing the higher wage economy and fostering more economic mobility for those stranded on the lower rungs of the economic ladder for lack of marketable skills. And third, improving not just the economy, but also the quality of life in our communities.
At Valencia College, we have spent the past fifteen years working to create a level playing field for college students of all backgrounds, fashioning a college where every student can succeed at historically higher levels. We did this by focusing internally: by zeroing in on the landmines that face students after they enter our doors; by collaborating to create innovative teaching strategies; by creating an environment on campus that provides students with the learning support they need to succeed; and by building clear pathways that connect students to their purposes.
We have been successful. While we still have more to achieve, we have earned national acclaim as the for our students’ graduation rates, for their success in transfer, for career placement and the wages that our A.S. grads earn, and for closing the gaps in achievement among students of different backgrounds. This is precisely why Valencia won the first Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2011. Further, we have received national acclaim for DirectConnect™ to UCF and its impact on successful transfers and the awarding of A.A. Degrees, as well as for our laser focus on student outcomes, and for many innovations in teaching and learning. Today, these programs are models that colleges and universities around the nation are trying to duplicate in their communities.
The focus on these student outcomes, on learning, will continue to be central to our work. But as Valencia has earned the attention and acclaim of the nation and our community, we have discovered new opportunities, in fact, new obligations to serve. Our community needs us and we can have an impact beyond anything we have yet imagined if we focus the same energy and imagination on making an impact on the quality of life in our community—raising educational attainment levels, increasing economic opportunity by growing the economy, and helping our community to flourish.
As we focus on the next five years, let us seize the chance to show the nation how we can transform Central Florida to a region recognized as an engine of opportunity. I urge you to join me in this exciting new chapter in Valencia’s history, as we demonstrate our heart and our character—and the change we can achieve.
Dr. Sanford C. Shugart
VP, Analytics and Planning
Dir, Institutional Effectiveness
Noelia Maldonado Rodriguez
Coord, Institutional Advancement