Brain Bowl Team Bags Championships at National and State Level

Every year, Valencia’s Brain Bowl team competes in various tournaments across the nation, racking up a number of trophies for their victories. From left to right: Elena Torres-Ponce, Joseph Pajuelo, Calice Newkirk, Chris Borglum, Melisa Nicolas, Jack Ogozaly, Arjun Singh, Damion Hammock and Suzi Kim.

On Feb. 25, Valencia College’s Brain Bowl team emerged victorious at the Community College Championship Tournament in Minneapolis. Participating in the National Academic Quiz Tournaments event, Valencia’s Red team edged cross-state rival Chipola College in the bonus round by correctly answering a question about Norse mythology.

Chris Borglum, an English professor at the Winter Park Campus, has coached the college’s Brain Bowl team for 24 years and is assisted by Valencia math professor Damion Hammock, a former Valencia Brain Bowl player.

Adding to the team’s laurels in March, Valencia won the Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA) state title, a more comprehensive game format that, unlike the national tournament, includes math questions. “Fortunately we had a dual-enrolled high school student named Arjun Singh who crushed the math questions,” said Borglum. “That was our first win at FCSAA State since 2007. We’d been runners-up five times in that span! It was good to break through.”


Some of the many trophies that the Valencia Brain Bowl team won over the years.

Valencia joins UCF in Groundbreaking of Downtown Campus

On May 11, Valencia College and University of Central Florida broke ground on the new downtown campus to be located in the Creative Village, the mixed-use development adjacent to Orlando’s Parramore and Callahan neighborhoods. The Dr. Phillips Academic Commons Building, a $60 million multi-use facility now under construction, will house programs from both institutions. The goal is to provide a seamless educational experience for students attending the downtown campus.

West Campus President Dr. Falecia Williams describes the future downtown campus as “a comprehensive educational ecosystem.” Valencia will handle the large majority of the general studies courses downtown, including those taken by UCF students in the Academic Commons Building.

Valencia will also relocate its Walt Disney School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts to downtown, while offering accelerated skills training in manufacturing, construction, information technology coding and health care.

The hospitality programs will move into a building featuring four floors of learning space, several floors of student housing and a ground floor hosting a variety of retail shops and businesses.


#MyDowntownCampus Groundbreaking

Full Video of the Groundbreaking Ceremony.

President Sandy Shugart Awarded McGraw Prize in Education

In early April, the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation awarded the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education to Valencia College President Sandy Shugart for his exemplary work in higher education.

The prize, which the 100-year-old publishing company awards in partnership with Arizona State University, recognizes demonstrated success in the following areas: transformational leadership, implementation of innovative practices and thinking, impact made on lives through education, and earned respect from peers.

The jury selects successful educators from three distinct categories: K-12, Higher Education and International Education. The McGraw Prizes’ Higher Education jury consists of administrators and faculty from universities across the nation, as well as Jeff Selingo, best-selling author and award-winning columnist from the Washington Post. President Shugart shares the 2017 McGraw prize with Chris Anderson, curator at TED, which is the nonprofit famous for its symposium-style “Talks,” and Christine Cunningham, founder and director of Engineering is Elementary, a STEM curriculum developer working with the Museum of Science in Boston.

President Shugart will receive $50,000 for the prize. He was honored at the 8th Annual ASU Global Silicon Valley Summit, which took place at the Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 9.


Growing the Community College:
Interview with Dr. Sandy Shugart

Sandy Shugart, President of Valencia College

Osceola Campus Gets Funding Approval for Accelerated Training

At the April 26 Board of Trustees meeting, Valencia College approved funding for a two-phase project to expand the Osceola campus.

Phase I, costing approximately $4.5 million, will construct the Center for Accelerated Training (CAT) to support training provided by technical job growth programs, such as the heavy equipment operator program which prepares students for work in construction, infrastructure building and land development. Because Osceola County’s median family income is 14 percent lower than the family income in Orange County, Valencia hopes to provide more career training at the Kissimmee campus.

Loren Bender, Valencia’s vice president of business operations and finance, explains plans for the new Osceola Campus buildings.

Loren Bender, Valencia’s vice president of business operations and finance, explains plans for the new Osceola Campus buildings.

Modeled after a facility already being constructed at the Poinciana campus, the building will be able to alternate program offerings with Poinciana based on demand at each campus.

The Phase I building will also feature extra classroom space for intensive English programs. Enrollment in English-language programs at Valencia’s Osceola Campus has more than tripled since the 2014-2015 academic year, growing from less than 500 students to approximately 1600 students in 2016-2017. The phase I building is expected to open by summer 2018.

Phase II of the project will construct a separate building adjacent to the CAT facility. Outfitted with lab and classroom spaces, this 35,000 sq. ft. building will house new A.S. degree programs in property management, hospitality, engineering and nursing. Estimated to cost $13-14 million, this building is expected to be open to students by fall 2019.