Kathleen Plinske serves as president of Valencia College, a community college located in Orlando, Florida. As a first-generation college graduate, Plinske is passionate about the role education can play in transforming the lives of students and their families, and in turn, our communities.
Prior to being selected in a nationwide search as Valencia’s fifth president, Plinske had served at Valencia since 2010 as Campus President of the Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses and as Executive Vice President and Provost. In these roles she spearheaded efforts to significantly increase access to higher education in traditionally underserved communities, led the planning of several new buildings and a new campus, organized efforts to design successful transfer and career pathways, and led the collaborative development of a collegewide strategic impact plan with an explicit focus on advancing racial equity in student outcomes.
Prior to joining Valencia in 2010, Plinske began her career at McHenry County College, a community college in her hometown of Crystal Lake, Illinois. Over the course of nine years, she held a number of roles, including vice president of institutional effectiveness and interim president.
Plinske attended Indiana University Bloomington as a Herman B Wells Scholar, earning a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and physics. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she completed a master’s degree in Spanish from Roosevelt University, and a doctorate in educational technology from Pepperdine University. An avid lifelong learner, she has continued her education by subsequently earning a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Florida.
Plinske is happily married to her husband, Larry W. Tyree, who shares her love for golf, the Florida Gators, the Chicago Cubs, and their dog, Cooper.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Work in close partnership with the President to provide leadership for and integration of mission-critical college functions, including academic affairs, student affairs, educational partnerships, and analytics and planning, for a multi-campus community college serving more than 60,000 students annually.
Led collaborative development of collegewide student outcomes goals with an explicit focus on advancing racial equity that were endorsed by Faculty Council; planning process resulted in identification of several new areas of focus for Learning Council and an annual review of progress at Leadership Forum.
In partnership with Student Development, created Provost Student Advisory Board and invited Student Government Association leaders collegewide to engage in efforts to improve student outcomes, leading to development of #First15 initiative which recognizes students who complete 15 credit hours, a critical milestone on the pathway to graduation.
Provide leadership for the college’s planning process, characterized by a collaborative and comprehensive approach that integrates district and campus planning and aligns resource development and allocation to college strategy.
Steward collaborative partnerships with school districts of Orange and Osceola counties with a focus on increasing the college-going rate and college readiness of recent high school graduates and expanding opportunities for participation in dual enrollment, particularly for traditionally underserved high schools.
Co-chair Valencia/UCF Collaboration Council to establish strategic direction for DirectConnect to UCF partnership.
Serve as chief academic and operating officer for three campuses which enroll more than 25,000 students annually. Provide leadership for approximately 140 full-time faculty, 600 part-time faculty, 250 full-time staff, and 300 part-time staff.
In collaboration with the School District of Osceola County, launched a community-based initiative with the goal of increasing the college-going rate of students in Osceola County. College-going rate increased from 40% in 2010 to 54% in 2017; effort was recognized with Chancellor’s Best Practice Award in 2017.
In collaboration with the University of Central Florida, led development of Camino a UCF, a cohort-based learning community designed to create an accelerated transfer pathway with a guaranteed course schedule.
In collaboration with the School District of Osceola County and the University of Central Florida, led development of Future Teachers Academy, a cohort-based learning community program in which students are guaranteed a teaching position with the school district after completing their baccalaureate degree. Supported by $125,000 philanthropic gift by CFE Federal Credit Union.
In partnership with the School District of Osceola and Valencia’s Office of Organizational Development and Human Resources, designed shared faculty positions with teaching loads in area high schools and at Valencia to address math teacher shortage in school district and improve students’ college readiness.
Led development of several grants, including $3.0 million National Science Foundation grants to double the number of Black and Hispanic students pursuing a degree in STEM, and $2.625 million Title V grant to develop new career and technical education pathways at the Osceola Campus.
Led the planning of Poinciana Campus which opened in Fall 2017; stewarded donation of land for campus from Osceola County. Building 1 features solar shade to reduce heat-load, solar panels for hot water heating, a hybrid chilled beam system, and native landscaping, achieving Three Green Globes certification.
Oversaw opening of Lake Nona Campus in Fall 2012. Building achieved Three Green Globes certification with a focus on energy savings, reduction in stormwater runoff, and water use efficiency.
Led the planning of 150,000 square-foot Building 4 at the Osceola Campus, which includes 18 classrooms, 10 science laboratories, a library, tutoring center, and a regional campus of the University of Central Florida. Building received LEED Gold certification with a focus on energy and water use efficiency.
Osceola, Lake Nona, and Poinciana Campuses
Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness
Director, Distance Education and Professional Development
Coordinator, Media Development and Technology Training
Instructional Media Specialist
McHENRY COUNTY COLLEGE
Served in a number of positions of increasing responsibility at comprehensive community college with enrollment of 10,000 credit students annually
As Interim President, reported directly to seven-member, locally-elected Board of Trustees. Responsible for operating budget of approximately $40 million and nearly 800 full-time and part-time employees. Ex officio member of Board of Directors, Friends of MCC Foundation.
Provided stability in executive leadership after a period of significant transition and turnover. Led strategic planning process and development of key performance indicators to formalize institutional commitment to student success, academic excellence, and environmental stewardship to promote sustainability.
As Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, responsible for oversight of Institutional Research and Marketing, as well as institutional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission and development of college's strategic plan
As Director of Distance Education and Professional. Development, responsible for all online and hybrid courses and all training and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
As Coordinator of Media Development and Technology Training, responsible for providing technology training and support to all faculty and staff.
As Instructional Media Specialist, provided technology support to faculty teaching online and hybrid courses.
PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
Board Member and Co-Chair, Career Services Committee - CareerSource Central Florida
QEP Evaluator - Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Member, President (2013-2014), and Vice President (2011-2013) - Rotary Club of Lake Nona
Board Member - Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce
Volunteer - Nemours Children's Hospital
Board Member and Chair (2014-2016) - Education Foundation of Osceola County
Member - Comité de Educación - Consulado de México Orlando
Board Member - Osceola Center for the Arts
Board Member - Community Vision of Osceola County
Board Member and Chair (2013) - Lake Nona Education Council
Board Member - Junior Achievement of Osceola County
Board Member - Harmony Institute
Peer Reviewer - Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association
2015 - present
2010 - 2018
2010 - 2018
2015 - 2018
2011 - 2016
2013 - 2016
2011 - 2015
2011 - 2015
2012 - 2014
2012 - 2014
2011 - 2014
2007 - 2010
Doctor of Education
Master of Science
Industrial and Systems Engineering
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Master of Business Administration
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Master of Arts - Spanish
Bachelor of Arts - Spanish and Physics
Holmes, E., Lora-Santos, E., Britt, J., & Plinske, K. (2019). LifeMap 2.0: The evolution of a developmental advising model at Valencia College. In T. O’Banion (Ed.), Academic advising in the community college (pp. 51-68). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Plinske, K. (2018). Long-term learning communities: Mitigating the effects of stereotype threat and cultivating student success. In M.A. Poisel & S. Joseph (Eds.), Building transfer student pathways for college and career success (pp. 93-108). Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, University of South Carolina.
Plinske, K. (2018, January). Got College? A grassroots effort to increase the college-going rate in a historically underserved community. League for Innovation in the Community College Innovation Showcase.
Plinske, K. (2017). Being called to the presidency during tumultuous times. In M. Ellis & L. Garcia (Eds.), Generation X presidents leading community colleges: New challenges, new leaders (pp. 25-34). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Plinske, K. (2017). Serving as president during tumultuous times. Community College Daily. Retrieved from http://www.ccdaily.com/2017/09/serving-president-tumultuous-times/
Plinske, K., & Packard, W. (2010). Trustees’ perceptions of the desired qualifications for the next generation of community college presidents. Community College Review, (37)4, 291-312.
Plinske, K., & Packard, W. (2009). Leveraging your systems portfolio: Supporting institutional dialogue and organizational learning. A Collection of Papers on Self-Study and Institutional Improvement, Annual Meeting of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. (114th, Chicago, IL, April 17-21, 2009).
Milliron, M.D., & Plinske, K. (2009). Building for a new generation of learning: Catalytic conversations for the educational publisher. Publishing Research Quarterly, 25(1), 1-11.
Milliron, M.D., Plinske, K. & Noonan-Terry, C. (2008). Building a new generation of learning: Conversations to catalyze our construction. Planning for Higher Education, 37(1), 7-14.
Plinske, K., Patton, D. & Packard, W. (2007). While there’s no ‘U’ in AQIP, it’s incomplete without you! Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (112th, Chicago, IL, Apr. 20-24, 2007).
Gunter, J., Dzierba, A.R., Lindenbusch, R., Plinske, K.A., Rust, D.R., Scott, E., Shepherd, M.R., Smith, P.T., Sulanke, T., Teige, S., Szczepaniak, A.P., Chung, S.U., Danyo, K., Hackenburg, R.W., Olchanski, C., Weygand, D.P., Willutski, H.J., Denisvo, S.P., Dorofeev, V.A., … Witkowski, M. (2001). Partial wave analysis of the pi0 pi0system produced in pi -p charge exchange collisions. Physical Review D, 64, 072003.
Marshall, S. P., Ramirez, M., Plinske, K., & Veal, C. (1998). Creating conditions for developing and nurturing talent: The work of school leaders. NASSP Bulletin, 52(595), 75-84.
Named one of 40 Top Alumni Under 40 - University of Florida
Named one of 20 Top Alumni Under 40 - Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences
Legacy Award - Valencia College Osceola Campus (selected by student leaders)
Distinguished Alumna - Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Executive of the Year - Orlando Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business
Presidential Fellow for Community College Excellence - Aspen Institute
Don Quijote Hispanic Community Champion Award - Hispanic Chamber of Metro Orlando
Hispanic Business Council Compadre Award - Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce
Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award - Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Administrator of the Year - Osceola County Veterans Council
Outstanding Young Alumna - Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences
Woman of the Year - Orlando Business Journal's 40 Under 40
One of 24 Emerging International Leaders in Education - Phi Delta Kappa
Top 10 Professional Under 40 - McHenry County Business Journal
Doctoral Fellow - Community College Leadership Development Initiative
Member - Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
Member - Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honors Society
Herman B Wells Scholar - Indiana University
Science, Technology, and Research Scholar - Indiana University
Honors Leadership (SLS 2261)
Developmental Math II (MAT 0028)
Elementary Spanish I (SPN 1120)
University of Central Florida
Community College Curriculum (EDH 6215)
Community College Organization and Supervision (EDH 6204)
McHenry County College
Elementary Spanish I (SPN 151)
Elementary Spanish II (SPN 152)
The College Experience (MCC 101)
eLearning: Theory and Practice (EGLC 755)
eLearning: Theory and Practice (EDD 755)
Increase in Osceola County College-Going Rate - Orlando Sentinel (September 26, 2019)
Interview with Homan Machuca (in Spanish) - Enfoque - Telemundo Orlando (September 22, 2019)
Student to Serve as President for a Day - Valencia Voice (March 7, 2019)
New Training Programs Coming to Valencia - Osceola News Gazette (April 26, 2018)
U.S. Department of Education's Rethinking Higher Education Summit - C-SPAN (December, 2017)
Got College? Recognized with Chancellor's Best Practice Award - Valencia News (November 2, 2017)
Poinciana Campus Scholarship Announcement - Osceola News Gazette (May 4, 2017)
CFE Contributes $125,000 for Future Teachers Academy - Valencia News (January 18, 2017)
Ir a Universidad No Significa Endeudarse - El Sentinel (October 2, 2015)
Igniting Dreams - Vitae Magazine (Summer 2015)
Launch of "Got College?" - Orlando Sentinel (April 30, 2013)
Opening of New UCF Osceola Regional Campus - UCF News (December 30, 2012)