Monthly Archives: December 2020

Best Practices for Securing Your Zoom Meetings

Tuesday, December 3, 2020

Zoom has become ubiquitous in our work life in 2020, making connection easier. However, this technology does not come without pitfalls, ranging from dealing with an obnoxious guest to annoying background noise coming from an unmuted guest’s microphone, to name a few.

But don’t fret. These Zoom tips should help you secure your meeting and make your Zoom experience smoother and more enjoyable.

Pre-Meeting Settings

Turn Your Waiting Room On — Users can enable Waiting Room as a default account setting, for individual meetings, or as a meeting template. Learn more here.

View and Admit Participants — As meeting attendees arrive, Zoom will notify you and provide you a list of those in the meeting, and those still in the waiting room, so you have total control of who joins your meeting.

Customize the Experience — Once enabled, you can tailor your Waiting Room title, logo and description, customizing what participants see when they arrive.

Add Additional Helpful Info — The description on your Waiting Room is a great place to add additional information, meeting guidelines or rules for participants to follow.

View and Admit Participants — As meeting attendees arrive, Zoom will notify you and provide you a list of those in the meeting, and those still in the waiting room, so you have total control of who joins your meeting.

Message the Waiting Room — If you’re meeting with a smaller group of attendees, one attendee at a time or your previous meeting is running long, you can message everyone in the waiting room and let them know.

Remove Participants — Once you’ve admitted an attendee into your meeting, you can easily push them back to the Waiting Room or remove them from the meeting all together, and can even prevent their return.

Don’t Use Personal Meeting ID for Public Meetings — Your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) is the default meeting that launches when you start and ad hoc meeting. Your PMI doesn’t change unless you change it yourself, which makes it very useful if people need a way to reach you. But for public meetings, you should always schedule new meetings with randomly generated meeting IDs.

Only Allow Registered or Domain Verified Users — Zoom can also give you peace of mind by letting you know exactly who will be attending your meeting. When scheduling a meeting, you can require attendees to register with their email, name, and custom questions. You can even customize your registration page with a banner and logo. By default, Zoom also restricts participants to those who are logged into Zoom, and you can even restrict it to Zoom users whose email address uses a certain domain.

In-meeting Settings

Zoom now puts all your essential security options in a single button, right in the in-meeting menu. Under this menu, you’ll be able to lock your meeting and prevent any new participants from joining. You’ll also be able to enable Waiting Room to help manage new meeting participants and be able to control any sharing and chat permissions of individuals and all attendees.

Lock the Meeting ­— Once all your attendees have arrived, you can easily lock your meeting from the security menu, preventing any additional attendees from joining.

Enable Waiting Room — ­We’ve covered the Waiting Room in great detail already, but what if you forgot to activate it or want to turn it on mid-meeting? Now you can!

Manage Participants — Additional ways you can manage your participants directly from the security menu, giving you total control, are discussed below.

Control Screen Sharing ­— Allowing participants to screen share in a meeting can be a great way to collaborate, but that can also leave you open to unwanted interruptions during larger meetings. Zoom gives you the ability to determine if you want other participants in the meeting to be able to share their screens, or if you want to be the only one with that ability. You can easily toggle this feature on and off from the screen sharing menu, as well as the security menu.

Disable Private Chat­ — In-meeting chat adds another dimension of collaboration to your meetings, creating a place for questions to be asked and fielded later, or for supplemental resources to be posted. But sometimes chat can become distracting or unproductive. In those cases, Zoom allows you to disable and enable chat throughout your meeting.

Mute Participants ­— We’ve all been in meetings where somebody forgets to mute, or their microphone picks up some background noise that interrupts the meeting. Zoom allows you to solve this problem with a simple button to mute all participants. For an added layer of security, you can also disable participant’s ability to unmute themselves. When you’re ready to make the meeting interactive again, you can simply hit the “Unmute All” button or allow participants to unmute themselves.

Make Someone the Co-Host —­ If you need a helping hand to manage all your participants, you promote trusted meeting attendees to co-host, allowing them many of the same privileges and control features available to the meeting host themselves. To learn about the difference between a host and co-host, view this support article.

Remove Participants ­— If you follow these best practices, you should never find yourself in a meeting with an unwanted guest. But if you do need to remove an attendee from the meeting at any point, Zoom makes it easy to kick an unwanted participant out of the meeting. For additional security, you can also choose to not allow participants to rejoin once they’ve been removed.

Source: Zoom

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Important Year-end Updates for Forms W-2 and W-4

Tuesday, December 3, 2020

A Message from Bettie Cooper, Director, Payroll Services

December is the month that Payroll Services begins planning for W-2 distribution. In order to ensure that W-2s are as accurate and timely as possible, we need your help. Please take the following steps and notify Payroll if you have any changes:

W-2s will be mailed no later than Friday, January 29, 2021.

Since all W-2s are mailed, please verify your “HR” address as it appears in Atlas by Monday, January 4, 2021. The HR address is the one that is used for any mailing from Organizational Development and Human Resources. It is also the address that is printed on your W-2 and any paper checks you may receive.

If this address is incorrect, please either update it through Atlas or notify Employee Records/Services with your change of address. For your protection, W-2s are not forwarded, so it is extremely important that your address is accurate to ensure that you receive your W-2 as timely as possible.

Follow these steps to check and/or revise your “HR” address:

  • Log into Atlas
  • Navigate to the Employees tab
  • Under My Human Resources, click on Update Your Information
  • Select Address(es) and Phone(s): View OR Update

This is also a good time to update your emergency contacts. Follow the directions above and when under Update Your Information, click on Emergency Contacts: View or Update.

Because we need to allow time for the original form to reach you through the U.S. mail, duplicate W-2s will not be issued until after Monday, February 15, 2021, with receipt of the Duplicate W-2 Request Form. To find the duplicate request form:

  • Log into Atlas
  • Navigate to the Employees tab
  • Under Employee Support, click on Tools
  • Select Valencia Forms and then HR Payroll W-2 Duplicate Requests (HR #507)

Verify that your name matches your Social Security card, so your wages are properly credited to your Social Security account. There are fines for mismatched names and Social Security numbers on the W-2 form. Once you receive your W-2, please carefully check your Social Security number. If it is incorrect, notify Payroll Services ­immediately and provide us with a copy of your Social Security card in order to make the correction in Organizational Development and Human Resource’s system.

W-4 Reminder 

If you filed “Exempt” on your 2020 W-4, the IRS requires you to submit a new W-4 on or before Tuesday, February 16, 2021, or your status will be changed to Single for the Friday, March 5, 2021, payroll.

To find the form:

  • Log into Atlas
  • Navigate to the Employees tab
  • Under My Human Resources, click on Pay Information.
  • Select Tax Forms: W-4 Information
  • Click Complete New W-4 Form.

If your filing status has changed, please update your W-4 as necessary. Additionally, you will also need to submit an updated W-4 if your name has changed. Please remember that you can submit a new W-4 at any time throughout the year. You are not limited to completing a new form only at the beginning of a new tax (calendar) year.

If you need help completing your W-4, please go to the IRS website at and type Tax Withholding Estimator into the search engine. That estimator will help you determine what to enter on your W-4. To submit a new form, you can either mail it via U.S. mail to:

Valencia College
Attn: Payroll DO-21
P.O. Box 3028
Orlando, FL 32802-3028

Or, if you feel comfortable uploading your completed and signed W-4 to a secure software, please reach out to to request a link. Please do not e-mail your form to us.  Since e-mail isn’t secure, doing so could compromise your information.

If you do not have any changes to make, you do not need to submit a new W-4.

If you have any questions, please contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Check Out New Valencia-branded Zoom Backgrounds

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Celebrate Valencia College and all we have accomplished this year by showing your school spirit with the branded Zoom backgrounds our Marketing team has designed.

Whether your Zoom meetings are internal or external, this is a great way honor our students, the College and our colleagues. Designs include campus photography and brand messaging (such as “Better Tomorrows”), as well as backdrops for celebrations and to communicate with students.

To download the backgrounds, visit the Brand website.

How to Add a Virtual Background:

  1. Sign in to Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click Settings (On the top, right-hand corner of your screen, select your profile photo).
  3. Select Backgrounds and Filters.
  4. Click on an image to select the desired virtual background or add your own image by clicking +Add Image.
  5. To disable Virtual Background, choose the option None.

You may also add a background image for your Zoom meeting by joining the meeting and clicking on the arrow next to the “Video” icon. From the menu, select “Choose Virtual Background” and add your image as instructed above.

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Hotspot Rentals Help Provide Students Wireless Access

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Valencia College Campus Store now has T-Mobile Hotspots — which provide seamless wireless data connection anywhere — for student rental. The hotpot simultaneously supports up to 15 device connections through built-in Wi-Fi AP. The stylish pocket-sized and semi-rugged design makes it easy for students to carry it around anywhere.

Students may rent a hotspot for $135 for three months, which includes data connection.

For details, visit the Campus Store. 

Monthly Archives: December 2020

What You Should Know About Your 2021 Benefits

Monday, December 7, 2020

A Message from Tom Keller, Director, Total Rewards

As 2021 is less than a month away, full-time employees, please read these important details about your 2021 benefits that will be effective on Friday, January 1, 2021.

UnitedHealthcare Health Insurance (UHC)
You will receive a new UHC ID card within the first couple of weeks in January, dependent upon your local mail carrier. The new ID cards will be effective as of Friday, January 1, 2021. You should present this new card to your medical providers after you receive it. Until then, you can continue to use your 2020 card with Valencia’s group number (905563) and your individual member ID number for providers to access your plan’s 2020 benefits.

If you haven’t done so already, we recommend that you register for an account on From this site, you can track your claims and expenses, look up network providers and print additional ID cards, among many other tools and features. After registering for an account, consider downloading the new UnitedHealthcare mobile app, available for Apple or Android devices, to take advantage of the same tools and features in a mobile-friendly environment.

Your pharmacy benefit is managed through your UnitedHealthcare health plan.

For retail pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS, etc), be sure to present your new UHC ID card on the first visit after the new year.

For mail order pharmacy, UHC offers mail order prescription benefits through OptumRx. Depending on your plan and the prescription ordered, you may save money by ordering a three-month supply of medication. More information can be found when you log in to and click on Manage Your Prescriptions.

Health Savings Account (HSA)
For all enrolled in the Choice Plus HSA Silver health plan, the College contributes $1,000 for employee-only coverage and $2,000 for coverage with dependents into your HSA account. If you are newly enrolled in the Choice Plus HSA Silver health plan for 2021, you will need to open your Health Savings Account with Optum Bank. Valencia will deposit the College’s 2021 contribution in active accounts on Monday, January 4, 2021.

Opt-Out Plan
If you chose the Opt-Out Plan, you will receive three benefits in 2021:

  • A $500 medical flexible spending account;
  • $1,200 in opt-out funds divided by the number of pays in the year; and
  • Employee-only dental coverage, if you enrolled during Open Enrollment.

Your dental benefits through MetLife remain unchanged for 2021. MetLife Dental is a cardless system for in-network providers, so you will not receive an ID card. If you would like to print your own card, just sign in to your account on MetLife’s website or the MetLife app available for Apple or Android devices.

Valencia’s vision insurance carrier is UnitedHealthcare Vision. This is also a cardless system for in-network providers, so you will not receive an ID card. When you visit your vision provider, just identify yourself as having UnitedHealthcare Vision insurance, and the provider will be able to verify your enrollment in the UHC Vision system. Do not provide your UHC medical ID card as there is no vision coverage through the health plan. You can also access the UnitedHealthcare Vision website when you log in to and click on Coverage & Benefits (on the top blue bar) and then on Vision.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Your medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts will continue to be administered by Chard SnyderIf you had an FSA in 2020, do not discard your current Benny or Chard Snyder debit card. It will be reloaded with your 2021 election amount effective Monday, January 4, 2021. If you are new to FSA, you will receive a new Benny debit card and new account information from Chard Snyder within the first two weeks of January, dependent on your local mail carrier.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
In 2021, Valencia’s EAP will continue through UnitedHealthcare’s OptumHealth. EAP assists you 24 hours a day, seven days a week with your work-life balance needs through counseling, ID theft/fraud resolution, legal and financial services. The contact phone number can be found on the back of your new UHC medical ID card.

Dependent Verification and Re-verification Review
In January 2021, Valencia will conduct a verification of new dependents and re-verification of select dependents enrolled in the medical, dental and vision plans for 2021. The review will be conducted to ensure that only eligible dependents are enrolled in appropriate plans. For details on the dependent verification and re-verification review, click here.

International Travel During Winter Break
If you are traveling internationally — including to Puerto Rico — during the winter break, be aware that you have health insurance coverage for urgent and emergency medical care only. You will be responsible for paying for your own emergency medical care and then submitting a claim for reimbursement to UnitedHealthcare. Please note that international travel this winter break may require a quarantine.

If you have further questions, email or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U.

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Presidential Search Finalists Feedback Due Tuesday

Monday, December 7, 2020

A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources

Thank you to all of you who have participated in Valencia College’s Presidential Search Finalist interview process. Each of the finalists participated in limited on-site interviews, virtual interviews with our governing councils, Student Government Association leadership and a panel of community leaders, as well as virtual town hall meetings with employees and students. Each gathering was recorded and is available for review by all members of the College community. In addition to the recordings of the various meetings, each candidate’s letter of interest, curriculum vitae and responses to four writing prompts are available for your consideration.

The Valencia College District Board of Trustees is deeply interested in your feedback on the candidates. In preparation for its meeting on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, the board will receive all feedback submitted for each candidate. Your insights, questions, concerns and observations will be critical in helping the board select the next president of Valencia College.

In order to provide ample time for the board to review the feedback, survey responses are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Final Grades Due December 14

Friday, December 4, 2020

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, President, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

As a reminder, final grades are due on Monday, December 14, 2020, at 9 a.m. Due to the small number of workdays between fall and spring semesters, it is critical that our students do not have any missing grades — students who have “M” (missing) grades may have their spring financial aid held, spring class schedule deleted, or transfer to another institution delayed. We cannot assist students with these issues until their grades have been entered.

To submit final grades in Atlas:

  • Log in to Atlas using the latest version of Firefox or Internet Explorer.
  • Click on the Faculty tab, then click on Faculty & Advisor Services.
  • Click on Final/Midterm Grades. Be sure that you click on the Final Grades tab at the top of the page.
  • Click on the Term column header to sort the courses displayed by term.
  • Click on the course section for which you would like to enter final grades.
  • A student list will appear below the course section. You may need to scroll down to see the full list of student names or use the arrow to navigate between multiple pages.
  • Please remember to enter the Last Date of Attendance for students who earn a grade of F, I, or W.
  • Be sure to click Save to save the grades that you entered. You will see a “Save Successful” notification after your grades have been successfully entered.

For faculty using Canvas to enter grades and/or last dates of attendance, click here for an infographic explaining the process. Remember to select “Sync Grades – Export Final Grades to Banner” when entering final grades and/or last dates of attendance. If you skip that step, the grades and/or last dates of attendance will not be moved to the Banner. Once you have submitted your grades in Canvas, you can verify them in Atlas.

If you have any questions about submitting your final grades, please do not hesitate to contact your dean for assistance. For technical assistance with Atlas or Canvas, please submit a request for a Faculty & Instructional Development team member support.

Thank you for all of your hard work this semester for the Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses.

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Collaborate With Students During the Undergraduate Research Virtual Showcase

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Valencia’s Undergraduate Research Advisory Board invites you to the fourth annual Undergraduate Research poster showcase. During the showcase, students have the unique opportunity to collaborate with faculty members and provide high-quality undergraduate research. The showcase will be held virtually on Friday, December 4, 2020.

Date: Friday, December 4, 2020

The showcase is a moment when we step back from our academic routines to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and encourage them along the path of intellectual achievement, as well as celebrate the inspiration and creativity of our young scholars and the dedication of their mentors.

To learn more about Undergraduate Research opportunities at Valencia College, please visit the Undergraduate Research webpage. You may also contact Melonie Sexton, professor, psychology, and undergraduate research coordinator, at or 407-299-5000, extension 5632

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Virtual Writing Center Contest Winners Announced

Thursday, December 3, 2020

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

First and second place winners of the Virtual Writing Center contest were recently announced by the East Campus Writing Center. This new virtual writing contest for students was created due to the COVID pandemic and was advertised earlier in the year via Valencia’s Learning Support social media platforms. Instructional Lab Supervisor at the East Communications Center Jodi Brock coordinated the contest, where students were asked to reply to the following prompt:

The world is currently experiencing a global pandemic due to the outbreak of a coronavirus causing COVID-19. This critical, complex and unprecedented situation is having major impacts for our societies across the world. Young people, just like everyone else, will face the economic and social consequences of this crisis in the coming times. In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Valencia College canceled all face-to-face classes and transitioned to online coursework. Students now have additional challenges managing their life responsibilities and school responsibilities. How has COVID-19 affected your educational experience and what lessons has it taught you?

The 2020 winners are:

First Place
Janelle Lee, who received a Google Pixelbook
Read Janelle’s essay here.

Second Place
McKinzie Hannon, who received a writing tablet.
Read McKinzie’s essay here.

Check out the Writing, Reading and Speech tab in the Distance Tutoring LibGuide for additional information regarding online writing support for students or contact Instructional Lab Supervisor Joi Brock at

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Help Prevent Suicide With New Strategies Training

Thursday, December 3, 2020

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Learn how you can recognize the warning signs of suicide, offer hope and help to save a life by participating in a new Valencia College employee development opportunity, QPR [Question Persuade Refer] Gatekeeper Training.

According to the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (2001), a gatekeeper is a person in a position to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. Gatekeepers can be anyone, including parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, firefighters and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide. As college faculty and staff, we also serve as gatekeepers.

QPR [Question Persuade Refer] Gatekeeper Training is now available through the Valencia EDGE with offerings scheduled throughout the academic year. To view upcoming sessions and to register, click here.

To learn more about the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), contact Jen Danilowski, implementation coordinator, for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant, and part-time faculty, psychology at or 407-299-5000, extension 2495.