Monthly Archives: November 2021

Eating With Diabetes

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects one in 10 Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. To help guide diabetic and pre-diabetic employees, UnitedHealthcare Nurse Liaison Jessica Johnson has put together the presentation below that includes nutrition recommendations for diabetics and pre-diabetics, meal planning and preparation ideas, healthier cooking methods, dining out strategies and available resources.

If you have any questions, contact Nurse Jessica at or 407-866-8134.

Monthly Archives: November 2021

Save the Date and Share Your Talents for Learning Day 2022

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Date: Friday, February 11, 2022
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Online

Save the date to join your colleagues to be inspired, to learn and to celebrate together for Learning Day on Friday, February 11, 2022. After raving reviews of last year’s virtual experience, the 2022 event will be held via Zoom. All faculty and staff members are invited to attend Learning Day, which will include a keynote speaker and breakout sessions.

Please note that all Valencia campus locations will be closed on Friday, February 11, 2022, in observation of Learning Day, and all full-time employees are required to attend. 

We need you, our experts in our College community, to share your talents, knowledge and expertise as a presenter. If you’re interested in presenting on a topic in one of this year’s Learning Day’s themes — adaptability and change, equity and inclusion, engagement through technology, personal development, sustainability and community building, or wellness — please click the button below to submit a proposal by Friday, January 14, 2022.

Monthly Archives: November 2021

Featured Colleague: Nichole Prince Sets Others Up For Success

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

By Jennifer Keefe

Education might not have been her first career choice, but if you ask Nichole Prince, assistant director, enrollment services, she’ll tell you it’s right where she belongs. After finishing college, Nichole worked in the hospitality industry for a few years before this Valencia grad found herself right back where she started.

“I think this shows that even later in life you can discover what it is you have a passion for and pursue that,” she explains.

One of Nichole’s key responsibilities at the College is to collaborate with her director and the rest of her team to “hire, supervise, develop, train and evaluate staff” in Enrollment Services. For her, it’s all about empowering the team to help students.

“By providing training opportunities, our advisors are able to work on their professional development as well as ensure they are up to date on all College policies and procedure,” she says.

Nichole came “back” to the College in 2017 — she had earned an associate degree from Valencia and a bachelor’s degree from Florida State — as an enrollment services advisor, served as an enrollment services coordinator, and became an assistant director in 2019.

Director of Enrollment Services Cat Hollands says Nichole is an invaluable member of the team.

“She’s my rock!” Cat explains, “Nichole has been instrumental in the advancement of the Enrollment Services department. She has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and perspective from starting as an advisor, becoming a coordinator, and now in her current role as an assistant director.”

One of the things Nichole is most proud of in her time at the College is the new hire training program she created. The three-week training helps to prepare new advisors to answer some of the many questions they will receive from new students about topics related to the Valencia application, financial aid, proving residency status, registration and even graduation.

“I wanted to set our advisors up for success once they began working on the phones, email and chat,” she recalls.

Nichole’s favorite thing about working at the College is the team atmosphere, especially in Enrollment Services. Even during the pandemic, the team has found ways to collaborate.

“We are a very tight knit group,” she explains. “Our team of advisors and the others on the leadership team are truly student focused and have a passion for what they do.”

Her greatest inspirations at the College are not only the people she works with but also the students.

“I have never worked for an organization where the staff genuinely enjoys what they do and are happy to come to work,” Nichole shares. “Our students truly want to be here and accomplish something for their futures, and that inspires me to work hard every day to help them reach their goals.”

Nichole’s work in Enrollment Services has not gone unnoticed. Cat sees her as a real leader.

“I am in constant awe of her strengths, knowledge and drive,” says Cat. “Everyone needs a ‘Princey’ on their team (but you can’t have mine)!”.

When Nichole isn’t at work, she’s busy with her husband, two-year old son and seven-month old daughter.

“We enjoy going to Disney, playing at the park and spending time with our extended family,” she explains.

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? Send the colleague’s name to us at He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.

Monthly Archives: November 2021

Cybersecurity: Social Engineering — And All Its Moving Parts

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A Message from Patrick Criss, Director, Information Security Operations

Sometimes, the most powerful tool is a word. Social engineers know that, and they use that tool to bypass all of the automatic protections and preplanned procedures you have in place. A persuasive lie can get an attacker further than a dozen hacking tricks.

Fighting social engineering is all about being skeptical and thinking clearly. Social engineers want you to act quickly and not question what they tell you. They use tactics like sympathy, intimidation, authority and urgency, pressuring their targets to make careless decisions — such as letting them into a restricted area or turning over valuable information.

When you ask questions and treat every request with healthy skepticism, you stop social engineers in their tracks. Refuse to be taken in by a sob story or threats and insist on following College’s policies and procedures.

The Internet is full of social engineers and opportunists, but all it takes is caution to shut them down.

If you have any questions, please contact the OIT Service Desk at or by phone at 407-582-5555.

Monthly Archives: November 2021

You May Be Eligible to Have Your Student Loan Forgiven

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program — a program that helps borrowers who work for nonprofit and government agencies have their student loans (direct, subsidized, unsubsidized and consolidation loans) forgiven after 10 years of service and payments — is changing its rules for a limited time as a result of the COVID-19 national emergency. Up to this point, however, many borrowers didn’t qualify because they were in the wrong repayment plan or they consolidated their loans and started their clock over.

On Wednesday, October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced a change to PSLF program rules that offers a time-limited waiver so that student borrowers can count payments from all federal loan programs or repayment plans toward forgiveness. This includes loan types and payment plans that were not previously eligible.

“Personally, I had $102,000 of student loans forgiven under this program in the last few weeks, and I want to make sure that anyone at Valencia who qualifies does not miss it,” shared Daniel Barkowitz, assistant vice president, financial aid and veteran affairs.

Below are some of the key PSLF changes:

  • For a limited time, you may receive credit for past periods of repayment on loans that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.
  • If you have FFEL, Perkins or other federal student loans, you’ll need to consolidate your loans into a direct consolidation loan to qualify for PSLF both in general and under the waiver. Before consolidating, make sure to check to see if you work for a qualifying employer.
  • Past periods of repayment will now count regardless of whether you made a payment, made that payment on time, for the full amount due, or on a qualifying repayment plan.
  • Periods of deferment or forbearance, and periods of default, continue to not qualify.

More information about these changes, the program requirements and next steps, can be found here.

Monthly Archives: November 2021

Learning Council Explores and Discusses the Impact of Learning Partnerships

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Learning Council met on Thursday, November 4, 2021, to review progress toward its articulated 2021-2022 goals shared at the October meeting, identify how its work as a council can directly influence student outcomes and explore how learning partnerships impact students’ graduation goals.

Learning Partnerships

In an effort to build its capacity for learning and understand how to implement equity-minded strategies into the learning experience for students, the Learning Council has been engaged in reading Zaretta Hammond’s book “Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain.” Over the past several months, members have discussed a variety of topics including levels of culture, information processing, neuroscience, culturally responsive teaching and, most recently, learning partnerships.

During the November meeting, Council members engaged in conversations in which they discussed three main questions: (1) How do you create a sense of trust and safety with the students you teach/interact with?; (2) How has the impact of the pandemic changed how you build relationships with students?; and (3) How do you see your work (i.e., interactions, teaching, relationships, etc.) impacting our students’ graduation goals?

Creating a Sense of Trust and Safety

Zaretta Hammond shares in her book, “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain,” that, “in addition to building trust through acts of caring and authentic listening, we can build trust by being more authentic, vulnerable, and in sync with our students.” Members of the Learning Council were encouraged to think about the ways in which they create a sense of trust, rapport and safety with their students.

Here’s a sampling of what they shared:

  • Recognize the importance of aligning “words” with “actions”
  • Create opportunities for students to know each other and their instructor
  • Build flexibility into scoring,  grading and attendance policies
  • Help students get connected to the resources and support they need
  • Enable students to use their voice and embrace their individuality
  • Express empathy and genuine concern
  • Cultivate an environment of authenticity and vulnerability
  • Listen to students without judgment

Cultivating Student Relationships in the Midst of a Pandemic

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact across all institutions of higher education, Valencia included. Although it may be easy to identify the ways we have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, it’s even more important to identify the ways we have been strategic and innovative in our approaches to connect with students. These new ways of interacting allow us to cultivate meaningful student relationships. Council members shared how the impact of the pandemic changed how they have built relationships with students:

  • Being able to offer small class sizes has been transformative, as these smaller classes allow for more one-on-one sessions
  • Having online conferencing tools available like Zoom have allowed for increased flexibility for student engagement hours
  • Using email to communicate with students more frequently throughout the week creates more “check-in” opportunities
  • Offering support and resources in a variety of modalities allows us to reach more students than before

How Our Works Makes a Difference

As a way to continue the conversation that took place during November’s Leadership Forum, the Council spent time gaining a deeper understanding of the Graduation goal area of the Strategic Impact Plan.

First, the group noted how Zaretta Hammond relates culturally responsive teaching (CRT) to student success: “While the achievement gap has created the epidemic of dependent learners, CRT is one of our most powerful tools for helping students find their way out of the gap.” Members were encouraged to think about how they envision their work at the College impacting our students’ graduation goals, and they offered the following insights:

  • Create spaces that are welcoming and promote trust and safety
  • Help students navigate systems and processes that are not always user-friendly
  • Make efforts to ensure the language/terminology we use to discuss student success is framed within an anti-deficit lens and inclusive
  • Work to identify barriers to student success and formulate equity-minded solutions


The next Learning Council meeting will be held in January via Zoom.

Monthly Archives: November 2021

Don’t Miss the Campus Store’s Cyberweek Deals

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Our Campus Store is offering Cyber Week deals through Saturday, December 4, 2021. On the site, you’ll find select items that are discounted, including:

  • Clothing – up to 40% off
  • Supplies – up to 40% off
  • Electronics – up to 40% off

The sale price will be listed under the original price of the discounted products.

New deals will be added daily throughout the week.

Monthly Archives: November 2021

Join the Upcoming PJI Resilience Common Read

Monday, November 29, 2021

Join the Resilience Common Read, a book club initiative started by the Peace and Justice Institute (PJI) addressing positive and adverse childhood experiences (PACEs), trauma healing, and resilience.

In January, the group will begin reading “What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing,” by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey, which discusses the impact of trauma and adversity and how healing must begin with a shift to asking “What happened to you?” rather than “What’s wrong with you?” The Common Read will run for seven weeks — from Monday, January 10 through Friday, February 25, 2022.

How Do I Participate?

You can select one or both ways to participate:

1. Join the Common Read Facebook Group: Each week, discussion prompts will be posted in the private Facebook group for participants to engage with in written format.

2. Register for the three Virtual Discussion Sessions: The club will host three Zoom sessions to discuss the book in a live format:

  • Session 1 

    Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2022
    Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
    Location: Zoom. Register here

  • Session 2 

    Date: Tuesday, February 1, 2022
    Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
    Location: Zoom. Register here

  • Session 3 

    Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2022
    Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
    Location: Zoom. Register here

Get a Free Copy of the Book

Thanks to the generous support of Valencia College, participating Valencia employees can receive a free copy of the book! Complete this request form by Tuesday, December 14, 2021, to receive a free book. Be sure to indicate that you are a Valencia employee.

Who Can Participate?

The Common Read initiative is open for Valencia College faculty and staff and community members as part of PJI’s larger community resilience work. Its theme is also the focus of the annual conference — Creating a Resilient Community: From Trauma to Healing (Save the date: Thursday, April 21, 2022 – registration details are coming soon.).

This will be the fourth time Valencia employees and community members will participate in the Resilience Common Read, having read the following books since 2019:

  • “The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity,” by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris (2019 Common Read)
  • “Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings,” by Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg (2020 Common Read)
  • “Childhood Disrupted: How your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal,” by Donna Jackson Nakazawa (2021 Common Read)

Monthly Archives: November 2021

Payroll Tips for the Holidays

Monday, November 29, 2021

A Message from Bettie Cooper, Director, Payroll Services 

As we approach the holiday season, many Valencia employees may be working irregular schedules, which might include working extra hours to prepare for a holiday break or taking additional time off to spend time with loved ones. With this in mind, please review the following tips for irregular holiday schedules.

Requesting and Using Time Off
It’s important to remember that you must have the leave available when you use it, not when you submit the Certificate of Absence (COA). So, please make sure that you submit your COAs in a timely manner to ensure the most accurate leave balances. The leave system is live, which means you will immediately see if you’re using more leave than you have available because your available balance will be negative once the leave request is submitted.

Please remember, even though most of us are working remotely, if you are not available to work, then you must submit a COA.

Please note, if you take time off the day before or the day after a holiday break and you do not have the time available, you will not be eligible for holiday pay.

While any time worked over 40 hours for a non-exempt employee will result in overtime, please discuss any needed overtime with your supervisor, who should establish guidelines and expectations for when it’s acceptable for employees on the team to work overtime and the approval process.

– Overtime is earned when a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a week (Sunday through Saturday). Hours worked include:

  • Starting your shift early to get a head start on the day;
  • Working late to wrap things up;
  • Interrupted lunch time; and
  • Checking emails on the weekend.

– Overtime must be pre-approved by your supervisor.

– The overtime calculation is based only on hours worked. It does not include paid time off (holiday, sick, vacation, personal, summer hours, etc.).

– A week cannot total more than 40 hours if paid time off is included (vacation, sick, holiday, etc.). Paid time off hours would need to be reduced and the corresponding COA would need to be reversed and resubmitted as necessary.

– Overtime will be automatically processed from the timesheet as a payment on the next available payroll once the timesheet is in a “Completed” status.

Banked Holiday
Banked holiday is earned if a full-time, non-exempt employee works more than the required number of hours in a week and cannot record the full number of hours granted for holiday. If an employee works more than the required number of hours in a week that contains a holiday, he or she must reduce the number of holiday hours recorded and would then have “Banked Holiday” hours to use at a later date.

Here’s an example of how banked holiday hours work:

  • An employee works 20 hours during the week of Thanksgiving, rather than the typical 16 hours for two days of work. As a result, the employee would record only 20 hours for the holiday break (20 hours worked plus 20 hours of holiday hours), instead of the typical 24 holiday hours for the three-day break.
  • In this scenario, the employee would have four hours of banked holiday hours.
  • Payroll will run a report to see that this employee only recorded 20 hours of holiday hours on his or her timesheet and therefore has four hours of banked holiday hours.
  • As soon as possible once the timesheet has been approved and is in a “Completed” status, four hours of banked holiday hours will be recorded in the Request and Manage My Leave system and can be seen as available Banked Holiday on the Leave Balance screen.
  • When banked holiday pay is used, it is recorded on the timesheet as Banked Holiday and a corresponding COA is submitted for this time off.

If you have questions, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-582-HR4U (4748).

Monthly Archives: November 2021

Banner 9: Budget Training Is Now Available on the Valencia EDGE

Monday, November 29, 2021

Banner 9: Budget training is now available on the Valencia EDGE. Completion of this course is required for access to Banner and its respective accounts. The course can be taken by new hires who require access to Banner Finance as well as current users who may need a refresher.

Banner 9: Budget 
Location: Online. Register here

By the end of the Banner 9: Budget course, participants will be able to:

  • Navigate the Banner 9 system.
  • View current available balances.
  • Perform detailed research on available balances.
  • Complete a budget transfer.
  • Correct a disapproved budget transfer.

If you have questions, contact Valencia’s Budget office at