By Dani Moritz-Long
Between the Advanced Manufacturing Center, School of Public Safety and five campuses (with two more on the way), Valencia is far from being a small school. We serve more than 60,000 students and rank among the largest community colleges in Florida, and people new to Valencia are often awe-struck by the size and scope of our programs.
But Valencia doesn’t always feel like a large school environment.
On the contrary, Osceola Campus Director of Academic Advising John Britt explains, “we somehow manage to make Valencia feel small,” and that is precisely what John loves about the College.
If you ask John, the family-like, small school feel (despite our growing numbers) is also what makes Valencia so special for our students.
“It helps them to be able to connect with departments and staff who can help them be successful at the College,” he said.
As a campus director of academic advising and six-year veteran of the College, John is proud to play his role in creating that welcoming culture, which he feels is vital to our students’ success.
In doing so, John, who has an Ed.D in higher education leadership, has contributed to numerous creative and strategic efforts to train academic advisors and develop students.
One project in particular that comes to mind for John is a career development activity he did with student leadership.
“The career development activity simulated what it is like to go through a real job search,” he explained. “Student leaders from the Atlas Lab and the Orientation department were required to create a resume, apply to a mock job and interview for this position. At the end, myself and the orientation coordinator provided feedback to the student leaders and also gave them professional binders to take with them in the future. To see the student leaders grow as professionals through the activity was very rewarding.”
While developing activities like these can take a lot of thought and creative energy, John says there’s no shortage of inspiration at the College.
“To me, Valencia signifies hope for our community,” he said. “As an open access institution, we provide an opportunity for anyone who has graduated high school or earned a GED to pursue the dream of a college education. I believe that education is the path to a better life and being able to fulfill this dream for so many is wonderful.”
Commenting on John’s dedication, Dean of Students Jill Szentmiklosi said, “John is committed to helping students reach their goals and, when faced with challenges, he remains thoughtful and level-headed, allowing him to focus on finding the right solution.”
In his free time, you can find John traveling, playing golf and, most importantly, spending time with his wife, Kaley, and his daughter, Avery. “Family means everything to me,” he explained, “so anytime we have together is time well spent.”
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.