Featured Colleague: Linda Herlocker Makes Her Mark at Valencia

By Dani Moritz-Long

She’s spent years in and around the water with Navy ships and aircraft, loves adventure and ARRG is commonplace in her Valencia vernacular. But, alas, this water-loving employee isn’t Valencia’s resident pirate (although she’s highly qualified if the position ever does open). Actually, Linda Herlocker is the assistant vice president of admissions and records and oversees a department she refers to as ARRG — Admissions, Registration, Records and Graduation.

She joined Valencia in 2013 after working for several higher education institutions and serving the United States Navy for more than 20 years, ultimately retiring with the title of commander. While she enjoyed her time at in the Navy and her experience working alongside landlubbers in higher education at other institutions, Linda says Valencia was undoubtedly the X on her career treasure map.

“I had wanted to work at Valencia College long before I got here,” she said. “Of course, like most folks in our industry, I was drawn by Valencia’s reputation for innovation. But more importantly, I knew many of the folks that work here, and I was blown away by their knowledge, professionalism and collegiality. Besides all that, I just like them as people! They’re fun folks to work with. I work not just with professional colleagues, but with friends.”

Here, Linda leverages what she calls a “checkered past,” as well as a bachelor’s in English, master’s in business administration and doctorate in educational leadership, to steer student affairs teams in the right direction — always prioritizing the needs of our students.

In defining her role, Linda said, “I have the privilege of working with an amazing group of folks who help students with all of the administrative pieces related to applying to Valencia, getting registered for classes, making sure their records are complete and current, and graduating. There are about 70 staff members in the department, and most of them work behind the scenes to make sure the students’ experience is as seamless as possible.”

Julie Corderman, director, student services, believes Linda does an amazing job in her work. “She is thoughtful and patient in her decision making,” Julie shared. “Even so, she has already transformed the Admissions and Records department and their processes. Despite her high-demanding role, she is quite frequently available to take phone calls and/or emails and always seems genuinely happy to assist.”

While managing such a large and robust team can certainly be difficult, Linda finds constant inspiration at Valencia.

“Our mission, vision, values and strategic pillars aren’t just words,” she said. “The College really does infuse these ideas into every discussion and decision. The four notions of build pathways, learning assured, invest in each other and partner with the community are more powerful than anything I have seen in any other institution. The fact that Valencia puts a lot of time, money and effort into these ideas assures that they manifest in our work. That’s both stunning and transformational!”

One Valencia theme Linda does disagree with, however, is the idea that we create change one student a time — but not for the reasons you might anticipate.

“I’ve heard it said that we make change one life at a time,” she explained. “I don’t believe that. For every student who completes an academic goal, there is a whole family legacy that is forever changed as that student’s kids and siblings and cousins and Godchildren become aware of the possibilities. Nothing for that family going forward will ever be the same. To use a really worn metaphor, the first person in a family who completes an academic credential raises the tide and all the boats rise.”

In her personal life, you can find Linda traveling the world (she’s already crossed all 50 states off her list and aspires to fill her passport with international adventures), wine tasting (she’s working on her level two wine tasting certification this summer) and spending time with her pet (who, alas, is not a parrot, but a white-and-orange feline aptly named ColbyJack).

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.

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