Monday, October 26, 2015

Continuing Education Welcomes Edythe Abdullah

Dr. Edythe Abdullah has joined UNF Continuing Education as the new interim dean. She previously served as special advisor to President Delaney from 2013-2015. She also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Florida and chaired the Jacksonville Community Council Inc.

Dr. Abdullah earned her bachelor degrees from Valparaiso University in Indiana and holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida. She also has a Leadership Certificate in the Management of Lifelong Education from Harvard University. With more than 30 years of experience in higher education, it is clear where her passion lies.

Continuing Education is delighted to welcome Dr. Abdullah as our new leader. We are excited about the future and want to give you an opportunity to get to know Dr. Abdullah in the following Q&A.  

Tell us about your family. I am the mother of four adult children — three boys and one daughter — and “G’ma” to three grandchildren. Shahid is in Jacksonville, Naim is in San Diego Calif., Hamin is in San Juan, Puerto Rico (with his wife, Angela and kids) and Ayesha, who just earned her Ph.D. in philosophy from Penn State University, is at UNF taking pre-med courses.  

If you could choose any other career, what would it be and why? Executive director of a nonprofit organization that has as one of its goals to empower low-income kids. 

What would you like to do when you retire? Learn to play the guitar, travel and volunteer as a mentor. 

What is your favorite thing about working at UNF? Having the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of young and older adults. 

What is the proudest/happiest moment of your life? Being sworn in as a member of the bar 19 years after graduating from law school. I didn’t take the bar exam until 18 years after graduating due to kids and work. It was empowering to do what so many struggle to do right after law school — 19 years later. 

What is the best thing you ever won? I won a gift basket for a home movie night from church. One of my favorite movies was in the gift basket — “The Best Man.” 

What band(s)/musician(s) would perform the soundtrack to your life? The Tedeschi Trucks Band and Marvin Sapp 

Who is your favorite fictional character? What makes them your favorite? Janie Mae Crawford in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neal Hurston. The character travels through life’s journey to find her true essence (spirit) and realize her relationship to God. 

If you won the lottery, what would do with the money? Pay off all bills, establish a trust for my kids and grandkids, tithe, set up a scholarship in my grandparents’ name, travel and volunteer.

If you were not working at UNF, what would you be doing? Advancing higher education goals at a higher education institution or higher education support entity. 

Describe your favorite UNF-related memory? The numerous commencement exercises that I participated in celebrating the success of our students. 

What is your favorite way to blow an hour? Kayaking

If you were asked to paint a picture about anything you wanted, what would you paint? I’d paint a picture of me with all my children/grandchildren and their spouses celebrating family on a Caribbean beach. 

What was the best money you ever spent? Educating my children 

Is there a piece of technology that you just couldn’t live without? Smart phone 

Tell us something that would surprise people to know about you: I sang in a girls’ band in high school. 

What was the first concert you ever attended, and what was the most recent concert you attended? James Brown in the Ritz Theater when I was a kid. Earth, Wind and Fire last year. 

What person had the greatest impact on your life? My grandmother, Edith Hunter 

What are you most passionate about? Finding ways to give kids with socioeconomic barriers tools and experiences that allow them to achieve their innate purpose. 

Who is the most famous person you ever met? President Barack Obama 

Tell us something about you that even your friends don’t know: I was a jazz radio DJ in college

What do you hope to accomplish that you have not done yet? Learn Spanish

Last book read: ”Still Foolin’ Them,” an autobiography of Billy Crystal

Photograph: Madelyn Caranci

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Refocus this Fall

Feel-good ways to get your head back in the game.

By Sonja Rocha

After a summer of trips, kids and time spent with family and friends you may find yourself struggling to get your head back in the game - and we're not talking about your fantasy football league. There are still three months left in 2015, Don't blow 25 percent of your year. Stop online researching next summer’s vacation, close Facebook, turn off the TV and put these refocus strategies to work.

Set VERY attainable goals.
The best way to get back on track is to start with a success. What do you need to do to finish 2015 strong? Set goals. Make them easy.

For example, walk a little more this week and start thinking about healthy habits again by parking on the far side of the parking lot. It’s an easy goal to achieve and you can accomplish it tomorrow. Park far away. Walk in to work. Done! Put a check in the “I’ve accomplished something good for my health” box! Keep it up all week. Any type of exercise will help refocus your mind.

To get your work and career back on the right track, take 15 minutes to review everything you have accomplished so far this year and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it! The feeling of accomplishment feels good, and feeling good is where you need to be when you start thinking about what you still want to accomplish this year. Make a plan to achieve your remaining 2015 goals. Keep each step toward the goal small and simple. Keep building on your successes. Always remember the work you do is important. Reviewing your accomplishments and revisiting your goals will provide the adrenaline boost you need to finish 2015 strong.

Regain focus and avoid distractions.
Focus is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. If you have been in a brain fog for a while, you’re not going to wake up tomorrow and put in eight solid, productive hours. You’ll need to rebuild your focus stamina one day at a time. One effective method is to plan every minute of every day. Fill in your day scheduler in 15-minute blocks and stick to it! Start each morning with tasks that can be completed quickly. Build on your momentum. Move on to harder projects and the items you’ve been avoiding. Be sure to include scheduled time for e-mail, co-workers and planning.

When distractions come up and you get off track, don’t beat yourself up. Try to note why it happened. Was it a talkative co-worker? Was it checking e-mails? Keep a list of the alluring distractions so you can revisit them the next day at a scheduled time. You're likely to forget what that all-important distraction was about. You just took back 15-30 minutes of your life. When it’s a co-worker stealing away your time, try this line: ”I’m on a deadline now, but I’m available tomorrow at 11 a.m. Will that work for you?”

Next week, divide your focused time into 20-minute blocks and so on. Grow each work block to 45 minutes. The more you practice this technique the longer your focus stamina will become. Greater focus will improve your work quality while you get more done in less time.

Still can’t break Internet surfing? Then use the time productively. Update your LinkedIn profile. Then take time to write three recommendations for three co-workers or clients on their LinkedIn accounts. Doing something kind for others is a great way to break negative patterns and start new positive ones.

UNF Continuing Education offers numerous opportunities for both personal and professional development. View our online catalog here. Request more information here. Call our friendly Customer Care Team (904) 620-4200. They're always ready and willing to help you find the program(s) to fit your need.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Explore the World of Wine with Us!

Ready for Wine Tasting!

Wine has been part of history for thousands of years and all cultures have enjoyed its benefits. Some research suggests that wine even has unique health properties. Good quality wine; reasonably priced, and readily available, is actually a fairly recent development here in the United States, gaining the most notoriety at the Paris wine tasting in 1976. In addition to California-produced wines, Americans can now enjoy delicious varietals from wine regions across the globe.

Meet new friends who
share your interests!

Unfortunately, though, wine tasting had gotten a bad reputation in the past as something only reserved for the snobby wine experts. It can be intimidating to try to select a wine in the grocery store aisle and forget trying to pair a wine with food! Lucky for us, though; vineyards, wine shops, and yes, even grocery stores, are now attempting to make wine tasting a fun and less intimidating experience. Consumers are now encouraged to "drink what you like" and not be afraid to try new wines. Practically speaking, though, exploring the world of wine can be a bit expensive with bottles ranging anywhere from $10 to $50 or more. So what to do if you want to not only try new wines but actually learn more about them at the same time? The best answer is to find wine tasting opportunities!

Instructor Richard Park
Many stores offer wine tasting opportunities but the selection is limited, they are often crowded and the opportunity to really learn much about the wine or be able to compare to other wines is often non-existent.  While this is helpful, it is much more valuable to take a fun wine tasting class and UNF Continuing Education has a full schedule of classes for your enjoyment! No prior wine knowledge is needed and you can start at any of the classes--they are not sequential.

Our wine guide is Richard Park. Richard has been in the wine business for his entire career spanning 32 years. He has worked closely with chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers and retailers, with wine education as a key responsibility in many of the positions he has held. He has traveled extensively throughout the major wine producing regions of the world. So what are you waiting for? Registration is open now for our fall lineup of wine tasting classes and these popular classes can fill up quickly.

Reserve your seat at the table! Cheers!

Upcoming classes are scheduled in Sept., Nov. and Dec. For a list of all upcoming wine tasting classes, visit:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Get to Know: Jessica Fields. The newest member of our Customer Care Team!

Jessica, could you share some background information of your professional career?
Before starting at UNF, I worked in the legal field as a legal assistant and legal administrator, most recently in a firm that handled disability cases. I have a bachelor’s degree in International Relations (minored in Economics) from Florida International University in Miami and I am currently a student here at UNF in the Masters of Public Administration program. I’ve just started my 2nd year in the MPA program, and I should be graduating in August 2016. My ultimate career goal after graduation is to be in a management position within a public organization.

Why did you want to work at UNF Continuing Education?
I was very excited about working for UNF Continuing Education because it’s an awesome opportunity to gain valuable working experience for my MPA. The Continuing Education department here at UNF is a great place to learn about the State University System in Florida. Also, I love being able to provide a service for our community. Continuing Education is such a wonderful service to provide for the community, from the test prep for younger students all the way to the OLLI program for seniors, and everything in between. It feels great to be part of a team that makes such a positive difference in peoples’ lives!

How would you describe your role at UNF Continuing Education?
I am part of the Customer Care Team here in the Continuing Education department. My primary role is to provide customer service to our current and future students, including answering any questions they may have and helping them with course registration. I also work on specific projects within the department as needed. I’m here to help out with anything that someone in our department may need!

Anything else you want us to share about you?
I enjoy being involved in the community, so I do a lot of volunteer work. Most of my volunteer work involves cultural events in and around the urban core area of Jacksonville. I am now in my second year as a member of the board of directors for GastroJax, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness about our local food shed and culinary scene. We are primarily known as the organizers of GastroFest 2015, a local food festival that was held in Hemming Park this past March. We are now hard at work organizing GastroFest 2016, as well as other events that will educate the community about local food! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Trust and Verify

By Harold Resnick
All relationships are based on trust. Trust makes it easier and faster to get business done. Trust is a characteristic we look for when choosing vendors and project associates.
Lack of trust in the work environment can be devastating. When employees do not trust their organizations or their managers, they become cynical. They reduce their commitment and work efforts to the minimum required for compliance, rather than the maximum that comes from true commitment.
Trust is essential for strong relationships, high performance, a culture of candor and long-term commitment. Yet a McKinsey study entitled “The War for Talent”, which surveyed 23,000 employees, revealed that only 20 percent of those questioned indicated that they fully trusted the organization in which they were employed.
To strengthen one’s reputation for being trustworthy, practice these six trust-building commitments:
1. Examine Your Own Intentions and Communicate Them
When people do not trust individuals or organizations, it is often because they do not trust their intentions. This is often seen vividly in the political arena. Politicians ask their constituencies to trust that they are working on behalf of their interests and those of the country. Yet the public rarely believes them, often with good justification.
In the work environment, employee feedback sessions to address behavioral issues are often fraught with tension and defensiveness. Yet, the manager who begins the feedback session with the stated intention of helping the employee succeed – rather than deliver punitive action or termination – has a much better opportunity to create an open environment in which positive behavioral changes can result.
The first step to gaining trust is to be clear about your own intentions and to share them with the other person.
2. Behave With Integrity
Integrity is the act of maintaining consistency through one’s beliefs and values, thoughts, words and deeds. Individuals who act with integrity are clear about their personal values, espouse those values and then act in accordance with them.
Lapses of integrity are quickly caught. Leaders who espouse that employees are their most important asset and then withhold raises from employees while distributing large bonuses to top executives are demonstrating a lack of integrity between words and deeds. Companies that claim they stand for customer service and then establish automated call centers that make it impossible for a customer to reach a live employee similarly reflect lack of integrity between words and actions.
3. Maintain Authenticity
Authenticity is one of the most fundamental conditions for creating trust. Authentic people have high self-awareness and share their true selves with others, characterized by candor and consistency. Individuals who are not authentic put up a false front. The problem is that everyone sees through the false front and does not trust either the individual or what they have to say. Lack of authenticity often comes from lack of self-confidence. It doesn’t work and destroys trust.
4. Honor Commitments
Honoring commitments is essential for building a trust-based relationship. Fulfilling promises reflects the integrity of thoughts, words and deed; it also demonstrates the competence and willingness to perform. Leaders who say they are going to do something – particularly if it requires a hard or courageous conversation or decision – and then fail to do so lose the trust of their employees. Honoring promises and commitments is one of the powerful ways to build trust.
5. Speak the Truth
“The Emperor has no clothes” is the classic example of the unwillingness of a group to speak the truth. Another common expression is “the elephant in the room.” When no one is willing to acknowledge the elephant in the room there is a lack of truthfulness in the environment. Speaking the truth is more than the absence of lying. It is speaking the whole truth even when the topic may be awkward. Individuals who are known to speak the truth – with thoughtfulness and sensitivity – become the most highly respected and trusted individuals in an organization.
6. Empathy
For an individual to trust someone else they must believe that their thoughts and feelings will be treated with respect and dignity. Empathy – understanding how the other person is feeling – is the tool that generates this respect. When sensitive or emotional information is shared and handled with empathy the bonds of trust are enhanced.
When individuals are clear about their intentions, behave with integrity and authenticity, speak the truth and honor their commitments and promises, they create a trustworthy environment that generates honesty, high performance and accountability.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Attack of the Never Ending Project

By John Yancey

Projects at work seem to magically appear and at a volume that almost certainly means that one of these projects will fall into your lap sooner rather than later. Now these projects can take many forms along the continuum, but collectively they share one specific challenge that can derail any project and is well worth exploring in more detail.

One of the first decisions that must be made before this journey can even begin is scope.  
  • Who are the stakeholders associated with this project and what roles do they need to play to make the project successful?  
  • What materials will you need to complete the project and how much will all of this cost? 
  • How long will the project take and what are the deliverables that we are required to produce. 
Answering these questions up front can go a long ways towards ensuring that you project gets off to a good start.

But then it happens.  Someone at some point utters the words that are potentially kryptonite to any successful project: “What if we just ...  And it begins, scope creep. 

Once you have taken the time to create a detailed project plan, deviations from that plan need to be considered carefully as they can have a very significant impact. Seemingly small changes can dramatically change project costs, required team members, and the overall project timeline. Now, this does not mean that every change has a negative impact on your project. That simply is not the case. Still, you need to do you due diligence as you exam proposed changes to see how they impact your project and if they are worth taking on. Many times, the best course of action is the stay the course and complete you project as these mid-project changes can be reformatted to be their own new project somewhere down the line. 

In the end, project management is a complete mix of challenges of which scope creep is but a singular player.  The University of North Florida Division of Continuing Education has the tools necessary to help ensure that your next project is a success and more importantly, that you are a success in leading that project.  See all that we have to offer at

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Subject-Specific Professional Development for K-12 Teachers

Are you a K-12 teacher with a new upcoming teaching assignment? Feeling a bit overwhelmed at how to be ready for the first day of school? UNF Continuing Education is here to help.

UNF is pleased to announce the offering of a unique series of 100 professional development courses designed to provide a significant amount of support to a teacher with a new assignment.

Why take these courses?
100% of teachers have a new assignment at some point, whether you are new to teaching or an experienced teacher. Why not take a course that matches your daily teaching responsibilities? This is a practical, economic and convenient, "just-in-time" solution to prepare for a new assignment. Also, many of the courses may qualify for CE units for recertification.

What is included?
Included is everything a teacher with a new assignment would typically need to prepare themselves for the whole school year: Teacher manual with instructional support material that includes syllabus, pacing guide, detailed daily lesson plans, class notes (editable PowerPoint presentations for lecture support), complete student activity book or lab manual, editable assessments and keys, subject-specific mentoring teacher access.

What subjects are available?

There are 100 courses offered within the following subject areas:

Advanced Placement (AP)
Language Arts (English)
Art (music listed separately)
Business and Computer Science
Cambridge International Curriculum
Physical Education
Reading Endorsement
Exceptional Student Education
Family and Consumer Science
Social Studies
International Baccalaureate (IB)

Click here to view 100 course description and enrollment pages online.

UNF teacher prep course tuition and materials may be funded or reimbursed through Federal NCLB Title 2a (Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, 100% PD), Title 1 (up to 10% for PD), and/or state and local PD budgets.

We're centrally located at the UNF Adam W. Herbert University Center, 12000 Alumni Drive, Jacksonville, Fla. 32224. For more information about any of our programs, contact us at (904) 620-4200 or

Get to Know Casey Knowles, new Accounts Payable Specialist

In our next "Get to Know" new staff post series, we interviewed Casey Knowles, new Accounts Payable Specialist at UNF Continuing Education. As you read the following Q and A, you will see why Casey has become an integral member of our team so quickly. We are delighted to welcome her and know that you will want to do the same. Her contact information can be found at the end of the interview.

Casey, could you share some background information of your professional career? 

Casey: My adult career started in insurance.  I was a file clerk for a year and then started making my way through the company.  "One and Done" was the motto so I eventually learned billing, processing, and Builders Risk Ins. My final step was Underwriter for Property/Casualty Ins.   I left the insurance world when a position needed to be filled as the Director of Children’s Ministry at my church.  I did that for 2 ½ years and got a full-time job for a commercial distributor doing customer service, shipping, and AP/AR.  Five years later I applied at UNF in the Physical Facilities department doing accounting work and have moved around trying to find my place.

Why did you want to work at UNF Continuing Education?

Casey: I accepted the job in CE because it’s different than any other department on campus.  I’m a firm believer in keeping the mind tuned and doing things that you love and Continuing Education gives you the opportunity to do that.  Being a student at UNF as well, I felt like working here and taking classes would be accepted and encouraged.  CE also just seemed like a good fit.  There were things to learn, but the skills I gathered from Phys Fac and AP really made me feel confident that I could do this job.

How would you describe your role at UNF Continuing Education?

Casey: My role here in CE is to keep everyone on track with payments to instructors and vendors, P-card transactions, and accounting/budget needs.  I work closely with all the program managers and staff to make sure payments are made timely so they can move on to the next project.  My motto is “Teamwork makes the Dream work”.  I like that my job allows me to interact and help out wherever I can.

Anything else you want us to share about you?

Casey: I’m on the USPA Committee, Parking Advisory Council, and help out with EH&S projects on campus (Garbage on the Green, Recycle-mania, etc.).  I enjoy working on projects around campus and getting to know the faculty and staff.  I also believe that the Staff needs to be a presence on campus and that getting involved with the students helps them learn that volunteering doesn’t stop after graduation.  There are needs to be met all over the world and as abled bodies we should be making a difference.

  • I love my cats
  • I’m getting my degree in Health Administration
  • I’m an introvert trying not to be
  • I sing (mostly church and karaoke) 
 Send Casey a welcome note to or say hello by phone at (904) 620-4230.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Get to Know John Yancey, New Program Director for Professional Development Studies

John Yancey,  Program Director
Professional Development
The UNF Division of Continuing Education is delighted to welcome John Yancey to our team! John has a long and distinguished career in higher education leadership having most recently served as the Vice President for Enrollment Services here at the University of North Florida and previously as the UNF Director of Admissions for more than 10 years. John's role here at UNFCE is to direct our professional development programs, including the Legal Studies Institute.

John brings that same passion for excellence and student success to his new Program Manager role: "I am excited to join such a dynamic team and I look forward to doing everything in my power to help move this division forward into what I believe is a very bright future!" said John when asked about his new position.

John and his wife, Michelle, have been part of the UNF family since 1997. They have two children, Sarah (19) and Roman (17). We are so fortunate to now include them in the UNF Continuing Education family! We know that John will bring a unique perspective and years of knowledge and skills to growing our continuing education professional development programs. He is also great fun to just have around the office! We love his infectious sense of humor, his warm welcome every morning, and his desire to just jump right in and be a part of the team.

If you would like to welcome John, or ask a question about any of our professional development programs, he can be reached by email at and by phone at (904) 620-5176.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Five Steps and Tips to Publishing a Book

 by Frances Keiser
Used with Permission

Do you have an idea for a book? Turn your idea into a published book by following the 5 steps below and using the 5 tips under each step:

Step 1. REASON: 

Why do you want to write a book? Who is it for? What is it for? Knowing your reasons will help you with your writing, publishing, and marketing choices. Here are some possible reasons:

Monday, May 4, 2015

NEW Creative Writing Workshops for Teens

"It is about the power of shaping your destiny no matter your age."
-Sharon Y Cobb
by Lynn Conradt-Eberlin

Teenage writers know there is no age requirement for good writing. Scripts and novels require imagination and the ability to communicate a good story. All they need is a chance to immerse themselves in the world of written creation, to understand the expected in preparation of unleashing your unexpected storytelling on the world. Prepare for the adventure of writing submersion, June 15-19, 2015 through the University of North Florida’s Division of Continuing Education!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tool: How to Get Unstuck and Get Going!

by Barbara Pratt

Whether you work in the project world or not, from time to time everyone comes up against problems or opportunities that stump them… even if the stumpage is only temporary.

For many, a problem solving tool that takes you through a logical sequence of thought which results in super-quick clarity, understanding and control can help you break through the quagmire. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Is This Really Scarier Than Snakes or Death?

by Wilbur Pike

Dozens of studies have shown that most of us have a fear that is more frightening than snakes or even death: the fear of public speaking!

Over the years that I have been helping people increase their effectiveness at work, this obstacle has come up again and again. Surely we can count it among some of the bigger reasons for preventing us from taking the next step. Most of us are fine in planning the next step, even creating details to achieve it, but if one of those steps includes having to stand up formally in front an audience and talk we hit the freeze button on our plans.

Surely, it IS a little scary to make a presentation to an audience, even if we have been invited to do it, are fully prepared and rehearsed, feel great about our presentation materials and know the audience is on our side.  After more than 30 years in the presentations business, I will readily admit to sweaty palms and an elevated heart rate just about any time I am presenting.

So what do we do about it?  Well, there are lots of techniques that we can easily employ that will move the nervousness needle from paralyzed to functional.

The first of those is to realize that the fear concept is better understood as a point on a continuum, rather than as an on-off switch. Is President Obama nervous before the State of The Union Address? You can bet that he is, but that fear is well within manageable limits. In fact, the research shows that a little nervousness is good for us. It fully engages our brain, puts on the balls of our feet, ready for action and excitement. That sounds like a great recipe for effective presentations. So the key is not eliminating the fear, it is managing it to a level that allows us to be at our best.

Another technique is preparation. It may be hackneyed, but that’s for a good reason. When we have done our homework, created great slides or other materials, practiced in front of a mirror or better yet, a practice audience, our chances of success have gone up exponentially. I still practice my presentations in the car on the way to the event. I listen to phrases that work and ones that don’t. I try different approaches, different topic sequences, variable stories that illustrate my points, pace and volume. This is especially valuable for the first and last couple of minutes of your presentation.

For most white North Americans, eye contact is vital in the successful process of presenting information to any audience. While there are many cultural variables in the business of eye contact for most of us most of the time it is an important part of your presentation success. But, most folks without training actually use eye contact to increase nervousness, not reduce it. They scan their audience. They sweep their gaze over their audience without actually focusing on anyone specifically. Scanning produces exactly the wrong outcomes for reducing nervousness. It produces effects like “wow, look at how many there are out there”, or “they all look so stern, even angry” or “they aren't smiling, they already hate me”.  Not the stuff we need to feel confident and functional, eh? That’s because our brains need more visual data than scanning produces. What works much better is to slow the scan down to at least 5 full seconds per face. That’s just what you’d if you were one-on-one with that person. When you stay focused on that face for a full 5 second count you are only presenting to just one person and that’s so much easier than the whole gathered group. Of course, we move from face to face, staying on each for a full 5count, until we are fully into our presentation. My rule is to try to remember who smiled and return to that face whenever I need a save place in my presentation.

Lots of people have told me that they found great reassurance as presenters once they have gotten out of their own way and focused instead on the value of their message for their audience. Lots of people have told me that they found great reassurance as presenters once they have gotten out of their own way and focused instead on the value of their message for their audience.  While your heart may be racing as you move the front of the room, the audience is not thinking about your nervousness, except maybe as thankfulness that it isn't each of them up there where you are. No, instead they start on your side. Their hope is that you’ll be good, that your message will be relevant to them personally, that you’ll be captivating and fully engage their attention. They start out with positive expectations for you, your content and presentation skills.

In fact, your success as a presenter is NOT determined by how slick you slides are or whether your jokes are funny. Your success is determined by whether or not the information in your head is successfully transferred to your audience. You are up there for a reason, often by invitation, to give something of value to your audience. The degree to which that information transfer has been made or at least initiated is the only measure of your success as a presenter that matters. Bottom line: it’s not about you, it’s about your audience.

What have you found helpful in overcoming the fear of public speaking? Leave us a comment below.

About Wilber:

Wilbur Pike’s career in the field of human development spans more than 30 years. He has worked internally in the field of social services in the YMCA, in manufacturing, in finance, insurance, government and multiple other industries. As an independent consultant, his work has taken him through hundreds of assignments with companies all over the world.

Mr. Pike’s academic background includes an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education and an MA in Organizational Psychology. He has devoted much of his professional career to the study and practice of effective management behaviors as well as within the broad field of interpersonal effectiveness.

UNF Division of Continuing Education is delighted to bring Mr. Pike's expertise to your organization as part of our Customized Learning SolutionThe Customized Learning Solutions department of the UNF Division of Continuing Education brings the up-to-date knowledge and techniques right to your place of work, shaped by the objectives and culture of your organization. While all of the courses are available on the UNF campus, most can be taught at your facility to maximize time, coordinate with shifts and schedules or to dovetail with your internal training and development resources.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Dos and Don'ts of Moving Forward in Your Career

by Nancy Dering Mock

As a management consultant and former HR Executive, I am often asked why some people seem to “get ahead” and others seem to “get stuck” in their careers.  This blog post will share some of my observations about what does and doesn't work.

First, my list of what doesn't work:

1) Hope 

There are those people who believe that if they show up and do a good job, someone will notice and they will be propelled up the corporate ladder.  In my experience, this alone doesn't work.  We all know many people who have been loyal, kept their nose clean and worked hard whose reward has been to languish in the same job.

2) Fate 

There are other people who subscribe to the “right person in the right place at the right time” theory. They believe that advancement is all a matter of timing and waiting for “their turn.” We all know people who have retired still waiting for their turn.

3) Dependence on Others 

These individuals believe that their boss or the HR Department will take interest and invest in their future. They defer and rely on others to enroll them in training or set their developmental goals.  In my experience, this places the responsibility with people who may not be that skilled or interested in helping others advance. 

Now, let’s explore a few things that do work. 

(These ideas are borrowed from two current Continuing Education workshops, “Charting Your Future,” and “14 Best Strategies for Being A Standout.”)

1) Get a Mentor.

Find someone outside your chain of command and challenge them to challenge you.   Set regular times to meet and set development goals. Pick his or her brain for ideas, contacts, professional groups and other ways to learn and grow. 

2) Keep a Journal.

Keep track of your accomplishments, at work and outside of work. Keep a running list of observations, networks and contacts for future reference. Use your journal to note issues and questions you’d like to explore with your mentor. This journal will be priceless in constructing your resume and preparing for job interviews.

3) Be the “Can-do” person.

Develop a reputation as the person who can get things done. Say “yes to the hard stuff,” those assignments others back away from. Do your homework; always arrive totally prepared and ready to be a contributor not merely an observer.  Find solutions to problems. Look for ways to improve current processes and propose changes.

4) Never, never, never stop learning.

It is often the people who challenge themselves to learn and grow who are tapped to move into more responsible work. Think about and ask for assignments and experiences that would give you new skills or networks. Think “breadth, not depth,” in broadening your experience and perspective. Set developmental goals for yourself and pursue them through workshops, on-line learning, college courses and professional organizations. Note your developmental goals and accomplishments in your journal.

5) If you want it, ask for it.

People are not mind-readers. If you have development and job goals, share them with people who have influence in your career. How does your boss know how you are doing? How do you know the requirements for that next promotion? How do you know what training and development opportunities are available to you? Does your boss know your career goals?  These questions can only be answered by your opening the conversation and sharing your goals and interests. After clarifying for yourself what you want, make sure that others are clear on what you want, too.

So, starting today, stop relying on hope, fate and reliance on others to advance your career. Start by adapting a few of these ideas that do work, take that next step and take control of your career and your future.

About Nancy:

Nancy Dering Mock is a management consultant, specializing in Strategic Planning, Leadership Development and Change Management.Her career has included founding two consulting firms, serving as HR Executive for an 80,000 employee organization and significant community leadership.She shares her experience with UNFCE workshop participants through interactive sessions which explore real-world challenges and offer real-world solutions. Learn more about Nancy at

Join Nancy at her upcoming one-day workshop "Demystifying HR: Human Resources Management for Non-HR Managers" to be held on April 9 from 9:00 until 4:30 p.m at UNF. Click here for information and registration.

Mystified by the jargon, acronyms and requirements of Human Resources Management? This full day session is designed for professional/technical managers with little or no background in managing human resources. It explores the roles and responsibilities of managers in managing other people.

Through discussion, the participants identify their most pressing Human Resource management challenges; formulate a plan for addressing them and for partnering with HR professionals in the process.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Three Steps to Happiness All Successful People Know

by Jan Spence, ©jan spence & associates
Used with Permission

 Experts say that we spend the majority of our lives at work. So our career and life are very closely intertwined.  Sadly, many people are unhappy, unfulfilled and feel like they may even be in the wrong field, position or company!  That’s no way to live!

Regardless of whether you are currently working in a career field, have yet to graduate, or are looking to make a change, there are several steps to follow to enhance your fulfillment in life and career.

Step One: Discover your Direction.  You must first identify your core values and let them guide you in your decisions.  Core values are those defining principles that guide your life. They are your “non-negotiables”.  They are those qualities that will be etched on your tombstone and whispered at your funeral!  By defining these first, we can use them as a measuring stick for the rest of our life choices when we are planning to “take the next step.”

For example, if “Spending Time with Family” is a core value, yet you choose a career field and job that will have you working crazy hours so that you are rarely available to have family dinners, attend dance recitals or just throw the football in the back yard, then your core values are not in sync with this career choice.

This doesn’t mean that you should throw out the career field, but it may mean adjusting your choices to better support your core values.  And, you should also remember, that sometimes short-term sacrifices are made for long-term gain.

Step Two: Set Goals and Strategy to Support your Vision.  Once you have identified your core values, you can develop the vision for your life.  What is your “end game?”  Where do you see yourself five, ten, twenty years down the road?  We must begin setting our goals with the end in mine.

So often people are short-sited and don’t find fulfillment in their career and life because they never stop to take the time to think about what it is they really want out of life and what they were meant to give to the world.  

For example, my husband and I have the core value of “Good Stewardship” which means being a good manager of all that is entrusted to us – money, home, education, etc. We have the vision to live in a foreign country and be able to travel the world.  In order to do this, we set the goal to become debt-free.  From that goal, we chose the strategy to buy and sell a business as the means to achieve that vision.

Step 3: Seize the Start.  After you have clarified your core values and established your vision, goals and strategy, it’s time to get moving!  So often, people have good intentions, but they get stuck by never taking the first step.   One of my favorite sayings is “Just move!”  Just do something!  Just take action! Whether it is the right action or not, it doesn’t matter. The fact that you are breaking that inertia by starting the engine with create more activity and begin to clarify what it is that you need to be doing.

Don’t wait until you have all the answers. You will NEVER have all of the answers.  Just take baby steps and start the ball rolling.

Once you begin to take action, you will be energized to keep moving and discovering more about your vision.  When it is tied to your core values – those principles that define you- there is no way you can lose!  The world is waiting for you to live your best fulfilling life!

Come see Jan speak at the Hardy 2015 Administrative Professionals Lunch and Learn at UNF on April 22. Information and tickets here. Her topic will be: "Game Plan for Life: Life Lessons from a Former Pro Female Football Player."  As a former full-tackle football player in a professional national women's league, Jan has the crowd roaring as her story inspires listeners to believe that they truly CAN do anything if they want it badly enough.

About Jan: 

Jan Horton Spence is an international consultant, professional speaker, trainer and one-on-one business coach.  With contagious charisma and a zest for life which make her an excellent motivator and leader, the Georgia native has used her vast knowledge in sales, marketing, and business operations to help numerous clients including Pillsbury, Walmart, and Frito-Lay. Find out more about Jan at

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Connecting with Nature Through Eco-Art: Discover an Effective Tool for Engaging with the Land that Inspires and Sustains You

by Kelly Johnson

Eco Art is a broad term to describe genre of art that addresses the human relationship with the earth. Eco Art or environmentally based art is not a new art niche by any means, and I have found that it is an incredibly effective tool for engaging students of all ages in the process of exploring their own relationships with the land that inspires and sustains them. 

The New World Museum believes environmentally based art is “The intermingling of art and the environmental is a phenomenon with roots in some of the earliest known human works.”  Humans have been expressing their thoughts about nature since their beginning. Whether to relay information on animal migration on a cave wall, to please a deity, or to express elements of science and beauty of the natural world, artists work to understand the human relationship with nature.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, art in the form of nature journaling was often used as a tool to engage in nature study.  While grounded in natural history, art was a way to
appreciate and connect with a natural world that was quickly becoming transformed by industry. The mid-twentieth century saw the Land Artists expressing their connection, or desire for connection, to nature by vastly manipulating large areas of land. Late twentieth century artists began utilizing natural forms and nature itself to draw public attention to environmental spirit and consciousness. Now, in the twenty-first century, environmental artists’ work seeks to invite the viewer to address issues such as finding a balance between media, pollution, and development with a human need for nature connection in a culture of convenience that often comes at nature’s expense.

Today, Eco Art is explored in a wide variety of ways from the hands-on manipulations of natural materials to journaling in traditional art mediums to creating online content. This flexibility makes it very attractive and approachable to people of all ages and interests in the natural world. My favorite aspect of Eco Art is that it frequently focuses on process and connection with the materials rather than a finished product. Process over product is such an important lesson which once learned frees us of any fears related with not being a “good” artist, allowing us to just have fun with the materials while exploring forms, textures, and colors in naturally inspiring environments. 

To learn more about the Connect With Nature Through Creative Journaling class from March 23 through April 11, 2015 from 2 to 4 p.m. at UNF Continuing Education, please click here. Registration is going on now!

Work Cited: Natural World Museum, NWM. Art in Action: Nature, Creativity and Our Collective Future. San Rafael: Earth Aware, 2007. Print.

About Kelly

Kelly Johnson (BFA, MA) is an artist, author, Montessorian, and children's gardener in Neptune Beach, Florida. Through her books, workshops, consultations, blog, courses, and handmade garden accessories Kelly inspires children and adults to connect with their natural world through gardening and the arts. Follow her blog at