AU CoffeeBreak 11-23-16

Posted on November 23rd, 2016 by Danielle Staub

CoffeeBreak is an e-newsletter distributed to Averett faculty and staff to keep them up-to-date on campus activities and information.

Please send information you would like included in CoffeeBreak via this form by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, for a Wednesday, Nov. 30, publication.

New Employee in GPS

devontereeseThe Graduate & Professional Studies program is pleased to welcome our newest staff member, Devonte’ Reese. Devonte’ joins GPS as an admissions counselor and is based at our Riverview Campus. Devonte’ brings a passion for higher education, a love for helping people and has an enthusiasm for encouraging others to live out their potential through education. She is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University (BA) and Winston-Salem State University (MBA). She was the first in her family to attend college. Through Devonte’s achievements, she has inspired several of her family members to attend college. Devonte’ played volleyball in college and is looking forward to volunteering with Averett’s Volleyball team in the future. We are so excited to welcome Devonte’ to the Averett Family!  She can be reached at 434-791-7134 and


GPS Student Spotlight: Kathryn-Jane Sandoval


Throughout the month, the Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) admissions team interviews and highlights our GPS students. We hope you will enjoy learning more about these amazing members of our Averett family!

Meet Kathryn-Jane Sandoval who is pursuing her MBA and expected to graduate in 2018.

What is your motivation for obtaining your degree? “I believe going back to school is a privilege not many are afforded, nor is it one that is easily earned. It has been a long journey back to the classroom; a journey that has taken me a decade to return to, but has been worth the struggle, sacrifice and the wait. Thus, I am savoring every moment of my educational experience with Averett University’s Graduate & Professional Studies MBA program.

I consider myself a life-long learner, and I have always enjoyed going to school to learn new things. I was able to attend a university right after I graduated high school, but after two years, I realized I could no longer afford it. I went back to community college to complete my associate’s degree after my second year at my first school and then I went on enlist in the military to serve my country and earn my education benefits. I started working towards my bachelor’s degree while I was deployed and I was able to complete my program in April of 2015. At that same time, I finished serving my active duty contract, I joined my current reserve unit, I completed my internship at the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, and I started a new career in human resources with my current company. As a recently separated United States Air Force veteran, I quickly realized receiving a higher level education is quintessential to becoming a knowledgeable, marketable professional outside of the military. I value and cherish my opportunity to learn in the classroom because I had to go through fire to learn to appreciate what I have.

I am also highly motivated to achieve my degree because once I was hired at my new job, I learned right away that I had to go back to school to learn more about human resources on a more detailed and deeper level. The education I received in my bachelor’s program is just not enough to keep up with everything I am required to know at my workplace. Moreover, there is a significant experience gap between me and my co-workers, who all have over 15 years of experience in the HR field. Getting a graduate degree will help lessen the gap between my junior experience and their senior talents.

Furthermore, my goal is to become an outstanding contributor for my organization. One day, I hope to be a coach and mentor for young professionals like myself. I believe that in order to do so, I have to study to become a subject matter expert in my field. Having the education, coupled with years of experience, will help establish my credibility and confidence to lead and manage future teams. I want to earn and hold the title of “professional” throughout my lifetime.”

Why she chose the GPS program: It took me over a year to find the right program I wanted to enroll in. I researched degree programs at several local and online institutions, but none offered the exact degree I wanted. One program came close, but my VA Education Benefits would not have covered all the expenses. I was very happy when I learned about Averett’s on-ground, MBA in management, with a concentration in human resources management degree program. After being deployed and being limited to taking online classes, I really wanted an in-classroom experience where I could communicate and collaborate with other professionals who work at different companies and who have different back grounds and life-experiences I could learn from. I felt very isolated being in an online degree program. I like the energy that comes from being able to interact with my classmates and teammates. I also chose to participate in an on-ground program because I wanted to be able to ask a lot of questions directly to experts in the field.

The evening class schedule is another factor that helped me make my choice about which institution to attend. Evening classes are very convenient because I do not have to take time off from work to attend them once a week. I also really like that the courses are scheduled one at a time, and with an accelerated tempo.”

What keeps her motivated: “I have a very strong support system, and they are all eager to celebrate with me at the finish line. I am blessed with an encouraging family, engaged co-workers and understanding friends. My husband found out the day after I received my acceptancewelcome phone call that he had to relocate to Georgia for work. He lives in Georgia now and I decided to stay and live here in Virginia until I graduate (we are both veterans, so we both know how to make the best of our time apart). He and his co-workers pray for my success often, which helps me stay connected with them even though we are geographically separated. By the grace of God, my brother has moved from California to study here in Virginia. We motivate each other and hold each other accountable for studying and getting good grades. We want to do good to make our mom proud (and she is).

My classmates are awesome. We were able to form and perform as a synergized group within the first class. We vowed to graduate on time together. My co-workers and supervisors are also very supportive. They always ask how I am doing in school and they enjoy discussing the topics I am learning about in school. Several things we’ve studied in class have coincided with real-life events at work and I’ve been able to apply my learning to several cases already. I truly value having complementing work and school activities; it’s instant gratification and application. I even told our President & CEO that I started this program and he was super happy and impressed.

On my hardest days, during my toughest academic weeks, I remind myself that I prayed for this opportunity when I was deployed in the desert (desperately searching for the one geocoordinate that had Wi-Fi). I am here now, so I cannot lose sight of what I had to do to get here and why I am doing it.”

Tip for your fellow and future classmates: “Do not hesitate to ask questions and seek help. This education experience is ours, make sure it meets your expectations. If you are not getting the help you need, keep asking. Someone will help you. If you have a question, chances are, another classmate has the same one, so ask. I called a professor kind of late the night before the start of a new class to ask for clarification about assignments that I did not realize were due on first day and she answered my call! Long story short, I got all my homework done, shared the information with classmates and the mission was completed on time and on target.”

Angel Tree Presents Due Today

boys-and-girls-clubThank you to everyone who is sponsoring an Angel with the Boys & Girls Club Angel Tree! All presents should be wrapped and delivered to the CCECC TODAY! If you will not meet this deadline, please contact Cierra Gunter at

The Angel Tree Celebration will be on campus on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 5-7 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please click here and select the volunteer shift that best suits your schedule. Dinner will be served in the back of the dining hall for the Angels and volunteers. Presents will be opened in the multipurpose room.

Averett Celebrates Christmas

The Averett Music Department renews the tradition of “Averett Celebrates Christmas” with a collaboration of student, employee and community performers in a service of readings and carols for the Advent and Christmas Season. Join us to awaken your Christmas spirit on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Pritchett Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

This event is part of the annual Arts@Averett series. All events are open to the public. Ticket pricing varies, and some events are free. For the full Arts@Averett season schedule or more information, visit or call (434) 791-5600.

Celebrating the Christmas Season

Holiday meal

In honor of the upcoming holiday, please join us in the dining hall for a special dinner as part of the Averett Celebrates Christmas festivities on Thursday, Dec. 1. Bon Appétit Management Company will prepare a special meal featuring carved prime rib, festive salads, succulent sides, shrimp and decadent deserts along with many other offerings. We look forward to seeing you there!

This event will have special pricing. All taxes included: adults, $11.25; children 6-12 years of age, $8; children five and under, no charge; $5 surcharge for faculty and staff with meal plans.

Averett Family Holiday Celebration

christmas_giftPresident Tiffany Franks and Joe Franks invite you and a guest to the annual Averett Family Holiday Celebration on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 4:30-7 p.m. at their home. Please RSVP to Cyndie Basinger by Monday, Dec. 5, at or (434) 791-5671. For more information, click here.


Diversity Symposium for Executives and Community Leaders

Middle Border Forward logoMiddle Border Forward cordially invites area employers, community leaders and elected officials to attend this free, interactive event on Averett’s campus to learn: the difference between diversity, inclusion and affirmative action; how unconscious bias impacts our work; the competitive advantage of diversity; and how to develop a diversity policy.

Those who attend will go beyond the rhetoric to explore Transformational Diversity Management Principles based on the best practices of award-winning companies and leave equipped with actionable tactics to drive diversity success. The symposium will be led by facilitator Lenora Billings-Harris on Tuesday, Dec. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon in the multipurpose room. Space is limited. Please RSVP to Christy Harper by 5 p.m. on December 9 by calling (434) 483-2894 or emailing

New Timesheets in Effect

PaydayRemember for the work week starting Sunday, Nov. 20, we are using the new timesheets for full-time exempt and full-time nonexempt employees. Pam Paynter emailed the appropriate timesheet to each employee last week. If you cannot find the email, you can find the new timesheets posted on the Averett intranet under Business Office – Payroll – Forms, or on the Averett website payroll page. We suggest you save the master form to your desktop (or documents) and then create a copy of it for each pay period. Entering your hours worked and leave time used each day will be easier than trying to complete two weeks’ worth of time when the timesheet is due.

Employees using the nonexempt timesheet should enter the total number of hours worked on a daily basis (excluding non-work time such as lunch). Employees using the exempt timesheet will place an “x” or checkmark in the daily work column for days they worked. Record hours used for sick, vacation and other leave in the appropriate columns. If you take leave that does not have its own column (such as a personal day or volunteer service leave), enter the hours in the column for “Other” and enter the type of leave in the explanation column next to it.

Remember, although we are generally scheduled for a 7-hour work day, we are paid based on an 8-hour day, so all leave is calculated on an 8-hour day. If you work for 2 hours and then go home ill, you would enter ‘6’ in the sick leave column (8-hour day less 2 hours worked equals 6 hours of sick leave). Holidays are counted as a full 8 hours. Leave that is calculated differently is service leave; it is counted as the time you spent volunteering rather than defaulting to the 8-hour day.

You may sign your timesheet either manually and scan it or sign it electronically. Email or give it to your supervisor who will sign and date and submit it to If you supervisor is out of the office, turn your timesheet in to the person designated to be the backup for timesheet processing.

It is absolutely essential that we all do everything we can to make sure timesheets are turned in no later than 10 a.m. on the Monday they are due. If you have questions as we transition to the new forms, your payroll and HR team is available to help.

Alpha Sigma Phi Fundraiser

Yankee CandleAlpha Sigma Phi is having a Yankee Candle Fundraiser. This can be a great for last minute holiday shopping. Yankee Candle has agreed to give us a portion of all sales through the link below so that we can help fund the travel of our brothers to Saint Louis this winter for “Better The Man Weekend.” This is a big deal and a great opportunity for our brothers to start networking with other leaders in the fraternity from all over the country. Thank you for your support in Averett’s national fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi.

To order, click here. Enter Alpha Sigma Phi’s group number: 990105478.