Coleen Jones, Educator and Leader

By Stephanie McMillen

In May, seven Valencia employees traveled to Austin, Texas where they accepted awards and received recognition from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). Among the recipients was Coleen Jones, professor of office administration technology on the Osceola Campus, who was nominated for this award because of her demonstrated ability to excel as an outstanding educator and leader.

“I feel that it was both a privilege and an honor to receive the NISOD Excellence Award,” Coleen said. “Not necessarily because I felt I was worthy or due [for] such an honor, but it exemplifies the fact that I desire to continuously strive to be a better educator.”

Coleen started her Valencia journey in 1998 as an adjunct instructor, and has since worked her way to a full-time, tenure-track position. In addition, she dedicates a substantial amount of time to her duties as the office systems technology (OST) program director.

As an educator, Coleen works toward what she refers to as the “high standards” that have been long established at Valencia. “I embrace Valencia’s mission and vision in the way I teach,” she explained. “I teach ‘my students’ (no matter the age) as if I am the one learning.”

Coleen accomplishes this through identifying her students’ learning strengths and weaknesses, no matter what educational background, cultural upbringing or other diversities they may bring into the classroom. “I reflect each and every day on not only what I need to teach, but how I am going to address these educational differences for both of us to be successful.”

If something doesn’t “gel” with students, Coleen will come back and “re-teach” the concept until her students “get it.” This creates a culture of comfort in Coleen’s classroom, where her students know that any question is welcomed.

Coleen’s success as an educator is due in part to learning from her role as the OST program director. “Coleen takes her leadership role seriously and is an active member of various committees and task forces for Valencia, professional organizations, and the community,” said Dale Husbands, dean of business, information technology and social sciences, and Coleen’s supervisor.

Through her collaborative efforts internally and externally, Coleen has equipped herself with the knowledge needed to look beyond a student’s time a Valencia. As a result, she has been instrumental in ensuring “that our curriculum is in line with what students need to know in order to be successful upon graduation,” Dale explained.

Visit any one of Coleen’s classes and you will find students engaging in such activities as reading and discussing “real life” case studies, putting together a personal portfolio that can be used in an internship or job interview, or taking time from routine course work to learn about job opportunities through visiting with a career placement advisor.

From the time she began her career at Valencia, Coleen demonstrated leadership by serving as a liaison for Orange County Public Schools, guiding high school students through the process to receive tech prep credits and instilling in them the confidence and drive to attend college.

She has worked to increase the number of classes offered at the Osceola Campus, allowing students in her discipline to remain on that campus throughout their entire Valencia experience. Coleen collaborates with all the adjunct instructors in her area to make sure they are on the “same page” with the curriculum, and has even developed a program learning outcome assessment plan and program viability action plan for OST.

For Coleen, all of her efforts culminate in her passion for teaching and learning. Her favorite quote is by William Arthur Ward, who said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

A lifelong learner herself, Coleen strives to get students involved in their own learning, and says that if she can accomplish this, “they will want to continue to want to learn.”

If you wish to congratulate Coleen on her many accomplishments and for receiving the NISOD Excellence Award, feel free to leave a comment below.

2 Comments

  • Lisa Gray said:

    Congratulations to Coleen for the NISOD award and a big thank you for the great job you are doing with our students!

    AMMon, 02 Jul 2012 08:35:47 +0000Mon, 02 Jul 2012 08:35:47 +0000am12,8:35 am

  • Judy Bechtle said:

    Congratulations to Professor Jones on winning NISOD award. She deserves this honor. Her classes are truly a learning experience where everyone feels they have something to contribute and their comments are welcome no matter the student's age.

    PMSat, 28 Jul 2012 21:04:33 +0000Sat, 28 Jul 2012 21:04:33 +0000pm12,9:04 pm

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