By Laura Knight
Diana Ciesko’s official title is professor of psychology at East Campus, but her contributions to Valencia’s students, staff and colleagues extend far beyond that title.
Since beginning her career at Valencia in 2000, her roles have included student success professor, educational advisor and coordinator of supplemental learning. Diana was also able to develop and create the “LifeMap Faculty Guide and Planner” (with funds from the Title III Grant) and she has served as its editor since 2003. The guide is used in conjunction with the LifeMap Certificate Program, which Diana explained, was designed as a handbook for faculty that focuses on the mindfulness of teaching, college policies and other information that is useful for meeting the needs of our students.
She has served on 13 committees, is a member of six currently. This year Diana joined the Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign. The group was designed by a team of Valencia faculty and staff and aims to provide supplemental resources (to faculty, staff and students) in order to achieve educational goals. The focus is also on sharing the good work of Valencia Foundation and encouraging faculty and staff participation based on individual interest and willingness to contribute. She also made a significant impact during the First One Campaign.
Diana shared that as a student, she was solely [financially] responsible for her college education. “It was a daunting task and I fully support all the Foundation does to support our students.”
This year she also began working with honors students as coordinator of honors on East Campus. She looks forward to expanding her role with the Honors Program and hopes to help students as they continue their education at Valencia and beyond.
In 2012, Diana graduated from the Teaching and Learning Academy and completed the tenure process in 2013. During that process, she had the opportunity to research emotional intelligence, a topic she is passionate about and considers a “critical part of success – academically and personally.”
“The ability to navigate our environment in an appropriate, intelligent way can either make or break us. I am sure many of us can attest to the fact that you may have students with the intellectual capacity to be successful, yet does not. Certainly there can be many reasons, but research has shown [that] emotional and social intelligence is a very strong factor in success, more than simple IQ,” she affirmed.
Prior to her current work with the Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign and the Honors Program, she served as a facilitator for the General Education Discussions and is currently a member of the General education planning and communications team.
Before joining Valencia she worked as president of an educational and rehabilitation firm and as a supervisor for a national vocational services program. Among her prior professional roles, she also served as an assessment specialist and school psychologist for Baltimore City Public Schools for nearly 10 years.
With such an impressive list of accomplishments, we asked Diana who inspires her.
“Many people have served as inspiration to me over the years. If I were to narrow it down to one person, I would have to say that working with Dr. Romano [vice president of student affairs] has been very important to me. She embodies a strong work ethic, dedication and service to our students. I have been fortunate to get to know her a bit more over the years and consider her a great asset to Valencia. “
Diana is a member of several professional organizations including the Faculty Association of Community Colleges, Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society, the American Association of Women in Community Colleges and the Association for Psychological Science.
She has earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Towson University, a master’s degree in special education with a focus on psycho-diagnostics from Loyola College and a doctorate in education with a focus on emotional intelligence and student readiness from Capella University.
Know of someone doing great work at the college? Send their name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so they can be one of our featured colleagues!