Featured Colleague: Faculty Developer/Instructional Designer Alex Penn Finds Her Passion in Education

By Dani Moritz-Long

Like many Florida transplants, Faculty Developer/ Instructional Designer Alex Penn, originally from Reno, Nevada, was first drawn to Orlando by the city’s most popular mouse named Mickey. But, after completing two Disney internships with the Food and Beverage department and working in a full-time management position, she realized her passion fell elsewhere. Luckily for Valencia, her passion was education.

Having already earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Nevada, Alex then pursued a second bachelor’s degree — this time from the University of Central Florida — in English language arts education. Subsequently, she earned her master’s degree in instructional design and technology.

Upon graduation, she came across a position at Valencia, where she was able to leverage her education in a field she was passionate about.

Today, as a faculty developer/instructional designer, Alex supports Valencia’s faculty and staff to foster an innovative, collaborative and effective student experience. In addition to advising faculty about ways to enhance their classes, she contributes to a variety of projects — from redesigning the New Student Experience faculty credentialing training and onboarding courses to improving online learning. And no matter what she’s doing, she does it with a smile on her face.

“Alex is an amazingly positive person and team player,” said Wendi Dew, assistant vice president, teaching and learning. “She’s constantly contributing new ideas and developing creative solutions. Valencia is fortunate to have Alex at the College.”

Alex says she finds most of her inspiration from Valencia’s collaborative, inclusive and people-oriented culture. “It was the very thing that stood out to me the most when I walked in the door my first week,” she explained. “I recall going in to my very first meeting at the Collaborative Design Center on my first day of work, and I was in awe of how everyone treated me as an equal and allowed me to share my voice and perspective in the conversations that were taking place. As I continue my day-to-day work at the College, it is evident that this continues to be the norm as I collaborate with faculty and staff. It is one of many reasons that I love working here.”

She also finds inspiration in the mission of the College and the impact Valencia has on the Central Florida community.

“I think that Valencia signifies many positive things to the community,” she said. “Valencia signifies opportunity, hope and innovation: opportunity for learning, growth and advancement; hope for a brighter tomorrow for our students, faculty, staff and community; and innovation in the way we approach education and how we deepen learning.”

In her free time, you can find Alex distance running (she’s even completed two full marathons), exploring the outdoors, listening to music and enjoying time with family and friends.

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.


  • Christy Cheney said:

    It's been a pleasure working with you Alex and looking forward to more collaborative experiences with you!

    PMTue, 16 May 2017 18:36:54 +0000Tue, 16 May 2017 18:36:54 +0000pm17,6:36 pm

  • Alex Penn said:

    Christy- It is always a pleasure to work with you as well. You always bring a wealth of ideas and positivity to all of our work teams and I am looking forward to our upcoming collaborative efforts on NSE Hybrid.

    PMTue, 16 May 2017 21:01:39 +0000Tue, 16 May 2017 21:01:39 +0000pm17,9:01 pm

  • Claire Yates said:

    Congrats on this well deserved feature!

    AMWed, 17 May 2017 08:12:26 +0000Wed, 17 May 2017 08:12:26 +0000am17,8:12 am

    • Alex Penn said:

      Thank you, Claire! I appreciate your continued partnership on the NSE work.

      AMWed, 17 May 2017 09:46:44 +0000Wed, 17 May 2017 09:46:44 +0000am17,9:46 am

  • Dori Haggerty said:

    Nice article! Thanks for all you do for our division. We are happy to have you on our team

    AMWed, 17 May 2017 09:13:14 +0000Wed, 17 May 2017 09:13:14 +0000am17,9:13 am

    • Alex Penn said:

      Thank you, Dori! I am proud to work with a team of such talented individuals!

      AMWed, 17 May 2017 09:48:15 +0000Wed, 17 May 2017 09:48:15 +0000am17,9:48 am

  • Mia Pierre said:

    Way to go Alex, this is amazing your are the featured colleague. So excited that I have an opportunity to work with you 🙂

    PMWed, 17 May 2017 12:49:53 +0000Wed, 17 May 2017 12:49:53 +0000pm17,12:49 pm

    • Alex Penn said:

      Thank you, Mia! It is always great partnering with you on the NSE training courses for our faculty. I appreciate all that you do to help make our efforts a success.

      PMWed, 17 May 2017 14:03:10 +0000Wed, 17 May 2017 14:03:10 +0000pm17,2:03 pm

  • Maritza Gaviria said:

    You are an absolute pleasure to work with Alex, congratulations!

    AMThu, 18 May 2017 08:13:59 +0000Thu, 18 May 2017 08:13:59 +0000am17,8:13 am

    • Alex Penn said:

      Maritza, Thank you so much for the kind words! It is always great when we have the opportunity to work together!

      PMMon, 22 May 2017 14:05:01 +0000Mon, 22 May 2017 14:05:01 +0000pm17,2:05 pm

  • Rashida Benjamin said:

    Congratulations Alex, it was nice to see you featured in The Grove. You did an awesome job and should be proud of all your wonderful achievements.

    AMThu, 18 May 2017 09:13:27 +0000Thu, 18 May 2017 09:13:27 +0000am17,9:13 am

    • Alex Penn said:

      Rashida, Thank you so much. It is fantastic to have you here as a part of the team!

      PMMon, 22 May 2017 14:06:01 +0000Mon, 22 May 2017 14:06:01 +0000pm17,2:06 pm

  • Yasmeen Qadri said:

    Alex, Congratulations! I am not sure if we have met in person anytime but I would love to learn from you and meet with you sometime soon:)

    AMFri, 06 Oct 2017 11:42:58 +0000Fri, 06 Oct 2017 11:42:58 +0000am17,11:42 am

    • Alex Penn said:

      Hi Yasmeen! No, I don't believe that we have met yet! 🙂 Thank you for the well-wishes. I'm happy to meet with you one of these days.

      AMThu, 19 Oct 2017 09:56:22 +0000Thu, 19 Oct 2017 09:56:22 +0000am17,9:56 am

  • Evelyn Lora-Santos said:

    Congratulations Alex! It’s been a pleasure working with you. Your passion, dedication and commitment to your work is exemplary.

    PMTue, 20 Feb 2018 20:52:12 +0000Tue, 20 Feb 2018 20:52:12 +0000pm18,8:52 pm

  • Brian said:

    Awesome!! Not sure why I just saw this 🙂 You have been an instrumental part of the work happening at this college! I appreciate your help and time when we have worked together! Keep up the excellent work!

    PMTue, 17 Apr 2018 21:01:23 +0000Tue, 17 Apr 2018 21:01:23 +0000pm18,9:01 pm

    • Alex Penn said:

      Hi Brian! 🙂 I just saw this comment! Thank you for the kind words. It has been great collaborating with you on a variety of projects.

      PMTue, 09 Oct 2018 12:00:05 +0000Tue, 09 Oct 2018 12:00:05 +0000pm18,12:00 pm

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