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