By Claudia Zequeira
Her childhood dream was to become a gospel singer, but “the good Lord” had other plans for Alison Langevin, lab supervisor, learning support center.
After helping her father in his masonry and carpentry business and later dropping out of school at age 16 to raise a family, Alison spent a few years working as a cosmetologist. In the end, her desire to help others and pursue an education won out, and in the early 1990s, she found her way to the field of education, and to Valencia College, where she has been ever since.
“Valencia is a ‘right path’ toward a fulfilling life for anyone who chooses to take it. I took this path in 1992 and have been better for it,” said Alison, who also earned her Associate in Arts from Valencia College.
Alison’s career here began when she started working in the instructional lab while as a student. She later worked as a testing center specialist at East Campus before being selected for her current position in 2015.
Her day-to-day responsibilities include coordinating staff schedules, managing a budget and striving to maintain consistency among the testing center’s processes. She also stays up to date on new ideas and technology upgrades to enhance efficiency so that the lab can offer better service for the thousands of East Campus students who use it each year.
But the job is more than that, she said. It’s also a means to work together and to recognize the strengths each member of her work team brings to the collective environment.
“As a lab supervisor, I am consistently humbled by the team I work with,” she said. “Each individual has their own special skill set that they bring to the center, and when we all work in unity, it is like a beautiful dance. I start each day knowing the importance of my position and being grateful for the people I serve: faculty, staff, students.”
Chris Teumer, assistant director, learning support and advancement, and Alison’s most direct supervisor, said her most notable traits are “empathy and compassion.”
“She is someone who always puts people first, whether it’s students visiting the East Campus Testing Center, the faculty who rely on our proctoring services or her staff,” said Chris.
“The process of testing is often stressful, and time and time again, I have witnessed Alison comforting students and making them feel at ease when they arrive at our doors. She truly embodies a student-centered mindset and approach to her work and is always looking for opportunities to develop her leadership skills and strengths.”
Alison’s achievements over the more than two decades she has been at the College include shepherding the inception of computer-based testing, electronic record keeping and statistical databases, as well as the expansion of proctor services for distance learning students around the globe, among others.
More recently, she is proud to have been part of a work team focused on best practices for the testing center, a set of recommended procedures that eventually became a collegewide document. The document lists steps employees must follow in regards to exams given by faculty, as well as procedures for faculty to follow when using the center.
And it’s that quest for improvement Alison said she most admires about the institution.
“Valencia signifies resilience to me personally because it continues to be a step ahead in maintaining high standards no matter how challenging the times,” she said.
This quest is not that dissimilar from Alison’s own. After finishing her A.A. while working at Valencia, Alison continued her studies and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Central Florida (UCF). This coming spring, she will be pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership at UCF.
“I enjoy the vibe that Valencia exudes, which to me has always been upbeat and inspiring,” said Alison.
She also mentioned the supportive atmosphere she found at Valencia is another reason she has chosen to remain working here. Of her supervisors — Leonard Bass, dean, learning support, and Chris Teumer — Alison said:
“I truly appreciate their transparency, support and mentorship,” she said. “These aforementioned individuals along with Tara Grainger, my former manager, have been my rocks, helping me to create and build a solid foundation in the center.”
“I have never wanted to be anywhere else,” she added. “It’s like coming home, literally, I even bring my pug, Bear, to work with me when classes are out and everyone just loves him.”
In her free time, Alison loves to try new cuisines, visit family in other states and take vacations to new places. She also enjoys reading the Bible, taking courses in leadership, working in her yard, restoring furniture and remodeling her home.
Know of someone doing great work at the College, 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.