By Joy S. Jones
Jenelle Conner has some experiential learning under her belt when it comes to a few of Valencia’s signature programs. After transferring to Valencia from Brigham Young University, she earned an Associate in Arts degree in general studies and then used Direct Connect to transfer to UCF where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. While earning her degrees, she was earning experience in a handful of staff positions at Valencia.
“Having this perspective, I helped to shape the definition of a ‘new student’ in the New Student Experience program to include transfer students up until they’ve earned 15 credits,” she says. “I was serving as support staff for the Foundations of Excellence initiative committee and as note taker and scribe, I wasn’t afraid to share my ideas.”
As faculty development coordinator, Jenelle believes that she plays an important part in the quality of student learning by pooling her logistical, coordination and networking skills to help improve faculty learning and development.
Among her co-workers, she’s developed a reputation for doing things rather well without much fanfare — so much so they’ve given her a nickname.
“Jenelle has had the privilege of being the senior most staff member. Therefore, she knows something about every process and how to get things done,” says Jyoti Pande, assistant director of faculty and instructional development. “She is definitely the ‘go to’ person in the department. Because of her multiple talents and how she is needed everywhere to solve problems, we call her ‘The Ninja.’”
“I learn so much from her on a regular basis and have had the pleasure of watching Jenelle grow into a strong leader who regularly collaborates with others to develop informed and long-lasting solutions,” says Shara Lee, director of faculty and instructional development. “She anchors our department with her experience, creativity and analytic skills and is continuously generous with her time and expertise.”
“What I’m most interested in is helping others with character and professional development,” she says. “When I was making my career choice, I didn’t have a title in mind, but I had specific things I wanted to do. I wanted to inspire others, guide them in their own paths and help them to figure out who they are and what they want. And most of all, I wanted to serve.”
Happily, she gets to do all those things. Looking forward, she’d also like to mentor, coach or become a consultant. These latent interests were piqued during her participation in the second Leadership Academy class.
The congruence of her personal values and the College’s vision, mission and values, make for a good fit, she believes.
“Valencia partners beautifully with the community,” Jenelle says. “Whether it’s through continuing education, the Collaborative Design Center teaming with local businesses to help with their employee development, or the way the community provides internships for hands-on experience or support for scholarships through the Foundation — it’s all about partnering”
In her spare time, Jenelle is active in service with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A devout Mormon, she regularly sings in church and serves as a counselor to her local branch’s Relief Society, an organization of women established in 1842 who build faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and help those in need.
Know of someone doing great work at the College, who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name, along with what makes him or her standout, to The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so he or she can be one of our featured colleagues.