Featured Colleague: Joshua Austin, a Product of Valencia’s Opportunity, Now Creates Opportunity for StudentsShare
By Dani Moritz-Long
It can be a daunting task to choose just one word to describe Valencia College, but for Joshua Austin, assistant director, student development, the answer is simple: “opportunity.”
“Valencia signifies opportunity for students’ self-exploration through a student-centered learning environment,” Joshua explained, “opportunity for students to improve their personal and professional trajectories and ultimately the lives of their families. “The opportunity that our institution provides to the community goes beyond just the credential they achieve; I think that Valencia provides students the opportunity to find meaning and an avenue to chase their dreams and passions.”
Joshua would know, as he, himself, is a product of the opportunity Valencia creates. He completed an internship at the Lake Nona Campus — something he now considers a critically important step in his career.
“To this day, I consider taking the leap to reach out for the internship opportunity to be the best decision I’ve made not only professionally, but personally as well,” Joshua said. “I’ve learned so much about myself through my time here, and I’m grateful to work at a place that invests in people and their potential.”
For Joshua, this investment resulted in numerous educational accomplishments, including a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in educational leadership (he’s also currently pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration). It also resulted in his career at Valencia, which officially commenced in 2013 when he joined the Lake Nona Campus as a student development program specialist.
While today Joshua serves as the assistant director of student development on the West Campus, he’s especially proud of his involvement in opening the Poinciana Campus. Previously serving as the campus’ learning support services manager, Joshua played a vital role in the Learning Support Services division at the then new campus by leading areas such as tutoring, testing and assessment, library services and the campus’ culinary and science labs. He also supported the campus’ student success and retention initiatives.
“The work that the Poinciana Campus team put into starting the campus was incredible,” Joshua explained. “We all were very driven by the vision that was set for the campus, and most importantly, what it meant to the Poinciana community. I am proud and grateful to have played a role in it.”
Joshua was also recognized for his work at the Poinciana Campus as one of Valencia’s eight outstanding 2018-2019 John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award recipients.
Of course, he’s equally grateful to create new opportunities for students at the West Campus, where’s he’s now based.
“I’m honored to have Josh serve the West Campus,” said Ben Lion, dean of students, West Campus. “He brings immense energy and dedication to his work, which greatly benefits our students. We’re lucky to have him.”
In his free time, which Joshua says is extraordinarily limited due to his work on his doctorate, you’ll find him cheering for the Orlando City Soccer Club and watching college football.
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? 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.