Featured Colleague: Lisa Macon Has Worn Many Hats at Valencia, but Serving Students Is Her Priority

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

By Claudia Zequeira 

Some people may not know this about Lisa Macon, professor, software development, but some time ago, she and her husband were in Valencia College’s rock band, the Rogue Scholars.

“We had to drop out when the kids got older and kept us busy. Other than that, I’m not very exciting,” she said.

But Lisa’s life is the opposite of dull. At Valencia, where she has worked for more than two decades, she currently serves as program chair for the Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) in computing technology and software development.

In that role, she regularly meets with industry partners, leads assessment efforts, hires part-time faculty in coordination with her dean, and schedules classes, among other duties.

Her experience as a former dean of engineering, computer programming and technology at the West Campus, a position she held for six years until 2018, came in handy for Lisa, who also teaches classes in the program.

“Our B.A.S. program came out of a big idea to help students who didn’t want to complete the rigorous math and science required for a university computer science degree but who wanted to master the skills and frameworks needed for a successful job in the local IT industry,” she said.

“Many of these jobs don’t require advanced math and science, and companies are thrilled to have our graduates who are well-prepared in the latest languages and technologies.”

During her time here, Lisa has been involved in numerous projects. So many, in fact, that it would be impossible to mention them all. Recently, she listed her visits to Princess Nora bint AbdulRahman University (PNU) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as one of her proudest accomplishments. PNU is the largest all-women’s university in the world, with an eight-million square meter campus and 15 different colleges.

While there, Lisa consulted with faculty and staff as they developed Associate in Science degree programs in computer science and computer information technology.

“Thanks to our work, more women were given opportunities to work in the Kingdom’s growing IT workforce,” she said. “Being part of the education of women in a country where women are treated very differently than they are in America was a humbling, eye-opening and empowering experience.”

She also mentioned her participation in an education panel during a visit from U.S. First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden (at the time, she was Second Lady) in which panel members discussed the importance of community colleges to the areas they serve.

To this list, we should add her tremendous educational accomplishments. Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University as well as a master’s from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, both in computer science. Additionally, she holds a master’s and a doctorate in mathematics, which she earned from the University of Central Florida.

Her supervisor, David Brunick, professor, computer programming and analysis, and interim dean for the Business, Information Technology and Public Services division, agreed Lisa has been an important asset to the College.

“I have worked with Dr. Macon in many capacities over the years,” he said. “She has worn so many ‘hats’ at Valencia, she could single-handedly keep any haberdasher in business.”

In many ways, Lisa can be considered a Valencia success story. She joined the College in 1999 as a mathematics adjunct to later become a professor of information technology, earning tenure in 2003 and becoming IT program chair a year later, promotions which led her to where she is today. She also served as Faculty Association president in the 2010-2011 academic year.

She joined the College after leaving a lucrative career in the private sector, where she worked as a quality assurance manager for the Associated Press and as a software developer for Kandu Incorporated, where she felt her work needed a bit more purpose.

“I loved creating working software products, but the profit-driven aspects of those jobs often made people a lower priority in the work. I love the way at Valencia we are encouraged to propose big ideas that might help students,” she said.

“I love working with colleagues who ‘get’ what we are doing and who are focused on helping students succeed and get great jobs after graduation. Honestly, I love what I do, and it never really feels like work. It just feels like the thing I do that gives my life a lot of meaning.”

Lisa has also appreciates Valencia because of the leadership she found here.

“I am inspired by leaders at the College who do the right thing and treat students like people, not enrollments. That’s most of our leaders,” she said.

Teaching and otherwise connecting with students are an additional source of wonderment and pride for her.

“I am inspired by students who have been through difficult things in their lives ― domestic abuse, poverty, homelessness, etc. — and yet show up to class and knock the difficult assignments out of the park,” she said. “I’ll do backflips to help them get where they want to go.”

In her free time, Lisa loves to read (she reads a whopping 30 books a month!), and spending time with family, which includes her husband Brian Macon, professor, mathematics. A mother of three, she enjoys supporting her two youngest children in their activities, which include community theater.

She also enjoys bargain shopping with friends and is looking forward to grandchildren — her eldest is graduating this semester with a Ph.D. in chemistry.

And, she also loves promoting the College’s bachelor’s degree programs and their benefits to everyone she comes across.

“I wish more people at the College would learn about our baccalaureate programs and help promote those to students,” Lisa said. “They are such an inexpensive, excellent option for so many of our students, but all you see on billboards is DirectConnect ads. Everyone should feel free to reach out to me for more information.”

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.

9 Comments

  • Brian said:

    Lisa is a rock star!! I might be a little biased, but it is true! 🙂

    PMTue, 23 Feb 2021 14:23:47 +0000Tue, 23 Feb 2021 14:23:47 +0000pm21,2:23 pm

  • Anonymous said:

    I have been honored to work with Lisa! She is one of the reasons Valencia is a great place to start!

    PMTue, 23 Feb 2021 18:52:04 +0000Tue, 23 Feb 2021 18:52:04 +0000pm21,6:52 pm

  • James Vrhovav said:

    Lisa is straight up the cat’s pajamas, and I have been lucky to work with her in sustainability programs.

    PMTue, 23 Feb 2021 21:02:33 +0000Tue, 23 Feb 2021 21:02:33 +0000pm21,9:02 pm

  • Paul Wilder said:

    Fantastic! Rock star Lisa!

    PMTue, 23 Feb 2021 23:12:51 +0000Tue, 23 Feb 2021 23:12:51 +0000pm21,11:12 pm

  • Anonymous said:

    Lisa’s commitment to her students and the college exemplifies the ideals of our college! Kudos to Lisa!

    AMWed, 24 Feb 2021 05:05:11 +0000Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:05:11 +0000am21,5:05 am

  • Carrie Black said:

    Great article on a truly great Valencian!

    AMWed, 24 Feb 2021 09:01:56 +0000Wed, 24 Feb 2021 09:01:56 +0000am21,9:01 am

  • Liza Schellpfeffer said:

    An excellent article about an amazing colleague. Valencia College is so fortunate to have Dr. Lisa Macon in their academic community. I'm grateful to call you friend, and be part of Lisa, Liza, and the Cult Jam!

    PMWed, 24 Feb 2021 15:01:33 +0000Wed, 24 Feb 2021 15:01:33 +0000pm21,3:01 pm

  • Jessica Chisholm said:

    Thanks for being a leader and role model for us all.

    PMThu, 25 Feb 2021 18:11:05 +0000Thu, 25 Feb 2021 18:11:05 +0000pm21,6:11 pm

  • Jennifer Bhagirath said:

    Lisa, you rock! Amazing feature!

    PMTue, 02 Mar 2021 16:40:46 +0000Tue, 02 Mar 2021 16:40:46 +0000pm21,4:40 pm

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