By Wendy Jo Moyer
Rose Tran is inspired by Valencia College’s Big Idea, “anyone can learn anything under the right conditions,” and this has carried throughout her career, first as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Malaysia, to her work today as a Valencia College faculty developer and instructional designer.
“The idea that anyone can learn anything under the right conditions … I wish that idea had been engrained in me at a younger age,” she explained. “I find that idea so important, that you can learn anything given the right conditions. I was always told you can learn anything if you just try hard enough or if you just work hard enough, so whenever I couldn’t understand something, or when I failed a test, or when I really struggled to pass a class, I always thought it was my own fault when things didn’t work out. I never considered if the conditions were even right for me to learn and be successful. When I came across that Big Idea, it really was a game-changer.”
With a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing and a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the University of Central Florida (UCF), Rose set out for her first venture to help students learn with a Fulbright grant to serve as an English teaching assistant in Malaysia in Kuala Terengganu, where she organized language lessons for 1,400 students and conducted speaking workshops and extracurricular camps to improve students’ English proficiency.
“I chose Malaysia because that’s where my family first went after they left Vietnam, their home country, following the war,” Rose noted, also mentioning the fun fact that she’s the seventh of 15 children. “My parents were part of the boat people who arrived at Pulau Bidong, an island off the coast of Malaysia, which was set up as a refugee camp. It was one of the most populated places on Earth by density during its time as a refugee camp. After leaving the island, they eventually relocated to the United States.”
Following her travel to Malaysia, she returned home to UCF and Seminole State College as an adjunct instructor teaching writing, speaking, reading, grammar, strategies for success in college, foundations of American university life and English for Academic Purposes.
In February 2017, Rose joined the Online Teaching and Learning team at Valencia College, where she supports faculty with instructional design, course development and online learning initiatives, currently at the East Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation (CTLI), her second CTLI home as she spent her first two Valencia years at the CTLI on West Campus.
With student learning as the end goal, she noted, “My role at Valencia is to support faculty in every way that I can. Whether they need help setting up a course at the start of a term, incorporating a new technology into their course or using different tools to communicate with students, the focus of my work is supporting faculty. Being here in a supportive role means that I serve as a listener, a collaborator and a problem solver.”
Since joining the team, she’s enjoyed supporting faculty as the College transitioned from the Blackboard to Canvas learning management system, increasing the number of faculty who complete their Digital Professor Certification (which she added that any faculty member interested in this certification should consult with her), as well as her collaborative work with faculty fellows for online learning excellence, multimedia designers and the Faculty Development team kicking off the online course peer review process. Launching this process also included collaborative work developing three professional development courses: ASMT 3326 Introduction to the Rubric for Online Competencies; ASMT3327 ROC Peer Review Training; and ASMT3328 Panel Chair Training.
“Since launching the process this year, we’ve had over 270 faculty complete Intro to the Rubric for Online Competencies, almost 60 faculty complete Peer Review Training, and 10 faculty complete Panel Chair Training,” she said. “Additionally, we have had 10 courses become fully ROC certified, with an additional 13 awaiting final course revisions. I think those are excellent numbers to have at this point in the process, and I’m looking forward to supporting more faculty with the online course peer review process.”
Rose’s accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed.
“She has really demonstrated her commitment to the College, our faculty members’ development and student learning,” shared her featured colleague nominator Alex Penn, a fellow faculty developer and instructional designer. “Her positive energy and prioritization of diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of what make her an amazing employee and fellow Valencian.”
Her supervisor, Geni Wright, director, online teaching and learning, agrees. “Rose thoughtfully collaborates with faculty regarding their course design and is often researching instructional tools to help engage students. While she takes a methodical approach to ensure she’s helping to address faculty needs, she’s approachable and focuses on establishing a welcoming environment in her consultations, which results in strong relationships with the faculty she assists.”
As Rose provides ongoing support to our faculty, she finds that it’s really reciprocal.
“What truly amazes me about my working in Faculty Development is how faculty, who seem to be very busy with planning their courses and grading, will actually take the time to stop and chat with me about what’s going on in my life,” she shared. “Sometimes I see them at the start of the term and not again until the end of the term, but when they come back to visit they will bring up things that had happened in the interim like, ‘Last time I saw you, you were planning a trip. How did that trip go?’ I find it so warm and comforting to know that they remember these small details about me, that they care about what’s happening in my life.”
These days, most faculty are asking her about her wedding planning and giving her planning tips, as she’ll be getting married in March 2020.
“I’m not the only one providing support around here; in their own way, by noticing me and thinking about what’s going on with me, they also support me tremendously,” she added.
When not supporting faculty, she loves travel — sparked by her trip to Malaysia — and now she’s visited 15 countries in the last five years. She also enjoys cooking, especially Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Italian food.
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.