By Dani Moritz-Long
Speech Professor Suzette Dohany describes herself as a “seasoned (and weathered!) employee,” who has “experienced the evolution of Valencia’s learning-centered journey.” Others might describe her as eccentric, innovative, passionate, and, most importantly, a pillar of the Winter Park Campus — a woman who has earned her place in the hearts of faculty and students alike as a cherished leader of a close-knit community.
Without question, Suzette is the kind of person who puts her whole self into everything she does. A 23-year veteran of teaching communications at the Winter Park Campus, she’s been serving since the campus was actually the Winter Park Center — or, in her terms, “The Displaced Homemakers Center.” All these years later, she hasn’t lost an ounce of the unique vigor for life and learning that makes her a well-known and well-loved name across Valencia’s five campuses.
“Suzette is a valued faculty member who is always contributing new ideas to improve student learning,” said Terri Daniels, executive dean, Winter Park Campus. “I’m constantly inspired by her ingenuity and dedication to Valencia’s mission. We’re lucky to have her at the College.”
Throughout her tenure, Suzette, who earned a bachelor’s degree in acting and a master’s degree in interpersonal communication, has served the College as a strategic thinker, relationship builder and leader. She contributed to the creation of the first honors track on the Winter Park Campus, aligning the curriculum with global initiatives, and developed partnerships with colleagues at Koning Willem I College, Valencia’s sister college in the Netherlands.
She’s been an active member of the Faculty Association, and recently served as the collegewide faculty association president from 2015-2016. She developed the Six Thinking Hats, designed to strengthen communication and the collaborative institutional culture of Valencia, which she has shared throughout the College and beyond in local schools and churches — even in a home for orphaned girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. She’s led strategic planning initiatives, spearheading the infusion of student feedback in strategic planning processes. She’s led student organizations, like the Winter Park drama club, and the list goes on.
“As a leader, I see myself as an innovator and an activator,” she said. “The innovator in me thrives on design and creativity; I enjoy bringing new ideas and original solutions to the table. The activator in me has the tenacity to build relationships and get things done.”
She’s also taken advantage of Valencia’s faculty and employee development opportunities, where she has developed creative problem-solving skills, a renewed appreciation for equity and diversity and a passion for international curriculum, which helps our students, faculty and staff build global relationships. As a lifelong learner, she enjoys every opportunity to grow and to find new ways to benefit our collegiate community.
What keeps her continually inspired is Valencia’s mission to inspire transformations within our community. “My favorite part about working at the College is Valencia’s commitment to learning and the understanding and the belief that, given the right conditions, everyone can learn.”
So, as Suzette reflects on 23 years of teaching at Valencia, she looks forward to new challenges and new opportunities ahead — always eager for the next learning adventure in her journey.
When she isn’t enjoying her academic adventure, you can find her enjoying other adventures outside of Valencia — from learning new culinary tricks to immersing herself in books or enjoying outdoor sports like paddle boarding or biking. (Click here to learn about her life as a cyclist.)
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), 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.