By Wendy Jo Moyer
Seeing hundreds of her students successfully graduate Valencia and take the next step in their journey through life inspires Terry Rafter-Carles. With a passion for learning, she first joined the College in 2005 and has since held the roles of professor of student success, internship coordinator for the Center for High Tech Training for Individuals with Disabilities, grant coordinator for the Single Parent, Displaced Homemaker program and now faculty, New Student Experience, a unique role in which she works as an instructor and a student advisor. This dual role involves helping students gain success skills and learn how to navigate college successfully, while providing both career and academic advising. And when she’s not inspiring our students to reach for better futures, she’s coaching faculty in their own professional development.
“Terry is a phenomenal educator, professional development course facilitator and valued work team member,” shared Alex Penn, faculty developer and instructional designer. “As busy as Terry is, she never misses a deadline, provides timely, thoughtful and quality feedback on our course design processes and genuinely cares about her fellow faculty members and students. She is tech-savvy, skilled at her craft and infuses a bit of fun in to everything she does.”
Leonard Bass, campus dean, learning support, and Terry’s supervisor, agrees with Alex. “Terry is the consummate educator. Her passion for learning and trying new and innovative pedagogical approaches inspires her peers and her students.”
Over the past 13 years, Terry has grown to love Valencia because the culture fosters and encourages creativity and growth within professions. She also enjoys the friendships she’s made with her colleagues and that there’s always someone to help when needed in our collaborative environment. She’s inspired to come to work each day by those colleagues, her students and Valencia’s leadership.
As Terry reflected on what Valencia means to the community, she shared that the College provides “open access to a quality education and life-long learning opportunities. It’s a place where people care.”
Terry earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in counselor education, school counseling and guidance services from the University of Central Florida. During her free time, she enjoys photography, adventures with family and friends, laughing and — not grading papers.
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.