By Stephanie McMillen
Tim Grogan, currently a professor of biology at the Osceola Campus, has served in a variety of academic and administrative roles in the 21 years he has been with the college. His journey at Valencia began in 1991, “not quite at the dawn of history, but pretty close to it,” Tim jokes, and during this time he has served as an academic dean, a grant-based activities director, and a discipline coordinator, to name a few.
“What I really like about Valencia is the minimal role that a job title plays,” Tim said. In his view, employees are not limited by their job descriptions, but can work on a variety of projects, across a variety of departments and academic disciplines.
“Perhaps I got exposed to it early, being with Osceola and Winter Park where everyone did everything out of necessity,” Tim said. “But from what I’ve seen it’s truly part of the college-wide culture. Anyone at the college who [wants] to work toward something [can] – better course design, better instructional technique, better advising, better schedules, systems, policies – better anything.”
Tim has taken advantage of this freedom by participating in a number of projects – so many good projects, he explains, “it would be hard to name even a top ten.” The most impactful project he has participated in was a Title III grant in the mid-1990’s, which began as an effort to get a relatively small number of students to perform better in a few courses.
“We took the philosophy of authentic assessment and applied it everywhere,” Tim recalled. “As an organization we looked at ourselves and all of our systems, as we continue to do today, [and asked] ‘why are we doing it this way, are we getting the results we want, and could we get better results if we did it some other way?’”
As a result of asking these hard questions, the college has made big improvements in admissions and registration, advising, course design and instruction, student development, scheduling, finances, professional development, building design, and more.
“Things we see today like Atlas, LinC (linked courses), TVCA, the Course Outline Builder, even the college calendar came directly from the work that started back then with just a few people,” he said.
Tim is grateful to have been part of the process that “did to ourselves what we did to students: ask hard questions, expect thoughtful responses, require diligent work, and grade the performance.” He continued, “It’s very exciting and uplifting to experience the even better results after the hard changes [were] made along the way.”
As he looks back on his service to Valencia and looks forward to what the future of our college holds, Tim is excited to continue a culture that allows for big improvements that start from the actions or ideas of a single person who got things going. “That’s usually the case, and it’s usually a different person in a different job title each time,” Tim said. “[We have] a tremendous individual freedom and it’s been great for me and for Valencia all these years.”
Know someone doing great work at the college? Send your recommendation to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu and he or she may be one of our featured colleagues!