Going Downtown – Announcing Our Faculty Who Will Serve Valencia’s Downtown Campus

With the opening of the new Downtown Campus less than a year away, several Valencia faculty members are excitedly preparing for the move. We’ve already introduced you to many of these faculty members in previous articles, and we’re pleased to introduce four more general education professors who will welcome students in downtown:

Cory Blackwell (Biology)
While he may be a new member of the Valencia family, Cory certainly isn’t new to education. Past experiences include research assignments at multiple universities, chairing the department of natural sciences at Lake Sumter State College and teaching biology and microbiology at institutions like Tallahassee Community College and the University of Tennessee. Citing his professional passion as a combination of contributing to scientific research, mentoring and instructing students and community outreach, he’s looking forward to serving in a new capacity at the Downtown Campus.

“I look forward to working with the community partners in the area to help revitalize the Parramore community,” he said. “Community outreach has been a passion of mine since college. I think the innovation of plans and strategies to improve the targeted downtown community is something that is much needed to give that community the belief that they can succeed in whatever they choose to do in life. Giving them that idea will undoubtedly inspire and motivate the community.”

Chuck Davis (Chemistry)
“Helping people develop fundamental skills that they will use throughout life” is one of the reasons Chuck pursued a career in education, and it’s certainly part of why he enjoys his role as a professor of chemistry at Valencia. Now, he’s looking forward to bringing his expertise to the Downtown Campus, where he can support a currently underserved community of learners.

Summarizing his elation, he said, “I’m excited to make a college education possible for a large group of people who have not had the opportunity previously. I am a strong believer that a solid fundamental education is critical to our society as a whole. In some areas, the previous educational system in the downtown community did not prepare individuals with the skills they need to grow in our community. The creation of Creative Village gives the residents of downtown a wide variety of tools to help them reassert a positive control over their futures.”

Melonie Sexton (Psychology)
Drawing from several years of experience in higher education, including roles as a professor, undergraduate research coordinator, faculty mentor and academic advisor, Melonie looks forward to her next chapter at the Downtown Campus. Citing the campus’ unique nature and consequential opportunities, Melonie says serving the new campus will not only afford her new opportunities to impact our students, but also opportunities to enhance her own teaching practices.

Plus, she says, she’s looking forward to transforming lives in the downtown community.

“Downtown is the heart of our Orlando community; having a Valencia campus in this location was a necessity,” she said. “Valencia is an institution that promotes active learning and believes that education can be a life-changing opportunity for anyone who seeks it. The Downtown Campus will serve a diverse population that will benefit from those exact principles.”

Michael Moniz (Speech)
Having taught at both Valencia and Rollins College and having contributed to community service projects with groups like United Way, Fern Creek Elementary School and the Zebra Coalition, Michael is well-acquainted with Central Florida and its regional needs. That’s why he’s so excited to play a role in opening the new Downtown Campus, which will offer transformative learning opportunities for the students who attend.

“I am excited to work with our dynamic students in new and innovative ways provided by the new campus and the location,” he said. “I also look forward to working with such dedicated and passionate faculty who want to continue to change the lives of our students and the community our campus will call home. It is a honor to be able to join such a talented team.”

To keep up with the latest Downtown Campus developments, follow the Valencia College Downtown Campus Facebook page and track the progress using the hashtag #ValenciaDowntown.

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