MCC Award for Excellence in Professional Service
As MCC’s director of planning, Valarie Avalone is constantly juggling projects. From the construction of Canal Hall and the PAC Center to Renaissance Square and the college’s 2006 reaccreditation process, Avalone has kept busy since joining MCC nine years ago.
This year’s winner of the MCC Award for Excellence in Professional Service, Avalone enjoys the changing nature of her work. “You always know a project will end someday and a new one will take its place,” she explains.
Avalone lets the answers to two questions guide her decision-making: Does this meet the college’s mission? Does this pertain to student success? “You have to be able to take yourself out of it and look at the big picture,” she says.
Known by colleagues as “a professional of exceptional integrity and spirit” with “a global knowledge of college operations,” Avalone’s commitment to MCC extends beyond the planning department. As a past president of the MCC chapter of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges, she increased membership, formed service and programming committees, and submitted proposals that earned the chapter two national awards.
Committed to professional advancement, she completed a yearlong program with the Academy for Leadership Development in 2004 and recently earned a certification in planning from the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). After being invited to become part of the teaching faculty at SCUP, she co-facilitated a workshop for senior administrators and advanced planners last spring in Minneapolis.
Colleagues describe Avalone as a mentor who offers constructive ideas and inspiration both personally and professionally. Those qualities help Avalone adapt to her various roles on campus, including chairing the Support Staff Professional Development Committee and serving as the administrative liaison both to the Faculty Senate Professional Development Committee and the Teaching and Creativity Center Committee.
A resident of Webster, Avalone is married with two grown sons. Her hobbies include gardening, reading and walking.