Higher education leader is TWU’s new vice-provost, teaching and learning
Given the world’s need for university grads who can grapple with increasingly complex global problems, Trinity Western University’s appointment of Catharine Penfold Navarro as its Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, is timely.
With a redesign of TWU’s undergraduate curriculum already underway, Penfold Navarro will help strengthen the university's educational environment and ensure TWU produces more new millennium problem-solvers.
Bob Wood, TWU’s Provost, is excited about welcoming this scholar, researcher and teacher with roots in western and eastern Canada into the university's fold.
“Trinity Western University has a strong tradition of providing a high-quality educational experience for our students,” says Wood. “We are very pleased that Dr. Penfold Navarro has agreed to build on this strength by providing leadership in the oversight and advancement of innovative teaching and learning strategies.”
Born in Montreal and a resident of B.C. and Ontario while growing up, Penfold Navarro obtained a Ph.D. in higher education studies from the University of Kentucky in 2011. She currently serves as a Graduate Faculty Scholar at the University of Central Florida. Penfold Navarro developed a broad range of expertise while working at both private liberal arts and publicly funded universities in the United States. It’s TWU that has lured her back to this side of the Canada-US border.
“My two younger sisters are graduates of Trinity Western University,” she explains. “They both experienced the rich, intellectually challenging undergraduate education for which Trinity Western University is known, as they developed their minds and grew in their understanding of what it means to engage in Christian scholarship. I am honoured to have this opportunity to work with the faculty of TWU.”
Since 1999, Penfold Navarro’s love of teaching, fostering student-centred learning and mentoring faculty and staff in their student engagement have led her to become a high-achieving educational leader. She has a proven track record in increasing student transfer rates from college programs to four-year institutions, and redesigning and implementing faculty recruitment processes that are teaching and learning focused.
During her tenure at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida (2009–2016), Penfold Navarro managed a $1.89 (US) million grant from the U.S. Department of Education aimed at increasing student success and transfer to universities. She worked closely with faculty to develop strategies to integrate university success skills into courses across the curriculum. Through a learning-centred advising strategy, students in the public state college showed increased persistence, higher grades and better transfer readiness.
As the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, Penfold Navarro is keen to advance TWU’s reputation as a dynamic environment that responds to changing learning and teaching challenges.
“Learning in this century is dramatically different—after all, students have immediate access to vast amounts of information and open access to thinkers around the world and across the centuries,” explains Penfold Navarro. “Today's students must be prepared not only to access that information, but to make sense of it. Therefore, today's faculty serve in many ways as curators of information.”