Penfold Navarro, Cathy
Part-time Instructor of Leadership

Department(s) or Program(s)


Catharine Penfold Navarro, Ph.D., is a higher education leader and scholar with a focus on leadership, faculty and staff development, learning-centered teaching strategies, learning assessment, creating inclusive learning communities, and academic advising. Dr. Penfold Navarro is passionately committed to authentic learning and to creating inclusive learning experiences for students that result in meaningful connections with the discipline, faculty, and student colleagues.

Dr. Penfold Navarro served as the Vice Provost, Teaching + Learning at Trinity Western University from 2016-2018. Prior to her work at TWU, Dr. Penfold Navarro served as Project Director for a $1.89 million grant from the US Department of Education at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. There she led faculty and staff in action research focused on the infusion of college success skills across the curriculum, and integrating learning-centered strategies into academic advising. At Valencia College, she also led the faculty of Student Success and provided administrative leadership for Learning in Community (LinC), Service Learning, and Supplemental Learning, designed to close the gaps in student achievement and facilitate student success.

Dr. Penfold Navarro has previously provided leadership for academic advising, faculty development, and student development initiatives at the University of Kentucky, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Asbury College, and LCC International University in Lithuania.

Research & Scholarship

Research Interests

  • Higher education access
  • Community colleges
  • Latino college students
  • Teaching and learning
  • Inclusive learning strategies
  • Communities of inquiry


Ph.D., Higher Education Studies, University of Kentucky

M.Ed., College Student Affairs, Azusa Pacific University

Graduate studies in counseling and theology, Asbury Theological Seminary

B.A., Communication, Roberts Wesleyan University

Recent Publications


  • Collins, J., Penfold Navarro, C., Stinard, C. (2011). Transfer student centers. In Poisel, M.A. and Joseph, S. (Eds) (2011). Transfer students in higher education: Building foundations for policies, programs, and services that foster student success.
  • Penfold Navarro, C. (2011). Education is like a magic carpet: Transfer perceptions of urban Latino community college students. Dissertation. University of Kentucky.
  • Penfold Navarro, C. & Pierre, M. (2011). Student success infusion project. Valencia College internal report.
  • Penfold Navarro, C. (2008). BCTC: Leading the state in transfer opportunities for students. Brief presented at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Invited.
  • Penfold, C. (2011). Student perceptions of the BCTC transfer experience. Bluegrass Community and Technical College internal report.
  • Penfold, C. (1994-1996). Numerous articles (200+) on education, social and community issues, and women in business. Enterprise Ledger, Enterprise: AL.


  • Creating Online Learning Spaces Where Students Belong. (National Alliance of Community & Technical Colleges, Lexington, KY, July 2018).
  • Just Because I Teach Something Doesn’t Mean Students Learn It: How a Focus on Learning Can Change the Way We Teach. Co-Presenter. (Faculty Virtual Conference, Capella University, November 2017).
  • Cultural Production: Education is Like a Magic Carpet: Transfer Perceptions of Urban Latino Community College Students: (Faculty Research Series, Trinity Western University, February 2017).
  • Learning-Centered Advising: Early Gains in Student Persistence. (Valencia College, August 2015). Invited.
  • More than Reporting: Integrating Learning into an Online 30-hour Advising Experience. Co-Presenter. (Council on Student Affairs, Orlando, October 2014).
  • LifeMap: A learning-centered system for student success. Co-Presenter. (Achieving the Dream, Orlando, February 2014). Invited.
  • Advising as Teaching: Designing a Holistic Advising Curriculum. Co-Presenter. (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Orlando, FL, October 2013).
  • Mini-Institute on Learning Communities. Consulting. (Greenville Technical College, Greenville, SC, October 2012)
  • Integrative Learning in Valencia’s Student Success program. (National Association of Developmental Educators, International Educators Session, Orlando, FL, February 2012, Invited)
  • UK and BCTC Joint Transfer Efforts. Co-Presenter. (Council on Postsecondary Education Transfer Committee Meeting, Lexington, KY, July 2009, Invited)
  • A Transfer Center Model: Facilitating Transfer at KCTCS Colleges. Co-Presenter. (KCTCS New Horizons Conference, Louisville, KY, May 2009, Invited)
  • Facilitating Transfer Success: The Critical Role of Faculty Involvement. Co-Presenter. (KCTCS New Horizons Conference, Louisville, KY, May 2009, Invited)
  • Why Transfer Matters in Kentucky. Opening Address. Pre-Conference: Advising Today’s Transfer Student. (Kentucky Academic Advising Association, Louisville, KY, April 2009)
  • Improving Transfer through a Title III Grant, Student Development Model. (KACADA, Louisville, KY, April 2009)
  • College Transfer Center Model. Co-Presenter. (National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, Dallas, TX, January 2009)
  • Transfer Students: Best Practices & Tactics. Co-Presenter. (Paperclip Communications Audio Conference, November 2008, Invited)
  • Advising Transfer Students: Opening Educational Doors. Co-Presenter. (Kentucky Conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Lexington, KY, May 2008, Invited).
  • Collaborative Approaches for Facilitating Successful Transfers. Co-Presenter. (KCTCS New Horizons Conference, Lexington, KY, May 2008).
  • BCTC: Leading the State in Transfer. (Council on Postsecondary Education, April 2008, Invited.).
  • Building the Bridge: Creating a Transfer Center Funded by a Title III Grant. Co-Presenter. (Noel Levitz Title III Symposium, Denver, CO, November, 2007)
  • Dreaming of Higher Education: Who Continues in College? (Kentucky Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel, Louisville, KY, October 2007, Invited.)
  • Covering All Bets: Advising Across the Board. Co-Presenter. (National Academic Advising Association, Regional Conference, Louisville, April 2005)
  • Individualizing Advising for Students Seeking Majors at the University of Kentucky. Co-Presenter. (Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Lexington, May 2004)
  • I Believe in You: Bringing out the best in your staff. (State Inter-agency Council, Louisville, April 2003)
  • Lead-On! Leadership Development Seminars: Economic Status of Women in Kentucky, Professional Women: Balancing Leadership, Life, and Love, Leading other Leaders, Developing a Personal Mission Statement, Women’s Leadership Styles, Developing Values to Live By. (Asbury College, 1999-2003)
  • Designing Learning Communities in Residence Halls. (Canadian Association of Christians in Student Development, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, Summer 2001)
  • Keynote speaker, All-Campus Women’s Retreat. (Asbury College, Spring 2001)
  • Balancing Your Personal and Professional Life as a Resident Director. Co-presenter. (Association of Christians in Student Development Conference, Taylor University, Summer 2000)
  • How to Lead a Service Project. Leaders’ Retreat. (Asbury College, Fall 2000)
  • Graduate seminar on depression and suicide prevention. (Azusa Pacific University, Summer 1997)
  • Giving or Getting: What is Community Service Really About? Co-presenter. (Association of Christians in Student Development Conference, Asbury College, Summer 1996)


Administrative Experience

  • Vice Provost, Teaching and Learning,Trinity Western University, Langley, British Columbia, Canada (2016-2018)
  • Project Director, Title III Grant (PATHWAYS), Valencia College, Orlando, Florida (2012-2016)
  • Director of Student Success, Valencia College, Orlando, Florida (2009-2012)
  • Director of the Transfer Center, Bluegrass Community & Technical College, Lexington, Kentucky (2007-2009)
  • Director of Student Services (College of Pharmacy), University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky (2005-2007)
  • Academic Advisor (Central Advising Service and Transfer Center), University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky (2003-2005)
  • Director of Community Life, International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania (2001-2002)

Courses Taught

Part-time Faculty, Master of Arts in Leadership, Trinity Western University

  • LDRS 500 Foundations of Leadership

Faculty, Leadership in Higher Education, Capella University

  • ED 5012 Overview of Higher Education
  • ED 5016 Foundations of Higher Education Assessment and Evaluation
  • ED 5890 Higher Education Leadership and Administration Capstone
  • ED 6566 Issues and Trends in the Community College
  • ED 7310 Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Educational Process
  • ED 7540 Leadership in Higher Education
  • ED 7818 Future of Teaching and Learning
  • Dissertation committee chair and member

Graduate Faculty Scholar, Higher Education & Policy Studies, University of Central Florida

  • EDH 7040 Research on the College Student
  • Dissertation committee member

Adjunct Professor and Faculty Development Facilitator, Valencia College

  • SLS 1122 New Student Experience
  • Teaching/Learning Academy: Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator: LifeMap

Adjunct Professor, Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, University of Kentucky

  • UK 101 Introduction to College
  • EPE 301 Education in American Culture

Adjunct Professor, LCC International University

  • LDR 300 Leadership Development Practicum