Virginia Horan is presently the Chair of Humanities at Suffolk County Community College's Grant campus on Long Island. As such, she is responsible for the disciplines of English, Communication, Philosophy, Humanities, Cinema & Women's Studies. Her expertise is in Interpersonal Communication, a course she teaches every semester in addition to her duties as Academic Chair. She regularly presents nationally and locally on a wide range of topics, most recently with a keynote address for high school parents entitled "Gen Z Goes to College."
She began teaching in 1991 after a career in advertising as a copywriter and account executive. Her clients included Twinings Tea of London, Guardian Insurance and several major utility companies. Virginia worked in Manhattan full time while earning her M.A. at night from New York University with the goal of beginning a college teaching career. Prior to joining the world of advertising, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Honors Program at the University of Dayton with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication. (Class of 1987).
"I've always loved teaching, but over the years I've seen more and more college students struggling as they adjust to the heavy independent workload of a typical semester. A few years ago, I started teaching students from the "cell phone" generation how to use a paper planner to "see" their time and manage it better. The feedback was simple: students found using a paper planner to be "life changing."
Prof. Horan earned the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012. She was promoted to the rank of full Professor at SCCC in 2018 and in addition to her M.A. degree, has earned 36 post-graduate credits in courses from Harvard Extension University, SUNY Stonybrook and the University of Missouri.
For the past ten years, she has focused her attention on advocating for students and helping colleagues update various teaching methods to engage Generation Z students. She believes in providing student-centered teaching and "embedded" support for all college students, including teaching time management, note taking, and providing access to sources of emotional support for the anxiety so many current students experience.
"I give a copy of the Centered Student Planner to my students because I believe traditional methods, like writing by hand to improve memory and using visual learning to manage time are still the best ways for college students to succeed. Phones are great, technology is great but when it comes to ACTIVE learning, writing by hand is the secret weapon of success. 30% of students who drop out of college cite time management as a primary cause, and the solution is simple. I designed the planner to help students take control of their time and manage their stress. College is always going to be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming."
This latest endeavor, creating the Centered Student System, is her attempt to share success strategies with students beyond her classroom. The planner at the center of the Academic Success System features 52 video tutorials that guide students through a typical semester, offering support, guidance and links to resources on multiple topics like successful studying, note-taking, balancing one's social life and managing anxiety.
Described as "inspirational, hilarious and caring" on ratemyprofessors.com, one of her students recently posted: "Prof. Horan brings a certain magic to the classroom that I find lacking in many other professors. I don't think Prof. Horan just wants to teach, but rather transmit her infectious energy and passion for life to her students. This is a professor who cares deeply for her students and realizes that life is full of challenges."