Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy in Education, University of South Florida, Tampa, 1998
M.S. Family Relationships, Florida State University, 1975
B.S. Home Economics, Florida State University, 1971
- Certified Family Life Educator, National Council on Family Relationships
- Certified Family and Consumer Science Educator, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
- Business Retention and Expansion Visitation (BREV) Educator
- National Association of Community Development Charter Member
- Association of Leadership Educators National Workshop Leader
Joining Hodges University in 2008, Dr. Denise Handapangoda is an adjunct faculty member in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program.
Throughout her career, she has focused her abilities on customizing results-based programs to meet participants’ needs, as well as bringing all levels of a community together to act on a common concern. After earning her bachelor’s degree in home economics in 1971, she taught high school home economics in the public school system of Monroe County, Florida, and Norfolk, Virginia.
Earning her master’s in 1975, she spent more than 30 years in the Collier County University of Florida Extension. During this time, she served as a director to seven professionals and five support staff; built a 10,000 square foot center on seven acres, which included learning gardens; and she managed a $700,000 budget while fundraising an average of $35,000 per year.
Some of her notable accomplishments include:
- SOUTHWEST FLORIDA FAST TRAC: Graduated 421 small business owners in 11 years, who developed business plans for their next step, from expanding to selling out for retirement.
- LEARN TO LEAD: Graduated 377 adult leaders in 17 years, who applied decision-making and team building skills to develop a plan of action for 57 workplace/community problems. Authored course and instructor’s guide, and began testing on Learn to Lead with 19 at-risk youth.
- COMPLETE THE FAMILY MONEY PUZZLE/MAKE THIS A NICE PLACE TO LIVE: Graduated more than 3,000 Hispanic farmworker families in 21 years, who set financial goals and standards for home maintenance and learned how to achieve them step by step.
- COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: Coached more than nine groups over 13 years, working together on projects from expanding after-school activities to attracting a rural medical school branch to establishing an affordable homeownership community.
- Led a variety of workshops, train-the-trainer programs, community needs assessments, exhibits, demonstrations and tours designed for the public, community leadership and other professionals.