Our members are our greatest asset at ACTP, and we love to highlight the work that they do and the resources they are proud of on a weekly basis. On ACTP Thursdays, we shine the spotlight on a member of the week, a resource of the week, or a best practice of the week. We’re a community of learning. We work best when we share our passions and practices.
Today, we bring you the work of Yolanda Clarke — a dedicated, long-time ACTP Member who is the Manager of Tutoring Services at Ithaca College – a position she has held for 11 years! Here’s Yolanda!
ACTP: What drove you to the field of academic support and coaching?
Yolanda: As an undergraduate student, there was no support on my campus. I used to want help with things, but there was no where to go except faculty members, which was intimidating. Then, when I began working in higher education academic assistance programs, I noticed student reluctance in getting help. I was an advisor at a very prestigious school with a vast array of services and it really troubled me that students had the option of using any services they wanted to, but wouldn’t use it. At that point, I wanted to be a voice for academic assistance and tutoring.
ACTP: What do you love the most about your job?
Yolanda: Student development. I absolutely love watching new students come in their first year as flower buds. Their processes of growth over that 4 year period is amazing and rewarding. I think it just awesome. What [Arthur] Chickering has taught us is true – students are developing in at least 7 areas and more.
ACTP: What’s a big challenge that you are facing at your center?
Yolanda: Like every center, financial resources are the biggest challenge. I say that cautiously because I also believe that student responsibility is a key factor. Once we fight for these services and are granted the funding for increases and enhancements, the students must be responsible and follow through.
ACTP: What’s one piece of advice you would give to your colleagues?
Yolanda: The biggest piece of advice I would give to my colleagues is to make sure you are intellectually stimulated and happy in your life outside of work because the work can become routine at times. Then, as you’re working with more challenging students, you need that special something to lean on to maintain professional vibrancy and moral commitment to the work.
ACTP: What’s a fun fact (not related to coaching/tutoring) that we should know about you?
Yolanda: You’ve got to have a dog in your life! It was in training my dog that I really learned new strategies and renewed passion for working with students. Dogs love to be acclimated to new, exciting things. They love incentives, challenge, and reward. They learn well with consistent, routine engagement and they appreciate it when you work hard with them. I have an 11 year old miniature poodle named Malik. I got him when I started to work at Ithaca College and we’re still going strong!