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May 16, 2019

Clark State Announces Third Class of SOAR Program Participants

MEDIA CONTACT: Laurie Means | Executive Director, Marketing | 937.328.6145

The third class of Clark State Community College SOAR participants will begin their mentorship under the guidance of Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin this fall.

SOAR – Serving Our Own through Leadership and Retention – was developed in order to facilitate mentoring of faculty and staff on campus and assist them in identifying current and future leadership opportunities that will result in personal and professional growth. The SOAR program was featured recently in the American Association of Community Colleges Community College Daily: https://www.ccdaily.com/2019/05/helping-staff-and-faculty-soar/.

“This program has received national recognition and is totally focused on creating a culture of student success at Clark State,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “The benefits of this program accrue every year as SOAR participants impact their colleagues in positive ways.”

Crystal Jones, assistant dean of business and applied technologies for Clark State, opted to participate in the SOAR program to develop her professional skills. She wanted to gain a better understanding of the integrated layers of higher education directly affecting student success and assess herself to ensure she continues to be an asset to Clark State.

“Participating in SOAR has helped me grow personally and professionally by determining my strengths, encouraging me to further my education and having a better understanding of how to add value to the entire college versus just my department,” Jones said. “Working with the other participants has been valuable. Each participant brings something different to the team, and we learn a lot from each other as well.”

Jones said the SOAR experience is an opportunity to network with various professionals, create awareness of higher education from business operations, related legislation, student services and academics; and to assess individual strengths to guide each participant toward advancement that aligns with their personal and professional goals.

Selected participants – three faculty members and three staff members - must attend all meetings and events and complete all program requirements. Each will receive a one percent increase in base salary (in addition to any annual salary adjustments) at the successful completion of the program, special recognition at Charter Night and a well- developed career/mentoring plan.

“This year’s SOAR participants represent a diverse and talented group of faculty and staff from across campus,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “This group has been very thoughtful and energetic in their focus on operationalizing student success across Clark State’s campus locations.”

Blondin said the 2018-19 SOAR participants focused on Strategic Planning, and the SOAR class of 2019-20 will focus on providing input on changes to the budget process at Clark State.

“I always look forward to getting to know faculty and staff better,” said Blondin. “As well as encouraging them in their future ambitions.”

Clark State Class of 2019 SOAR Participants

Scott Dawson
Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Graphic Design and New Media

“I learned from previous and current participants that the SOAR process was instrumental in helping them establish career goals for the future,” he said. “As I’ve started to think about the next stage of becoming a professor, I’ve been taking a deeper look at my strengths and weaknesses and wondering about the best strategic approach to both becoming a thought leader in my field and continuing to help my students succeed. I’m confident that this valuable mentoring process will help me identify additional strengths and weaknesses and develop key strategies for my next stage of career development, along with strategies to help me continue to support the college and our students even better.”

Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI
Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Judicial Court Reporting

“I have been through other leadership programs – including the Clark County Leadership Academy - and have realized great benefits from the skills I acquired.  I believe this leadership program will benefit me by providing an internal look at my strengths and weaknesses and enabling me to be involved in a process to strengthen both,” she said. “I hope to gain new relevant personal strength-building tools to enable me to be an even more effective leader. I am thrilled to be accepted into the third class of the SOAR program and feel honored to be a part of an internal process that values employees and helps grow leaders from within.”

Bridget Ingram, Ed.D.
Professor, Early Childhood Education

“Through SOAR, I hope to be able to share my passion for teaching and learning (for students of all ages), to explore new ways of collaborating with faculty, staff and students, and to engage in rich dialogue with members of our higher education community,” she said. “As a life-long learner, I realize every new venture presents an opportunity to view the world through a different lens.  I'm looking forward to that challenge as I begin my SOAR experience and know I'll leave the program as a better professor, colleague and leader.”

Taylor Roberts
Grants Writer

“I am passionate about the work being done in community colleges and at Clark State in particular. I want to remain a part of this organization and continue to seek out the best way to utilize my talents and passions to serve our students,” she said. “I hope that SOAR can help me solidify my plans and goals as an employee of Clark State. I want to better connect to the values and culture that are important to the institution to learn how to become a strong leader that is integrated with the goals of the institution.”

Ghislaine (Gigi) Tape
Financial Aid Specialist

“I think SOAR a great opportunity to grow, learn, challenge myself, and I get to see the big picture,” she said. “I hope to gain a better understanding of what I need to do to make an impact at Clark State and in the community. It’s a great honor to be part of such a great program.”

Antoinette (Toni) Yancey
Success Navigator

 “I have completed my master’s degree and wanted to have an amazing opportunity to gain the necessary tools and knowledge to be a great leader,” she said. “By participating in the SOAR program, I hope to gain the experience to become a leader.”

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