The sixth class of Clark State College SOAR participants have begun 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 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.”
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.
Shani Newton, success coach at Clark State, was a member of the 2021-22 SOAR Class.
“The experiences and professional growth that I’ve gained in the SOAR program are paramount to my professional growth as a future leader,” she said. “While navigating through an unconventional and challenging time, due to the pandemic, the comradery and teamwork with my colleagues and leadership of the college provided a positive and unforgettable experience.”
Blondin said the 2022-23 SOAR participants represent a diverse and talented group of faculty and staff from across campus, and she looks forward to getting to know them better and encouraging them in their future ambitions.
2022-23 SOAR Participants
Instructor/Coordinator, School of Business Applied Technologies
“The SOAR program is top tier,” she said. “This unique mentoring program sparked my attention because it allows you to engage with community administrators, gain professional leadership development, and work closely with our Clark State President, Dr. Blondin. Additionally, I am excited to learn more about Clark State and the community it serves. I am confident that the SOAR Mentoring program will allow me to become a better leader and educator.”
Academic Advisor, Student Support Services
“Clark State has been such a welcoming and safe place for me in my transition from student to professional,” she said. “In this process of getting to know myself as an advocate, team player, professional, and as an individual, I have been a sponge soaking up every lesson and learning opportunity. I believe becoming a part of the SOAR program will help me to further explore my professional identity and essentially help find my voice. I also believe that the program will better equip me with more tools to advocate for the students I serve, holistically by networking with peers from different departments of the college. I find Dr. Blondin's leadership admirable, and I look forward to learning from her and my colleagues.”
Agriculture Instructor, School of Business Applied Technologies
“I applied to SOAR to better understand how Clark State works above the instructor roll,” she said. “I believe that this is a great professional growth experience and will allow me to better serve students and the college. I look forward to getting to know Dr. Blondin and my fellow SOAR participants.”
Dr. Rob Derr
Associate Professor of English, English and Developmental English Coordinator
“I have heard many great things about the SOAR Program from colleagues who have participated in the program, so I was excited when I was accepted into the program,” he said. “I am looking forward to learning about different aspects of Clark State that I do not regularly engage with, and I am looking forward to collaborating with colleagues throughout the college to increase student success and enhance the student experience at Clark State College.”
Peer Recovery Support Specialist, Student Support Services
“I think SOAR is an amazing program and wanted to be a part of it,” she said. “I want to do all I can to have a greater impact on student success. I want to help develop a team that will find ways to increase retention and completion here at Clark State and this program will help with that.”
Client Support Manager, Information Technology Department
“Having served as an IT Manager at a global corporation for the past 22 years, I have spent a great deal of my time ensuring quality technical support services while continually identifying and pursuing process improvement opportunities,” he said. “I see the SOAR program as a great opportunity to help me grow into my current role while gaining a better understanding of the inner workings of a public learning institution. I am hopeful that as I gain this knowledge, I will be able to make more informed decisions regarding the way in which my team supports the Clark State community and am better positioned to further my career here while helping our IT Operations continue to mature.”