Featured Colleague: A Natural Problem-Solver, Claire Yates Impacts Students Through Faculty DevelopmentShare
By Dani Moritz-Long
For some, problem-solving — particularly in the classroom setting — is cognitive overload. And reasonably so. There are new technologies, various learning styles, challenging content and personal student experiences to consider … and the list goes on.
But for Faculty Developer/Instructional Designer Claire Yates, these are exactly the situations that excite her.
“I love being a thought partner with faculty when they come to the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation (CTLI) excited to try something new or have a concern about their classroom or a project that they would like my input on,” she explained. “It is great to be able to hear about their teaching goals and to have the opportunity to creatively support them in reaching instructional success.”
“Nothing is better,” she continued, “than when they come back and share how things went in their classroom, and I can see the impact our planning had on student learning.”
Through her role as a faculty developer/instructional designer, Claire — who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum, instruction and teacher education — has the opportunity to indirectly affect nearly all of Valencia’s students. Each day, she collaborates with faculty to enhance the classroom experience and develop projects and programs, like the New Student Experience Certification for faculty. Through these projects, she enjoys the opportunity to help others grow.
“I really enjoy the open and collaborative spaces that exist to work on new ideas,” she said of Valencia’s work environment. “As I have been able to interact with a wide variety of faculty, campus and collegewide projects, the emphasis placed on collaboration and inclusion of voices is something that’s unique to Valencia and allows for the innovative practices.”
Commenting on Claire’s aptitude for collaborating with faculty to enhance the classroom experience through creative problem solving and innovation, West Campus Director of Faculty and Instructional Development Dori Haggerty said, “Claire invites faculty to collaboratively create innovative student learning experiences with her. She inspires, motivates and supports faculty in a nurturing way that encourages them to try new strategies and develop their creativity with lesson design.”
In her work, Claire finds no shortage of inspiration at the College, which she feels exceptionally embodies its values like learning, people and diversity.
“I am most inspired by the commitment that Valencia shows to building a climate where all of our students can succeed and feel supported and included on our campuses,” she said. “I see examples of this everywhere — from the faculty who are in the CTLI early in the morning through the late evening working hard to prepare for their courses or meeting with students, to my work with the (NSE) hearing how the faculty work so hard to support one another, to being a part of events like Peace and Justice Institute weeks. It is clear that students matter to everyone here.”
In her free time — which has lately been composed of a few brief moments between work and her dissertation, which features educative mentoring — you can find Claire enjoying Florida’s beaches, shopping for the latest trends or exploring new places.
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.