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Michael Yard, Phyllis Washington Receive Awards

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June 24, 2011

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Professor Michael Yard received the 2011 University College Trustee’s Teaching Award  and Phyllis Washington, coordinator for IUPUI University College Twenty-first Century Scholar Success Program, was awarded  the Barbara D. Jackson Award by University College.

Yard was presented with this award for excellence in teaching for his work with the Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School partnership and the Health Professions Program Themed Learning Community at IUPUI University College.

Crispus Attucks partnered with the SPAN (Special Programs for Academic Nurturing) division in University College and the program developed from this partnership. It is now part of the first-year seminar programs at University College. The program, which includes twelve intense sessions and takes place in the summer, is a learning community seminar designed for Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School (CAMMHS) students who are interested in a medical and/or health care career.

The classes focus on the medical professions and transition to college and incorporate the IUPUI Principles of Undergraduate Learning (PULs). At the end of the program, students are required to present a reflective presentation, explaining what they learned and how they will apply it to their future. Successful completion of the CAMMHS program provides students the opportunity to continue taking classes at IUPUI.

Yard is also the lead faculty member of the Health Professions Program Themed Learning Community (TLC), another first-year program that focuses on health professions.

The health professions TLC focuses not only on introducing different health care professions but also on ways in which to tie health care fields in with communications and the community. A new endeavor begun in 2010 by the health professions TLC is the NSF – SENCERizing (Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibility) and Exploratory Learning Community initiative designed to increase interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines through student involvement with community service projects in the health field. These first-year programs have had an impact on students’ retention and success and has given them opportunities to help the community through work with the homeless, the hungry, and the abused.

Yard’s contribution to University College first-year programs has made a significant impact on students. “If you touch one life educationally, your life is worthwhile,” Yard said. He enjoys helping people figure out how to reach their goals, stating, “I love teaching people at all levels.”

Yard is a retired medical commander in the army and has brought his expertise and experience to the different programs he teaches. He is also the Faculty Advisor for IUPUI Pre-Dental club, IUPUI Crew Rowing Club (2007-2009), and the American Cancer Society Colleges Against Cancer (Relay for Life; 2005-2008). Additionally, he serves on the Chancellor’s Program Review and Assessment Committee (PRAC) for the School of Science and volunteers his time for the Science Apprentice Summer Camp and Science Olympiad.

The Barbara D. Jackson Award recognizes and celebrates the efforts of IUPUI faculty, staff, and administrators who provide exceptional leadership in creating a positive learning environment for first-year students.

“In receiving this award it is evident that University College and IUPUI recognizes and is committed to the importance of support for our first-generation and underrepresented students,” Washington said. She herself finds it “…important to create a nurturing environment that contributes to the students’ positive college experience with the goal of improving student performance and retention rates.”

Award winners display significant evidence of innovative contributions to first-year programs and curriculum that are sustainable over time.

In her nomination letter, Sherri Session, IUPUI University College Grants Specialist, stated that Washington is committed to the success of every student that participates in the Twenty-first Century Scholars Success Program and gives tremendous care and concern to these students. “She works hard to ensure first-year students have the educational, social, and personal support needed to successfully transition to IUPUI,” Session said. “Washington’s outreach extends far beyond the walls of her office.”

“I am passionate about the work that I do and seeing the progression of students overcoming many barriers as they matriculate through college on to graduation,” Washington said. One of her long-term goals is to equip all of her students with the tools to become better advocates for themselves.