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SUCCEED in the News
SUCCEED instructors have very diverse backgrounds and interests that add to the unique culture of the program. Some of the instructors have been recruited from other UMSL departments to help not only diversify SUCCEED’s academic offerings and strengthen areas of inclusion within the program, but to also enhance diversity within the university.
Courtney Boddie, a SUCCEED instructor and Ph.D. candidate in Counseling and Counselor Education at UMSL, has taught a Seminar course and also an Introduction to Psychology course for the SUCCEED program. This fall, Boddie will lead a Personal Finance class for the program.
Boddie’s interest and experience working with students with disabilities developed early on in his education. Boddie has a Bachelor’s of Science in Organizational Behavior/Human Resources, Entrepreneurship, and Psychology from Washington University and a Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from UMSL. While completing his early degrees, Boddie was an adjunct instructor at the Forest Park campus of St. Louis Community College. The majority of his students had intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD). This was his first encounter working directly with this population and Boddie’s interest and natural knack for connecting with students who have IDD began to manifest.
As he moved onto Washington University, Boddie served as an executive function coach for students with Specific Learning Disabilities and ADHD. All of these experiences brought him to seek out the SUCCEED program while completing his current degree at UMSL.
Boddie has a great deal of experience in working with students at various post-secondary venues. Boddie remarks, “The most significant difference I have noticed while working with SUCCEED students is that it has required me to slow down and be considerably more intentional than I had previously needed to be. I find that focusing on time-on-task, providing explicit and concrete steps, speaking slowly, and modulating vocabulary have been critical.” All of these factors have led Boddie to reformat the way he teaches and to alter his courses and coursework to better suit the individualized needs of the SUCCEED students. Boddie’s teaching skills have become more fine-tuned and his courses are a favorite of the SUCCEED students.
Boddie acknowledges his improvements in reaching out to students in SUCCEED, most noticeably with his language. “By far, my biggest challenges are my vocabulary and tendency toward abstraction. The most frequent question I am asked is ‘Can you say that differently?’ I have noticed over the course of my time teaching in the program that the frequency of these requests has decreased!”
Instructing in SUCCEED has presented Boddie with professional triumphs and a great deal of personal growth. Boddie reminisces about one particular moment that will stay with him throughout his career. “I recall proctoring a quiz with one student remaining in the room. I had become so engrossed in grading that I was not attending to the student beating fist against forehead and desk, with tears welling in his eyes as he repeated the phrase, ‘come on…you can do this.’ This is my favorite memory because it is a reminder of just how meaningful the college experience is for all learners.”
Boddie noted that his experience with SUCCEED has been very exceptional and rewarding. He hopes to take the knowledge, skills, and experience gained in working with SUCCEED to then “serve as an informal liaison with the Department of Counseling and Family Therapy on special considerations, strategies, and knowledge needed to effectively provide clinical services to SUCCEED students.”
It is impassioned instructors like Boddie who are fundamentals of the SUCCEED program and add to the academic and personal growth of SUCCEED students. These instructors fuel a fire for knowledge and create a strong climate of learning that contributes to the foundation of independence that will allow students to embark in smooth transitions and successful outcomes through all phases of life.