May 05, 2011

Yakaboski elected to association's board of trustees

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Tamara Yakaboski, a faculty member at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, recently won a spot on the Association of College Unions International Board of Trustees.

Yakaboski, an assistant professor of higher education and qualitative research, joined the 2011-2013 board at the ACUI’s 91st annual conference in Chicago. ACUI is a non-profit educational organization, founded in 1914, providing education, advocacy, services and networking for college union and student activities professionals. The group includes members from hundreds of colleges and universities in seven countries.

Yakaboski’s involvement with ACUI goes back to her days as a Greek life graduate assistant while completing her master’s degree in college student personnel at the University of Arizona in 2002. After a mentor encouraged professional development, she volunteered with the organization, helping with regional conferences and activities.

While working full-time as director of the Park Student Union and Programming for the University of Arizona from 2002 to 2006, Yakaboski continued volunteer work with the group, serving as education council chairperson in the ACUI central office, writing for its publication, serving on committees and making conference presentations and in the meantime, winning national and regional awards from the organization. Yakaboski, who also earned a bachelor’s in English at Louisiana Tech University in 1997, completed her doctorate in 2007 at the University of Arizona.

She joined SIUC as an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Services in 2007. Yakaboski said that although she went from a student affairs administration post to a faculty position, she believes staying involved with ACUI is important for a couple of reasons.

“I grew up as a young professional in the Association and I look back and see the relationships that developed over that time and they are very important to me personally and professionally,” Yakaboski said.

Moreover, in teaching a master’s course in student affairs administration at SIUC, she instructs her students that professional development and lifelong learning are important to student affairs professionals.

“I believe it is critical to live what I teach and to stay connected to the practitioner part of my field. I see my involvement in ACUI as being a bridge between academic and the student affairs professions, which I think is important for our graduate students, not only with role-modeling but also with networking,” she said.

With a cross-appointment since 2008, Yakaboski is also an assistant professor of women’s studies at SIUC.

Her previous experience also includes work as an educator, instructor and curriculum developer in California, Arizona and South Korea. Her research interests include student affairs, international higher education, women and higher education and the intersection of race, class and gender in higher education.

Her goals as a board member for ACUI include helping the organization and the student affairs field grow and increase diversity and multicultural competency.

“I envision two primary areas that ACUI could strengthen and grow the field. One is connecting to undergraduates by introducing them to college union and student activities as a career option and the second is to better incorporate and connect graduate programs and ACUI, thereby expanding and sharing the knowledge that we have as an association with others outside of ACUI,” Yakaboski said.

Also newly elected with Yakaboski are Kim Harrington-Pete, acting Student Center director for the Georgia Institute of Technology and Willie Banks, associate dean of students for intercultural affairs at the University of Georgia as at-large members of the board. They’re serving with the new president, Thomas Lane of Missouri State University and David Barnes, the president-elect, from James Madison University. Other board members include Meg O’Sullivan of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Jerry Mann of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and Susan Payment of the College of Charleston.