Kim LaComba recognized by INADE for outstanding service to students

December 10th, 2012 | SMWC

When Kimberly LaComba isn’t directing Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s (SMWC) learning resource center, she’s teaching. If she isn’t teaching, then she’s presenting at conferences. If she’s not at a conference, she’s winning awards.

“Kim’s innovation and creativity helps keep our students, all of our students, motivated and encouraged,” said SMWC President Dottie King. “Her dedication to student success has garnered attention throughout the academic world.”

Now, LaComba can hang her newest achievement right next to her 2012 Carolyn J. Mock Staff Excellence and Cengage Learning Developmental 2012 Innovative Educator of the Month awards. In late October, LaComba received the Outstanding Service to Students Award at the Indiana Association of Developmental Education’s (INADE) annual conference. INADE, the Indiana affiliate of the National Association for Developmental Education, provides leadership, direction, resources and camaraderie for developmental educators.

“I was proud,” LaComba said when her name was called during the awards luncheon. “I was proud of our college being recognized. It speaks to the fact that creative ideas combined with faculty and administrative support can go a long way for student success.”

SMWC’s learning resource center is a hub of student success. From here, LaComba teaches college success courses, while overseeing more than 20 student tutors. She is always pumped with fresh ideas that keep the College looking forward. “In my job I have an opportunity to work with all kinds of students,” she explained, “I am able to get a deeper perspective on student needs. That’s what makes our learning resource center so unique – all students can be served.”

The center is a place where Woods Online students get online peer tutoring and campus students use touchscreen technology during group study sessions. Students can get prepped for many tests and even take them at the center, such as College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA), which is the new Praxis 1 replacement course that will begin in the fall. It is a place where students with disabilities and military veterans can get extra assistance. In the middle of it all is LaComba, instilling her “I can, I will,” attitude into every student.

“In the learning resource center, Kim has created an inviting environment for all students – campus, online and graduate – to get the academic support they need,” said Janet Clark, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs at SMWC. “Her support for military and veteran students has helped many students transition from active duty to college life. I’m grateful for Kim’s innovation in serving our distance students with advanced technology. She has rallied professors and inspired students to achieve success.”

LaComba’s diverse reach is one of the main reasons INADE recognized her work with SMWC students. “INADE is pleased and excited to see so many educators engaged in creative ways to help students,” said Gwenn Eldrigde, INADE president-elect. “Clearly, Kim is committed to her students. We were happy to see her work celebrated as she received the INADE award.”

LaComba herself admits that the awards are encouraging, but the true measure of her achievement is witnessing her students reach their academic goals. “My legacy is that SMWC students will be motivated and receive the resources they need to be successful now and down the road,” she said. “Success means something different to different people, but if they are motivated and stay positive, their lives can transform.”

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