LCCC celebrates faculty member’s prestigious recognition

Jamie ClarkeCHEYENNE, Wyoming – Laramie County Community College’s Jamie Clarke, a dedicated Psychology instructor at the Albany County Campus, has been honored with the Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

The award, named after the esteemed former AACC President and CEO, is a testament to the exceptional dedication of faculty members who go above and beyond in their commitment to student success and academic excellence.

Clarke's journey in higher education is a narrative of passion, dedication and an unwavering commitment to empowering students. With a background in counseling, Clarke transitioned to teaching, viewing it as a platform to impact lives positively. Her tenure at LCCC began in 2010 with an internship as a counselor-advisor, a position where licensed counselors provide a mixture of academic advising and mental health counseling. That led to a full-time instructor position she has held with distinction for the past six years. 

“Being able to share my experience and passion for helping the field with students has been amazing,” Clarke said. “It has driven my work in this field.” 

Clarke's story is deeply rooted in Wyoming, from her upbringing in Torrington to her education at the University of Wyoming (which included an exchange through the University of Hawaii).  

“If you’re familiar with Laramie, you know it’s a place that’s easy to fall in love with, so I never left,” she said. 

Clarke's approach to teaching psychology is not just about imparting knowledge; it's about breaking down barriers and instilling confidence. She fosters an environment where students are given tools to overcome obstacles. Emphasizing the importance of credible research, Clarke guides students to evaluate information critically and apply course material to real-world scenarios. 

Ultimately, she appreciates the close proximity faculty and staff at LCCC have to students. 

“Students want that sense of community and support, and LCCC definitely offers that to students,” Clarke said. “Even as just an intern at LCCC, I knew students’ names, what classes they were taking, we’d notice if they were gone for a week. I felt like students were supported on campus.” 

Even before joining the ACC as a full-time instructor, Clarke was involved with the college’s Campus Assessment Response and Evaluation (CARE) Team. That team, which Clarke continues working with, addresses reports of people on campus who are struggling or exhibiting concerning behavior. In addition to the service it provides by keeping campus and individuals safe, Clarke said she appreciates the insight it provides in helping students. 

“Being a part of the CARE Team allows me to get a big picture of what our students are struggling with,” she said. “Then we can get creative about how we can avoid some of these barriers and develop ideas for programs we can create.”

Clarke's commitment to excellence extends beyond the classroom. In addition to her work on the CARE Team, she is a part of the MyWellness Committee, tasked with ensuring LCCC’s employees have the tools to succeed in their lives off-campus. The LCCC College Council, which Clarke served a term on as a representative of the Faculty Senate, ensures the institution's mission is met by facilitating transparent and collaborative communication and decision-making among all college levels, and formulating recommendations to the college president. She is also a part of the Academic Program Review Committee. Off-campus, Clarke participates in Leadership Laramie, a two-year program of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance designed to build leadership skills, provide networking opportunities and familiarize participants with issues leaders face.  

“I try to have my hand in as many areas as possible to continue to learn and make connections, while also being aware of my capacity,” Clarke said.

The Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate a profound passion for their students and teaching, willingness to support students inside and outside the classroom, active participation in college committees, and efforts that exceed the norm to ensure student success. Clarke’s contributions to LCCC and its community are immeasurable and will be recognized at the upcoming AACC conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

Clarke's journey is a reminder of the transformative power of education at community colleges and the difference dedicated educators can make in the lives of their students.

Go to lccc.wy.edu for more information.