OGLESBY – Tina Hardy of LaSalle is the 2021 winner of Illinois Valley Community College’s Connie Skerston Memorial Award for Support Staff Distinguished Service. Hardy is the Disability Services Coordinator and was nominated by Peggy Schneider, administrative assistant.
Hardy started part-time in 2001 as Special Populations Coordinator. She was an adjunct instructor for psychology, education and student success skill classes. In 2015, she became the full-time Disability Services Coordinator.
She earned a master’s degree in special education from Northern Illinois University in 2000 and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carroll University (Waukesha, Wis.) in 1990. Hardy has also completed coursework in ADHD coaching through JST Coaching and is currently working on master’s level certification in neurodiversity and learning differences through Landmark College (Putney, Vt.).
As coordinator, Hardy works with individuals with disabilities and/or medical/mental health conditions who attend or plan to attend IVCC who may need reasonable accommodations, modifications, and/or auxiliary aids for equal access to programs and services.
She works with individual students on a case-by-case basis. Faculty and staff benefit from her knowledge as she brings a considered, practiced and fact-based eye to issues of diversity and inclusivity without sacrificing the foundational compassion and heart of projects.
“If you’re wondering where ‘inclusive’ fits in a sentence with ‘remote’ and ‘distance’ learning, it’s there in Tina. She gathered up the fraying threads of stability, normalcy and routine and kept in touch, kept asking ‘how are you doing,’ kept guiding” said Peggy Schneider, administrative assistant.
“She calls. She emails. She follows through. She advocates. She counsels. She coaches. She’s a cheerleader. This ‘got your back’ support continues from first week to last, from first quiz to final exam,” said Schneider.
Schneider added, “Her contributions to the Diversity Committee, the One Book, One College committee or the Wellness Committee are excitement and creativity. Her long relationships with area high schools smooth the transition for countless incoming freshmen. She’s an enthusiastic supporter/contributor to regional and national efforts to support people with all abilities and to nurture mental and physical well-being.”
Hardy was instrumental in securing the grant funding for YOU@IVCC, a free well-being portal for the IVCC community to help users find resources to succeed, thrive and matter.
In the fall of 2019, she presented at the Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support’s Forum for Excellence on IVCC’s use of the platform as a campus-wide well-being intervention.
In March, she co-presented at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) virtual conference regarding the college’s use of YOU@IVCC.
The other finalist for the award – named in memory of former assistant director of admissions and records Connie Skerston who died in 2015 – was educational technologist and part-time instructor Mary Smith.