By Indiana State University
May 8, 2019
A passion for helping people maximize their strengths eventually led Amber Clark to choose a new career path in human resource development that started at Indiana State University.
Clark graduated in 2007 with her M.S. in HRD, and is a senior instructor in the College of Technology’s department of human resource development and performance technologies. She is also the Faculty advisor for the Collegiate SHRM Chapter.
“After I received my bachelor’s in psychology in 2003, I was at an organization where I worked with Asperger’s and Autism clients.” she said. “I returned for my master’s in human resource development at ISU in 2005 while working for a human service organization where she a manager taking care of individuals with developmental disabilities, adults with physical disabilities, elders, and the developmentally delayed. When Amber graduated in 2007 with her M.S. in HRD, she was asked to be an adjunct at ISU while. She continued working full-time because she wanted to keep one foot in the door in industry while also teaching.
When Clark was offered a one-year contract to teach at State in 2010, she decided to go part-time at her other job in order to teach more. Clark’s contract was extended to three years in 2011, when she decided to transition full-time to educating future human resource professionals.
“Human resources is about unleashing human capital and I believe that can best be done by showing humility and treating people with dignity. I really learned this while working with those that are differently abled, or people with disabilities,” she said. “I approach my students with unconditional, positive regard. Developing a positive relationship between myself and my students is a fundamental aspect of quality teaching. I believe that keeping the students focused, engaged and feeling valued makes my students successful in my classroom.”
“It’s not just about me though. I believe all of the faculty within the HRD department connect with the students because we genuinely want them to succeed. I believe our students graduate with the competencies necessary to transition into the workforce and that is due to the faculty within our department.”
HR is a growing field that allows many opportunities for professionals to play a pivotal role in business operations. HR professionals bring a distinct perspective to a business because they possess in-depth knowledge of the challenges faced by businesses.”
While Clark teaches graduate students, most of her teaching responsibilities are undergraduate courses.
“I have learned so much through the process of teaching. I love teaching undergraduate classes because I get to nurture and develop relationships with my students that often lead to mentoring relationships,” said Clark, who has been working on her doctorate in business administration. “I have been told that I teach like a trainer and I give students a taste of what it’s like in the real world, but in a safe and well supported environment. I’m realistic and optimistic and I believe that relationship building within a student’s first year is vital in increasing student retention.”
Clark’s approach isn’t exclusive to State’s campus either.
“Students can get the same quality education we offer in the classroom and do it all online, but they never have to feel alone,” she said. “We need to meet our students where they are. I’ve had so many phone conversations and emails with my online students that I feel like I already know them when I finally meet them in person.”
Since 2012, she has also served as faculty advisor for State’s chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, an organization where Clark works with students on aspects of career preparation, like project management and networking.
“For me, my return on investment is seeing my students succeed,” she said. “I approach every situation with an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that impacts attitude, perspective, and outlook. I am extremely grateful to be here at ISU and apart of the HRD Department.”
Clark has impacted dozens of students through her teaching of undergraduate and master’s level internship, teaching methods and strategies, writing for the workforce and her favorite course, instructional design.
“I believe instructional design is one of the most challenging and the most valuable undergraduate courses because it is where our students learn to create high quality learning materials through the creation of a training programs” she said. “They take the entire semester and create a training program that they could potentially use in the workplace when they graduate. It’s very labor intensive but hopefully they leave with not only the knowledge and skills to develop a training plan, but they also create something they could potentially use within an organization when they graduate.”