Overton promoted from Friday Academy to TOP
Students entering the TOP building with its bright and inviting atmosphere can now meet the new director DeLane Overton with his student-forward personality.
UCC’s Transfer Opportunity Program is part of the federal TRIO program that includes Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and Student Support Services. While Upward Bound and E.T.S. are for pre-college high school students, S.S.S. and TOP are for college students who qualify as disabled students, first-generation, or low income. TOP specifically caters to students who plan on transferring to a four-year university.
“If you fit into one of those qualifiers and you want someone to walk beside you during your journey at UCC we are the people to walk beside you as well as challenge you to walk on your own. Come up and talk to us. We want to see students successful in whatever way the student defines their success,” Overton says.
From the neatly filed books on his shelf, the documents all put away in his cabinet, to the inspirational quotes on the walls, Overton’s office shows his organized personality. The plentiful papers across his desk, though, prove how determined he is in his new role.
Overton has had a transformative professional journey; he has been a high school teacher, counselor, principal, an Oregon Department of Education employee, and an assistant director of academic advising at Salt Lake Community College.
Overton, unlike many academic advisors, has teaching experience that helps him relate to students. “Even when I started teaching, I recognized that students had lives outside my classroom. They had challenges, obstacles, and it wasn’t always great. As I went through my journey, I found out about Trio when I was at Salt Lake Community College and saw the good that they do.” Overton says.
Overton was hired first at UCC as the coordinator of the Friday Career Academy about a year ago. When all the staff at TOP was changing, he was requested to apply and took the opportunity to fill the position and was given the chance to help even more students.
Since Overton became the director, he and his staff have been examining TRIO and TOP programs that have worked successfully in the past to make sure those are continued. They are then implementing new plans and policies where previous practices failed.
Jennifer Wells, Chloe Chambers and Benjamin Dorsey are the rest of the TOP team. They enjoy working with Overton. “He is implementing great new programs, he is a great boss to work with, he is very open minded and lets us be who we are at work,” the team say.
The TOP team is sprucing up their common room with new couches and decorations as one of their recent projects. This is a safe space for students to work on schoolwork and be their unique selves.
Due to Overton’s counseling background, he emphasizes to his team that college students have just as much of a life outside of school as they do inside with all the stressors that come with that. The staff want to give empathy as well as challenge students to overcome barriers albeit with enough support to learn good coping skills to solve future problems they may have to deal with on their own. Overton and his team are at the forefront of focusing on the student behind the degree; they understand each student is different and has a different goal or learning style and that no student’s academic journey needs to look the same.
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