November Staff Highlight: Cathy Clarke

November Staff Feature – Cathy Clarke 

Tell us a little about your RIT career…how long have you worked here, in what roles, etc.

My career at RIT truly began when I was an undergrad Graphic Design major at RIT. I found a part-time job at NTID during the summer after my freshman year. This is where I learned the basics of web development. I held that job through the rest of my time as student, and after I graduated, I worked on several grant-funded projects at NTID. I was able to combine the design skills I learned in school with web development, which I learned in my job. I have been working full-time in NTID for 11 years. I am currently a Web Developer-Programmer in the department of Communications, Marketing and Multimedia Services.


What do you enjoy most about your role as Web Developer-Programmer in NTID:

I most enjoy the variety of projects I work on and the people I work with. Being a web designer/developer is an ever-evolving field where I am able to learn new techniques and apply new skills every single day. I am fortunate to combine my love of art, design and typography with my coding and development skills. We have a great team that make it fun to come to work every day. Doing all of this at NTID has had a profound personal impact on me – I’ve had the opportunity to learn ASL and gain an understanding of Deaf culture through working with deaf and hard-of-hearing colleagues and students that has enriched my life.


Tell us a little about your experience with Staff Council, how has your involvement contributed to your RIT experience?  Another way to ask this question is what have you learned about RIT through your involvement in SC that you did not know?  Did anything surprise you? Or, if you are new to Staff Council this year, what motivated you to run for a position?

Serving on Staff Council has contributed tremendously to the pride I have in RIT! This is my fourth year, and I have met so many wonderful people and learned so much about the way progress is made at RIT. The insight you gain while serving in governance is remarkable, and having the opportunity to be the voice for the staff members you represent is very rewarding.


As a member of Staff Council, how do you personally plan to represent staff and contribute to the governance group that represents staff?

I am very fortunate to be serving as the chair of Staff Council this year. It is also somewhat daunting – there is a steady pressure I feel to ensure that Staff Council represents the needs of all types of staff at RIT. We have several goals this year. One is continuing our initiative to improve internal customer service. We are inviting RIT service providers to in a series called “It Starts with Us.” Every year, Staff Council representatives hear concerns from constituents about common topics – parking, the smoking policy, snow days, etc. Staff Council’s Executive Committee (EC) is focused on helping staff find real solutions to these issues that impact us every day. We are doing this by inviting decision makers and service providers to meet with either EC or the full council to address concerns and develop solutions in partnership with us.

As chair, an area that I feel RIT needs to make more progress in is included in the revised Strategic Plan, and that is ensuring that staff growth is consistent with growth in faculty, students and facilities. This ties into a need for a more consistent application of career ladders for staff. Many staff members feel like their job responsibilities increase every year, while their job title and pay do not always reflect that. As our campus community grows to achieve great things, so too should the number of staff.


What is your favorite RIT event and why?

My favorite RIT event has always been Tiger Walk! I love to line up and cheer for incoming freshman. It is a great way to welcome new students and let them know from their first days on campus that they are not alone; that we support them every step of the way.


What is your favorite/best RIT memory?

I am going to bend this question a little, because I don’t have one favorite memory. What I reflect on the most about RIT is the changes I have seen, from when I arrived on campus as a freshman, all the way through to today. There wasn’t much school spirit in my years here as an undergrad, the campus was relatively small and austere. There was a feeling that students were on our own and support was lacking. There wasn’t a lot of interaction between hearing and deaf or hard-of-hearing students. I have witnessed the transformation of RIT into what it is today – a large, beautiful campus where the entire community has pride, a welcoming environment where collaboration, creativity, and distinctiveness is encouraged. I can’t wait to see what’s next!