Stories of Excellence–Chris Yockey
Chris Yockey has a passion for student success. With experience as both a student and a faculty member, Yockey knows how one course can change a student’s life. Her drive to encourage learning and promote student excellence extend beyond the classroom and draws from her own unique educational journey.
A long-time Statesville resident, she attended UNC-Charlotte after her graduation from West Iredell High school. Echoing the story of many of her current students, Yockey’s journey in higher education was not that of a stereotypical student. She left UNC-Charlotte before obtaining her degree, instead deciding to marry and start a family. Years later, when she desired to expand her skill set in order to better support the family business, she came to Mitchell with the aim of obtaining a degree in accounting. Two required literature courses opened her eyes to her love of language and writing. After obtaining her A.A.S. is Accounting, she decided to pursue her passion and continued her studies, earning an Associate in Arts degree from Mitchell then transferring to Lenoir-Rhyne University (then, College). Having earned a B.A. in Literature, Yockey began pursuing a Master’s degree in Literature from UNC-Charlotte while serving as an adjunct instructor in Developmental Reading and Writing (DRE). She has served at Mitchell 13 years, 12 of which have been as a full-time DRE and English instructor.
One of Yockey’s most memorable moments at Mitchell occurred during her early years of teaching when students formerly unenthused about a class reading project became engaged with the story and assignments. One student later noted to Yockey how the reading assignment had sparked her love for literature. “’I had never read a book before your class, but now I read all the time,’” Yockey recalled the student’s words. “There is no better reward for me,” she added, “than to know I helped encourage someone to become a lifelong learner.”
Yockey aims to instill in her students that writing is a skill that anyone can practice and develop, not a talent held by a select few. Her contextual teaching style makes learning that skill relevant to students’ lives. She aims to promote the value of education and to cultivate a respectful, community environment in her classes. Just as her passion was ignited at Mitchell, Yockey strives to ignite passion in her students. “My goal,” she noted, “is to invoke in all my students a desire to become lifelong learners.”
This drive led Yockey to be an instrumental force in the collaborative effort of creating The Write Place, Mitchell’s Writing Center. The Write Place is a free writing assistance service for students in any course. Professional writing coaches work with students one-on-one and focus on each student’s writing goals. Yockey understands the transformative power this service has had on many students. “So many times I have seen students come in very frustrated and anxious only to leave looking relieved and confident and determined,” she said. What began as a small vision has evolved into two thriving spaces on both Statesville and Mooresville campuses.
In August 2017, Yockey was honored with the R.D. Grier Excellence in Education award for her work promoting excellence in the classroom, through student support services and in curriculum design. Beyond her work with The Write Place, her efforts in aligning DRE curriculum requirements to minimize barriers to student completion has gained attention at the state level. For Yockey, a passion for student success encompasses all parts of the educational experience. Her love of literature, cultivated as a student at Mitchell, has transformed into her dedication as a faculty member. She plans to continue sowing the seeds of lifelong learning for many years to come.
Find your passion and become a lifelong learner at Mitchell! Gain a new skill or expand your career opportunities through our short-term Continuing Education programs. Explore degrees, diploma and certificate programs Mitchell offers and find out how to apply. For additional support, speak to a counselor at (704) 878-3242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.