In August 2015, Tiffany Byers was appointed as the director of multicultural student services, a new position in the Center for Student Success. Byers works closely with minority students to connect them with resources necessary to their academic and social success.
A native of nearby city Augusta, Arkansas, Byers came to campus in 2006 as a staff member in the finance office working with bi-weekly payroll. She later became the administrative assistant in the Center for Student Success.
As a first generation college graduate in her family, Byers said her own trials as a college student prepared her to relate with students. Byers graduated from the University of Arkansas with a business degree and said she remembers the financial and academic struggles she faced.
According to Byers, her day-to-day responsibilities involve connecting students to tools that will improve their Harding experience. She spends time meeting with students to discuss challenges they are facing and introducing students to academic services such as advising, tutoring and career counseling.
“There are students from all over the world, a long way from parents and friends, and when I cross their paths, it’s my desire to be what they need at that very moment,” Byers said.
Dean of Student Success Dr. Kevin Kehl, who works closely with Byers, said she brings several advantages to her new role, including her knowledge of Harding culture. According to Kehl, Byers has an insider view of students because of the various roles she has played and her involvement on campus.
“Anyone who’s ever interacted with Mrs. Byers has found she has a very gentle spirit, yet she is quick to perceive what is going on and able to connect resources that are needed by the students,” Kehl said.
Kehl said Byers’ outreach on campus has brought more people to the Center for Student Success and has connected students with new opportunities. Byers said she hopes to make new cultural experiences available to students on campus by bringing more multicultural events.
“Arkansas is not just Harding, although Harding is a big part of the experience for students to be here, but there is a very rich culture here,” Byers said. “There is a wealth of talent and abilities right here in Arkansas. I would love for students all over the country and all over the world to see that.”
Byers said she believes it is important for students from other countries to intereact.
“We won’t always see eye-to-eye, but we all have wonderful things to bring to the table,” Byers said. “We just need the opportunity to share them.”
Byers offers students with unique experiences through her work with the Multicultural Student Action Committee (MSAC). Byers provides planning and executing ideas, events and trips for participants to connect with other cultures and students.
Byers said she has other goals for her position, including starting a mentoring program in the coming years. Byers said the mentoring program would match students, especially incoming freshmen, with faculty, staff or fellow students to help them in their college journey.
Byers said the most gratifying part of her new role is when she hears success stories from students she has worked with.
“The most rewarding (part) is when students come back and tell me they did something they thought they couldn’t do, (whether it’s) pass a class or get a certain grade in a class,” Byers said.”When they come back and say, ‘Mrs. Tiffany, thank you, you were a big help, I didn’t think I could do it; thank you for taking the time to talk with me.'”