posted April 16, 2013

Yolanda Vega Appointed Director of Phelps Scholars Program

Yolanda Vega, who is assistant director of Hope College TRiO Upward Bound, has been named the second director in the history of the Phelps Scholars Program at Hope College.

Her appointment will become effective Monday, July 1.

Vega, who is also being appointed an assistant professor of education, succeeds Dr. Chuck Green, who has served as the program’s founding director since 1998.  Green, a professor of psychology who has been a member of the college’s faculty since 1983, will return to full-time teaching responsibilities starting with the 2013-14 academic year.

“We take special delight in having Yolanda as the next director of the Phelps Scholars Program.  As a Hope graduate with considerable experience in teaching, advising and program development for diverse student populations, she is exactly the right person at this time,” said Alfredo Gonzales, associate provost and dean for international and multicultural education.

“Chuck took an unproven, fledgling program from an idea to a highly recognized academic program in higher education,” Gonzales said.  “Because of his work and the faculty working with the program, the Phelps Scholars Program has grown not only in numbers but in the academic achievement of its participants.  We are very grateful to Chuck for his work over the last several years.”

The Phelps Scholars Program is an academic program for first-year students interested in learning about issues of race and culture. They take one course together each semester, live in the same residence hall, participate in discussions and workshops, take part in service projects and engage in various social activities.  The program has grown from 39 students during the 1999-2000 school year to 101 students this year, expanding from its original Scott Hall home to include portions of two other residence halls as well.

The program has earned national recognition.  In 2009, it was recognized by the Association of American Colleges and Universities as an exemplary diversity program in higher education.

Vega has been involved with the Phelps Scholars Program for several years.  She is currently among the faculty of the “First-Year Seminar” courses in which all students in the program enroll, and had served as resident director in Scott Hall, where the program is based, from 2001 to 2004.

Vega is a 1988 Hope graduate who has held a variety of positions at the college since 1990.  She has served as assistant director of Hope College Upward Bound, a program for high school students, since 1995.

After graduating from Hope, she was an English teacher at Holland West Middle School from June 1988 to May 1990.  She was also an interim multicultural counselor with the college’s student development office from February to May of 1990.

Vega was on the college’s admissions staff from 1990 to 1993, and was director of multicultural education from 1993 to 1995. For nine years before her 1995 appointment, she had also worked with Upward Bound in a variety of ways, including as a tutor-counselor, teacher, and facilitator of parent and student workshops.  She holds a Master of Education degree from Grand Valley State University.