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Supporting causes therapeutic for Kim Tarver

Kim Tarver

Kim Tarver, professor of physical therapist assistant

Kimberly Tarver's career may be in physical therapy, but her causes are far beyond that.

Outside of her Elgin Community College classroom, where she is a professor of physical therapist assistant, Tarver participates on a number of college committees. But that's just the start of her involvement at ECC and in the community.

We caught up with Tarver, who has been at the college since 1996, and asked her a few questions about herself and ECC. Here are her answers.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

In the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program, I strive to ensure graduates possess the skills and knowledge necessary to provide excellent patient care, and begin to develop a deep understanding of the impact of culture and experience on a patient's rehabilitation. As part of the ECC family, I am committed to advancing equity, fostering diversity, and creating a climate of respect and inclusion, as these are essential to student and organizational success.

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

I am most proud of the PTA program's graduates, especially when I hear from colleagues who are being treated by an ECC PTA! My greatest professional and personal accomplishment has been my journey and evolution of becoming a change agent and advocating for social justice. I am grateful for the opportunities afforded by ECC, and for the support and encouragement I have had from friends and colleagues along the way.

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

I would find students who are really struggling to achieve their goals and are not likely to be successful. I would ask them to tell me their stories, and I would listen. I believe taking the time to listen and seeking to understand each other's individual stories is the single most important thing I can do.

In an effort to foster relationship building, I would set aside regular, “sacred” time in a day, a week, or a month, when EVERYONE stops working to share time, space and conversation. I saw this in the Netherlands and it was amazing!

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

Susan Sarandon. My life is both dramatic and comedic, and I am pretty sure she is capable of being me.

What's on your “bucket list?”

Getting passports for my children and taking them out of the country. They want to go to Canada and Europe, and I want to go with them.

What's one fact we should know about you?

I am the current president of the board of directors for Suicide Prevention Services of America in Batavia. My daughter Erin died by suicide in 1999. I have walked through fire and survived. Everything else is relative. I think people should remember that each of us has a powerful story. I choose to use mine to offer support, hope and light when life becomes very, very dark.

What's something about your job that others should know?

I love being a physical therapist and I love teaching. I am so fortunate to be able to blend both of them together. This is my dream job!

What was your favorite class in school?

Gross Anatomy! I lived in the cadaver lab. I was, and still am, amazed by the human body.

What was your first job out of school?

I attended a community college and transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago AFTER having 4 children. My first position after graduating with my degree in physical therapy was at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

I love working with community college students and amazing facilities with incredible resources. I appreciate the opportunities that ECC offers that support my personal growth and professional development. Specifically, I enjoy working on MAGIC, ECCFA Senate, facilitating faculty development workshops, serving on tenure committees, and I even enjoy search committees.

Most days, I look forward to being here. ECC really is a great place to work.  

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