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Illinois-Springfield professor wins DII faculty award

Marcel Yoder honored for his dedication to student-athletes

Marcel Yoder of Illinois-Springfield has been recognized by the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as the 2017 Dr. Dave Pariser Faculty Mentor Award winner.

The award, named after a Bellarmine physical therapy professor who died in 2013, celebrates faculty members at Division II institutions for their dedication to supporting and mentoring student-athletes, as well as their commitment to Division II student-athletes’ lifelong learning, competition and well-being.

“Dr. Yoder epitomizes everything this prestigious award represents,” said Jasmyn Lindsay, chair of the Division II SAAC and former softball student-athlete at Queens (North Carolina). “His ability to nurture not only students in general but student-athletes in particular, especially when it comes to preparing them for life after college, is what all student-athletes want from their FAR.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to honor Dr. Yoder with this year’s Dave Pariser Faculty Mentor Award.”

Since earning his doctoral degree in 1999 from Louisville, Yoder has been an active faculty member on the Illinois-Springfield campus. As an associate professor of psychology, Yoder specializes in sport psychology, self-enhancement and person perception, and he teaches a statistics course. In 2004, he was named the faculty athletics representative, a role in which he enjoys getting to know the student-athletes and serving as a mental training mentor.

“The student-athlete welfare part of being an FAR is what I enjoy the most,” Yoder said.

Throughout his tenure as the FAR, Yoder has taken initiative to improve the student-athlete experience. He established a faculty mentor program and is involved in the concussion safety protocol process, where his passion is to provide a safe environment for proper recovery.

Yoder’s specialized skill set as a sports psychologist allows him to take a different approach to his position as the university’s faculty athletics representative. “We have a low ropes course on campus. I take them out there, and we work on team building, trust and communication,” Yoder said.

He attends practices to work on concentration, goal setting and imagery with an emphasis on setting identity and values with the student-athletes. “You decide who you are going to be as an individual and who you are going to be as a team,” he emphasized.

As the FAR, he has seen firsthand the positive influence collegiate athletics has on his students. “Athletics really helps student-athletes with getting out and serving. I think that is an incredible benefit that directly comes from athletics,” Yoder explained.

As an avid runner, who has completed the Chicago Marathon, he preaches the importance of a healthy lifestyle. “One of the values that participating in athletics has beyond time management and discipline is a realization and emphasis on how important our health is,” he said.

Yoder will receive the Dr. Dave Pariser Faculty Mentor Award on Jan. 19 at the Division II Faculty Mentor Award Presentation and Reception during the 2018 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis.

At Illinois-Springfield, Yoder has made the DII experience his own.

“I see Make It Yours as what kind of person you want to be, what kind of life do you want to live, and then make that yours. Great journeys start with the end in mind, who do I want to be, and that’s what I’m going to make mine,” he said.