CRLA Summer Institute


Heather Porter

Heather is currently the Assistant Director of the Center for Student Achievement at Salisbury University, where she oversees the center’s flagship program, Supplemental Instruction (SI), serves as an academic advisor for still-deciding students, and provides leadership for the center’s assessment and strategic planning initiatives.  In addition to her campus responsibilities, Heather is the Coordinator of the International Mentor Training Program Certification initiative through the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA).  

Heather is pursuing her doctorate degree in Contemporary Curriculum & Instruction: Literacy at Salisbury University. She also holds a M.Ed. in Higher Education & Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina and a B.A. in French & Secondary Education from Randolph-Macon College.  Heather has been an active contributor to the field of academic support with several national conference presentations about Supplemental Instruction, peer learning, and peer leader training and development.  Her research interests include undergraduate literacy development, undergraduate peer learning, and evaluation of academic support programs.  

Roberta Schotka

Roberta Schotka is the Director of Programs at Wellesley College’s Pforzheimer Learning & Teaching Center.  She holds an Ed.M. in Instructional Media & Technology, a B.S. in Elementary Education, and has completed the HERS Institute for Women in Higher Education management training program. Roberta is an active member of the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). She served as president of the CRLA Northeast Chapter in 2014, the site chair for the CRLA national conference in Boston in 2013, assistant coordinator for CRLA’s International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC) for the past twelve years and four years as  coordinator of the annual Outstanding Tutor Award. Last year the CRLA Executive Board appointed her to lead the ITTPC as the ITTPC Coordinator.

Roberta is a contributing author to the CRLA Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors, the Innovative Educators Tutor Lingo training series and the lead author for the CRLA Standards, Outcomes and Assessments for levels 1, 2 and 3 tutor training programs. She has received numerous awards and commendations including the prestigious 2014 CRLA Robert Griffin Award for Long and Outstanding Service

Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith, who holds a BA in Psychology from Texas A&M University, a Masters in College and University Student Personnel from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, currently serves as the Director of the University Leadership Network (ULN) at The University of Texas at Austin. As part of the university’s initiative to increase the four-year graduation rate, she was appointed to provide a unique student experience based on leadership, professional development, and experiential learning combined with the opportunity to earn a significant scholarship. Jennifer was instrumental in the development and implementation of a number student success initiatives including the University Leadership Network, the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan Mentor Academy, and the College of Natural Sciences Peer Leader Academy.

Jennifer has been a contributing staff member in the College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin since 2003, and has served as an undergraduate instructor since 2011.  Jennifer’s research and practice center on leadership, incentive-based scholarship, undergraduate peer mentoring, and the experiences of underrepresented undergraduate populations.

Melissa Thomas

Melissa Thomas is a lecturer in the TIP Scholars Program at the College of Natural Sciences, University of Texas at Austin. She is also redesigning the course to better fit the needs of the students and the department this spring. She is the previous director of the Center for Student Learning at the College of Charleston and holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Melissa has been an adjunct instructor, P.I. for a multi-year grant, coordinator of a graduate student academic support program, and presenter at many national and local conferences.

She is a Past President of the College Reading and Learning Association, and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of College Reading and Learning (JCRL). Most recently she edited a textbook for the College’s Learning Strategies course (which she teaches) and has published three chapters in the Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors and one article about graduate students and writing anxiety. She is working on a book on syllabus design for Stylus. Her research interests include writing anxiety, motivation inside the classroom, conflict, communication, and negotiation.