At YogaWell, we hold ourselves to the highest of standards within the yoga community.
Our team spent a lot of time developing our Code of Ethics, a document that has been a core piece of what we practice within our organization since the first day, the first class. We’re dedicated to holding ourselves and others accountable for their actions and working together to have a safe and productive environment where students feel comfortable to continue their practice and build upon their journey. As such, we want to reinforce our commitments to our students by ensuring all have been introduced to Victoria Williams, our Student Liaison. Victoria is an expert at communication techniques and is available to any student who would like to talk through a conflict or receive support in dealing with an uncomfortable situation.
We interviewed Victoria about her role, what students can expect from her, and what her process is when upholding our Code of Ethics.
What is your role at YogaWell? How long have you been involved?
I’ve been Student Liaison for YogaWell since 2014 during which I have supported students through 5 different training courses.
My role is to be an unbiased, safe person for students to reach out to when they are experiencing discomfort or conflict in the yoga community. I help students think through their communication and next steps to resolve any uncomfortable situations, or conflict and, if needed, act as a mediator.
Why is there a need for this role?
Because YogaWell requires that all teacher trainees and therapy training students have a mentor, it is important that students have someone they can talk to confidentially if they have any kind of problem in working with that Mentor. The Student Liaison is also a person students can go to if they have was any concerns about the program, the faculty or the instruction.
Training programs are demanding and students often enter with expectations that differ from what the program faculty expects, or from what the demands for certification require. They need a place to talk through these kinds of concerns.
In addition, Yoga is deeply personal work and can lead to being very vulnerable with your teacher. YogaWell is committed to ensuring that all students feel safe at all times and clear on how to resolve any discrepancies.
What services do you offer YogaWell students in this role?
My service is free, anyone who studies at YogaWell can email me to request a conversation. I’ve met in person, on the phone or through FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype with people. Most often it’s one on one, but occasional 2 or 3 will call together – about a program or instructional issue.
What are your qualifications for this role?
I’ve worked as a personal coach in the corporate and educational professions for many years and have my Ph. D. in Competency-based Educational Psychology from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Group Process from SUNY at Buffalo. I have taught and continue to teach relationship building, team building and understanding how personality differences play out in relationships. I’m a certified Myers Briggs interpreter and trainer and have a research and practice background in the how a helper’s interpersonal skills affect learner/client outcomes.
How can students get in touch with you if they need you? What’s the process for what you do? What can a student expect when contacting you?
They Email me, and we schedule a mutually convenient time. I listen to their issue with respect and empathy. This is the bulk of it. We work together on what steps they’d like to take, if they are ready for that.
Options are for me to
- Coach them on how to give feedback
- Give the feedback directly to the faculty or the mentor for them (usually anonymously)
- Play a mediation role while they and the other talk it through
If they decide a different mentor would be better, I contact YogaWell’s Director about a change and he lines up some options for the student.
If it is an issue with a training Program, I work with the faculty to improve the instructional design if that is warranted.
If it is an issue with a faculty member, I give the faculty feedback anonymously. That is, the student is not identified or identifiable in the way I give the feedback.
If the issue is particular to one person, and no one else, I work differently with it.
If the issue is more general, the faculty works hard to redesign program and instruction to be more effective. For this I am an instructional designer, having designed for group classes and online medium. I am an educational diagnostician so know a variety of instructional methodologies that work for different learning styles
Thank you, Victoria, for your dedication to our students and to the organization! We’re happy to have Victoria on our team and here for our students and their needs.
Our goal, through Victoria’s role, is to ensure that every single student feels safe and heard. Whether it’s regarding your studies at YogaWell or perhaps a relationship within your local yoga community, Victoria is available to support you in working through conflict. If you have a need to involve Victoria, she’s available at all times via email at victoria @ yogawell.com.
If you’d like to read more information about our Code of Ethics, please click here.