Liberal Arts alum honored by the Neal-Marshall Alumni Club of Indiana University with Charlie Nelms Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Tiffany S. Kyser, B.S.’03, M.A.’10, Ph.D.’16, an IUPUI graduate with a master’s in English in the IU School of Liberal Arts, has been recognized by the Neal-Marshall Alumni Club of Indiana University with their highest honor, the Charlie Nelms Distinguished Alumni Award, for 2023.

The Charlie Nelms Distinguished Alumni Award was created in recognition of Nelms’ stalwart pursuit to bridge the gaps in all areas of life for disenfranchised and underserved people. Recipients are those who have continued to exemplify the mission of Indiana University, as demonstrated in their career tenure, or in the long-term impact of their community engagement.

Dr. Kyser is one of IUPUI’s most accomplished and decorated alumni, transforming her life’s work in educational policy, adult learning, and change management. As an innovative leader and educator, she continues to amass impressive contributions across education, health, and human development. Kyser was presented with the award during their 26th biennial reunion held last October 20-21, 2023.

Find out more about Kyser, her liberal arts education, and experiences, in this Q&A she completed after joining the Indiana University Alumni Association as their new Executive Director of Outreach & Engagement in January 2024. Congratulations Tiffany!

What are your overall thoughts on your Liberal Arts education and how do you feel it prepared you for your career?

My Liberal Arts Education has been deeply integral to my personal and professional growth! While pursuing a M.A. in English, I received rigorous training in critical thinking, judgement, and analysis. I grew in the skill of synthesizing complex ideas succinctly both verbally and orally, as well as developing a sophisticated, multidisciplinary perspective about myself and community.

What were some of the highlights/memories of your time as a student at IUPUI?

  1. Completing my Master’s Thesis under the guidance and training of Dr. Karen Kovacik, Dr. Ronda C. Henry, Dr. Missy Kubitschek.
  2. Attending and performing in multiple International Women’s Day celebrations.
  3. Attending the English Department’s readings.
  4. Attending Reiberg Reading Series.
  5. Writing for Genesis.
  6. Taking thoughtfully designed courses from exceptional faculty; supported by generous staff.

What is your new role with the Indiana University Alumni Association and what do you hope to achieve in your new capacity?

My role is Executive Director of Outreach & Engagement. I hope to work with the tremendously talented and committed IUAA staff, leadership, Board of Managers, volunteers, and alumni to refine and enhance pathways of connection, celebration, and conversation that remove barriers to engagement, deepen loyalty, and inspire generosity.

What are you looking forward to most about being on campus again?

I am looking forward to learning more about each IU campus, learning with and from current and former students, and deepening relationships with alumni, volunteers, faculty, and staff.

What are your thoughts on receiving the Charlie Nelms Distinguished Alumni Award?

I am honored to have been recognized by the Neal-Marshall Alumni, Indianapolis Chapter. I am humbled to be amongst the excellence of prior recipients. I am fulfilled to be a part of a long legacy of professionals who aim to ensure those closest to the issue are believed and served.

Why do you feel it is important for alumni to continue to be engaged with their alma mater(s) after they graduate?

To stay connected, attuned, and challenged for the benefit of oneself and community. To stay fortified by place, space, and memory. To delight in strong relationships, connections, and celebrations. To lovingly create space for change so that negative experiences are named, understood, and dismantled. To participate in the beauty of public discourse, knowledge creation, and self-actualization.

Do you have any specific career advice for alumni who may still be looking for their true calling?

Stay proximal to things that serve and support you. Find ways to always align your time to your passions. Advocate and protect your humanity. Do things daily that make you breath hard, laugh uncontrollably, and remind you that you are not your productivity. Finally, believe that you can, believe that you will.