Real-World Experience at Clarke University


Many professors at universities today lack real-world experience that is vital in the professional working world. I interviewed a small pool of people and asked them a couple questions: “Would you rather learn from a professor who has a PhD in a given subject, but no real-world experience? Or would you rather learn from someone who was successful in a given field?” Without hesitation most students chose the second option. Students clearly value real-world experience and is why many students chose Clarke University.

I asked one student what he valued about having a professor with real-world experience, “What I value most is that they expose us to situations that the regular class content does not prepare us for.” Among other students I interviewed, this has been a common theme. Regular course content cannot fully prepare you for how to handle varying situations, especially in the psychology or social work field. I asked Tim Boffeli why he felt his teaching was so valuable/effective, to which he said, “I’ve been in the trenches and I’ve done the work.”

ProfessorTim Bofelli

Clarke University has many professors who have practiced what they teach. Tim Boffeli is the head of the psychology department at Clarke University. Boffeli was a social worker for six years and psychotherapy for fourteen years. Boffeli decided to teach full-time in 2003, because he felt he could make a greater impact on the world. With his wisdom, knowledge, and experience in the field, students feel well-prepared for their profession having him as a teacher.

Emily Goodmann is a communications professor with lots of real-world experience, as well as a Ph.D. in media, technology, and society. Goodmann worked for a start-up called, “” for three years. This startup helped innovate streaming and videos in addition to supporting the development of the technology used for video on-demand services such as Netflix and Hulu. Goodmann says that having experience in both a professional and academic setting is extremely beneficial for her students. It allows her to see both angles and incorporate her knowledge of each into class curriculum. Goodmann wants to help students develop an experience of what it is like to work in a professional setting through her assigned coursework.

Clarke University thrives on its personal connection with staff and students. Students refer to professors by their first names. Students at Clarke feel that the professors care about them not only as students, but as people. It is an experience that you are highly unlikely to get at a larger university or college. According to, Clarke was ranked 227th amongst all universities nationally. Clarke was also ranked 2nd for the “20 Most Affordable Schools in Iowa”, and is ranked so because of the expertise of its professors.

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