BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Student Senate honored two members of the West Virginia Wesleyan College community for their work this past year.
“In order for students to vote on the Faculty and Staff of the Year, they must first nominate faculty and staff members,” Katherine Marks, awards and elections chair for Student Senate, said.
Once nominations were gathered, the three faculty and staff with the highest number of nominations were then voted on by the students to choose one Faculty Member of the Year and one Staff Member of the Year. Dr. Tamara Denmark Bailey, assistant professor of history and coordinator of Wesleyan Abroad, was named the Faculty Member of the Year and Dean of Students Alisa Lively was named Staff Member of the Year.
Bailey earned her Ph.D. in history from West Virginia University and was a W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow. She also has a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from WVU.
Bailey’s classes often involve subjects that make students question their world view. As the nomination stated, Bailey is known for having challenging, but immensely rewarding courses and often goes above and beyond to help students succeed. She pushes her students to do their best, achieve their goals and develop new perspectives.
“I feel like I teach well because of what I learn from the students in the classroom,” she said. “What they bring to the table is a driving force in my classroom content.”
This is the second time Bailey won this award and it serves as an impetus to evolve her courses and teaching style.
“I thought, ‘I have to do better,’” she said. “If these students chose me for this award, I need to be a better professor and do more. Getting this award from students is just unparalleled.”
As coordinator of the Wesleyan Abroad program, Bailey oversees students pursuing study abroad opportunities.
“Wesleyan Abroad is about creating opportunities with some of the most generous alumni and contributors who help our students experience other cultures first hand.
On average, Wesleyan sends eight to 12 students a year to study abroad to places like Thailand, Japan, Ghana, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and France. To this point, every student who has applied has been awarded a scholarship to study abroad. Many are from West Virginia and it may be their first opportunity to travel outside of the United States.
“They get to try something different and they wouldn’t do that if we didn’t offer the courses and give them the opportunity to think outside of their comfort zone,” she said. She credits her colleagues in the departments of History, Economics, Gender Studies, Health Sciences, Political Science, Sociology, English, Art, Philosophy, and Religion for offering classes that plant the seed for study abroad.
Lively, was appointed earlier this year as Dean of Students in addition to remaining as director of campus life. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and her master’s degree in higher education administration both from Marshall University.
In her time at Wesleyan, she has served as Director of Campus Activities and Director of Campus Life.
“It makes my heart smile to be recognized for what I do love to do every day,” she said. “Wesleyan students are simply the best.”
This is Lively’s fourth time receiving the outstanding staff member award since it’s creation by Student Senate in 2006. Lively strives, along with her staff, to provide Wesleyan students a wide variety of residential experiences in which to live with a residence life staff trained to facilitate programs aimed at developing responsible decision-making skills, creating a strong sense of community, and fostering respect for self and others in a diverse, global society.
“We also strive to provide activities, opportunities and services that promote student learning, encourage a sense of community, and enrich the students’ development and enjoyment,” she said.
As Dean of Students, Lively leads Campus Life, including Housing and Residence Life, Student Programming, Outdoor Recreation, the Wellness Center, Student Conduct, Commuter Students, Conference Services and Student Senate.
Most recently, Lively has had an essential role in planning for the return to campus and overseeing safety measures during the Spring 2021 semester.
Students describe Lively as hard-working, dedicated and caring, according to the nomination.
“It is always nice to be acknowledged by the students. For nearly 34 years they have made a huge impact on my life inside and outside the classroom and I hope I have made an impact on theirs.”