Four of UWA’s faculty and staff awarded for service

McIlwain Bell Awards 2016: UWA Provost Tim Edwards (left) and UWA President Ken Tucker (right) congratulate the recipients of the 2016 Mcilwaine Bell Awards. The recipients are, from left, Dr. Lesa C. Shaul, Trustee Professor Award; Rosie Campbell, Support Staff Excellence Award, and Traci Craft, Professional Staff Excellence Award. (Contributed Photo)

McIlwain Bell Awards 2016: UWA Provost Tim Edwards (left) and UWA President Ken Tucker (right) congratulate the recipients of the 2016 Mcilwaine Bell Awards. The recipients are, from left, Dr. Lesa C. Shaul, Trustee Professor Award; Rosie Campbell, Support Staff Excellence Award, and Traci Craft, Professional Staff Excellence Award. (Contributed Photo)

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The University of West Alabama presented four prestigious awards to members of its faculty and staff during the Dec. 2 Board of Trustees quarterly meeting at Bell Conference Center. The Loraine McIlwain Bell Trustee Awards and the Nellie Rose McCrory Service Excellence Award were presented to distinguished employees.

Candidates for the awards are nominated by the University community, and the winner in each category is selected by a committee of peers.

The McIlwain Bell Trustee Awards are presented annually in three categories: support staff, professional staff, and faculty.  Each comes with a plaque and a check for $1,000.

Rosie Campbell, administrative assistant to the dean in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, received the 2016 Support Staff Excellence Award. Campbell has been at UWA for 25 years and is the only person to have served in her capacity since the College’s establishment in 1994.

UWA Provost Tim Edwards explained that Campbell’s letters of nomination tell of her vast knowledge of the college’s program’s and activities, one saying that the most common response to “how?” questions in Bibb Graves Hall is, “Ask Ms. Rosie.” Edwards went on to explain that her evaluations have consistently documented her institutional knowledge, skill, and loyalty.

“Twenty years’ worth of students have learned to view Rosie as a surrogate mom,” wrote one of Campbell’s colleagues in a nomination. “The list of crises she has averted would fill a book.”

Campbell is active in the community as well as on campus, serving on the Sumter County Fine Arts Council and on numerous university communities. Edwards said, “People like Rosie Campbell keep the trains running on time, it’s true, but they also demonstrate why UWA is sort of a community within a community.”

Traci Craft, certification officer for the Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education, received the 2016 McIlwain Bell Professional Staff Excellence Award. Craft has been at UWA for nearly 18 years and is what Edwards called “a card-carrying member of the UWA family.”

Craft’s time at UWA began as an undergraduate student, followed by her studies as a graduate student. Since earning two degrees from UWA, Craft has served in Financial Aid as an aid officer and award manager, as a secretary to the dean of the College of Education, as assistant certification officer, and now as head of that office. She also teaches adjunct classes in psychology.

One of Craft’s nomination letters describes the caring attitude she shows to students.

“Sometimes the news we must give students is not the best,” the letter explained. “But Ms. Craft has a way of doing it that makes students more understanding. She almost always has a ‘Plan B’ for students to follow so they hear good news in a time they need it most.”

Craft is active in her church and several community groups, especially those involving her family.

The 2016 McIlwain Bell Trustee Professor Award was presented to Dr. Lesa Carnes Shaul, professor of English and director of the Honors Program in the Department of Languages and Literature in the College of Liberal Arts. Shaul has been on the UWA faculty for nearly 15 years.
Edwards introduced Shaul as “the total package as a faculty member,” saying that she “hits all the marks and then some” as a classroom teacher and published scholar.

From her nomination letters to student evaluations, high regard is expressed for Shaul’s teaching. One comment, Edwards said, is one that’s not so often seen in professor evaluations.

“I wish we had more time in class,” one student wrote, echoing another who commented, “I actually enjoyed taking a literature class for once. She made me feel confident in knowing the material and doing well.”

Shaul has assumed the lead role on several campus projects and events designed to enhance the intellectual and social life on campus for students and employees alike, including a redesign of the Honors Program that will better meet the needs of UWA students.

Dr. Janie Gregg, associate professor of business administration, management, and marketing, is the recipient of the 2016 Nellie Rose McCrory Service Excellence Award. The McCrory Service Award recognizes commitment to the University community through scholarship and service. Gregg has been at UWA for more than eight years, developing an impressive record of service to the community and the University.

In addition to her classroom duties, Gregg serves as advisor of UWA’s chapter of ENACTUS, a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world. The service organization was formerly known as SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise). Under her direction, the organization has been awarded several grants to allow UWA students to assist in the development of local businesses.

In addition to her professorial duties, Gregg has for more than 20 years been involved in her local community and government as well as several professional organizations. She is an active volunteer in her community, serving as secretary to the Noxubee Baptist Association, election commissioner for the Town of Shuqualak, Miss., and co-President of the Noxubee Republican Women.

“Dr. Gregg is an outstanding example for our young people and an exemplary ambassador for UWA, especially in her tireless service to those around her,” Edwards remarked.

The Loraine McIlwain Bell Trustee Awards were established in 1996 through an endowment by the late Mrs. Bell’s daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. L.G. Cunningham.  UWA’s Bell Conference Center is also named in honor of Mrs. Bell and her husband.

The McCrory service award is made possible by an endowment by the late Miss McCrory, who earned the B.S. in English and M.Ed. in Secondary Education from UWA and the doctorate from the University of Alabama.