They say it takes a village to raise a child. If any group of people (in addition to parents) understands the truth of this statement, it is those who work in the field of education.
Faculty and staff at University of the Cumberlands recently gathered for an annual banquet to recognize members of the University family who have served the school for 10, 20, even 40 years; those who are now stepping down into retirement; and those whose excellence in teaching and commitment to serving the University and community has impacted innumerable lives.
This year’s retirees include Dr. Tom Fish, Professor of English and Associate Dean (35 years); Ms. Kathy Fish, Professor of English (35 years); Dr. Kenneth Reed, Physician Assistant Program (9 years); Ms. Debbie Harp, Director of Career Services & Leadership (40 years); Dr. Carolyn Reaves, Academic Resource Center (13 years) and Mr. Terry Stigall, Associate Professor of Health & Exercise Sport Science (43 years).
Awards given at the banquet included the 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award, the 2019 Miles Community Service Award and the 2019 Staff Service Award.
This year’s Excellence in Teaching Award went to Ms. Jamey Temple, Associate Professor of English. Temple is a Cumberlands alumna who began working at the University immediately after graduation. She has taught all levels of coursework, from remedial classes to graduate level courses. She is vitally concerned with students – both those who excel and those who struggle – and has helped develop courses specifically designed to help students needing assistance with academic deficiencies in the field. Several students of hers have published their own writing (including one alumna who has published five novels to date). Meanwhile, Temple has stayed current in her field, attending conferences and publishing 10 pieces in the past three years alone.
The Miles Community Service Award is presented to a faculty member who has made significant contributions to the community in an area consistent with University goals. The winner of the 2019 award was Dr. Haley Turner, Associate Professor of psychology. An exceptional teacher at Cumberlands, Turner is a leader of Love Local, a ministry that connects struggling families in the community with resources, brings them to church and visits them in their homes. She has even invited community members into her own home on occasion. Turner also leads a program which matches at-risk local children with adult mentors, training these mentors with content she developed herself from her expertise in the field of psychology. At times, she has cared for children in crisis in her own home until other arrangements could be made for their care.
A Service Award is given each year to a full-time administrative or staff member who is dedicated to the care and concerns of the other members of the University community, exemplifying and supporting the ideals for which the University stands. This year’s award was given to Ms. Debbie Harp. For the past 40 years, Harp has inspired students and been involved in the community. She has worked in various capacities at Cumberlands, teaching classes, leading the campus ministries office, running Campus Activities Board and directing the Office of Career Services. Harp tracks all student community service hours and has given her weekends and evenings to supporting a mentoring program in partnership with Whitley County schools.
The University is proud of these faculty and staff members’ accomplishments and positive influence on both the college and the region. Yet even more so, the University is grateful to call these wonderful educators, friends and genuine servant-leaders part of the Cumberlands family. Congratulations to all 2019 retirees and award recipients.