Professor Debbie Bell, an assistant professor of English in the Department of English and Philosophy, was this year’s winner of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Award for Excellence in the area of Service. Dr. Bell is an active citizen of the university community and through her consistent commitment to service has made valuable contributions to the college, campus, and region.
Dr. Bell is co-director of the Purchase Area Writing project (PAWP), a three-week intensive summer workshop that provides advanced training to area teachers for integrating writing into the classroom. She is also the director of the Purchase Area Literacy Academy, another summer workshop, one which is funded by the state literacy council; PALA is for middle and high school teachers within our service region who want to support improved reading and writing skills for their students.
Dr. Bell’s impressive service is not restricted to summers. Throughout the year, she has worked within the college to assist instructors of methodology courses in adapting syllabi to meet state literacy requirements. She serves on several education accreditation committees. As the advisor to the MSU student affiliate chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English, she takes a group of students to the Kentucky chapter conference each year to facilitate sessions and gain invaluable professional experience. Dr. Bell also organizes professional development workshops throughout the year for area teachers focused on methods of teaching plays to be presented in the Murray State Shakespeare Festival each spring.
In addition to serving on numerous department committees, working on the university committee of teacher education accreditation (CAEP), and helping direct the Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy and Technology Program, Dr. Bell is also involved in service activities at the state and national level. She serves as an officer on the board of the state KY Council of Teachers of English and is a past-president. Dr. Bell is the director of the Western Kentucky affiliate of the National Writing Project and a board member of the Collaborative Center for Literacy Design. Anyone involved in literacy or English education in the state knows (and has often worked with) Dr. Bell. The Department of English and Philosophy values service at all levels and gives particular acclaim to activities which provide service to our region and increase the visibility of the department and college. Dr. Bell deserves praise for her outreach to the campus and beyond.
The College of Humanities and Fine Arts congratulates Dr. Bell on her outstanding service to her department, the college, the university, the profession, and our region.