Dr. Bell receives first-ever Faculty of the Year Award

Holmes Community College recently named Carthage native Dr. Jacqueline Bell as the College's first-ever recipient of the Faculty of the Year Award.

The Faculty of the Year Award selection committee accepted nominations from Feb. 1-Feb. 14. Candidates were to be nominated by peers, division chairs or other administrative personnel, and the nominee should be an exceptionally skilled and dedicated full-time instructor with a minimum of three years of teaching experience at Holmes.

The criteria for selection for the award includes: demonstrates a genuine concern for students and the capability to inspire them; has the respect and admiration of students and colleagues; strives to improve and grow both personally and professionally; and exhibits innovative in teaching and learning.

"We are proud to honor Dr. Jacqueline Bell as the Holmes Community College Instructor of the Year," Vice President for Academic Programs Dr. Jenny Jones said. "Dr. Bell was nominated by her peers and selected from a robust group of instructors. Jacqueline demonstrates genuine concern for her students, exhibits innovative teaching and learning strategies, and has the respect of students and colleagues.

"In addition to being an outstanding instructor, she is always striving to grow personally and professionally," she said.

Some comments from her students included: "Although Mrs. Bell is hard, she is a very good teacher. She really cares about teaching."; "Mrs. Bell clearly explains even the hardest information and makes it interesting to learn about."; "I can tell she really loves her job and that makes me want to come to class."; and "She is very interactive with her students."

"Jacqueline has always gone above and beyond for her students," Goodman Campus Coordinator of Academic Programs Wendy Grace said. "She takes the time to make assignments engaging while still being practical with real world concepts.

"I have heard from so many students who tell me that they wish all their instructors were "just like Mrs. Bell," she said. "She takes the time to relate the ideas on their level. She continues to come up with new ideas and is not afraid to change things up if they are not working. I am so excited that I get to call her an outstanding faculty member and also a tremendous friend."

Bell said she is humbled with the honor.

"To say I was shocked when Dr. Haffey called with the news is an understatement," Bell said. "I work with a fantastic group of fellow faculty (from all districts) who inspire me each day to be better and work harder. Holmes Community College is fortunate to have faculty who are consistently striving to be innovative inside the classroom and faculty who are adaptable to change and willing to give so much of themselves towards student success.

"I am thankful to call them my colleagues and, more importantly, my friends," she said. "I am genuinely grateful to the faculty for their support and the nomination of this award. I would also like to thank our administration and support staff, who so often offer their support and guidance. Thank you for entrusting me with teaching our students and also this honor. To our students, I say thank you for showing up each day. It is because of you that I get to live my dream job."

Bell came to Holmes in August 2008. She has taught General Psychology, Human Growth and Development, Child Psychology, Adolescent Psychology and Social and Behavioral Science Honors Forum in the traditional, hybrid and online formats. She is a lead online instructor and also teaches on the Goodman Campus.

She is the former chair of the Social and Behavioral Science Department for all three campuses where she organized and assisted in the creation of the department webpage, the Canvas Department webpage and the Canvas Department advising webpage. She collected research data for SACSCOC and implemented the goals for Institutional Effectiveness, Strategic Planning, and SWOT analysis. She was a member of the SACSCOC Reaccreditation review committee and also supervised all faculty roles in the department and conducted department meetings.

Bell recently defended her doctoral dissertation at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Her dissertation is entitled "Graduate Student Perspectives of Rapport in the Online Marriage and Family Therapy Classroom". She is set to graduate in May.

Bell holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Mississippi State University. She has a master's degree in clinical psychology from Mississippi State University with her thesis entitled "Asperger's Syndrome and Metamemory: How well can one child predict his knowledge of the world around him?" and a master's degree in counseling psychology from the University of West Alabama.

She has academic practicum experience at the Golden Triangle Recovery Center in Starkville, the Central Mississippi Residential Center in Newton, the East Mississippi State Hospital in Meridian and the WEEMS Community Mental Health Center in Meridian. She has psychological testing experience with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, third edition; Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, fourth edition; and Vine Adaptive Behavior Scale.

"I have always had an enthusiasm and appreciation for the field of psychology," Bell said. "I try to convey this enthusiasm inside the classroom while also teaching the importance of how the teachings of psychology are applicable for our students in real-life. I know the majority of students I teach have not chosen psychology as their program of study so my challenge is to show them that psychology touches everyone.

"So, when I see a student have the 'light-bulb' moment and realize how these teachings and concepts apply to their own behavior and experiences in everyday life, that is my reward," she said. "It isn't the letter grade at the end of the semester, but when they can come to that realization and be proud of themselves. That is my motivation to keep pushing myself to find more interactive and exciting ways to bring psychology to life inside the classroom. An added bonus is that I get to talk about the field I love every day."

As far as obtaining her doctorate degree, she knew it was something she always wanted to accomplish. "I love learning," Bell said. "I love challenging myself to try things that might be out of my comfort zone. When the time was right, I began researching doctoral programs and found the right program that allowed me the opportunity to gain further knowledge in my field of study but also allowed me to grow in my career field.
"I was fortunate to work with a dissertation committee that not only supported that vision but encouraged me to gear my research towards bettering myself as an instructor," she said. "From the coursework to the research, I learned so much and hope to bring this newfound insight into my classroom."

Bell is married to Casey and they have two children, Madalyn and Anna Kay. They reside in Carthage.