At the Welcome Back WCU event two weeks ago, President Fiorentino awarded Professor Tammy James with the annual Civility Award “in recognition of her commitment to students, to student success and to West Chester University’s mission and values.” James is an important part of WCU; her work with student athletes shows her dedication and passion for student success.
James has been a professor at WCU for 24 years. She graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. After obtaining her doctoral degree, James became a professor at West Chester University in 1994.
Her current positions include professor in the Department of Health and Coordinator of Academic Support Services for Student Athletes. James also plays a huge role in the Athletic Mentoring Program as well as serving on the Athletic Advisory Board at WCU.
One of the many things James is passionate about is working with student athletes. She introduced a Leadership and Life Skills course to the university, a course geared specifically towards freshmen and sophomores. The course focuses on essential life skills such as goal setting, study skills, and time management. It also teaches students how to develop leadership skills on and off the field. The course curriculum comes from the NCAA and helps students make the transition from high school to college.
James is also the Coordinator of Academic Support Services for Student Athletes. As coordinator, James is available for academic questions and concerns for all student athletes. Not only does she support over 500 student athletes through the academic support services, but she also serves around 125 students through the Athletic Mentoring Program.
The Athletic Mentoring Program that James oversees plays an important role in the success of student athletes. The program looks at athletes’ academics in order to decide which students would benefit from the program. They also accept students who are referred by coaches and students who decide to join voluntarily. The academic mentoring program involves three components: meeting with a graduate assistant weekly, LARC tutoring and required study halls.
Lindsey Pope, a second-year diver at WCU, is one of the student athletes in the Athletic Mentoring Program. Pope says that her mentor cares about her as a student, as an athlete, and as a person. Through the mentoring program, Pope is able to stay on track. She stated, “I came out of my first semester at WCU as a varsity athlete with a 3.9 GPA. Part of that was from the support I received from the mentoring program.”
She stated that balance and time management skills are important to all students. Learning to navigate WCU’s resources and services is also something she advises all students to do.
The Civility Award is annually presented to someone who reflects the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When presenting the award, President Fiorentino shared a quote from King which stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” When asked how she uses love to drive out hate, Dr. James said she promotes the values and mission of WCU.
She states that she does this by “helping everyone on our campus that I interact with…understand that they have a role in student success.” She works to tear down the negative stereotypes and biases put on student athletes and help all students see their value.
James believes that students can reflect civility by being advocates on campus. Through programs like Green Dot, students can learn to stand up for each other in difficult situations. Her message to students is to “speak out against injustice whether it be locally or nationally.”
James is an asset to our university and was recognized as so at the program. Her work with the Athletic Mentoring Program, Academic Support Services for Student Athletes, and her Leadership and Life Skills courses has made her an essential part of student success.
Grace Harvey is a second-year communication studies major. She can be reached at GH872279@wcupa.edu or on her twitter @graceharvey03.