Carolyn Willingham, of Helena-West Helena, has been selected the 2009-2010 Outstanding Faculty member at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA).
Carolyn Willingham, of Helena-West Helena, has been selected the 2009-2010 Outstanding Faculty member at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA). She will be honored in October as PCCUA’s outstanding instructor at this year’s Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges (AATYC) fall conference. “The word community is a significant word in the title of our campus,” she said. “Since I have been involved in PCCUA, I have felt a sense of belonging within the school community, and I think the students feel this same sense of family.” Willingham taught at Central High School for 15 years before joining the college in 1993, where she has served as an instructor in the Arts & Sciences Department, supervisor of the Fitness Center, and director of intramural sports for the past 17 years. As an instructor, she teaches a variety of courses including Health & Safety, Fitness Concepts, First Aid, Driver’s Education, Physical Conditioning, and Weight Training. She also provides training in the following community service classes:
First Aid/CPR for the Workplace, and First Aid/CPR for the Schools & Community. Willingham shares a close connection to her students as she challenges them to achieve their goals.
“As my students become comfortable with me as their teacher and mentor, many have come to me for assistance with their problems,” she said. “I derive the greatest pleasure in helping them find solutions to their own problems.” Willingham noted that through the intramural program, she has seen shy and, sometimes, detached students become leaders in group activities. She added, “They have learned recreational skills that will offer them opportunities to socialize and stay physically fit for the rest of their lives. In many cases, I have observed them as they passed the skills they have learned on to their siblings and, in many cases, their own children.”
Over the past 17 years, Willingham has been instrumental in developing an intramural sports program that evolved from campus activities.
“Our involvement, which has expanded to state tournaments, now includes league play with Mid-South Community College, East Arkansas Community College, and Arkansas Northeast College,” she said.
She also noted that the addition of online courses, including Health & Safety and Fitness Concepts, has enhanced her department and made college more accessible, especially for non-traditional students.
In fall of 2009, Willingham was selected as a Physical Activity Consultant for Head Start Body Start. Head Start Body Start is a consulting and grant program established by the National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play aimed at increasing physical activity, outdoor play, and healthy eating among Head Start and Early Head Start Center children, families and staff to facilitate healthy development and reduce obesity.
Actively involved in community functions, Willingham serves as a judge for the annual Great Rivers Educational Co-Op project fair, is an American Red Cross Blood Drive participant, and a member of the Central Cougar Booster Club. She has also served as a volunteer for the Arkansas Heritage & Blues Festival information booth and as finish line director for the Kenneth Freemyer Memorial 5K Run, participated in the Phillips County Angel Tree project and holiday fund-raiser for Grace Food Pantry, and is an active supporter of the Phillips County Relay for Life.
Her professional involvement includes service as a member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), Arkansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (ArkAHPERD), American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR), American Association for Health Education (AAHE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), and National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF).
She holds a B.S. and an M.A. from the University of Alabama. She has also completed graduate work at Delta State University to become certified as a secondary principal in Arkansas and recently passed the Praxis Exams in health and physical education to renew her teaching certificates in Arkansas as well as Alabama.