In keeping with the spirit of the All Together One Award, Ms. Cindy Allen is a great asset to the JMU community and it is my distinct pleasure to read her story and present the award to her at this time. Cindy has taught in the School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication since 1997, but her accomplishments include many more things outside of the classroom. In the words of her colleague and friends, she is a mentor, a friend, a cheerleader, a mom, a grandma, a neighbor, a caretaker, an advisor, and a model citizen. Her genuine personality is a treasure and her sense of humor combines to make her even more endearing. I am sure that we could add even more descriptions to her already long list of titles.
As a student, it can be such a remarkable experience to encounter a professor that is so welcoming, you always feel invited to stop by her office. Cindy is one of these teachers, and it can be said that there is a steady stream of students that revolve in and out of her office doors. Even former students and advisees return to chat, because her friendly demeanor is something that is missed. In fact, as an advisor for all students minoring in the Technical and Scientific Communication concentration department, she has quite an array of admirers, some of which are not even under her field of study. Her wonderful reputation precedes her and, naturally, students seek her out accordingly. So too do other faculty members. Cindy's many years of experience is often helpful to newer faculty who are not as familiar with the WRTC major's new curriculum.
Outside of her professorial duties, Cindy makes time to mentor students who have been sanctioned for judicial offenses. Students meet with her one-on-one for an hour a week and she helps them set both long- and short-term goals, as well as write personal mission statements. By helping them truly develop what they want to accomplish, Cindy ensures that the students feel that their mistakes have been forgiven and that they have much more potential with which to do great things. Being reprimanded by a judicial board could be embarrassing for students, but Cindy focuses on the positive and recognizes wholeheartedly that we are all human and everyone makes mistakes. She never passes judgment and supports giving everyone a second chance.
As is obvious by her work as an advisor and mentor, Cindy consistently shows respect for others and takes great care to befriend everyone. She is kind, sweet, and cheerful, and, not so surprisingly, everyone adores her company and being around her. She is a great model for anyone to look up to and is a teacher nearly 100% of her time, since she models good actions both in and out of the classroom.
I take great pleasure in writing this glowing review of Cindy, since it would never come from her own mouth. Her humility is abounding and she rarely discusses the many service projects she takes part in outside of JMU. Although I am sure she has many more things to brag about, the following are just a sneak peek at some of the great examples of community service Cindy participates in. Numerous times, she has given workshops to adults and businesses to help them improve their writing, and their confidence in turn. Annually, she works with JMU's Human Resources office to offer summer writing workshops for JMU staffers as part of their administrative assistant certification requirement. She has also offered workshops dedicated to helping job seekers who need help with compiling a resume. On the weekends, Cindy can be found serving as a nurse and companion for the elderly and hospice patients, using her precious spare time to help others in need and ensuring that patients spend their last moments of life in comfort.
Clearly, Cindy Allen is a unique individual who improves many peoples' lives by extension of her own sweet nature. She truly embodies the characteristics that the All Together One Award recognizes. Having earned her master's degree at JMU, it is wonderful both for her and for us that she chose to return to teach for the same program. She is without a doubt one of the most caring and selfless persons that anyone could hope to meet. Please join me in recognizing Cindy Allen as a recipient of this year's All Together One Award.