Perkins Next Year, WP Gratitude This Year

Recently, Boston University awarded the 2015 Perkins Service Award to people who were not Dan and Alyssa. While the awardees may rightly deserve the Perkins in their own right, sadly, they are still not Dan and Alyssa. So, the WP would like to recognize Dan and Alyssa’s distinguished service to the Writing Program, the university, and its students by counting the many ways that Dan and Alyssa have indeed dedicated themselves to Boston University. Following are excerpts from the many letters that were sent to the award committee:

“[…] we have a special appreciation for how tirelessly and effectively these two work to make our program run, and run well. Dan has been with the program since its inception in 2000 (he had worked in Department of Modern Foreign Languages, now MLCL, for five years before that); Alyssa joined us as a front desk person in 2006 and was promoted to Academic Administrator in 2010. The program has nearly doubled in size since its founding, and has had two directors; the current director, Joe Bizup, is on sabbatical leave this year. Through all this growth and change, Dan and Alyssa have been extraordinarily constant and capable. Because they work beautifully together as a team, we are nominating them as such. It is difficult to imagine more worthy candidates for the Perkins Award for Distinguished Service.”

“I have known Dan and Alyssa ever since they joined the CAS Writing Program, and I can vouch from my many experiences with both of them that they are indispensable for the smooth running of a large and complex program. They have somewhat different, complementary personalities […] but the qualities of wisdom, knowledge, hard work, patience, dedication, and eternal calm in the face of frustrated students and faculty describe them both. Dan and Alyssa have guided me through every kind of expected and unexpected problem. Without them, I would have felt overwhelmed with scheduling conflicts, confused students, reports due, missing keys. […] Daniel Ivey and Alyssa Hall deserve the highest recognition and thanks possible.”

Dan Ivey 6 May 2015
Dan Ivey, WP Program Administrator, 2015.

“Dan Ivey has been a mainstay of the Writing Program from its inception.  In his own way he has helped shape the character and quality of our program as much as any faculty member, providing a seemingly endless supply of confidence, patience, knowledge, and guidance.  Someone once said about Count Basie’s rhythm guitarist Freddie Green that you never knew he was playing and how much he added to Basie’s sound until he stopped.  We do not ever want to find out what it sounds like when Dan Ivey stops.”

“From my perspective, I suspect that even many of Dan’s faculty champions do not realize the extent to which he in turn champions their interests. No detail is too small in terms of trying to ensure that the Writing Program instructors, of all ranks, have the best possible teaching experience, whether it is reducing the time they spend walking between classes or ensuring that they have access to the technological resources they request. I believe that this is because he has a genuine appreciation of the demands made on the faculty with whom he works irrespective of the nature his own duties, and that’s not an imaginative leap that all staff can or want to make.”

“Dan and Alyssa have made my transition to Boston University a seamless one. As a new faculty member they coordinated my move across country, helped me settle into my position, and supported the projects that I have been involved in within the department since I began. From course schedules to film series to newsletters, they have been a welcoming source of knowledge with all things BU. Thanks to their attention to detail and dedication to the program, I am confident that I have everything I need at my disposal to teach my courses well. Ultimately, my endeavors have taken a great deal of coordination with and by them […]. We are quite fortunate to have such stellar individuals to keep the Writing Program running so smoothly.”

Alyssa photo
Alyssa Hall, WP Academic Administrator, 2015.

Alyssa is the managing editor of WR. She handles all of the logistics of a complicated editorial process in which up to twenty faculty editorial board members review up to five hundred submissions, a process that unrolls over five rounds of review between December and June. Our editorial processes are constantly under revision as new editors-in-chief step in and want to try new things. Alyssa is the only person who has full institutional knowledge of the journal, so editors always consult her about changes in the editorial process, which we are perhaps too keen to make and which she patiently helps us fine tune and implement. She is a member of the editorial board, so she reads and reviews dozens of essays alongside the faculty. When the board finally selects the year’s best essays at the end of June, Alyssa’s work really gets started. She manages the process of gathering prefatory material from students and their instructors, who are often very hard to reach in the summer months, the copy-editing, and the desktop publishing. The journal comes out in September, and in October we start again. Publishing the journal, which is an indispensible teaching tool and an important public reflection of the excellence of Writing Program classes, would not be possible without Alyssa’s extraordinary organization, attention to detail, and patience.”

Alyssa [is] “the consummate professional. Whether dealing with students, faculty, or administrators, she stays calm and helpful no matter the situation. Dealing with the sheer volume of work and communication necessary to successfully administer and report out on hundreds and hundreds of writing placement tests at a harried and stressful time of the last orientation session is nothing short of amazing. She is invaluable.”

“Together, Dan and Alyssa manage the enormous, complex jigsaw puzzle of the Writing Program: 100 instructors, over 350 sections a year, thousands of students. They have to balance the scheduling exigencies of our Program’s diverse teachers (full-time lecturers, graduate students, and adjuncts who are often teaching at multiple universities) with the logistics of University classroom assignments (Writing Program faculty are at the bottom of the assignment totem pole). Certainly, scheduling and classroom assignments are the purview of every program’s and department’s administrators, but the sheer size of the Writing Program makes this an especially daunting task.”

“We have all become better teachers and co- workers in recent years, but none of our success would be possible without Dan and Alyssa.”

“[…] we are keenly aware of the danger of overwriting, of exuberant clichés, but we hope you’ll forgive us going on with such enthusiasm and at such length about Dan Ivey and Alyssa Hall, two wonderful administrators and colleagues who richly deserve the Perkins Award.”

These are only excerpts from the letters sent to the Perkins award committee this year. We hope that next year Dan and Alyssa will be officially recognized; for now, all of us in the Writing Program would like to give a heartfelt thank you to our fearless duo!


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