Combining personal and professional passions has had unexpected, but positive outcomes for Paula Rector, Senior Instructor in the Criminology Department. Passionate about helping victims of family and relationship violence, Paula dedicates her time and efforts in community leadership and actively caring for the residents of Harmony House. Paula notes, it’s a true privilege to be able to apply her academic knowledge to her service within the community, especially in helping raise awareness of a complex and dangerous issue.
Harmony House plays a vital role in Springfield and surrounding area by providing shelter, advocacy and education to survivors of domestic violence. Paula’s volunteerism takes on a number of active roles including chairing the Executive Committee, serving on the Board of Directors and leading the Programs/Shelter subcommittees. Whether she’s developing safety educational training programs for Harmony House volunteers, creating new community partnerships or negotiating a $5 million capital campaign, Paula’s focus remains on ensuring the needs for the 110 women and children that seek nightly shelter. Paula also oversees and participates in the refurbishing of a donated house in Polk County that can soon be occupied by a domestic violence survivor and her children. Paula’s commitment has found her on call at all hours to help assist those in critical need situations.
Paula notes one of the unexpected outcomes of her community service is its impact on her teaching and her students. Many of her students are taking action to help address domestic violence issues of the community through their own volunteerism, internships and service learning opportunities.
For her commitment, ethical leadership and fostering the growth of a responsible community we recognize Paula Rector with the 2015 Faculty Excellence in Community Service Award.