Baylor University honored the School of Education’s Cece Lively with an Outstanding Staff Award this spring. Lively is the Assistant Program Director for the EdD in Learning and Organizational Change, which is offered online by the SOE’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction and is the university’s largest graduate program. In that role, she coordinates and oversees program development and execution for almost 300 students and 25 faculty and staff. When the program reaches full capacity, it will serve more than 600.
Baylor’s announcement said, “Cece has proven to be an exceptional leader, innovative thinker, creative problem solver, student advocate, and collaborative colleague on campus. . . . The EdD students and faculty love working with Cece. She has a calm and caring demeanor and genuine concern for students.”
The nomination for Lively noted her work in planning the campus immersion sessions for EdD students to welcome them to campus, often for their first time, and showcase Baylor.
Lively joined the SOE staff in 2018 after several years teaching math and social studies at the middle school level in Waco schools. A native of Orlando, Fla., Lively earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, advertising and public relations from Carson-Newman University in Jefferson, Tenn., where she helped launch a university music production company. She came to Baylor to pursue a master’s degree, and while earning an MSEd also worked in student life for Baylor on such events as the 2005 Lady Bears NCAA Championship celebration, the Balloon Glow held at Floyd Casey Stadium, and large concerts as part of Christmas on Fifth. She graduated in 2005 with a master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) and is about to begin the PhD program in Curriculum and Teaching in the School of Education. Before becoming a classroom teacher, Lively planned international conferences for Curves International and worked for several years as an accommodation specialist in Baylor’s Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA).
EdD program director Dr. Sandi Cooper, Professor and Coordinator of Math Education, said Lively is integral to the EdD program’s growth. “Cece exhibits a high level of self-initiative, innovative thinking, and motivation to organize the best program for everyone,” Cooper said. “She has high expectations for herself and works to support faculty, staff, and students in their quest to meet high expectations for the program. Cece has such a clever way of bringing out the positive aspects of any situation, offering possible solutions, and motivating everyone to ‘think outside the box.’ She is the key to the success of the EdD in Learning and Organizational Change online program.”
Lively said that her unique background allows her to bring varied skills to her role. “I always thought I would go into the corporate world,” she said. But the MSEd program at Baylor changed her trajectory. “I learned you can have a business mind and also care about students, and you can find a place.”
The nomination packet for Lively lauded her plethora of skills. “She is skilled in graphic design, strategic planning, event planning, staff motivation, budgeting, teaching, professional development, space planning, computer applications, and so much more,” noted one letter out of the dozen endorsements that were submitted.
Dr. Brooke Blevins, Chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, said, “Ms. Lively is an integral part of the Baylor EdD in Learning and Organizational Change, and the success of this program is due in large part to her thoughtful leadership and vision. Cece is helping Baylor University and the School of Education chart new educational terrain with integrity, rigor and relationship. Ms. Lively is an amazing colleague who has a big vision and the skillset to implement it.”
Lively has one daughter, and that made teaching school a perfect choice for her from 2013 to 2018, she said. But she is happy to be back in higher education. “Not one day has felt like work; it has been great,” she said.
ABOUT BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
For more than 100 years, Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, leaders in K12 and higher education, psychologists, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice. Visit www.baylor.edu/soe to learn more.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.