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Waubonsee College names 2022 Outstanding Faculty Member

Waubonsee Community College has announced its 2022 Outstanding Faculty Member, Denise Nakaji, Professor of Therapeutic Massage. Nakaji has served Waubonsee as a full-time instructor in Waubonsee’s Massage Therapy Program since 1999.

“Nakaji has distinguished herself in all three categories used to select Waubonsee’s Outstanding Faculty Member: instructional effectiveness, contributions to the college, and commitment to ongoing professional development,” said Dr. Diane Nyhammer, Vice President of Educational Affairs.

In being named the 2022 Outstanding Faculty member, Nakaji is grateful for an opportunity to pause and thank colleagues and students. “The true gift of this award is a moment of reflection, reflecting on all the different ways colleagues, administrators, staff, students, alumni, employers, mentors, family, and friends have supported me and the program,” Nakaji said in a news release from the college.

Early in her career, Nakaji pursued massage therapy as a personal interest after she obtained a significant injury. “As a collegiate dancer in my 30′s, I injured a calf muscle, and it did not heal as I would have liked. I was interested in learning massage therapy to decrease the pain and prevent further injury. I never intended to work with clients and later teach in the classroom,” said Nakaji.

Today, Nakaji has over 23 years of teaching experience at Waubonsee. She has taken over 2,000 contact hours of coursework and continuing education to enhance her massage therapy skills, knowledge of curriculum subject matter, teaching skills, and communication skills. The lifelong learner believes it is vital to stay current in the massage profession and in education.

As a solo faculty member overseeing the program’s outcomes and success, Nakaji ensures learning outcomes and results are met so students can be fully prepared for the bright career outlook available in the massage profession.

Nakaji will be recognized and presented with the Outstanding Faculty Member Award at a faculty event later this year. The final selection is made by the college’s Outstanding Faculty Member Selection Committee, which comprises previous recipients of the award, instructional deans, the Assistant Vice President of Education and Workforce, and the Dean for Student Success and Retention. The Assistant Vice President of Education and Workforce chairs the committee.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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