Joann Wayman leads the way at December commencement.
By Whitney Dreier
The honor of carrying the mace goes to the senior-most faculty member. This December, that person is Dr. Joann Wayman, professor of business administration. Wayman is only the second woman to carry the mace – the first was Hazel Kennedy, an English professor who started the tradition in 1963 at the inauguration of Columbia College President Merle Hill. Sidney Larson, of the art department, took over after Kennedy’s retirement in 1974, followed by Ed Collings, also of the art department, in December 2003.
Wayman will lead the academic procession at Commencement on Dec. 15. “I will be very careful, very stoic,” she says. “And I will have on the flattest shoes.”
But even for Wayman, who is upbeat and cheerful, carrying the mace is bittersweet. “It was never a goal of mine,” she says. “It’s nothing I sought, it’s happenstance, and I was really actually very disappointed to see Ed Collins go. I’m losing a connection.”
“I have seen this with a lot of faculty I’ve worked with,” she continues. “You share common stories about academic deans, admissions people, students. But they’ve been replaced with other quality colleagues. It’s a revolving door. People come into your life and people leave your life.”
Freshman day student Kerri McBee-Black came into Wayman’s life in 1989; now an instructor of textile and apparel management at the University of Missouri, McBee-Black considers Wayman a peer and a role model. “It doesn’t surprise me that Dr. Wayman is the senior-most faculty member,” she says. “She truly cares about bringing out the best in her students and challenging them. She thrives in the classroom, and I can’t see her leaving until she feels she has nothing more to provide.”
In recent years, Wayman has become somewhat of a social media guru. “I just kind of latched on to social media, which I love,” she says. “You kind of reposition yourself without going someplace else; I changed departments, changed courses, tried to incorporate new technology, especially with social media for marketing and a lot of technology in the classroom.”
Wayman’s social media efforts are self-taught – and successful. She has been listed among the top-100 marketing professors on Twitter by Social Media Marketing Magazine. The publication recognizes professors who provide useful content and engage with followers (in Wayman’s case, more than 1,000 of them). “I have created for myself a wonderful professional learning network,” explains Wayman, who owns a laptop, iPad and iPhone. “When I follow people [on Twitter], I have 1,000 eyes on the internet – people who share the same interests I do.”
Wayman uses Twitter in the classroom to show students what’s currently going on. “A lot of it is just my love of learning and then going into the classroom and sharing that,” she says, noting that her classes have used Twitter to critique Super Bowl ads and discuss social responsibility. “Twitter is a sounding board; Twitter is for making connections with people and for providing me with information that I can share with my students.”
That sharing aspect of teaching is what Wayman likes most about her job; imparting knowledge helps students grow and mature. “That gives me goosebumps,” Wayman says. “That has been the best thing – to watch students who you just might shake your head and roll your eyes at, but then they do top-notch work by the time they graduate. That’s why you continue to do it.”
And that’s how Wayman has come to be the second woman in 37 years to carry the mace. “I’m the first woman in a very long time,” she says. “It’s time for a woman to carry it – this college was instituted as a female college, and I think it’s time.”