Theatre finds home in Ulrey Center
Pharmacy partners with Air Force Academy
Computer engineering accredited
BENEFIT - Florentine Festival celebrates art, music
Musical revue a fine-tuned affair
Nursing revamps gerontology curriculum
McNair Scholars Program secures funding
Jesus Project gives back
Speaker series adds two
Social work project the real thing
READING ROOM - Public Relations point of view
Spanish teacher applies lessons from NEH grant
Roosevelt Institute to aid community
There's no place like home, and the theatre program now has a space to call just that.
Ulrey Performing Arts Center, named for Dr. Evan Ulrey, retired chair of the Communication Department, was dedicated Nov. 1. The $1.1 million project is a renovation of Whitaker Furniture Manufacturing Plant, which the University acquired in 2006.
"It is a privilege to dedicate facilities to individuals who have meant so much to the University," President David B. Burks said at the ceremony. "That is certainly the case with Evan Ulrey."
A 1946 graduate, Ulrey returned to the University in 1950 as chairman of the Communication Department. Under his direction, a major in theatre began, encouraging thousands of students to perform on stage in a myriad of productions.
Ulrey received the master of arts degree in 1948 and the Ph.D. in 1955, both from Louisiana State University.
He was named Arkansas Speech Teacher of the Year in 1986 and directed the Arkansas Consortium for the Humanities — comprising seven participating colleges — which received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
He was a sponsor of Pi Kappa Delta honorary forensics society and intercollegiate debate competition at the University. He also served as executive secretary-treasurer of Arkansas Speech Association, editor of Speech in Arkansas, and Southern representative to the legislative committee for Speech Association of America.
Ulrey retired in 1992.
From the first production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" in 1925 until last fall's musical, "The Wizard of Oz," 935 productions of varying complexity have been performed at the University.
The theatre program was first housed on the Searcy campus in Godden Hall. The Administration Building, where Little Theatre often played to audiences, replaced that venue when it was built. Later, the popular Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre program — instigated by Ulrey — was held in Hammon Student Center.
The new 15,200-square-foot Ulrey Performing Arts Center offers more spacious and permanent accommodations. The center contains the theatre program, Little Theatre and Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre and provides facilities for offices, ticket sales, costume storage and set production.
In September the College of Pharmacy announced a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., which marks the college's first inter-institutional agreement.
"We are pleased to see this part of our mission of fostering innovation through research beginning to be fulfilled," said Dr. Julie Hixson-Wallace, dean of the College of Pharmacy. "As a new college, we are excited to see measurable progress in such a short amount of time. I hope this is just the beginning of an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship with the Air Force Academy."
Dr. Daniel Atchley, who recently joined the college from the Academy, will oversee the research for undergraduate students in the sciences that explores novel methodologies for field medical diagnostics.
"We are pleased that this program is designed to incorporate student research opportunities for both Harding undergraduates and Academy cadets," said Dr. Kenneth Yates, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. "One of our primary research objectives is to focus on solutions for real-world problems, and this project meets those criteria."
After eight years of diligence from faculty, the computer engineering program has been accredited by ABET, the engineering accreditation commission.
ABET Inc., the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology, is a federation of 28 professional and technical societies representing these fields. Among the most respected accrediting organizations in the United States, ABET has provided leadership and quality assurance in higher education for more than 70 years. ABET currently accredits 2,700 programs nationwide.
"The recognition is the result of a great deal of hard work by Dr. Zane Gastineau, department chair; Dean Travis Thompson of the College of Sciences; and a host of faculty and staff," said Dr. Larry Long, vice president for academic affairs. "I am very pleased, especially for our students, who will benefit as graduates of an accredited program as they continue their education or move into the profession."
Gastineau also credits computer engineering faculty members Ken Olree and Jon White and the computer science faculty. "We all worked very hard in achieving the accreditation," he said.
The computer engineering program, part of the Department of Engineering and Physics, has 50 students. The department also offers majors in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics. The electrical and mechanical engineering programs are in their fourth year, with their accreditation process to begin in the near future.
"Florentine Festival of the Arts," the inaugural gala benefiting International Programs, was held Dec. 8 at Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts in Little Rock, Ark. About 220 people attended, raising $30,000.
The reception honored Robbie Shackelford, director of Harding University in Florence, Italy, (HUF) since 1990. His original, oil-on-canvas paintings and limited-edition prints were available for auction and purchase.
Recent coding laws in Tuscany have necessitated many changes to the internal structure of the 16th-century villa "Il Palazzaccio" (homely place), fondly referred to by HUF students as simply "the Villa." All proceeds from the donated artwork and ticket sales will benefit the renovation effort as well as establish scholarships for International Programs.
Born in Naples, Shackelford has been a Rosso Tiziano art associate since 1992. A frequent exhibitor in Florence, he has participated in such shows as "Eco D'arte Moderna," "Fiorino D'oro," and "IMMAGINA – Mostra Mercato di Arte Contemporanea." Much of his highly sought-after work features the Tuscan landscape and Villa.
Musical performances included professionals who have appeared on stages from Broadway to Nashville and in opera houses around the world, as well as the University Jazz Band directed by J. Warren Casey ('76). Performers were singer/songwriter Kaci Bolls ('94), opera singer Stephen Mark Brown ('87), University senior Joel Cox, singer Mark Evans ('83), cabaret singer India Medders Galyean ('90), musical theatre graduate student Abby C. Smith ('03), and Juilliard voice instructor W. Stephen Smith ('72).
The University also maintains international campuses in Australia, Chile, England, France/Switzerland, Greece and Zambia. More than 30 percent of recent graduating classes have spent a semester abroad at one of Harding's international sites.
"Each of the places is like a jewel that sparkles off the face of the globe," says Jeffrey T. Hopper, dean of International Programs. "Participation invariably makes for a life-changing experience. It is a special opportunity to see another face that God put on people. Semester after semester our students return seemingly having matured by years. They return with more poise, self-assurance and confidence, and with the knowledge that they can make their way in the world."
Although participants in the 35th annual Spring Sing will play to the theme "Unfinished," their performances will show polish and refinement. After more than six months of organization and rehearsals, seven club acts, an ensemble of 20, the University Jazz Band, and four talented hosts and hostesses will take to the Benson Auditorium stage March 20-22.
"This date is earlier than it has ever been before and earlier than it will ever be for another century," said Director Steven Frye. "It will be a daunting task to mount the production in time. Spring Sing starts on the very first day of spring this year. But then again, isn't most of life about being unfinished? … In truth, every day is just another rehearsal. Our greatest reward is not in the shiny facade, but in the process of discovering how hard work, cooperation and hope help us to become what we believe.
"Spring Sing 2008 celebrates the process of discovering who you are — unfinished."
Guiding the production will be rookies Logan McLain, an undeclared sophomore from Searcy, and Haley Jane Witt, a sophomore nursing major from Chattanooga, Tenn. Second-year host David Walton, a junior music education major from Nashville, Tenn., and fourth-year hostess Jillian Shackelford, a senior family and consumer sciences major from Bolivar, Tenn., round out the quartet.
Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20; 7 p.m. Friday, March 21; and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22. Tickets are $10, $12 and $15 and may be purchased at www.hardingtickets.com
Jan. 1 signaled not only the beginning of a new year, but also the beginning of a new era in the nation's medical field. The first baby boomers start claiming Social Security benefits this year, and everyone from politicians to marketing agencies is clamoring to prepare for the largest generation of retirees in American history.
Doctors and nurses will likely face the most changes.
"Since one in four Americans are elders, the health care system needs well-prepared providers to handle this demographic shift," says Dr. Cathleen Shultz, dean of the College of Nursing. Nursing schools across the nation are reformatting their curriculums to include more gerontology content. The University's College of Nursing is a leader in this movement.
Shultz partnered with Assistant Professor of Nursing Elizabeth Lee to receive a $1,800 grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing and the American Association for Colleges of Nursing. The grant enables them to review gerontology content and develop curriculum to match national needs of the elderly.
Shultz and Lee participated in a faculty development institute in Atlanta Oct. 3-5 to help them lead their colleagues in enhancing gerontological content.
The Hartford Foundation Web site reveals that adults age 65 or older account for 48 percent of hospital days, 69 percent of home-care visits, and 83 percent of nursing facility residents. According to the foundation, fewer than 1 percent of practicing nurses are certified in geriatrics. As the number of elderly patients increases, nurses must be prepared.
Lee says the College of Nursing is already revising gerontology content. This year 28 students are participating in ombudsman training as part of a gerontological care course. To become certified in Arkansas' nationally recognized long-term care ombudsman program, students spend eight hours in classroom training and 12 hours in assisted-living and residential-care facilities. Students ensure that quality care is provided and educate residents and their families about their rights.
Although ombudsmen do not offer medical services, Lee says they practice communication and observation skills.
"It's more than just an opportunity to gain nursing experience," Lee adds. "It's an opportunity to serve the community."
Senior nursing student Reginald Randle of Lake Charles, La., another member of the curriculum committee, says the nursing program equips students like him to meet more than just the physical needs of elderly patients.
"Approaching older individuals is more of a complex process than other hospitalized clients," Randle says. "Our curriculum is designed to teach holistic nursing. This means that the care we as nurses give should encompass physiological, psychological, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of our clients. In caring for older individuals, the process of holistic nursing is the same, but it comes at a different pace."
Lee notes that Americans are not only demanding better health care, they are also living longer and suffering more diseases. She says this — coupled with the fact that the number of people 65 years and older will double during the next 30 years — creates an urgent need to teach graduates critical care geared specifically toward elderly patients.
Shultz and Lee will continue to enhance the curriculum throughout the year and will participate in short- and long-term evaluations of the project as they prepare nursing majors for future gerontological responsibilities.
The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education for five additional years. According to the award letter, the grant was extended five years instead of the usual four because the "application scored within the top 10 percent of all the applications."
Out of 318 eligible applications, only 181 were funded. The University, one of only three schools in Arkansas to offer the program, has been funded at $231,000 for the first year of this five-year grant cycle and will serve 26 students per year.
Students who have successfully completed at least one year of college and who are either low-income and first-generation college students or from minority groups are eligible.
The program aims to provide academically enriching experiences to enhance students' abilities and prepare them for eventual doctoral study. McNair Scholars receive a stipend of up to $2,800 for 10 weeks of summer research under the guidance of faculty mentors who represent the disciplines in which the students hope to pursue graduate work.
Since its inception in 2003, the program has served 38 University students. Of the 19 who have graduated, 13 are pursuing graduate degrees, which compares well with national statistics.
"Nationally, approximately 25-30 percent of undergraduates enroll in graduate school at any time following college graduation," says Dr. Linda Thompson, director of the McNair Program.
For the last 10 years, schoolchildren in the coastal village of El Icacal, El Salvador, have become very excited as August draws closer. They are not starting a new school year; they've been in class since January and will not finish until October. And no major holiday is nearing.
Instead, they are anticipating the arrival of a group of Harding students who are coming to spend a week fostering relationships and encouraging them in their studies — a week that will include spiritual, creative, educational, leadership-building and teamwork activities.
The group, named the Jesus Project, began in 1997 when several Walton Scholars on campus wanted to start an outreach that would impact a community in Latin America. They were inspired by the late Sam Walton's admonition to "give something back." A family connection introduced them to the El Icacal School, and the project was born.
Today, the once-a-year endeavor has grown to include yearlong efforts. The summer campaign continues, but University alumni run a Christmas project and other activities throughout the year.
In 2004 the Jesus Project began Proyecto Icacal, which aims to see every child in El Icacal graduate from high school. Activities and donations center around motivating the children to attend school and include providing school supplies, uniforms, medical attention, field trips, computers and development programs. The organization currently helps 300 students at three schools, even monitoring students' attendance and grades weekly.
To pay for the trips, as well as supplies, University students hold numerous fund-raisers during the fall and spring semesters — including waiting tables at Pizza Pro, CAB movie night, selling calendars, and even hosting a Latin dinner at church. They also meet biweekly to organize and plan for August.
"The purpose of the meetings is to develop leaders," said group president Diego Alvarado, a junior international business and marketing major from Guatemala City, Guatemala. Each gathering focuses on one aspect of the Jesus Project's core culture and includes leadership training. Planning is key, with students choosing a theme in the fall, assessing the area in the winter, and developing a detailed schedule by spring.
"We've learned from experience," said Alvarado. "You must be prepared."
Ultimately, he added, Jesus Project aims to assist not only schoolchildren, but also El Icacal as a whole, and has embraced the concept of community tourism. "It is not a big tourism area, but it has so much potential," he said. "We want to provide tools for the community to stand by itself."
And they are working toward that end, one fund-raiser, one meeting, and most importantly, one child at a time.
Two speakers have been added to the American Studies Institute Distinguished Lecture Series lineup. Veteran civil rights attorney Fred Gray will speak March 13, and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus is scheduled for April 24.
Now a senior partner at the law firm of Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray & Nathanson, Gray began his career as a sole practitioner. Less than a year out of law school, at age 24, he represented Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus. Gray was also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s first lawyer.
He represented plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Ala., in which 399 poor — and mostly illiterate — African-American sharecroppers were denied treatment for syphilis. This study became notorious because it was conducted without due care to its subjects and led to major changes to protect patients in clinical studies.
Gray's appearance is co-sponsored by the College of Nursing, L.C. Sears Collegiate Seminar Series, and White County Medical Center.
Klaus studied at the Prague School of Economics, with economics becoming his lifelong specialist field. He entered politics in 1989 as federal minister of finance. In 1991 he was appointed deputy prime minister of the Czecho-Slovak Federation.
In 1990 he became chairman of the then-strongest political entity in the country — Civic Forum. After its demise in 1991, he co-founded the Civic Democratic Party and was its chairman until 2002. He won parliamentary elections in 1992 and became prime minister of the Czech Republic. In this position he took part in the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia and the foundation of an independent Czech Republic. In 1996 he successfully defended his position as prime minister in elections to the Chamber of Deputies, but resigned after breakup of the government coalition in 1997. The next year, he became chairman of the Chamber of Deputies for a four-year term. He was elected president in 2003.
He's only a senior, but Mark Voyles of Searcy is serving as CEO of White County Children's Safety Center, overseeing operations, research and development, legal team, and evaluation.
The position is fictitious, but he takes it very seriously, attending meetings and presenting information to the board of directors. Voyles is part of Social Work 412: Community Practice, a University course that has taken on the real task of assisting the center as it seeks support in White County.
A children's safety center provides child-friendly forensic interviews of reported victims, offers crisis intervention counseling or referrals for children and their families, and tracks cases to make sure not one falls through the cracks. Facilitating interagency cooperation is an essential component in meeting the center's ultimate goals.
Kathy Helpenstill, course instructor, says a "real" project such as the center — as opposed to a concocted scenario — gives the students much more motivation.
"They are doing things for actual children and families, so there is more concentration, enthusiasm, research and concern," she says. "It becomes a priority. Another benefit is the actual dealing with the board and getting live feedback from bankers, attorneys, nurses, law enforcement, etc., not just the teacher. They recognize how hard it can be in the real world of red tape and budgets."
Voyles' experience supports that assessment. "When I got the position, the first few weeks were kind of stressful," he says. "One week, one of my committees had to develop a full-scale working budget and had limited time and resources. We crammed for several hours one night."
The proposed center in Searcy will be the 10th of its kind in Arkansas.
Currently in the organizational stages, an implementation and start-up team has been working to garner community support, obtain a facility, develop a protocol, and formalize the center's status as a tax-exempt corporation.
According to the center's mission statement, its ultimate goals are "to reduce the level of trauma the system may impose on children and to help increase prosecutions of legitimate cases so perpetrators can no longer offend other children."
A Hand to Guide Me by Denzel Washington with Daniel Paisner
Reviewed by David Crouch, director of public relations
Des Moines, Iowa: Meredith Books, 2006, 272 pages
Denzel Washington and 73 other notable personalities share short essays on the people who have shaped their lives. Each story reveals the positive influence a single person had in the life of an impressionable youth at a critical moment of his or her life. Each account shares that gentle nudge from a mentor that guided the essayist to a life of achievement.
Washington is the national spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the proceeds from his debut book will benefit the national organization. A number of the essays reflect the influence of mentors and volunteers at the Boys and Girls Clubs. As might be expected, the book describes the influence of loving, but firm, parents, demanding coaches and compassionate teachers. Though the stories may have similar themes, each is told with the passion of looking back on personal life experiences.
Two of the more poignant stories were written by Walter Anderson, editor in chief of Parade magazine, and John Wooden, legendary retired college basketball coach.
Anderson remembers the mother of one of his best friends living nearby in the Bronx. Her occupation was teacher, but her trademark was encouragement. It was her four-word admonition — "You can do this." — that resounded loudly in his ears. Anderson was thrown out of parochial school at an early age and later dropped out of high school to join the Marines. When he decided to get his GED, those four words motivated him to achieve that goal and even press on to higher levels of education and the position he holds today.
For Wooden, his guiding hand came from his father, who each evening read poetry and scripture to his three sons. Wooden still carries in his wallet a verse his father gave him when he graduated from grade school.
Four things a man must learn to do/If he would make his life more true
To think without confusion, clearly/To love his fellow man, sincerely/To act from honest motives, purely/To trust in God and heaven, securely.
Wooden sprinkled other verses throughout his essay, but he gave a true reflection of his father's influence in summarizing his own life. "It is really something to have touched so many young lives and to live to see those lives grow and flourish to where they have, in turn, touched so many more."
"Is it me or are Harding University students universally bright and engaging and well-informed? My experience with Harding journalism students indicates that they are all that and more."
- Frank Fellone, deputy editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, in his column titled "Art and Craft" Dec. 6.
Linda Moran's "how I spent my summer" stories lasted all semester, and she still has more.
The assistant professor of Spanish spent four weeks in seminars and field excursions in Oaxaca, Mexico, and returned with countless applications for her Latin American literature and culture classes.
Moran was one of 24 applicants accepted for "Oaxaca: Crossroads of a Continent," a National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute for college and university teachers sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association.
According to the application, "The seminars and field study are designed to enable faculty participants to explore the exciting and rapidly accumulating new collaborative and interdisciplinary scholarship on Mixtec and Zapotec history and culture, in the contexts both of archaeological site study and contemporary indigenous communities in the state of Oaxaca."
Ten professional archaeologists, anthropologists and museum curators traveled with the group, gaining access to places tourists never see.
"The immersion in culture, traveling in and out of places … I'm still processing it," Moran said. "They were teaching us how to read codices — ancient pictographs — and we were experiencing the places depicted. We were in museums where they were processing artifacts."
She explained that archaeologists are trying to preserve a site where tens of thousands of people are still living. Although the Oaxacan people have a very vigorous life and economy, they are still tilling with plows and oxen, so the ground has not been churned by modern technology.
"I was finding all sorts of artifacts just walking in the fields," she said. "I remember holding jade beads in my hands but realizing these are not ours for the taking."
Moran collected slides instead, many of which she has used when she discusses pre-Columbian civilization and literature in classes.
"When I think about the combined experience … there is no way I could have gone to do research by myself for a few weeks and extracted all this," she said. "The exposure was amazing. In almost every class I can make reference to something."
The Roosevelt Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan national network of campus-based student think tanks, arrived on campus last fall with plans to positively impact the community and country. Group members — students interested in public policy who are looking for ways to improve the University, Searcy, White County and Arkansas — conduct research on pressing political issues and then deliver sound, progressive proposals to policymakers and advocacy groups at all levels of government.
Brett Keller, a senior political science and chemistry major from Searcy, learned about the organization on a trip to New York last summer and decided to start a University chapter with some friends. He believes the Institute is an excellent platform for involving politically minded students in the policy process and developing leadership skills.
"The Roosevelt Institute is great because so many campus organizations ask for students' time … or for their money, but few ask for their ideas," says Keller. "Involving students of politics and other fields in those activities is an excellent addition to our educational experience."
Goals for 2007-08 include ensuring that the University chapter has a sustainable structure; making a definitive, noticeable impact on campus; hosting a public debate or speaking event; and developing policy briefs to submit for publication.
Community development is one of this year's themes. Senior Steven Denney of St. Peters, Mo., said the group is currently researching White County energy development and effective means of citywide communication in Searcy.
After recognizing a call for a campus recycling program, the institute began researching available resources and implementation methods used by other university recycling programs. Said Denney, "We have already done significant research on a recycling program for Harding and have presented our case and credentials to the administration. It is safe to say that Harding is as excited about a recycling program as we are."