Harding Magazine

Around Campus

Yecke dean of graduate programs
Communication evolves into college
Roy Sawyer: A lifetime of leadership
ASI offers restaurateur, renaissance man
Exploring 'The Capital of the World'
Understanding key for longtime dorm mom
Go Green initiative unveiled
Experiencing politics
Point of view
Students 'RockOn' with NASA
Wind Ensemble honors esteemed director
Chorus aids earthquake victims in China

Yecke dean of graduate programs

Dr. Cheri Pierson Yecke joined the University July 1 as dean of graduate programs and associate professor of education. In her role as dean, she serves as coordinator of admissions, catalogs, marketing and core policies for all graduate programs.

Dr. Cheri Pierson Yecke"We are pleased that Dr. Yecke has agreed to join our staff," said President David B. Burks. "Her wealth of experience and commitment to Christian education will strengthen our national and international presence at the graduate and undergraduate level."

Most recently, Yecke served as chancellor of K-12 education in Florida, where she worked for Gov. Jeb Bush. She has also served as commissioner of education in Minnesota, secretary of education in Virginia, and director of teacher quality at the U.S. Department of Education.

"Dr. Yecke's background shows that she is a skilled communicator and effective organizer," said Dr. Larry Long, vice president for Academic Affairs. "Her leadership abilities and wide experience in education will help us put additional focus and emphasis on the more than 20 graduate programs we currently offer."

Yecke received her doctoral degree in gifted education from the University of Virginia.

She was an award-winning classroom teacher for 10 years before moving into the education policy arena. Yecke has published two books and numerous articles and has given multiple presentations across the nation.


Communication evolves into college

Effective with the start of the fall semester, the Department of Communication has been redesignated as the University's eighth college. Dr. Mike James, department chair since 1993, is serving as dean.

The college houses the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and the divisions of Mass Communication, Oral Communication and Theatre under the leadership of Dr. Rebecca O. Weaver, Dr. Jack Shock, Dr. Pat Garner and Robin Miller, respectively.

"This move aligns with the strategic goal of reshaping our organizational structure to match the growth and complexity of our academic programs," said Dr. Larry Long, vice president for Academic Affairs.

"Dr. James has been a strong and effective leader in the Department of Communication, and I anticipate he will continue that tradition at the level of dean," he added.

Formerly housed within the College of Arts and Humanities, the new college offers 10 undergraduate majors and one graduate degree. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders offers the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology. Six areas of study are available for students in mass communication: advertising, broadcast journalism, electronic media production, print journalism, public relations, and Web design and interactive media. The oral communication major — with the option for teacher licensure — sharpens the interpersonal, cross-cultural and technical skills necessary to use the voice as an effective tool. The theatre major integrates fine arts, humanities and performing arts into one experience.

More than 325 students are currently pursuing a degree through the College.

The new college continues to be responsible for award-winning student publications — the Bison weekly student newspaper and Petit Jean yearbook; VideoWorks production company; KVHU radio; a cable TV station; the fall musical production and approximately 15 plays each year; Spring Sing; and a public speech-therapy clinic.

James, a distinguished professor of communication, has served on faculty since 1979. He holds the Ph.D. from Florida State University. He is a member of and contributor to the Broadcast Education Association. James was one of 30 faculty members selected as a 2007 faculty fellow for the National Association of Television Program Executives annual conference.Sen. Percy Malone


"Harding University has proven its ability to prepare graduates for the world, and the College of Pharmacy will be absolutely no different."
— Arkansas state Sen. Percy Malone, addressing the inaugural class at the College of Pharmacy's White Coat Ceremony Aug. 22.

Roy Sawyer: A lifetime of leadership

Longtime board member and Sardis, Miss., resident Roy Henry Sawyer Jr., 83, died July 3.

He was a lifelong advocate of Christian education, although his own circumstances did not allow him to attend such an institution. Instead he joined the Navy during World War II, serving in the Pacific Theatre, and later received an Army commission and rose to the rank of colonel in the Mississippi National Guard.

The war may have shifted his college plans, but his military training allowed him to earn a degree in naval sciences.

Ron SawyerFollowing his military service, he returned to Sardis and began a farming equipment business with his brother. He was then asked to serve on the board of the Bank of Sardis, from which he retired in 1986 after 30 years as president. That same year, Mississippi Gov. Bill Allain appointed him commanding officer of the newly formed Mississippi State Guard. He retired a two-star general.

He joined the University Board of Trustees in 1966, serving as chairman from 1976-80.

He led the search committee for President Clifton L. Ganus Jr.'s successor and considered it one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

In addition to his 42 years of dedication to the University, Sawyer's community service included membership on the board of Sunnybrook Children's Home and Sardis Chamber of Commerce. In 1977 he was appointed to a national committee in Washington, D.C., for Employer Support of Guard and Reserves and chaired the state committee of ESGAR for more than a decade.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marjorie West; a son, Roy H. III ('80); a daughter, Sheri Salley ('78); and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, John Edward.


ASI offers restaurateur, Renaissance man

Truett CathyS. Truett Cathy, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Chick-fil-A Inc., continues the American Studies Institute 2008-09 Distinguished Lecture Series Nov. 13.

What began in 1946 as an Atlanta diner called Dwarf Grill is now the second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual sales.

Cathy's approach is largely driven by personal satisfaction and a sense of obligation to the community and its young people. WinShape Foundation, which he founded with his wife, Jeanette, in 1984, annually awards 20 to 30 students with scholarships up to $32,000. Through its Leadership Scholarship Program, Chick-fil-A has given more than $22 million in $1,000 scholarships to Chick-fil-A employees since 1973.

All Chick-fil-A locations are closed on Sundays, without exception. When not managing his company, Cathy donates his time to community efforts and teaches a Sunday school class of 13-year-old boys, as he has done for nearly 50 years.

Ben SteinAward-winning actor, economist, writer, journalist and teacher Ben Stein will speak Feb. 10, 2009. He holds a law degree from Yale University, where he also worked part time as a poverty lawyer and as an activist and demonstrator for civil rights and decent treatment of the poor.

He has taught at American University, University of California at Santa Cruz, and Pepperdine University and served as speechwriter and lawyer for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. In 1997, his hit quiz show, "Win Ben Stein's Money," began. The show has won six Emmy Awards, and Stein has won one for best game show host.

He has written and published 17 books, the latest of which is How to Ruin Your Life.

Dinesh D'Souza, the Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, began the series Sept. 23. The final spring speaker is yet to be announced.



fall 2008 enrollment, a 2.8 percent increase from fall 2007's 6,332

4,188, undergraduate enrollment, which rose .82 percent

2,322, graduate enrollment, a growth of 6.6  percent from 2,178

82 percent, fall 2008 retention rate for first-time-in-college freshmen

Exploring 'The Capital of the World'

Lester Holt talks to studentsIt's certainly not a place where everyone knows your name. But, as a group of students recently discovered, New York City is a place where many people are happy to learn.

Dr. Jack Shock, professor of communication, led 10 print journalism and public relations students on a week long tour of the city May 13-19 as part of a new course titled "Study in Mass Communication." They met with professionals representing such organizations as the Clinton Foundation, NBC News, Securities and Exchange Commission, and The

Heckscher Foundation for Children. From their home base in Times Square, they also became acquainted with the one-of-a-kind culture that is New York City.

Many of the professionals they met are alumni, including Amy Blankenship ('88) Sewell, president of Shop with Style, a company that provides information on creative gift ideas, hot new products, tips for entertaining, and shopping advice for millions of television viewers and newspaper, magazine and Web readers.

She encouraged the students to be open-minded.

"The job I do now didn't  really exist," she said. "I kind of created it. What you're going to do 10 years from now may not exist yet either."

The group also met Cara Hopper Pauls ('02), a graphic designer for BrandNow, a firm that has helped create new products and brands for such companies as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Procter & Gamble. Pauls, who grew up in Searcy, moved to New York soon after graduating.

While she cautioned that the city is not an environment in which everyone would be comfortable living, she believes that, overall, New York "is a very kind place." She added, "I would not have this job anywhere else in the world."

Lester Holt, co-anchor of "Today" weekend edition and anchor of "NBC Nightly News" weekend edition, met with the group in NBC studios after broadcasting "Today." He discussed how the medium of television is changing and explained his responsibility as a journalist.

"There is a strong moral bearing to my job as a reporter," he said. "What we do reflects our values. We have a tremendous impact. We change people's lives, for better or worse. You have a moral responsibility to the people you deal with. You have to bring some compassion to the job. I try to carry that respect through to anyone I interview, even if they have views I don't like or agree with."

Said Shock of the experience, "Sometimes in the city of 7 million people it might be easy to feel overwhelmed. I wanted my students to hear from people at various stages of their lives and careers in New York — from the 23-year-old who arrived fresh out of college to the 53-year-old at the top of his game. Career trajectories were the focus of this trip."



Understanding key for longtime dorm mom

In her 20th year as a residence life coordinator, Katrina Timms ('78) can sense early on how dorm life is going to go in a particular year or, at least, which residents may present particular challenges.

Katrina Timms"It runs from, 'Mrs. Timms, I baked a quiche, come try a piece,' to calls asking, 'How do you bake a potato?'" she explains.

"When you get one of the latter, you think, 'It's going to be a long year.'"

She has served as RLC in Pryor Hall since it opened in 2002. She previously oversaw Shores Hall and West Apartments.

When Timms began, she and her husband, Tony ('79), had three children, and she wanted a job that allowed her to be at home with them. Those three children no longer live in the dorm, but that is all her fourth child, a 9-year-old son, has ever known.

Being able to stay home with her children has had some trade-offs. "My own children probably feel like every conversation in life they've had has been interrupted," Timms admits. "They've had to share me with a lot of people. But they're always proud when they hear someone say, 'Your Mom was my dorm mom.'"

Timms' advice to someone considering a job like hers is fairly straightforward: "You have to be willing to be inconvenienced all the time.

"Someone is always locked out; someone is always sick; someone is always hurting. You have to be gracious. You have to have a willingness to live in a glass house — to raise your family in public. It's very humbling and challenging."

Though the faces have changed over the last 19 years, the challenges remain. She says there is always something new. "I used to be afraid to open my door, thinking, 'I won't know what to do,'" she says. "I don't feel that way anymore. I've learned to deal with crises. Going to the ER is just something that you do.

"Coming from a family that was less than perfect helps me to understand people who come from 'life.' I at least understand, even if I don't know how to resolve the issue. Maybe that's the greatest need students face — just being understood."


Go Green initiative unveiled

Green is the new black and gold. On April 22, the University celebrated Earth Day by announcing an initiative to "Go Green."

The administration first tested the green waters with an open environmental forum. Thirteen students attended and eagerly addressed issues as broad as a campus-wide switch to a renewable energy source and as narrow as turning off continuously running LCD monitors at night.

Also as a preliminary step, the cafeteria observed Earth Day by going trayless. The responses were so positive that the cafeteria no longer offers trays. This simple action saves nearly a half-gallon of heated water per tray, reduces food waste by 25 to 30 percent per consumer, and helps prevent cleaning agents from polluting the water supply.

Additional environmentally friendly initiatives abound on campus. Danny DeRamus, director of Physical Resources, reports that since the installation of programmable thermostats, "The price of usage has stayed the same, even with the addition of buildings over the last several years."

New or recently renovated buildings such as the Ulrey Performing Arts Center and Center for Health Sciences are fitted with thermostats that can only be shifted two or three degrees at a time. This decreases the workload for air conditioning and heating units and has also cut down on maintenance calls.

The new Center for Health Sciences is the first building on campus to reap energy benefits from a motion detector-based lighting system.

Since its recent inception, the recycling program has expanded from three trial containers to 46 bins across campus. Every residence hall's trash room features paper, plastic and aluminum recycling bins.

Paper recycling is also available in nearly every office. An upsurge in the number of recycled goods on campus illustrates University participation. In May, 415 loads of recycled paper goods were picked up. By June, even though fewer people were on campus, that number had risen to 595. As students, faculty and staff become more acclimated to recycling procedures, every day will soon be green on campus.


Experiencing politics

It wasn't the Beltway, but this fall a student and faculty member were in the center of political action on the other side of the Mississippi.

Rachel Gardner, a junior electronic media production major from Indianapolis, and Dr. Mark Elrod, professor of political science, were selected for student and faculty leader positions for The Washington Center's Campaign 2008: The Democratic National Convention Academic Seminar in Denver Aug. 17-29.

The program was part of the organization's Presidential Academic Seminar Series. The self-contained two-week seminar that began one week prior to the convention was taught as an academic course combining formal instruction, guest lectures, panels, tours, site visits and fieldwork.

Gardner decided to apply for the seminar for a variety of reasons. "I have always been interested in politics and had been actively following this year's highly competitive primary," she explained. "When the opportunity arose to not only follow, but witness in person this historic event, I could not resist. The deal was sweetened when I discovered I could receive a fieldwork placement within the media covering the event. I am considering pursuing a career in television news."

After Gardner was accepted, Elrod decided to apply. He was asked basic questions about his field of expertise — international relations — and whether he had the energy to work in a fast-paced program that required a lot of interaction with students.

In cooperation with The Washington Center Campaign staff, Elrod led a small-group discussion section comprising 10 to 15 students, including Gardner. He evaluated their academic and professional performance and oversaw their fieldwork placements.


Did you know?
The 630 colleges named "regional best" by Princeton Review represent only about 25 percent of the nation's 2,500 four-year colleges. The University is one of 139 institutions it recommends in its "Best in the Southeast" section on its Web site feature 2009 Best Colleges: Region by Region.

Harding students surveyed by Princeton Review appreciate the incorporation of faith and ethical standards in the classroom, as well as faculty members who are "training students to be leaders in their professions."

When the University was included in U.S.News & World Report's rankings in 1994 for the first time, enrollment stood at just over 4,000. The University ranked 22nd this year, up from 25th last year.

Point of view

Dan AtchleyAn associate professor in the new College of Pharmacy, Dan Atchley reveals his journey into pharmaceutical sciences.

Your path to pharmacy …
"I spent three years in the Army as a medical lab tech, got out, and went to Northeastern State College in Oklahoma to get a B.S. in medical technology. I then worked nine years in a 1,000-bed hospital as a medical technologist before joining the Air Force.

"I've spent 18 years in the Air Force as a medical lab officer, researcher and teacher at its Academy. I spent four years as chief of analytical laboratory systems at Eglin Air Force Base before I was sent for my master's degree at University of Washington-Seattle. I taught biology three years at the Academy before leaving to earn my Ph.D. Afterward, I led a biotechnology research group in San Antonio before returning to the Academy as a senior faculty member in the department of biology."

Why Searcy?
"I was one year away from a new assignment with the Air Force and unsure of where I wanted to go. My daughter met another pharmacy professor at her job and told him about me. Then Dr. Julie Hixson-Wallace [dean of the college] called me, and here I am. We moved here one year ago in June."

Your role in the pharmacy program …
"There are three major components to pharmacy. One is pharmacy science, which gives students the medical science foundation they need. My background is well suited for medical science courses needed for pharmacy education. I'm teaching classes such as medical immunology, pathophysiology and medical microbiology."

Collaborative research arrangements …
"Being a brand-new college, we have very little equipment. Harding has not traditionally been a big research school. But the  College of Pharmacy is committed to research. It is an important component, and it fits in with our mission. Our collaborative arrangement with the Air Force Academy allows us to continue current research.

"We also now have medical research with the clinic in Zambia [at the University's newest international campus]. We can marry up the research and these programs. If we can treat even one person, it is worth it."

Your interests …
"I am involved in applied research in novel antimicrobial therapies for drug-resistant microorganisms and development of reliable and portable methods to diagnose disease in remote regions of the world. … I have an interest in rapidly diagnosing diseases in missionary settings in order to treat patients.

"It is challenging to keep up with research. I have experience in diagnosing but need the treatment side. Being a part of the College of Pharmacy gives me a perfect opportunity to combine the two."

Current projects …
"This year I led a research project with two pharmacy students, Kyle King ('08) and Jacob Blair. They have invented a new antibiotic that may be useful in treating many bacterial infections. This summer I also worked with biology instructor Amber Hug and medical student April Durham ('08) in research of this new antibiotic with lots of promise."

Why focus on antibiotics?
"We live in an era when many antibiotics are no longer effective because of resistance, and we are inventing new ones. Many call it the 'post-antibiotic' era. If we are successful in our tests with a new antibiotics class, we'll be able to take [medicine] to mission fields and treat resistant bacteria."

Ethical dilemmas your students will face …
"We have a 'Christian Bioethics' class for physician assistants and pharmacists. There are a lot of Christian principles in the course. They permeate everything we teach. There are a lot of issues: Can you prolong life? At what point are you stepping over the line? I'm thankful for God giving us brains and hearts so we may discuss these issues."

Outlook for the year …
"I'm excited that we are in the first group of Christian colleges to add a pharmacy program. Christianity is all about helping people. This is an exciting time to infuse a Christian education into a health profession where people seek advice — pharmacists often spend more time with a patient than a doctor does. To have a Christian-educated professional giving that advice gives me a big, warm fuzzy."

Dr. Dan Atchley holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the Medical University of South Carolina. Before joining the faculty, he served as associate professor of biology at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he was the recipient of many teaching awards, including the U.S. Air Force Academy's Outstanding  Educator Award and the Frank J. Seiler Excellence in Research Award for Basic Sciences.


Students 'RockOn' with NASA

Steven Barber of Floral, Ark.; Paul Elliott of Gales Ferry, Conn.; and Gregory Lyons of Hudsonville, Mich., can now call themselves rocket scientists. The students earned their credentials as participants in "RockOn!" June 22-27 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va., where they learned the basics of building experiments for flight on suborbital rockets.

NASA studentsNearly 60 people from universities in 22 states and Puerto Rico participated in the workshop.

Accompanied by Chemistry Professor Ed Wilson, the three undergraduates built  experiments from kits developed by students from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium and learned about the steps and procedures for creating payloads for flight. Each experiment package included a Geiger counter and sensors for measuring temperature, acceleration and pressure. The experiments were then integrated into payload cans for launch.

The week culminated with the launch of the experiments aboard a NASA Orion sounding rocket. The 20-foot-tall, single-stage rocket flew to an altitude of 41 miles. After launch and payload recovery, participants conducted preliminary data analysis and discussed their results.

"I have a much better idea of what all it takes to make one of these things work," Barber says. "There's a ridiculous amount of preparation. The organizers of our program were working on things a couple of years in advance."

Wilson says, "It's not like taking a test on a subject. If they haven't had hands-on experience, they don't have any idea what to do. Those experiments bring home what you're trying to teach and make it more valuable to the student."

The University is a member of the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium, which funded Wilson and his students' participation in the workshop.


Wind Ensemble honors esteemed director

Eddie BaggettThis spring the Wind Ensemble will take recognition of a beloved music professor to new heights. To honor Professor Emeritus Eddie Baggett on the occasion of his 80th birthday, the Music Department has commissioned a new concert band piece by leading Arkansas composer Charles Booker. 

Baggett distinguished himself among the musical community during his long career in Arkansas. He served not only as the University's first director of bands from 1951 to 1982 and as professor of music from 1951 to 1993, but also as president of the Arkansas College Band Directors Association. Additionally, he served as secretary and vice president for the Arkansas Music Educators Association.

Booker's composition is to be in three movements: the first a fantasia on the University's Alma Mater, the second based upon melodies that Baggett's former students recall hearing him whistle, and the third a surprise variation yet to be revealed. The Wind Ensemble will premiere the piece April 23, 2009.


Chorus aids earthquake victims in China

In May, the Chorus had the opportunity to assist victims of the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China.

Led by director Cliff Ganus, 51 University students spent three weeks in China on a May 13-June 3 tour, presenting concerts in Beijing, Qingdao, Wuhan, Changsha, Xining and Xi'an. They left the United States the day after the earthquake, and, when the Chinese government declared three days of national mourning, two of their concerts in Qingdao were canceled.

Alternative performances were arranged, and the group later used some unspent funds to hire a hall for an additional concert in Xining. Donations were taken at that concert, which, along with proceeds from CD sales, brought in $1,300 for earthquake victims. Though that hall had a seating capacity of only 380, more than 450 people were admitted to the concert, and more were turned away at the door.


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