Encountering China’s education system
Education graduates first doctorates
Students respond to devastation in Haiti
Lectureship, Mission Workshop slated for fall
Film director mentors communication students in Italy
50 years ago
25 years ago
Point of view
Pattie Cobb Hall
‘It’s great to be at Harding’ — especially during Homecoming
C-Harmony matches churches with interns
When Susan Grogan traveled halfway around the world to China in November, she was greeted by smiling faces and a welcoming atmosphere. An assistant professor of education and literacy specialist in the Cannon-Clary College of Education’s Graduate Reading Program, Grogan made the journey with 30 other educators from 23 states.
“As we walked through the front gate of an elementary school in China, we were greeted by a line of smiling first graders saying, ‘Welcome to our school. We are glad you are here!’ in English,” says Grogan.
Grogan was one of only two educators selected from Arkansas. The group traveled as a delegation of citizen education ambassadors to Chinese teachers and administrators through the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program, an organization that works to bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange.
The delegation spent two weeks visiting students, teachers and school administrators in Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. What they gained was a better understanding of the Chinese education system along with an appreciation for American education.
“China has more honor students who have studied English than the U.S. has students, but, in spite of a fast-growing middle class and entry into the global market, the country’s education system has been much slower to progress,” says Grogan.
Although the Chinese government is working to provide education for children nationwide, parents are still required to pay tuition to cover teachers’ salaries and materials, making it impossible for all children to attend school. Students also face enormous pressure to pass exams after eighth grade to determine whether they will go to a college preparatory high school or vocational school, and then again to pass the national college entrance exam. The resulting stress has contributed to a greatly increased suicide rate among young people in China.
“One of the strengths of the American education system is that school districts are autonomous from each other and from the government,” says Grogan. “Even with national and state standards driving the ‘pass the test pressure’ here, the schools are free and available to everyone.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the People to People Citizen Ambassador Programs in 1956 to promote cultural understanding and world peace through direct interaction between ordinary citizens worldwide. Today the organization has more than 400,000 alumni across seven continents.
“Creating dialogue between nations enables growth of knowledge and opportunities for each culture to learn from the other,” says Grogan.
Bruce W. Bryant (left) of Morrilton, Ark., and Lonnie E. Myers of Van Buren, Ark., received the first two Doctor of Education degrees ever to be awarded by the Cannon-Clary College of Education at commencement exercises Dec. 19, 2009.
The educational doctorate in P-20 educational leadership began in spring 2007 and is the first such doctorate to be offered in the nation. The program gives students the expertise necessary to administrate all levels of public and private education, including P-12, higher education and graduate school.
Bryant is the principal at Morrilton Junior High School. Myers serves as assistant superintendent of Van Buren School District and will begin his new position as superintendent of the Mountain Home School District July 1.
The P-20 educational leadership program currently enrolls 32, and three of those students are on track to graduate in December 2010.
After a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti Jan. 12, political science professor Dr. Mark Elrod and freelance photographer Philip Holsinger (’07) traveled to the country to survey damage and see what the campus community could do to help. What they found was mass destruction that left the capital city, Port-au-Prince, in ruins and more than 250,000 people dead with hundreds of thousands more left homeless. They witnessed “tent cities” consisting of makeshift shelters of sticks, ropes and sheets of fabric.
In response, the Student Association created Tents and Tarps to provide immediate shelter to the overwhelming number of survivors left without a home and set up a Web site where people could make donations online. Students banded together, collecting money and tents, and 200 tents had been sent to Haiti by Feb. 1. A group of students even “camped out” for Haiti in the Ganus Athletic Center Feb. 12.
The event, dubbed InTents Night, kicked off with a benefit concert featuring several Harding student bands. After the concert, about 75 students camped overnight in the athletic center, participating in a devotional led by engineering instructor Jimmy Huff who has participated in mission work in Haiti. They also set up a prayer tent, played games and raised money by setting up individual donation pages through the online fundraising site Kimbia. First Security Bank sponsored the night, donating $1,000, and the students raised another $1,000 — enough money to buy 40 tents and provide shelter for 240 people.
Tents and Tarps raised more than $70,000 from the Harding community and about $210,000 more through partnerships with other organizations. Nearly 3,700 tents were sent to Haiti.
Others on campus lent a hand. Aid efforts organized by students and faculty in the College of Pharmacy and the Physician Assistant Program collected a generous amount of item donations and more than $1,000 in monetary contributions. About $800 was used to purchase additional hygiene items, filling nearly 40 buckets, and the remaining funds were given to Tents and Tarps.
Fall promises two opportunities for spiritual growth with Lectureship Sept. 26-29 on campus and the 50th World Mission Workshop Oct. 14-16 at Tahkodah in Floral, Ark.
The Lectureship theme is “Hear the Word of the Lord” and will explore God’s word in today’s world. Evertt W. Huffard, vice president and dean of the Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, Tenn., will present Sunday’s keynote address, “How Can We Hear God Over All the Noise.” Jim Baird, Pat Bills, Daniel Cherry, Don McLaughlin, Ken Neller and B. Chris Simpson will also speak throughout the week.
In addition to keynote speakers, more than 50 classes will take place each day. For more information, visit www.harding.edu/lectureship.
October’s World Mission Workshop celebrates its 50th anniversary at Harding — the same place it began. The workshop will center on the topic “That They May Have Life,” taken from John 10:10, hoping to inspire and challenge students to use their talents and abilities in the universal kingdom of God and give practical applications for a life of service to God through hands on activities, fireside discussions and worship.
A group of 22 students from the College of Communication spent their spring break immersed in Florentine culture while capturing highlights of the University’s semester-long international program in Italy — all with the help of feature film director Jay Russell.
A childhood friend of Dr. Jack Shock, professor of communication, Russell has directed such films as “The Water Horse,” “Ladder 49,” “Tuck Everlasting” and “My Dog Skip.” He acted as an on-site mentor as students gained real-world experience in film, news writing and public relations.
The students, who competed for a slot to go on the trip, split into two teams while staying in the Avanti Italia Bible School building in Scandicci. One group produced a documentary about life in the 16th-century villa that is home to the program in Florence, following students who were studying there for the semester. The other group captured life inside and around the villa through writing and photography, telling stories of local residents, and their social and political surroundings.
“The chance to go overseas and do some reporting and learn about the culture and what issues are important to the Italians is a great experience for our students,” says Jim Miller, assistant professor of communication. “This is a very focused opportunity for our students to practice their skill sets in an international culture.”
Students followed those enrolled in the semester-long program as they toured traditional Florence highlights such as churches, museums and markets. They then added videos, photos and blog entries about their experiences to The Link, a student news Web site created by the mass communication department. The site provides an outlet for students pursing professions in communication to experiment with reporting via mass media.
Shock says he hopes students learned from people who do not think like them and came back with a changed worldview.
“This was a time for students to get up from the desk and go out to talk to real people in real places about real things,” says Shock.
Miller, Shock and other faculty accompanied the group, along with Dr. Jeff Hopper, dean of international programs. The collaboration between Hopper and the College of Communication made possible the opportunity for enhanced, hands-on learning while showcasing the program in Florence.
As an alumna of the interior design program, Coordinator and Assistant Professor Amy Cox has seen the program grow from relatively new to recently accredited.
Not just what you see on HGTV …
Interior design considers so many important factors. First and foremost, we look at the people using the space and spend an enormous amount of time learning what a client’s everyday life is and what their needs are. From a residential standpoint, that includes what their future plans are and the dynamics of their home life. In a commercial standpoint, it has a lot to do with efficiency, the corporate image they’re trying to portray, morale of the people working there, and the safety of people using the space. We have to make sure the space is going to be healthy and safe. Aesthetics are not always the driving factor but are an important part.
How is the focus on “going green” being integrated into your classes?
Building-related industries like ours have been going green for decades. We have been implementing and teaching some of those principles for some time. Due to public awareness and clients being more open and, in some cases, driving it, our profession now has standards that help measure the greenness of a building or benchmarks that designers need to work in certain green aspects. We are teaching those as well.
We are also encouraging students to do at least some of their projects as green or sustainable, utilizing environmentally friendly practices.
What are some unique projects in the program?
One of the projects with the biggest reputation is the branding project. It combines graphic designers and interior designers on a team. They work toward developing a different kind of brand each year. Some years it’s hospitality or hotels, restaurants or stores — several different types of fictitious companies. They develop the branding strategy — everything from the logo all the way to the actual interior space, Web sites, advertisements, and sometimes uniforms for the people working there.
They learn through this process not only how to work in a group, but how to work in a group with people who are not of their same major.
It is the one project in which we give the least amount of parameters and where they put in the most work. For most students, it is the turning point where they realize they can do it. And it builds confidence in them as far as their creativity and their openness to be creative.
What is your advice to graduates who may have a hard time finding a job in this field?
It’s a hard environment right now for a lot of professions, ours included. I would say for students who go out and cannot find a job right away to not get discouraged. I am very candid and honest with them so they realize they’re probably going to have to wait — sometimes up to a year. I pass on advice that was given to me: treat looking for a job as their job. The jobs out there are going to the people who are tenacious and are trying harder to find them. If they want it, they’ll work hard to find it.
It’s encouraging now because I’ve heard back from several students that had to wait but are now finding jobs. I sense that it is loosening up, so hopefully by the time most of our current students are ready to graduate, they will have a friendlier environment.
What do you hope your students leave with?
I hope they walk away with more than just the tools they need to be able to do their job. I really hope they leave with a strong character, a godly work ethic, and the desire to do their best and be the best. I want them to be honest, caring and concerned about the people they are designing for — not just because it is their job. I stress being very professional and extremely responsible to not only your employer but to your clients, to the public, to the environment, to take all of that very seriously.
It is so encouraging when I hear back from employers or intern sponsors that there is just something different about our students. Harding has a very unique opportunity and takes very seriously the training of the actual character of the person and students as they learn through these projects how to strive for the best. And if they learn that here, then that’s how they are going to be outside of school. I’ve successfully done my job if they are that level of quality, not only in their skill, but also in their personal character. H
Graduating from Harding in 1993, Cox worked in commercial interior design for Lee Architects/Interior Designers in Denver and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, focusing on health care design for the majority of her early career. She began teaching at the University as an adjunct professor, becoming full time in 2001.
[Behind the brick]
One of only two original buildings still remaining from Galloway College, Pattie Cobb Hall was originally called Holmes Hall and was their only dorm on campus. The classic architecture of Pattie Cobb makes it an easily recognizable University landmark. And while the structure holds so much Harding history, so does the life of its namesake.
Cobb met her husband, James A. Harding, while he was a traveling preacher being housed by her parents. Together, the couple advocated Christian education and was instrumental in the creation of Nashville Bible School in 1871 (now Lipscomb University) and Potter Bible College in Bowling Green, Ky., in 1901. Their eldest daughter, Woodson, married Harding College’s first president, J.N. Armstrong.
Upon Harding College’s move to Searcy, the combined girls dorm and cafeteria was named in her honor as an “attempt to show our appreciation” for her “love for young boys and girls and deep interest in Christian education” (Petit Jean, 1936).
Still serving as a women’s residence hall, the building is probably best known for feeding the entire campus for decades. In its 40 years of service, it is estimated that three-fourths of a billion meals were served in Pattie Cobb.
Namesake: Pattie Cobb Harding
Year built: 1919
Current use: Women’s residence hall (mostly sophomores and juniors)
Best known for: Housing the main campus dining hall 40 years
You won’t want to miss:
• “Thoroughly Modern Millie” musical (www.hardingtickets.com for tickets)
• Alumni chapel
• Class and club reunions
• Harding Family Picnic with petting zoo and inflatable games
• Football team vs. Arkansas Tech University
• Heritage Circle Banquet honoring the classes of ’45, ’50, ’55 and ’60
• Black and Gold Banquet honoring distinguished alumni from each college
• Bison Daze (www.harding.edu/admissions/
For more information regarding these events and how to be a part of
them, visit www.harding.edu/homecoming.
When Career Services at the University wanted to come up with a unique new way for churches across the country to interview potential interns, they developed C-Harmony, which closely resembles speed dating and allows churches to interview multiple students in one afternoon.
The annual event took place Jan. 28 on campus and drew representatives from 36 churches across eight states with more than 225 interviews conducted. Each church representative had an individual table with a sign hanging overhead to identify them.
“There are a wide variety of churches that come,” says Deb Bashaw, director of Career Services. “Some of the churches have youth ministries, and they’re just adding interns for the summer. And some of them are wanting somebody to come in and do a youth program for the summer.”
Youth ministry majors at Harding are required to intern, and the churches provide a paid internship and room and board for the summer. But the interviews are also open to other students on campus as well as alumni who want to work with teenagers.
“This is open to any student on campus who has a heart for working with teenagers,” says Bashaw. “Sometimes it’s a student who has had a really good youth minister and wants to provide that kind of mentorship to other teens. Sometimes it’s someone who didn’t have a youth group and just wants to make a difference.”
C-Harmony stands for church harmony and focuses on the importance of the relationship between church congregations and ministers. The event has been a huge success since it started three years ago, and Bashaw says they plan to continue for years to come.
“The first year we started we had 15 churches, and the second year we had 24. This year we were significantly higher. We’ve gotten a lot of really good feedback from both churches and students who have gone out and done internships,” says Bashaw.
The next C-Harmony event will be Jan. 17, 2011.