Harding Magazine Winter 2010

Around Campus

Criminal justice course hones interview skills
Advanced emergency system in place
Spring Sing plans world tour
Record enrollment opens door to housing opportunity
First students receive Yingling Scholarships
Merging horses with science education
Engineering programs attain accreditation
Point of view
Capturing history on Searcy Police building walls
Hard work pays off for PA Program
Reading Room

Criminal justice course hones interview skills

Students in the Criminal Justice Program are taking advantage of a new course that develops their interviewing techniques as they search to uncover the truth. Interview and Interrogation made its debut in the 2009-10 academic year and focuses on face-to-face interaction in both settings while developing knowledge of behavioral reactions of a suspect, victim or witness.

Program Director B.J. Houston, who teaches the class, completed two training courses in July and October that focused on various techniques of interviewing versus interrogating individuals to determine if they are being truthful in their answers. The training also zeroed in on methods of obtaining a confession from a perpetrator,  regardless of the type of crime committed.

“I anticipate that students taking the course will have a better understanding of how to conduct an interview in contrast to an interrogation once they leave Harding and enter the real world of criminal justice,” says Houston.

“Being able to conduct either one successfully (but particularly the interrogation) can lead to obtaining a confession by the perpetrator, which greatly helps in getting a conviction when the perpetrator is prosecuted in court and ultimately leads to taking the ‘bad guy’ off the street and preventing additional innocent people from becoming victims of crime.”

Students are becoming familiar with likely responses to the behavior of the interviewer while developing basic skills in conducting interviews and interrogations. Class activities include role-playing to reinforce skills learned and analyzing video clips of actual interviews and interrogations. Guest lecturers are also visiting to share their expertise on the subject.

“The information learned can be useful not only in the world of criminal justice but also in dealing with people on a day-to-day basis in assessing their credibility and honesty in what they are communicating,” says Houston.

Seventy-five students are currently enrolled in the Criminal Justice Program, which began in 1997 and is housed in the department of behavioral sciences. Students generally go on to law school or another graduate program or enter the law enforcement profession on the federal, state or local level upon graduation.


Advanced emergency system in place

The University launched a new emergency notification system and conducted a full-scale test Oct. 2. The system, powered by Everbridge, reached all but 26 of the 5,611 individuals within the Searcy campus community.

In August the Department of Public Safety began urging students and employees to sign up to receive emergency notifications and update their contact information. With fall semester in full swing, officials were ready to test the system to ensure its effectiveness and to see if it would have an impact on local cell phone service. There were no service interruptions reported.

“The University’s large-scale test of our new emergency notification system was a resounding success,” says Craig Russell, director of  public safety. “Our ability to communicate quickly and effectively during a crisis with our students and employees helps us make a safe campus even safer.”

The Everbridge system, which replaces a campus-generated notification system, allows University officials to contact students, faculty and staff in the wake of catastrophic events, evacuations or hazardous weather. A prerecorded emergency message can be distributed with the click of a button, reaching individuals through a phone call, text message or e-mail.

The campus-wide test was designed to attempt to contact the University community using six different paths up to two times each. Paths included cell, home and office phones, e-mail addresses, and text messaging. The test was sent at 1:09 p.m., and all attempts were made by 1:35 p.m. with more than 24,000 total attempts. Some individuals received the notification within seconds, and others received it within a few minutes.

In a test or actual emergency, recipients have the option to send confirmation that they have received the message once it has been distributed. The system attempts to contact each person repeatedly until it receives a response, helping the Uni­­ver­sity account for every individual on campus. Officials can target specific groups or distribute the message to the entire Harding community, including campuses in Memphis, Tenn., and North Little Rock and Bentonville, Ark.

Organizations in more than 100 countries use the Everbridge notification system.


Spring Sing plans world tour

Spring Sing HostsCelebrating its 37th year, Spring Sing promises to take its audience around the world without leaving Benson Auditorium. This year’s “International” theme explores the global reach of Harding, from international programs,  missions abroad, and students from different countries.

During the weekend of April 1-3, six club acts, the University Jazz Band, and Spring Sing Ensemble will  showcase the “global village” aspect of Harding.

This year’s show makes Spring Sing history, marking the first time four men will host the musical revue. The all-male cast includes second-year host Nate White, sophomore vocal music education major from Omaha, Neb., along with three new faces: Sam Barker, junior vocal music education and Bible major from Decatur, Ala.; Cameron Frazier, junior vocal music education major from Searcy; and Stephen McBride, freshman physics major from Williamstown, N.J.

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, April 1, and Friday, April 2, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 3. Tickets are $10, $12 and $15 and may be purchased at www.harding­tickets.com.


Record enrollment opens door to housing opportunity

Early last summer when President David B. Burks and his wife, Leah, built a new house in Searcy and moved out of their home of 22 years, a decision had to be made regarding the best use of the on-campus house they left behind. With a record enrollment in the fall came a housing shortage, which, along with the vacant house, opened the door for a unique living opportunity for 11 students.

“It has been considered for a number of uses, but we decided to use it as a women’s dorm for the interim time,” says Burks. “It was needed by students, and I felt it would be a good use of the facility.”
Girls at the table

The 11 female students were handpicked to live in the house and include a diverse line up of juniors and seniors with a variety of majors who represent multiple social clubs.

“When Dr. Burks told us early in the summer that he planned to use the house as housing for women, we started looking for girls who had already qualified for privileged housing,” says Sheri Shearin, assistant dean of students. “Girls that would be able to get along with each other, girls who had a good track record, and that we felt comfortable leaving over there.”

The students, who, according to Shearin, were all very excited and receptive to the idea, paired up into roommates, and those with the most credit hours were able to select the rooms they wanted first.

With four bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs, each pair of women share a bedroom, and four women share a bathroom. The master bedroom, also shared by two roommates, is downstairs along with a study, which was converted into a bedroom for the resident assistant. There is one bathroom downstairs and a half bathroom near the study.

Since there is not a residence life coordinator on the premises, the resident assistant reports directly to Shearin. The women abide by the same rules that apply to all University students in residential living. Curfews, sign-out sheets, and health and safety inspections are enforced, and men are not allowed inside the house.

Although the living setup closely resembles that of other dorms on campus, life in the house has its perks. Junior Layne Collins sees living in the house as a great blessing and enjoys the large kitchen and also the roominess of the house for studying. She has been nicknamed the “mom” of the house, and her baked goods can often be found on the counter for the other girls to enjoy.

“My favorite parts of living in University House are the girls that I live with and the extra time we spend together,” says Collins. “Because there are bigger common areas (the living room and TV room), I feel that the girls in the house spend more time around each other and form stronger relationships.”

Each set of roommates has an assigned day of the week to do their laundry, and there is a “community jar” in the kitchen where they contribute $10 each per month for house expenses such as dishwashing detergent and kitchen staples. They keep a “cleaning calendar” on the refrigerator and come together every two weeks for a mass cleaning.
Strong relationships achieved through  quality time spent together and teamwork in everyday duties have created an overall harmony in the house, and the women have even started a weekly tradition of “family dinner” on Sunday nights.

“We take turns preparing dinner for everyone,” says Collins. “This gives us at least one set time during the week to sit down and enjoy a meal together. We also like to pray together at curfew at least twice a week.”

Collins says she has really enjoyed her experience living in the house and would definitely like to be considered again next year.

According to Burks, the house will most likely be used for overflow housing until the next president is selected after his retirement.


First students receive Yingling  Scholarships

Thirteen students were honored as first recipients of the Louis Yingling Family  Endowed Scholarship Fund at a reception Nov. 3.

The late Louie Yingling, a farmer from Pangburn, Ark., left his estate to the University for Bible scholarships specifically with hopes to provide for students as the children he never had. Yingling attended Harding from 1937-38 but was unable to continue his education for financial reasons.

Yingling’s cousin and executor of his estate, Dewitt Yingling, greeted students at the ceremony.

Recipients of the $10,000 per year scholarship are Lacey Bates, freshman youth and family ministry major from Atlanta, Ga., and Addison Keele, freshman missions major from Broken Arrow, Okla.

Recipients of the $5,000 per year scholarship are:
•    John Birke, senior missions major, Fayetteville, Ark.
•    Matthew Flynn, sophomore preaching major, New Market, Ala.
•    Chris Knipple, senior missions and Biblical languages double major, Enterprise, Ala.
•    Abigail Mosby, junior missions major, Spanish Fort, Ala.
•    Swayne Parsons, sophomore youth and family ministry major, Port Orange, Fla.
•    David Schilling, sophomore youth and family ministry and electronic media production double major, Champaign, Ill.
•    B. Chris Simpson, senior youth and family ministry and Christian education double major, Dallas
•    Daniel Smith, sophomore youth and family ministry major, Paducah, Ky.
•    Cory Spruiell, sophomore Bible and religion major, Vilonia, Ark.
•    Savannah Steiner, sophomore leadership and ministry and communication sciences and dis­orders double major, Mabelvale, Ark.
•    Eric Suddeath, junior youth and fam­­ily ministry major, Amarillo, Texas.


Merging horses with science education

Boy with horseFor the first time, Cannon-Clary College of Education held an eight-session equine studies program called “Science and Horse Sense” this fall. The program utilized horses to merge relationship skill-building activities with academics to enhance science education.

Children from area schools participated in the program, which focused on building teamwork and relationship skills using Equine Assisted Learning, a hands-on system that utilizes the horse as a partner in the learning process. Activities include grooming, leading, haltering and using obstacle courses to incorporate the use of mind, body and spirit. The process helps students build self-esteem, improve communication skills and enrich relationships.

Amy Adair, a science instructional specialist in the College, envisioned the program after hearing about the Black Stallion Literacy Project, which encourages children to read through hands-on activities with horses and Black Stallion books written by Walter Farley. Adair realized that the same principles could be applied to increase a child’s interest in science.

After spending a couple of hours working with horses, students conducted authentic scientific investigations such as using technological tools to examine drinking water to ensure that it was at optimum temperature for the horse. Another project checked and measured the vital signs of the horse. Students also dissected an eye, worked with GPS activity and did DNA extraction. Each scientific investigation was organized according to Arkansas state frameworks for education.

Adair, who hosts the program at her farm just outside Searcy, completed training to become an equine specialist in September through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, an international organization that certifies equine specialists and therapists. She worked with Dr. Todd Patten, assistant professor of education, and Anne Lehman, who works with the professional counseling program, to lead the study. Vicki Garland, a science specialist at the Wilbur D. Mills Educational Service Cooperative, also worked with the team.

The program has prompted plans for an equine assisted psychotherapy and learning class for University students to be offered beginning fall 2010. Students pursuing a degree in professional counseling would learn how to set up activities with horses to be used in learning and therapy through the course. The equine studies program will also offer professional development opportunities for Arkansas teachers beginning in the spring.
For more information about the equine studies program, contact Adair at aadair@harding.edu.


Engineering programs attain accreditation

The electrical and mechanical engineering programs received accreditation in August from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The commission conducted a site visit and evaluation in September 2008.

Housed in the engineering and physics department, the electrical and mechanical engineering programs began in fall 2004. The computer engineering program, which started in fall 2000, was accredited separately in 2007.

“Having our electrical and mechanical programs accredited now, along with the computer engineering program, demonstrates Harding’s commitment to excellence in a broad range of academic degree programs,” says Dr. Larry Long, vice president of academic affairs.


Point of view

Associate Professor of Political Science Steven Breezeel discusses that, while time and presidents change, ideas remain the same.

What led you to political science?
Steve BreezeelI’ve always had an interest in studying politics and government, trying to understand why things are the way they are. There was initially this idea of “I want to know more about this.” There’s the opportunity within the field of political science for us to go beyond the idea of sitting around drinking coffee and arguing politics to getting real data and conducting serious research. Rather than making up stories about why voters might support one particular candidate more than another, we can actually go out and ask them questions: “Why did you support this candidate over another?” We can look at characteristics of successful candidates rather than just guessing and really figure out what influences voters.

The science behind politics …
Political science was originally part of the field of history. When they formed a separate field, they wanted to apply a scientific method to politics. You’re studying people and how they behave. It’s a neat field; it’s got a lot of promise to it. It’s nice to be able to take the next step and look at evidence, look for patterns, and try to figure out if we can understand what makes people tick and how they interact in the political arena. 

On-campus application …
Last year I took my Elections class and had them do a survey to find out about the distribution of partisanship on campus. You hear this idea that there are only Republicans at Harding, so the class went out to see. So, are there Democrats at Harding? Yes, there are in fact Democrats at Harding. Are they outnumbered by the Republicans at  Harding? Yes, they are in fact outnumbered by a really big margin (6.8 to 1). Is this something that surprised anybody? No, but we were able to go and find out what the distribution looked like and see if Harding students voted for Barack Obama or John McCain. That’s the kind of thing about political science that is fun to me.

How have you seen students change as far as political views over the years?
Essentially what I get with my students is a cohort that may be more conservative or more liberal than the previous one, but then I’ll also get cohorts that differ in terms of their engagement. Some of them are right-wing radicals, some are left-wing radicals, and most are somewhere in between. The majority of students are content to sit around and talk about politics, but every once and awhile, I’ll get students who are really plugged in. We had one young lady who was heavily involved in Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe’s campaign a couple of years ago and others who have worked with members of Congress, judges and other officials. Some of them are much more about plugging into the halls of power, and others are more geared toward the analytical side of things.

Has the current political climate affected your class?
The one thing about politics is there’s always something new on the agenda. We’re trying to solve some sort of a problem, and, if we solve it, it goes away, and we find a new problem. Other issues tend to defy permanent solutions and remain on the agenda for generations. We’ve been arguing and studying about economic policy forever. We can look at that and how that influenced the election of the presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. With the upcoming health care policy, you can hear echoes of the Clinton administration. We’ve been down this road. It’s a different set of proposals, but the whole idea of health care reform has been part of the public debate for a long time. You can go all the way back to the ’60s with Medicare. In politics, we go from one issue to the next. The things that people talk about change, but, in terms of the underlying game, it’s always happening.

Has time changed how and what you teach?
I want to make what we’re doing relevant, so I continually bring in examples that are current. For instance, since 2001, when I deal with  international politics, I spend a lot more time on terrorism than I used to. When you’re dealing with the presidency, which is a class I’m teaching right now, we are naturally going to talk about the issues of the day, but I don’t want my classes to disintegrate into Republicans and Democrats arguing about whether we should pass a specific bill. I try to keep it in the realm of analyzing the process and focusing on how people interact as opposed to spending a lot of time debating the merits of the Senate Finance Committee’s bill.

Dr. Steven Breezeel (’94) is an associate professor of history and political science in the College of Arts and Humanities. He earned his Ph.D. from University of Illinois. Breezeel teaches U.S. National Government, the Presidency, Congress, Elections and Research Methods.


Capturing history on Searcy Police building walls

Nick with his artPainting major Nick Peirce began his journey as an artist with his brother’s coloring book and a box of crayons when he was just a child. His brother told him the only way he could color on the pages was if he stayed in the lines. Now, as a senior at the University, Peirce is coloring the walls of the Searcy Police Department.

While taking an art class taught by assistant professor Beverly Austin, he was assigned to create a mural for a local business or individual. Austin told Peirce that the police department was looking for someone to paint a mural in their building, so he set up a time to meet with them.

“I met with the chief of police and his secretary, and they showed me pictures of who they wanted in the murals and also which buildings and events around Searcy they wanted to include,” says Peirce.

Peirce, who says he used his camera and imagination to get started, created the first mural to depict a veteran officer and his patrol car with the historic White County Court House in the background. The second mural shows another officer conducting a routine traffic stop while a backup officer waits on a motorcycle. The third mural features two officers standing outside the department building engaged in conversation. 

The entire process has taken one and a half years, and Peirce still has two murals left to do on what will become the “Hall of Honor” at the department. The two remaining murals are only “sketches and ideas at the moment,” according to Peirce. One of those murals will include his father, Terry, who was a police officer at the department for 10 years before he died in 2003 from nonwork related issues.

“I think he would be very proud to see the work I have done,” says Peirce.

Peirce has done everything from oil and acrylic painting to watercolor and drawings and even attempted pottery once. He admits he has trouble pinpointing his favorite piece of artwork, but his most memorable piece is a print of Bob Ross, host of “The Joy of Painting,” which aired on PBS stations across the U.S. for 12 years.

“I used to watch him on TV when I was a kid, painting and talking about all the ‘happy little trees.’ [He’s] just one of my many inspirations.”

Peirce will graduate in May and plans to pursue a master’s degree at Memphis College of Art. He plans to teach art at a university while commissioning work and hopes to create art on a full-time basis after retirement. For now, he continues to draw inspiration from his faith, family and friends.

“When I first started doing art work, I just did it because I liked it and because I was pretty good,” says Peirce. “But now I do art for the glory of God because without him, my art wouldn’t be possible.”


Hard work pays off for PA Program

The Physician Assistant Program received continued accreditation in September from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

The 28-month graduate program began summer 2005 and is the first physician assistant program in Arkansas. Currently, 64 students are enrolled in the program.

“We are honored at having received accreditation for a period of five years with no citations. This is unusual for a program as young as Harding’s,” says Dr. Michael  Murphy, program director. “The credit goes to the program faculty and staff and our many clinical preceptors who have all worked so hard to meet the accreditation standards and provide quality PA education and clinical training for our students.”

The program’s next review by ARC-PA will be in September 2014.



Bible and Religion professors review their latest reads

God WorkGod Work: Confessions of a Standup Theologian by Randy Harris
Reviewed by Nathan Guy, assistant professor of Bible
Abilene, Texas: Leafwood, 2009, 163 pages

Many congregations (and even families) are experiencing interchurch and intergenerational conflict. Competing voices seem to be replacing honest conversation; harsh rancor often appears more common than reasoned dialogue. What is needed is a person who can speak inspirationally to a broad spectrum of readers, appreciating strengths and weaknesses on both sides of sensitive issues, while encouraging everyone to move beyond pet interests into a deeper level of spirituality. In God Work, 1979 Harding alumnus and Abilene Christian University professor Randy Harris lends a mediating voice to the discussion.

In his opening chapter, Harris invites both sides of any dispute to maintain a commitment to doctrine as well as to each other. Appreciating the fact that every reader is an interpreter, Harris pleads with those in disagreement to clarify the question under dispute, never equating first order questions (such as love for God and neighbor) with second order ones (such as issues of church organization). However, pursuit of discipleship includes a healthy desire to please God in every   aspect of life.

The book includes several attempts to tackle challenging topics — such as the role of God in the world or the threat of mixing Christianity with nationalism — through clever analogies. For example, Harris attacks some of the central tenets of Calvinism by means of a card game illustration in which your partner (God) sometimes responds to the cards you play (i.e., the role of prayer); you will lose some hands (i.e., not everything is “willed” by God), though God’s team wins in the end.

The most important contribution this book provides is a framework and language for dialogue. The book serves a critical role of bridging what can only be described as a lamentable divide. Unity comes through understanding and understanding through conversation. With humor and insight, Harris matches wit with wisdom in a book that is sure to keep the conversation going.

In the AftermathIn the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments by David Bentley Hart
Reviewed by Dr. Keith D. Stanglin, assistant professor of Bible and historical theology
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2009, 204 pages

David Bentley Hart, an Eastern Orthodox theologian, burst onto the theological scene with his 2003 book The Beauty of the Infinite. His deep learning, engaging wit and compelling prose, so evident in his first book and every offering since, shine forth in this new collection of essays. The 21 brief articles and review essays in this book originally appeared from 2001 to 2007 in a variety of journals,  including First Things, Touchstone and The Wall Street Journal. These articles are popular-level pieces that are at the same time instructive, provocative and profound.

Although he is primarily a theologian, Hart displays the breadth of his knowledge and skill as a philosopher, historian and cultural commentator. The contributions in this volume treat a wide array of topics that cannot be surveyed here, but some common themes emerge. Hart’s uncompromising critique of Western, secular, post-Christian culture and values — along with their rotten and vapid fruit — will resonate with skeptics of the Enlightenment project. Related to this point and seemingly out of step with a society that has elevated politeness to a cardinal virtue, he is not shy about demolishing current critics of Christianity who often get a free ride. In such moments, Hart is at his best.

Theological discourse as a genre is not usually known for its wit, humor and  literary virtues. But there is something strikingly fresh about this theologian’s method and style. Many of the articles in this book are available online, and you can quickly discover whether this book is for you. While it is not meant only for theologians or specialists, In the Aftermath is definitely for those not afraid of new vocabulary. For those who read books to be challenged, to be entertained, to laugh, to draw closer to God, and, above all, to learn, then David Hart is a must read.


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