News Archives: Academic Affairs

HPU group travels to Slovakia for cross-cultural mission trip

HPU Slovakia group for webBROWNWOOD – June 13, 2014 – Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at Howard Payne University, and five students from her spring International Missions Practicum course recently traveled to Važec, Slovakia, for a week-long mission experience. The course, required for all cross-cultural studies majors, is designed to give students firsthand experience in cross-cultural ministry.

The group led ministry activities among the Roma and Slovak people and learned from the missiology of Shane and Dianne McNary, the field personnel with whom they served.

“We spent the semester at HPU learning about the history and culture of the Roma, a minority group in Europe that is often mistreated, and were grateful to get to serve among the Roma in Slovakia and learn from the McNarys’ long-term ministry there,” Dr. Maxwell said.

Ministry activities included teaching English in a local school, leading a daily kids club and planning various evening activities. According to Dr. Maxwell, she and the students prepared both academically and spiritually for the trip.

“We studied best practices in short-term missions and prepared for the specific activities we would lead during our trip,” she said. “Among other assignments, students kept journals while in Slovakia and submitted a reflection paper after we returned. All of these activities helped class members grow academically as well as personally through the trip. It was exciting to see students grow in their cross-cultural leadership abilities as we served together.”

The reflection papers reveal the students’ improved knowledge of international missions.

“The biggest thing I feel I can take as a challenge from this trip is that I need to really try to love everyone as God loves everyone,” wrote Mackenzie Gill, a junior from Brownwood.

Sean Locker, a senior from North Richland Hills, wrote, “From this trip I’ve been better able to understand the importance of reading and experiencing different cultures and how it all pertains to global missions. Now that I’ve seen and experienced so much with my own senses I want to study about the world and its affairs all the more.”

In addition to Gill and Locker, students on the trip included Faye Lasserre, senior from Brownwood; Rachel Runnels, senior from Paradise; and Jack Wells, senior from Terrell.

According to Dr. Maxwell, cross-cultural experiences remind students and faculty alike that God’s kingdom is much bigger than HPU, Texas and the United States.

“Experiences like this allow us to participate in the work that God is doing around the world,” she said. “What a privilege!”


Photo cutline: A group from HPU stands with missionary Dianne McNary in Važec, Slovakia. From left: Jack Wells, Sean Locker, Mackenzie Gill, Dianne McNary, Dr. Melody Maxwell and Faye Lasserre.

HPU honors students at Academic Awards Convocation

BROWNWOOD – June 6, 2014 – Howard Payne University recently honored 71 students for academic achievements during the spring 2014 semester. The honors were conferred at the annual Academic Awards Convocation ceremony held on HPU’s campus.

Receiving awards were:

Allen Andrus, Outstanding New All-Level Teacher award

Leah’Shae Gibson, Outstanding Student in Engineering Science award
Jessica Ramirez, Outstanding Social Studies Composite Student award

Ben Wheeler
Jarrod White, Outstanding Achievement in Theatre award

Conner Fisher, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Biology award

Big Lake
Samantha Guerrero, Academic Achievement in English award

Boylston, Mass.
Catherine “Katie” Mullaney, Othal Brand Award for Outstanding Civic Leadership, the Outstanding Student Speaker Bureau Member award and the Academic Achievement in English award

Janis Groves, Outstanding Upper-Division Student in Communication Studies award

Kellie Warner, Outstanding Yellow Jacket Newspaper Staff Member award

Melissa Bernal, Outstanding Upper-Division Student in Spanish award
Chasity Cartwright, Academic Achievement in English award
Amber Corley, Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities Preservice Educator of the Year award
Sarah Crager, Outstanding Upper-Division Music Major award
Ennis (EJ) Davila, Outstanding Student in Biblical Languages award and the Honor Award in Psychology
Justin Fisher, Outstanding Upper-Division Student in Chemistry award
Stephanie Gutierrez, Outstanding Nontraditional Student award
Jared Huntley, Outstanding Student in Bible award
Benjamin Palmer, Outstanding Student Speaker Bureau Member award
Laura Salazar, Outstanding Nursing Student award
Zachary Tharp, Outstanding Student in Youth Ministry award

Erik Swenson, Outstanding History Student award

Chaparral, N.M.
Shannon Kerr, Outstanding Student in Christian Studies Composite award

Nathan Byrd, Outstanding Upper-Division Student in Chemistry award
James Smith, Outstanding Mathematics Major award

Colby Compton, Outstanding Freshman in Art award
Ryan Contreras, Outstanding Lower-Division Music Major award
Abraham Cooper, Outstanding Student in Physics award
Kevin Holamon, Outstanding Political Science Student and Nontraditional Student awards
Kevin E. Kirk, Outstanding Student in MBA Research award
Mark A. Parker, Outstanding Student in Computer Information Systems award
Sydni Thompson, Outstanding Nursing Student award

Fayetteville, N.C.
Tracy Tucker, Outstanding Student in Christian Studies Bible Composite award

Daniel Taylor, Honor Award in Psychology

Flower Mound
Hannah Hicks, Outstanding Exercise and Sport Science Major award

Fort Hood
Samantha Coronado, Outstanding Yellow Jacket Newspaper Staff Member award

Fort Worth
Brandon Gould, Paul J. Cunningham Memorial award
Joshua Kennedy, Men’s Outstanding Scholar Athlete award, the Paul J. Cunningham Memorial award and the ASC Male Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor award
Hannah Williamson, Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Spanish award

Asiyel Smith, Outstanding Freshman in Art award

Rachel Ellington, Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Spanish award

Brittany R. Bailey, Outstanding Student in Marketing award

Lawrence R. Whittet, Outstanding Student in Management award

Grand Junction, Colo.
Elizabeth Rogers, Outstanding Moot Court Student award

Greenbrier, Ark.
Paul Warren, Outstanding Student in Cross-Cultural Studies award

Tonya Bloomer, Honor Award in Social Work
Kerrie Ford, Dallas B. Sherman Award for Outstanding Scholarship and the Outstanding Model United Nations Student award

Chelsey Cathey, Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Chemistry award

Allison Mantell, Outstanding Student in Mathematics Education award

Amanda Cruddas, Mattie Anderson Hale Scholarship in English, the Women’s Outstanding Scholar Athlete award and the Tami Pattillo Memorial award
Harley Fine, Outstanding Student in Forensic Science award

La Grange
Valerie Marrs, Outstanding Candidate for Graduation in Biology award

William Colton Curry, Outstanding Student in Practical Theology and Outstanding Academic Achievement in Christian Studies awards

Naples, Fla.
Robin Scofield, Outstanding Academic Achievement in Communication Studies award

Katie Murphy, Outstanding Senior in Art award

Becky Lamar, Outstanding New Elementary Teacher award

Keaton Fletcher, Outstanding Student in General Biology award

Jonathan Rick Henderson, Outstanding Student in Christian Education award

Blaine Wynn, Honor Award in Criminal Justice

Amber Jones, Outstanding Athletic Training Major award

Round Rock
Bryce McWhirter, Most Promising Newcomer in Theatre award

Katherine Dobson, Outstanding Achievement in Theatre award

Royse City
Hannah Strebeck, Outstanding Upper-Division Music Major award

Emily Bird, Outstanding New Secondary Teacher award

San Angelo
Cara DeLoach, Mattie Anderson Hale Scholarship in English and the Glenn Hopp Outstanding Writer award

San Saba
Marshal McIntosh, Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Communication Studies award

Sarah Van Remmen, Outstanding Student in General Biology and Outstanding Lower-Division Student in Chemistry awards

Sierra Blanca
Rachel Moore, Highest GPA for the Department of Exercise and Sport Science award

Mallory Orms, Outstanding Exercise and Sport Science Major, Women’s Outstanding Scholar Athlete and ASC Female Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor awards

Timothy Marlin, Outstanding Graduating Senior in Mathematics award

Neva M. Bowers, Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship award

Lacy H. Culpepper, Outstanding Student in Finance and Outstanding Student in the School of Business awards

HPU education professor publishes children’s book

Dr Voss and book for webBROWNWOOD – June 5, 2014 – Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at Howard Payne University, never really intended to write a children’s book but, according to Voss, God had other plans. In response to the 2013 Moore, Okla., tornado, Dr. Voss penned “Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange,” a book dedicated to all disaster survivors.

“I remember watching the tornado coverage on TV and wondering, as a former kindergarten teacher, would I have been able to stay calm and keep my students calm,” she said.

The answer, as written on the back cover of her new book, is “a definite ‘yes,’ but only with God’s help.”

Dr. Voss was on a road trip a few weeks after the tornado when God revealed the story to her in a “colorful movie format.” In a hurry to capture the story, she began dictating the scenes on her iPhone. When she arrived home, it took a day to transcribe everything into text and several months to revise and refine.

The story is designed to bring comfort to children, parents, teachers and communities following any tragic event. Intended for second- and third-grade audiences, the book contains the appropriate vocabulary and literary devices. It is illustrated by Dr. Voss’ son, Ben Voss, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Lubbock.

Dr. Voss has donated the book to many school districts, hoping it will be read in classrooms in towns that – like Moore and the fictional community in the book – have experienced disasters.

“This is God’s story and He wanted me to spread the word,” she said. “I’ve learned when God nudges you to do something, you obey.”

“Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange” is available for purchase at retailers including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It may also be purchased through the publisher at


Photo cutline: Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at HPU, holds a copy of her new book, “Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange.”

Five HPU personnel to be recognized during book-signing event

HPU authors for webBROWNWOOD – May 1, 2014 – Howard Payne University will host a book-signing event next Monday, May 5, to honor five faculty and staff members who have recently published books. The event will be held from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room inside HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

HPU authors recognized during the event will include Deborah Pierson Dill, administrative assistant for the School of Science and Mathematics; Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies; Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies; John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science and special assistant to the athletic director; and Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education.

Set in Central Texas, “Perfect Shelter” is a contemporary Christian romance novel by Deborah Pierson Dill. Released in 2010, it is the first in a series of three novels published by Pelican Book Group. The other novels in the series are “Return to Me” and “Moving On.”

Dr. Derek Hatch co-edited “Gathering Together: Baptists at Work in Worship,” which was published in August 2013. The book features a collection of articles by pastors and educators examining how acts of worship help shape the Baptist faith.

“Torches in the Corridor: 125 Years of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union” is an expansion of a thesis  Dr. Melody Maxwell published as an undergraduate student at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. Published in April 2014, the book features historical profiles of leaders within Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union.

John Nickols recently published “The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes. The book features a bright pitching prospect whose baseball career is suddenly threatened by a shoulder injury. According to Nickols, the story loosely parallels the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.

“Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange” is a children’s book by Dr. Daresa Voss. Written in response to the 2013 Moore, Okla., tornado, the story is designed to bring comfort to children, parents, teachers and communities following any tragic event.

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, said he is pleased that through research and writing HPU faculty and staff members continue to learn and grow in their respective fields.

“These authors are terrific examples to our students by demonstrating that education is a lifelong endeavor,” he said.


Photo cutline: HPU will honor five faculty and staff members at a book-signing event on May 5. Left to right: Deborah Pierson Dill, John Nickols, Dr. Melody Maxwell, Dr. Daresa Voss and Dr. Derek Hatch.

Eight join faculty at Howard Payne University

fall 2013 new facultyBROWNWOOD – September 11, 2013 – The fall 2013 semester at Howard Payne University brought eight new full-time faculty members to the HPU classrooms.

“HPU sought and found the highest quality of individuals to add to our faculty,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer. “We’re delighted to start the semester with an excellent group of new and returning faculty members to help shape the minds of our students.”

Dr. P. Graham Hatcher joins HPU as professor of exercise and sport science and chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. He most recently served at Blue Mountain College in Mississippi.

Lori (Anderson) Kelley, J.D., serves as assistant professor of political science and holds the title of J.D. Sandefer Chair of Political Science. Kelley, a 2002 HPU alumna, most recently served at Dell, Inc.

Dr. Kevin Kelley is the new assistant professor of organizational psychology and business. His most recent professional experience includes TAD (Talent Assessment and Development) business development and consulting.

Dr. Brad Lemler, a certified public accountant, joined the full-time faculty as professor of accounting. Dr. Lemler, who previously served as an HPU adjunct, joined the university from Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.

Dr. Melody Maxwell serves as HPU’s new assistant professor of Christian studies. She joins the university from East Texas Baptist University in Marshall.

Dr. Denny Megarity, who previously served as an HPU adjunct faculty member, joined the full-time faculty this semester as assistant professor of chemistry. Prior to HPU, he served at Mind Technologies Institute.

Dr. Dan Pryor also joined the full-time faculty this semester after serving as an adjunct. Dr. Pryor, assistant professor of business, previously served at St. Edwards University in Austin and Texas State University in San Marcos.

Dr. Craig Younce is HPU’s new assistant professor of biology. He most recently taught at Valencia College in Orlando.


Photo cutline: Eight individuals joined the faculty at HPU. From left: Dr. P. Graham Hatcher, Dr. Brad Lemler, Dr. Dan Pryor, Dr. Denny Megarity, Dr. Craig Younce, Dr. Kevin Kelley, Lori Kelley and Dr. Melody Maxwell.

Worship event to focus on HPU provost book

BROWNWOOD – January 16, 2013 – A book by Dr. Mark Tew, Howard Payne University provost and chief academic officer, will be the focal point of a worship event at San Saba’s First Baptist Church this Sunday, January 20, beginning at 6 p.m.

During the event, the Gospel of Luke will be studied using music, art, dance, poetry, drama, media and the spoken word. Dr. Tew’s book, “Luke: Gospel to the Nameless and Faceless,” will be used to guide the production.

Dr. Tew’s book on Luke was published in December 2011 and combines a detailed examination of the Greek text, a fresh translation of the Gospel and a commitment to presenting the meaning of the Gospel in a fluid and contemporary fashion. Dr. Tew will share passages from his book during the event.

Also performing will be Mike Lewis, painter; Margo Truelson, dancer; the Austin String Quartet and the San Saba First Baptist Church Praise Team. Other HPU faculty/staff members involved include Stephen Goacher, professor of music; Danny Ingram, instructor of music; Stephen Sullivan, admission counselor and Mobile Go Center coordinator; and Dr. Rob Tucker, dean of music, fine arts and extended education. A number of HPU students and alumni will also perform.

San Saba’s First Baptist Church is located at 208 W. Wallace, San Saba, TX 76877. For more information, call (325) 372-5761 or go to


HPU welcomes new faculty for fall 2012

BROWNWOOD – August 21, 2012 – Howard Payne University welcomes two new faculty members beginning this fall. David Harmon will serve as professor of art and chair of the art department and Dr. Shane Kendell will serve as assistant professor of chemistry.

new_faculty_fall_2012_for_webHarmon received his bachelor’s degree from Webster University and master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University. He previously served as associate professor of art, director of the Red Planes Art Gallery and temporary chair at Sterling College in Sterling, Kan.; as professor of art at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga.; and as the chair and associate professor of art at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind.

Kendell received his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University of New England at Armidale in Australia. He previously served at R.G. Cole High School in San Antonio and as an adjunct professor of chemistry at Northwest Vista College. He also taught freshman chemistry lab courses at Trinity University in San Antonio. In addition, Kendell had a chemistry lecturing appointment and served as a teaching assistant at the University of New England.

“These two gentlemen will make excellent additions to the faculty here at HPU,” said Dr. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer. “Howard Payne University faculty members demonstrate the highest academic standards and we are confident Mr. Harmon and Dr. Kendell will help foster our students’ intellect while also guiding them to become Godly men and women.”


Photo cutline: David Harmon, left, and Dr. Shane Kendell, recently joined the faculty at HPU

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU provost, publishes book on the Gospel of Luke

BROWNWOOD – March 19, 2012 – Dr. W. Mark Tew, Howard Payne University provost and chief academic officer, recently published his first book, titled Luke: Gospel to the Nameless and Faceless. A book signing and reception will be held Thursday, March 22, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the balcony area of HPU’s Mabee University Center.

“I was doing personal reading in Luke and decided to dig deeper,” Tew said regarding his research choice. “I had studied Luke before and knew the big picture. But the more I examined the Gospel, the greater my depth of appreciation became of Luke’s literary masterpiece.”

The book combines a detailed examination of the Greek text as well as a fresh translation of the Gospel. Tew decided it was important to present the result of his critical study in a readable format.

“In higher education, we are too often accused of being scholars writing to scholars,” Tew said. “My challenge was to communicate the results of a scholarly work in a way anyone could understand the timeless meaning of Luke’s Gospel.

“The simple truth of all Scripture – the simple message of God’s love – requires no education, yet the study of Scripture’s beauty and depth can never be exhausted. It is a remarkable gift from God.”

Tew’s book was published by Wipf & Stock, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Order via phone (541) 344-1528, fax (541) 344-1506 or e-mail orders to The book is also available in HPU’s campus bookstore and at Hastings in Brownwood.