News Archives: Academics

HPU names six faculty promotions

Faculty Promotions Fall 17BROWNWOOD – September 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University announced the promotion of six faculty members at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. Receiving promotions are Dr. Celeste Church, Dr. Gregory Church, Dr. Kevin Kelley, Dr. Paul Lilly, Dr. José Romero and Dr. Rusty Wheelington.

“We’re proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these individuals,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer. “The promotions granted are indicative of their hard work and faithful service to the university.”

Dr. Celeste Church, HPU faculty member since 2005 and formerly associate professor of music, was named professor of music. She additionally retains the title of dean of institutional research and effectiveness.

Dr. Gregory Church, formerly associate professor of music, has been named professor of music. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2004.

Dr. Kevin Kelley, who joined the HPU faculty in 2013, was named associate professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology and Family Studies. He was formerly assistant professor of organizational psychology and business.

Dr. Paul Lilly, formerly assistant professor of criminal justice, was named associate professor of criminal justice. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2011 and also served as director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety from 2011 to 2017.

Dr. José Romero, previously associate professor of mathematics, was named professor of mathematics. He joined HPU’s faculty in 1996 and additionally serves as chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Dr. Rusty Wheelington, who joined the HPU faculty in 2006, was named professor of Christian studies. Dr. Wheelington formerly served as associate professor of Christian studies.

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Cutline: Six HPU faculty members were promoted at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. Left to right: Dr. José Romero, Dr. Rusty Wheelington, Dr. Gregory Church, Dr. Celeste Church and Dr. Paul Lilly. Not pictured is Dr. Kevin Kelley.

HPU moves to dissolve arrangement with Ranger College regarding nurse education

BROWNWOOD – September 1, 2017 – Howard Payne University has announced its plans to dissolve a collaborative arrangement between HPU and Ranger College on nurse education. On Friday, Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, informed the Ranger College president, Dr. Bill Campion, of the university’s intent to end the arrangement. HPU has two primary reasons for this action: lack of student interest and confusion regarding HPU’s stance on Ranger College’s efforts to make Brown County a taxing district.

The agreement originated in August 2016 and was designed to allow students admitted to Ranger College’s pre-licensure Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program to live on the HPU campus, participate in the university’s student life activities and, on completion of the ADN program, apply for admission to HPU’s post-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

Despite publicity about the agreement between the two institutions and some initial interest expressed by students, no students took advantage of the arrangement.

“As part of our university’s culture of assessment, we regularly evaluate the way we deliver course offerings and other programs,” said Dr. Ellis. “After being in place for a full year without any students, it is obvious to us that this collaborative arrangement is not of interest to students.”

Additionally, HPU has not taken a public stance on the matter regarding the proposed taxing district, preferring to leave the decision entirely in the hands of the citizens of Brown County. However, Dr. Ellis expressed concern that the agreement has been misconstrued as an endorsement by HPU of Ranger College’s tax referendum, which is not the case.

“Based on these issues, HPU has decided the best course of action is to dissolve the formal arrangement,” Dr. Ellis said.

The procedure for terminating the agreement by either party is included in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the presidents of the two institutions.

Graduates from Ranger College or elsewhere who are registered nurses (RN) with unencumbered licenses to practice in Texas may continue their education at HPU through the post-licensure RN-to-BSN degree program, and HPU will admit each of those students on a case-by-case basis.

HPU’s post-licensure RN-to-BSN program is directed by Dr. Nina Ouimette, new dean of the university’s School of Nursing. Her career includes 17 years with Abilene’s Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, most recently as dean and professor of nursing with tenure, and previous service at hospitals and health care systems in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Washington, D.C.

As a nursing school administrator, Dr. Ouimette is experienced in matters of program and curriculum development, student and faculty recruitment, nursing regulation and accreditation. In addition to overseeing HPU’s post-licensure RN-to-BSN program, she is directing HPU’s efforts to pursue a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“I have known Dr. Ouimette personally and professionally for more than 15 years,” Dr. Ellis said. “I am absolutely confident Brown County will be very pleased with the high quality of nurse education we are working diligently to bring to our area.”

Eleven full-time faculty members join HPU for fall semester

new faculty fall 2017 for webBROWNWOOD – August 24, 2017 – Howard Payne University began its fall 2017 semester this week with eleven new full-time faculty members among its ranks.

“Our new faculty members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will greatly benefit our students and the university as a whole,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer. “HPU’s entire body of faculty demonstrates the highest of academic standards, and we look forward to the year ahead.”

New full-time faculty members include Teresa Cavitt, instructor of kinesiology; Dr. Dave Claborn, professor of government; David Clemons, instructor of history; Dennis Gibson, instructor of physical science; Dr. Leslie Griffin, associate professor of psychology and family studies; Dr. Rick Grimes; associate professor of kinesiology; Richelle Hair, instructor of communication; Dr. Jill Heupel, assistant professor of kinesiology; Dr. Jane Metty-Samons, associate professor of education; Dr. Nina Ouimette, dean of the School of Nursing and professor of nursing; and James Wunderle, Jr., instructor of psychology.

Teresa Cavitt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and a Master of Education degree from HPU. She served as an adjunct instructor at HPU from 1999 to 2017 and as an aerobics instructor for Brownwood’s Coggin Avenue Baptist Church from 1990 to 1998.

Dr. Dave Claborn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Texas and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He served at Olivet Nazarene University from 2011 to 2016 as associate professor and from 2006 to 2011 as assistant professor. Prior to that, he served as assistant to the pre-law advisor and as teaching assistant, advisor and instructor at the University of Massachusetts.

David Clemons earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwestern Assemblies of God University and a Master of Arts degree from Wheaton College. He is a doctoral candidate at The University of Texas at Dallas. He previously served as an HPU adjunct instructor and as a doctoral teaching assistant at The University of Texas at Dallas. He also served as a history instructor at Southwestern Assemblies of God University from 2008 to 2012.

Dennis Gibson earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and a Master of Science degree from South Dakota State University. He is also a doctoral candidate at South Dakota State University. He served as graduate teaching assistant at South Dakota State University from 2012 to 2017 and as chemistry tutor and laboratory teaching assistant at Northwestern State University from 2009 to 2012.

Dr. Leslie Griffin earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, a Master of Science degree from Nova Southeastern University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas Woman’s University. She served as an adjunct faculty member in the University of North Texas’ School of Human Services from 2015 to 2017 and as family and consumer services teacher for Crowley ISD from 2011 to 2017. She additionally served as an adjunct faculty member at Texas Woman’s University from 2012 to 2015 and as an adjunct faculty member at American Public University from 2012 to 2015.

Dr. Rick Grimes holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University and Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Houston. He served as senior lecturer at the University of North Texas from 2014 to 2017, as assistant professor at Texas A&M University – Kingsville from 2007 to 2012, and as assistant professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor from 2002 to 2007. Additionally, he served as an instructor at Tyler Junior College from 2000 to 2002 and as instructor and chair of the physical education department at Lone Star College District (Tomball College) from 1988 to 1999.

Richelle Hair holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree from Texas Tech University. Her previous experience includes serving as a graduate teaching assistant at Texas Tech University from 2015 to 2017 and as a graduate assistant consultant at Texas Tech University from 2016 to 2017.

Dr. Jill Heupel earned a Bachelor of Science degree, Master of Education degree and Doctor of Education degree from Tarleton State University. She served as a graduate assistant in teaching at Tarleton State University from 2016 to 2017 and as a graduate assistant in research from 2015 to 2016. She also served as an assistant principal in Stephenville ISD from 2011 to 2015, as a physical education teacher with Stephenville ISD from 1996 to 2011 and as a physical education teacher/junior high coach with Mexia ISD from 1995 to 1996.

Dr. Jane Metty-Samons holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin University and a Master of Science degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas A&M University. She served as professor of education at Mercer University from 2010 to 2016 and as instructor at Texas A&M University from 2008 to 2010. She has developed and delivered various programs and courses for a number of schools and universities.

Dr. Nina Ouimette earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from George Mason University, a Master of Science degree in child development and family relations from East Carolina University, a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Hardin-Simmons University and a Doctor of Education degree from Texas Tech University. Her past experience includes serving as dean and professor of nursing with tenure at Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing from 2009 to 2016. Also with Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, she served as Bachelor of Science in Nursing director and associate professor of nursing with tenure from 2008 to 2009 and as assistant professor from 2002 to 2008. Additionally, she served as an adjunct faculty member at Abilene Intercollegiate School of Nursing from 2000 to 2002 and as RN clinical nurse analyst and nurse educator at Hendrick Medical Center from 1997 to 2002.

James Wunderle, Jr., holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University as well as a Master of Arts in Religious Education degree and a Master of Arts degree in marriage and family counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a doctoral candidate at B.H. Carroll Theological Institute. He served as instructor at Ecclesia College from 2015 to 2017, as therapist at Ozark Guidance from 2015 to 2017 and as therapist/CEO at Cornerstone Counseling from 2004 to present. Additionally, he served as therapist/CEO of NWA Family Counseling, Inc., from 2005 to 2015 and as therapist at the Counseling Center of Denton from 1998 to 1999.

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Cutline: HPU’s new faculty members include, from left, Dr. Rick Grimes, Teresa Cavitt, Dr. Jill Heupel, Dennis Gibson, Dr. Dave Claborn, David Clemons, Dr. Nina Ouimette (front row), Dr. Jane Metty-Samons, Dr. Leslie Griffin and Richelle Hair. Not pictured is James Wunderle, Jr.

HPU hosts University Convocation featuring Rev. René Maciel

Rene MacielBROWNWOOD – August 23, 2017 – Rev. René Maciel, community life pastor at First Woodway Baptist Church of Waco, addressed Howard Payne University students, faculty and staff at University Convocation on Wednesday morning. The event marked the first Chapel service of the academic year.

Rev. Maciel invested more than 31 years in higher education and administration with Baptist institutions such as Hardin-Simmons University, Baylor University, the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and George W. Truett Theological Seminary. He also served as president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists) from 2015 to 2016.

He discussed the importance of finding one’s identity in Christ.

“I believe that when you know who He is, you will discover who you are,” he said. “God created you in likeness of Him and He has a purpose and plan for your life.”

Additional Convocation program participants included Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. Celeste Church, professor of music and dean of institutional research and effectiveness; Dr. Gerry Clarkson, associate professor of physical science and president of HPU’s Faculty Assembly; Stephen Goacher, professor of music; Alexa Maddox ’04, instructor of developmental studies and academic services coordinator; Dr. Christopher Rosborough ’08, assistant professor of music; Isaac Sommers, president of HPU’s Student Government Association; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace ’71, professor of music; and Dr. Craig Younce, associate professor of biology.

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Cutline: Rev. René Maciel, community life pastor at First Woodway Baptist Church of Waco, spoke at HPU’s University Convocation ceremony Wednesday morning.

Dr. Nina Ouimette named HPU dean of nursing

Dr. Nina OuimetteBROWNWOOD – August 17, 2017 – Having served as a teacher and administrator in faith-based educational systems for almost 20 years, Dr. Nina Ouimette, Howard Payne University’s new dean of the School of Nursing, recognizes the importance of holistic nursing care.

“This means providing for the whole person – physically, mentally and spiritually,” she said.

Dr. Ouimette joined HPU’s faculty this summer after serving 17 years with Abilene’s Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, most recently as dean and professor of nursing with tenure. She has additionally worked at hospitals and health care systems in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Her career experience and fields of specialization are broad, ranging from women’s and children’s health to nursing informatics. Dr. Ouimette holds a Doctor of Education degree in instructional technology from Texas Tech University. Her dissertation, which focused on developing and implementing online nurse education, was titled “Community of Inquiry as a Foundation for Academic Success: A Study of Social, Teaching and Cognitive Presence in Undergraduate Nursing Hybrid Courses.” Additionally, she earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Hardin-Simmons University; a Master of Science degree in child development and family relations from East Carolina University; and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from George Mason University.

As a nursing school administrator, Dr. Ouimette has experience in matters of program and curriculum development, recruitment, regulation and accreditation. At HPU, she will lead the university’s efforts in making application to the Texas Board of Nursing to offer a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Dr. Ouimette has numerous publications to her credit and her professional memberships include the Texas Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Nurses Informatics Association, the National League for Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Association of Information Technology Professionals.

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, said the university is pleased that Dr. Ouimette has joined the faculty.

“Dr. Ouimette has extensive experience in the areas of administration, education and nursing,” he said. “We look forward to seeing HPU’s School of Nursing advance under her leadership.”

Dr. Ouimette said she feels called by God to the nursing profession and to the education of nurses.

“I believe the nursing profession provides a platform of spreading the word of God to others while also promoting healthy living,” she said. “We try to follow the example of what Jesus did Himself – teaching, preaching and healing.”

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Cutline: Dr. Nina Ouimette has joined HPU’s faculty as dean of the School of Nursing.

HPU faculty, staff convene for fall 2017 semester

opening session for web

BROWNWOOD – August 16, 2017 – Howard Payne University faculty and staff convened this morning in advance of the first day of classes for the fall semester. University employees mark the beginning of each fall semester with a time of worship, prayer, fellowship and planning. Rev. Eddie Ailshie, pastor of First Baptist Church of Early, led the morning devotion time in HPU’s Grace Chapel.

Classes begin August 21.

HPU named among top 10 “Best Colleges in Texas”

BROWNWOOD – August 7, 2017 – Howard Payne University was recently named among the top 10 “Best Colleges in Texas” in a list compiled by College Consensus and published in Texas Hill Country magazine. The list was created by combining student reviews with various publisher rankings.

Stephen Sullivan ’11, MBA ’14, director of development and alumni relations at HPU, said he was honored to see HPU recognized in the magazine.

“I am extremely proud of HPU and cherish my experiences here, both as an alumnus and as an employee,” he said. “It’s always great to see the university receive accolades such as this.”

To view the complete list, visit www.texashillcountry.com/best-colleges-texas-college-consensus.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: HPU was recently named among the top 10 “Best Colleges in Texas.” Pictured is HPU’s Old Main Tower.

HPU named Best Local College, finalist for Best Place to Work

BROWNWOOD – July 21, 2017 – Howard Payne University was recognized as Best Local College during the Brownwood Bulletin’s recent Best of Brown County awards celebration. HPU was also named a finalist in the Best Place to Work category.

Area citizens were invited to vote in more than 130 categories in the weeks leading up to the celebration.

“We’re extremely honored to be named Best Local College,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “I’m also appreciative for HPU to be named a finalist in the Best Place to Work category. I attribute that to our terrific faculty and staff who have created a welcoming atmosphere for our students as well as our new employees. We’re proud to have been a part of the Brownwood community for the past 128 years and thankful to live and serve alongside the wonderful men and women of Brown County.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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HPU Moot Court students receive additional awards for spring semester

BROWNWOOD – July 21, 2017 – Six Howard Payne University students were among an elite group to receive year-end awards from the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association. Five HPU students made the list of TUMCA’s 2017 Top 20 Orators while two HPU teams were among the five best teams in the state.

Receiving orator awards were Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, second place; Jordan Hahn, freshman from Burnet, eighth place; Jakob Morgan, senior from Blanket, 13th place; Bailey Myler, sophomore from Brownwood, 14th place; and Rebeca Puente, May 2017 graduate from Waskom, 20th place. Puente and Sommers were named the fourth-best team in the state and Hahn and Andie McCoy, sophomore from Whitehouse, were named the fifth-best team.

The awards were announced following HPU’s stellar Moot Court season. Among the top designations for HPU Moot Court this year, Sommers was named the fifth overall speaker out of 786 competitors at the American Moot Court Association Invitational National Championships held in January at Florida’s Stetson College of Law. Additionally, Sommers and Puente advanced to out-rounds, placing in the top 16 of 80 teams. For written arguments submitted prior to that tournament, Myler and Justin Harris, senior from Fort Worth, placed sixth and Puente and Sommers placed seventh. Puente and Sommers were additionally the champions at the Southern Methodist University tournament in March, and three of HPU’s five teams were among the top 10.

“For years, HPU Moot Court students have proven themselves to be the best in the state,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

Dr. McNiece expressed his appreciation to the students and to the team’s adviser, Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

“Professor Kelley is a wonderful coach and mentor to our Moot Court students,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of what they accomplished this year and in the past several years. I look forward to what’s to come.”

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HPU group serves in Slovakia

HPU group in Slovakia 2017 BROWNWOOD – July 20, 2017 – Nine Howard Payne University students traveled to Slovakia at the beginning of the summer for a short-term mission immersion experience. Travelers included students in Dr. Melody Maxwell’s International Missions Practicum course as well as students involved with HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry. The group was accompanied by Dr. Maxwell and Keith Platte, BSM director.

The HPU team led ministry activities among the Roma and Slovak people and learned from Shane and Dianne McNary, field personnel with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

“It was our privilege and joy to be able to interact with such a dynamic and talented group of young scholars,” wrote the McNarys in an e-mail newsletter following the trip.

Dr. Maxwell’s class prepared for the trip the semester prior by studying short-term missions along with the history and culture of the area and the Roma people.

“The Roma are a people group in Europe who are often marginalized and frequently live in poverty,” said Dr. Maxwell. “We were blessed with the opportunity to briefly serve among the Roma alongside the McNarys.”

Among other activities, the group taught English at a public school in Važec and hosted a Bible school for Roma children in partnership with Jekh Drom, a local non-profit. They also connected with Word for the World – Slovakia, a group of people translating the Bible into a local Roma dialect, and the Slovak Bible Society who has partnered with the group in publishing and distributing the Bibles.

“This trip specifically taught me about the importance of having cross-cultural knowledge and how that shapes our presentation of the Gospel,” said Zoe Emley, junior from Natalia. “This trip was one where I felt that I gained an overwhelming amount of great information about Slovak and Roma culture and the culture of short-term missions.”

Before departing from Europe, the team traveled to Poland where they visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Schindler Museum and the Polish Roma Association Museum.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that what we did as tourists directly related to who we had been working with while we were on mission,” said Kara Strange, May 2017 graduate from Fredericksburg. “Our tourism was not without a purpose.”

Tara Carroll, junior from McKinney, said the trip taught her that God speaks to everyone differently.

“God transcends human limitations and can transcend cultural differences as well,” she said. “The Gospel is multifaceted and can to speak to everyone in many ways. God has used the McNarys to do beautiful work in Slovakia and with the Roma people. We were able to come alongside this work with them for a short time. They will continue to do this Gospel work long after we are gone.”

In addition to Emley, Strange and Carroll, those on the trip included Daniel Harris, May 2017 graduate from Boerne; Kindell Hill, junior from Jarrell; Tom Kyle, May 2017 graduate from Salado; Anthony McCarson, May 2017 graduate from San Angelo; Erin McCleer, junior from San Angeolo; and Caitlin Vincent, junior from Brownwood.

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Cutline: A group from HPU completed a short-term mission immersion experience in Slovakia at the beginning of the summer. They are pictured at the High Tatra Mountains as they traveled from Slovakia to Poland. Left to right: Caitlin Vincent, Kara Strange, Kindell Hill, Keith Platte, Erin McCleer, Tom Kyle, Zoe Emley, Anthony McCarson, Tara Carroll, Daniel Harris and Dr. Melody Maxwell.