News Archives: Academics

Six HPU students recognized for servant leadership

By Chandler Condra, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – May 18, 2015 – Howard Payne University recently honored six students for their display of servant leadership on campus and in the community. Students were recognized for their service and received awards during the university’s annual Servant Leadership Program.

nat tracy awards 2015 for webThe Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award was presented to Christopher Burnett, a senior music-instrumental major from Early, and Paula Johnson, a senior social work major from Spring. The award was established in 1998 to honor the life of the late Dr. Nat Tracy, a member of HPU’s Bible faculty from 1950 to 1975.

HPU Servant Leadership Award recipients included Shaefer Church, a junior Bible major from Bloomfield, N.M.; Victoria Hardin, a senior psychology major from Bangs; Brogan Turner, a senior psychology major from Brownwood; and Courtney Turner, a junior communication major from Bastrop.

A $1,000 scholarship is provided to each recipient of the Servant Leadership Award and each student designates $250 of the scholarship award to be given to his or her chosen charity. This award, established in 2007 by the Moore Foundation and Barney II Foundation, recognizes student excellence in the areas of leadership and service.

servant leader awards 2015 for web“These students embody the servant leadership qualities demonstrated to us by Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of the School of Christian Studies. “It is our pleasure to give attention to those students who have faithfully and humbly served others with no desire for recognition.”

Nominations for both awards were made during the spring semester by HPU faculty, staff and students. Awards were presented by Dr. Auvenshine and Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

“Many institutions recognize outstanding leadership qualities, but it is rare to reward those who lead through acts of service to others,” said Dr. Auvenshine. “It is our privilege to encourage these students and others to continue serving mankind.”

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Photo cutlines: Six HPU students were recently honored for their display of servant leadership on campus and in the community.

Recipients of the Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award include Christopher Burnett, left, and Paula Johnson.

Recipients of the HPU Servant Leadership Award include, from left, Victoria Hardin, Shaefer Church, Brogan Turner and Courtney Turner.

HPU’s Department of English closes semester with trip, lecture

students at parlor lecture for webBROWNWOOD – May 14, 2015 – Near the end of the spring 2015 semester, students and faculty in Howard Payne University’s Department of English attended a trip and lecture both designed to supplement materials taught in class.

Fifteen students and accompanying faculty members first traveled to Tarleton State University in Stephenville for a production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters.

“The English department theatre trips were always super fun because it allowed us to bond with other English students who are fans of the theatre world,” said Colette Wilcoxen, who graduated this May. “This was my second time to go on one of these trips and I looked forward to them come spring semester.”

The English department then took part in the President’s Parlor Lecture hosted by HPU’s president and first lady, Drs. Bill and Diana Ellis. The guest speaker was Dr. Joy Jordan-Lake, a highly acclaimed author with writings in numerous genres, including such books as Why Jesus Makes Me Nervous: Ten Alarming Words of Faith and Blue Hole Back Home: A Novel.

Having taught at universities in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee, Dr. Jordan-Lake now focuses on writing, while teaching part time at the Honors College of Belmont University. She enjoys speaking at universities, book clubs and conferences across the country.

Dr. Millard Kimery, chair of the Department of English and professor of English, explained the importance of such trips and activities.

“We like to provide our students with opportunities to get to know one another and our faculty members in educational settings outside the classroom,” he said. “These activities enrich our students’ experiences and help them apply and retain what they’re learning in class.”

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Photo cutline: Pictured are four of the students who attended the HPU President’s Parlor Lecture featuring guest speaker and author Dr. Joy Jordan-Lake. Left to right: Cherita George, Danielle Parkhurst, Colette Wilcoxen and Kaleigh Tankersley.

Four HPU students accepted into Sumners Scholar Program

By Chandler Condra, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – May 13, 2015 – Four Howard Payne University students were recently accepted into the Sumners Scholar Program created by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. Acceptance into the four-semester program is based on an assessment of academic excellence, a sense of civic responsibility and leadership potential.

sumners scholars 2015 for webOnce a year, a small number of applicants from HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy are selected for the program. The foundation provides a $7,500-per-semester stipend for its participating students to be used for tuition, fees, books or room and board.

Recipients this year include juniors Carrie Leach from Hurst, Danielle Parkhurst from Alleyton, Sydnee Petty from Early and Sydney Spencer from Georgetown.

Sumners Scholars are provided with opportunities to attend annual leadership and policy analysis conferences to supplement their learning and expand their growth potential. While receiving the Sumners Scholarship, students are required to maintain a 3.25 GPA and be in good standing with the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

The purpose of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy matches closely the purpose of the Sumners Foundation: “to encourage the study, teaching and research into the science and art of self-government, to the end that the American People may understand the fundamental principles of democracy and be guided thereby in shaping governmental policies.”

Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Academy, appreciates the opportunities made available to students through the Sumners Foundation.

“In addition to the significant financial assistance, Sumners Scholars receive invaluable opportunities to attend lecture series by national figures and participate in public policy seminars and student leadership conferences,” he said. “It is an exceptional program which we are proud to offer to our exceptional students.”

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Photo cutline: Four HPU juniors were recently accepted into the prestigious Sumners Scholar Program created by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. They are, from left, Carrie Leach, Sydney Spencer, Danielle Parkhurst and Sydnee Petty.

Summer Scholars and Young Scholars day camps to focus on energy conservation

By Emily Peisker, HPU Junior

BROWNWOOD – May 8, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s annual Summer Scholars and Young Scholars program for students entering first through sixth grades will take place July 13 through 17 from 9 a.m. to noon each day. This year’s theme is “Energy Wars,” with a focus on energy conservation, including light bulbs, wind, electricity, oil, gas and water.

Energy Wars logo for webSummer Scholars, for students entering fourth through sixth grades, will have classes in robotics, 3-D printing, science and physical education. For students entering first through third grades, Young Scholars will have classes in robotics, science, music and physical education.

Cost is $100 per child and includes tuition, supplies, a daily snack and a t-shirt. Parents may register and pay online through July 6 at www.hputx.edu/summerandyoungscholars. All classes will take place at HPU’s Newman Hall located at the corner of Coggin and Austin Avenues in Brownwood.

“Each of our classes will focus on energy conservation, so students in the program get a well-rounded, hands-on education on the topic,” said Dr. Julie Welker, director of the programs, professor of communication and chair of HPU’s Department of Communication Studies.

One class in particular unifies the programs and allows students to gain experience with a technology that plays an increasingly important role in the world’s technology.

“Robotics has been a big emphasis in our program the last few years, and this year our focus will be building robots that help with energy conservation,” said Dr. Welker. “Mrs. Hull, who teaches our robotics program for fourth through sixth graders, will also have an energy bike that the kids will love. Students will get to experience first-hand just how much energy it takes to power something.”

Dr. Lester Towell, professor and chair of HPU’s Department of Computer Information Systems, will be back this year with the very popular 3-D printing class.

“Our students really enjoyed learning about this cutting-edge technology and all of its applications,” said Dr. Welker. “I’m excited to see what Dr. Towell will show our students about 3-D printing this year.”

For more information, visit the website listed above or contact Dr. Welker by phone at (325) 649-8508 or by e-mail at jwelker@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: Summer Scholars and Young Scholars camps, HPU’s popular summer programs for children, will take place July 13-17. This year’s theme is “Energy Wars.”

HPU student’s “non-traditional” approach leads to degree after 17 years

mike bannister and lester towell for webBROWNWOOD – May 6, 2015 – The path to a college degree varies a bit for every student, but for Howard Payne University senior Mike Bannister, the journey was almost 17 years in the making.

The 56-year-old Brownwood native will receive his Bachelor of Science degree in computer information systems this May after first setting foot on the HPU campus as a student in 1999.

“I tell everyone I have tenure,” he says, laughing. “I’ve made a career out of being a student. Some semesters I took a single class. The largest course load I’ve taken in a semester is 10 hours.”

He also took several breaks from classes due to a busy work schedule, including 15 months when he lived in Singapore. Bannister says his employer of 30 years, 3M in Brownwood, has been very supportive throughout his academic career.

“My managers gave me a lot of flexibility in my schedule,” he says. “I’m really thankful for the support they’ve given me.”

As a product development engineer with 3M, staying current with technological trends is crucial for Bannister as he works with lab teams to bring new products to market. His HPU coursework has proven to be a solid foundation upon which to build his expertise in his field.

“The technology has changed since I first started at HPU in 1999, but I am able to take what I learned then and continue to adapt my knowledge and skills,” says Bannister.

He has seen many classes of students graduate since he arrived on campus and has even been able to mentor some students in their own paths.

“I tell them to treat college seriously and concentrate as they go after their own degrees,” he says. “I try to encourage them because I know the hurdles they are facing.”

Bannister did not have a single college hour when he began at HPU.

“I was intimidated and nervous,” he says. “I had to relearn study skills, but I ended up being a lot better college student than I was a high school student.”

Cheryl Mangrum, associate director of admission, processed Bannister’s applications for readmission throughout the years. She works with many non-traditional students which include, but are not limited to, current and retired military personnel, working parents, husbands and wives, and single students over the age of 21 with no previous college experience.

“I was also a non-traditional student at HPU and can most certainly relate to Mike’s 17-year academic career,” she says. “I was on an extended degree plan of 11 years while working as a full-time university employee. I appreciate so much his dedication and perseverance.”

Mangrum says HPU’s faculty, staff and student body are very supportive of non-traditional students.

“They appreciate and embrace the fact that these students bring to the classroom maturity and life experience, which greatly enrich the educational experience both inside and outside the classroom,” she says. “The journey toward a bachelor’s degree may take longer for some non-traditional students, but the destination is worth the journey and the journey is worth the destination. The educational experiences and the relationships forged along the way are priceless and are lifetime investments.”

At the Academic Awards Convocation held at the end of April, Bannister was named the Outstanding Student in Computer Information Systems and Outstanding Non-Traditional Student for the 2014-2015 academic year. He was also inducted into HPU’s chapter of the Sigma Beta Delta International Business Honor Society. Dr. Lester Towell, chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems and CIS professor, says Bannister is a “model student.”

“He asks questions, attends every class and completes all projects on time,” Dr. Towell says. “Mike exemplifies the desire for an education over a grade. I could not ask for a better student or example.”

Now that his academic days are drawing to a close, Bannister is excited about the opportunity to continue furthering his career while spending more time with his wife and family. As a member of the first generation in his immediate family to complete requirements for a college degree, Bannister is proud of his accomplishment and thankful for the opportunity to attend HPU. He offers advice to others who may be considering an unconventional approach to higher education.

“No matter how scared or nervous you are, at least give it a try,” he says. “Take a class and see how you do. The ‘A’ grades I received were encouraging and gave me the fuel to go on to each new semester.”

For more information about becoming a student at Howard Payne University, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at (325) 649-8020 or via e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

HPU’s Academy celebrates anniversary with former FOX News correspondent Jim Angle

Jim Angle in Mims for webBROWNWOOD – May 4, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: The Program for Civic Leadership and Public Policy recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its first graduating class with a ceremony featuring special guest speaker Jim Angle, former chief national correspondent for FOX News Channel.

Angle spoke on the topic “A Look at Wacky Washington and Those Who Want to Lead It.” Prior to his lecture were musical performances by Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; TaShana Hooker, a sophomore from Carrollton; and Hannah Strebeck, a senior from Royse City.

Following the lecture, a VIP dinner was hosted in the Bullion Suites of HPU’s Mabee University Center. Guest speakers during the dinner included Academy graduates Dr. Edward Daniel ’66, Mack DuBose ’65, Guy Ben Garner III ’74 and Tristan Summers ’09. DuBose was the first to receive a degree from the prestigious Academy and Garner is the grandson of Dr. Guy D. Newman, the program’s founder.

Other speakers included Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. Justin D. Murphy, the Academy’s current director, Brand professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities; Dr. Matthew McNiece ’03, chair and associate professor of history and political science; and current students Katie Rose Bonner, a senior from Lytle, and Caitlin Wood, a junior from Miles.

Dr. Murphy and Dr. McNiece presented gifts to Angle and DuBose. At the end of the dinner, Dr. Murphy was also recognized for his involvement with the program since he began teaching at HPU and the Academy in 1991.

“It was humbling to be honored in this way and I’m proud to be associated with the program as well as its graduates and current students,” said Dr. Murphy.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently hosted Jim Angle, former chief national correspondent for FOX News Channel, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the program’s first graduate.

HPU Model United Nations team brings home several awards from Münster conference

Munster Spring 2015 for webBy Emily Peisker, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – April 27, 2015 – HPU’s Model United Nations team excelled at the Münster University International Model United Nations conference held in Münster, Germany, bringing home six awards from various committees. The Münster conference is the largest MUN conference in Germany, with students traveling from across Europe and as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan, China and Japan to participate.

“This was the first Model UN Conference in which our students were by themselves as single-member delegations, rather than two-member delegations,” said Dr. Justin D. Murphy, HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. “This made for a much more challenging conference, especially since seven of our sixteen members were in MUN for the first time. Yet one of the conference leaders told me afterward that our students were the best-prepared team as a whole than any other university.”

This semester’s MUN team included head delegate Cara DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo; co-head delegate Mike McConnell, a junior from Burleson; Jason Murphy, a senior from Brownwood; Jimmy Abbatiello, a sophomore from Kerrville; Cody Perrin, a junior from Eastland; Nicole Nehf, a senior from May; Katie Rose Bonner, a senior from Lytle; Sydney Spencer, a junior from Georgetown; Gavin Stewart, a junior from Flower Mound; Sydnee Petty, a junior from Brownwood; Sam Hoffman, a junior from Corpus Christi; Emily Peisker, a junior from Cedar Park; Jessi Jordan, a senior from Spurger; Rachel White, a freshman from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Maggie Van Nes, a freshman from Keller; and Danielle Parkhurst, a junior from Alleyton. These HPU students represented the countries of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany on their councils.

On the Security Council, DeLoach received the outstanding delegate award for her representation of China, while on the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime Council, Abbatiello, also representing China, received the outstanding delegate award. Bonner took the outstanding delegate and best position paper awards for the International Court of Justice Committee. Stewart secured the outstanding delegate award for the Economic and Financial Committee, with Perrin taking the honorable mention award for the Special Political and Decolonization Committee.

After the conference, the team took a trip to Berlin to visit museums and see the remnants of the Berlin Wall. The day included seeing historical landmarks like the famous Checkpoint Charlie museum, the Topography of Terror museum, the Holocaust memorial, the Führerbunker and the Brandenburg Gate.

“It was such a moving and impactful experience to visit places where such great and horrible historical events occurred,” said Jimmy Abbatiello. “In Berlin we did more than visit tourist sites, we witnessed the aftermath of tragedy and the rebuilding of a bright future for the German people.”

With many new friends from all over the world and great experiences with collaboration and diplomacy, the HPU team looks forward to future conferences and more opportunities to prepare for the future through the learning experiences that come with Model United Nations.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team recently brought home several awards from a conference in Münster, Germany. Left to right: Sam Hoffman, Mike McConnell, Nicole Nehf, Gavin Stewart, Katie Rose Bonner, Danielle Parkhurst, Sydney Spencer, Emily Peisker, Sydnee Petty, Jessi Jordan, Cara DeLoach, Maggie Van Nes, Rachel White, Jimmy Abbatiello, Jason Murphy and Cody Perrin.

HPU criminal justice students to get hands-on training with mock crime scene

BROWNWOOD – April 23, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s criminal justice program will conduct exercises as part of its annual Criminal Justice Investigations class on Tuesday, April 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at HPU’s campus location at the corner of Austin and Coggin Avenues in Brownwood. During this time, there will be crime scene tape, emergency vehicles and other normal police operations one would expect to see at a major crime scene.

Dr. Paul Lilly, chief of HPU’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and assistant professor of criminal justice, said the community should not be alarmed at the proceedings.

“This practical exercise is designed to submerse the students into a realistic crime scene and aid them in applying what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations,” he said. “The crime scene will test the students on what they have learned in the course during the spring semester.”

The students will be divided into Crime Scene Investigative Teams, each team having approximately 45 minutes to process the crime scene and collect all types of potential evidence. Examples of the duties the students will conduct is the identification of potential witnesses to the crime and the identification of both physical and biological evidence such as potential weapons and/or blood, DNA or microfibers.

The HPU DPS will again join the criminal justice program and its students in helping make the crime scene as realistic as possible. The DPS uses this scenario exercise each year to aid in providing the DPS officers with regular ongoing in-service training to help them remain current with modern technologies and procedures.

For more information, contact HPU’s Department of Public Safety at (325) 649-8609.

HPU’s Athletic Training Education Program receives accreditation

2C_CAATE_Seal_Accr Progam_VFBROWNWOOD – April 20, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Athletic Training Education Program was recently notified of its successful accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

As a result of this achievement, students in the program may now sit for the Athletic Training Board of Certification examination to become certified athletic trainers through the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA). Prior to CAATE accreditation, Howard Payne University students could only meet the requirements for Texas State Licensure. Almost all other states in the U.S. and many countries require NATA certification to practice as an athletic trainer.

According to NATA, athletic trainers are health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

“It has been a long process to develop the degree and obtain CAATE accreditation,” said Mike Terrill, director of HPU’s Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) and assistant professor of athletic training.

Terrill, previously HPU’s head athletic trainer, transitioned to his faculty role in the fall of 2011 to create ATEP and begin the accreditation-seeking process.

“The university could not have obtained this goal without help and support from the HPU family of administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni,” he said. “We’re very excited to offer our students this opportunity to become industry-standard certified athletic trainers.”

To learn more about becoming a student in Howard Payne University’s Athletic Training Education Program, contact the Office of Admission at enroll@hputx.edu or by phone at (325) 649-8020 or (800) 880-4478. More information about the program may also be found at www.hputx.edu/atep.

HPU students excel at Prague Model United Nations Conference

DeLoach and McConnell in Prague for webBy Emily Peisker, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – April 16, 2015 – Howard Payne University students Cara DeLoach and Mike McConnell recently participated in the Model United Nations conference at the University of Economics in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. DeLoach and McConnell served as chair of the Security Council and co-chair of the Disarmament and International Security Committee, respectively.

DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo, and McConnell, a senior from Burleson, have participated in Model UN conferences since 2013. Their experiences and track record at conferences across Europe prompted the Prague conference to offer them chair and co-chair positions on elite councils.

“That Cara and Mike would be chosen for such an honor speaks volumes not only about their unique abilities as demonstrated at previous Model UN conferences, but also reveals that the HPU Model United Nations Team is making a name for itself and raising HPU’s international profile,” said Dr. Justin D. Murphy, HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

With previous experience at conferences in Stockholm, Rome and Istanbul, DeLoach came well-prepared to chair the Security Council, the highest-level committee in Model UN. The Security Council deals with the most prevalent topics in the real United Nations, such as the current conflict with ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“Having the opportunity to preside over the Security Council at the Prague conference was an honor and a unique experience that I will never forget,” said DeLoach. “I was able to facilitate debates on the topic of ISIL with students from all over the world, develop friendships abroad and learn about a new culture.”

McConnell helped chair the Disarmament and International Security Committee, the first arm of the General Assembly. DISEC deals with issues regarding the promotion, establishment and subsequent maintenance of global peace while simultaneously working to prevent weapons proliferation.

“My committee, comprised of students from all over Europe and parts of the United States, tackled the difficult and pressing issues of demilitarizing the Arctic region and the threat of terrorist groups obtaining weapons of mass destruction,” said McConnell.

Part of the experience of Model UN is to travel to different cities around the world, where students can fellowship with peers, develop skills for future careers and immerse themselves in new cultures.

“Prague itself was incredibly beautiful, mixing Old World architecture with modern structures in a seamless and beautiful fashion,” said McConnell.

DeLoach said touring Prague, visiting the castle and eating at the Café Louvre were just a few of the wonderful memories she will have for the rest of her life.

“Participating in HPU’s Model United Nations program has allowed me to learn so much about myself and other people, and for that I will always be grateful,” she said.

DeLoach, McConnell and other members of HPU’s Model UN team additionally traveled to Münster, Germany, competing in the Münster University International Model United Nations Conference, between March 28 and April 1.

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Photo cutline: HPU students Cara DeLoach and Mike McConnell recently held elite positions at the Model United Nations conference at the University of Economics in Prague.