News Archives: Academics

Deans among new faculty at HPU

BROWNWOOD – September 23, 2014 – Two deans are among the nine new Howard Payne University faculty members this semester. Dr. Richard Fiese serves as dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts and professor of music, while Alexia Riggs joins HPU as dean of libraries and associate professor of library science.

Richard Fiese for webDr. Fiese most recently served as professor in music education at Houston Baptist University from 2000 to 2014. Additionally, he has served as associate professor of music education at the University of Miami from 1995 to 2000; associate professor of music education at the University of Houston from 1989 to 1995; and director of bands at Henry L. West Laboratory School in Coral Gables, Fla. from 1986 to 1989. He earned his doctorate from the University of Miami in 1989.

Dr. Les Plagens, dean of HPU’s School of Business, co-chaired the selection committee in the search to fill the position.

“Dr. Fiese brings both depth and breadth in higher education administrative experience to this dean position at HPU,” he said. “He has accomplished a significant body of scholarly activity nationally and has produced an impressive record of service for the music education profession in Texas.”

Alexia Riggs is a 2002 HPU graduate. Her previous experience includes serving as reference librarian at Del Mar College from 2012 to 2014; technical services librarian at Paris Junior College from 2009 to 2012; government document librarian intern at Texas Christian University in 2009; and as a music library assistant at Hardin-Simmons University from 2004 to 2005. She has completed all but her dissertation toward a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi.

Alexia Riggs for web“Alexia is a wonderful addition to our faculty and we’re delighted that she chose to return to serve her alma mater,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer.

According to Dr. Tew, choosing those who will serve as leaders among the HPU faculty is a tremendously important task.

“The semester has only just begun and we’re already benefiting from their knowledge, experience and leadership,” he said. “I am deeply appreciative of the faculty and deans who worked tirelessly as members of the search committees that recommended these two extraordinary candidates.”

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Photo cutlines: Two deans are among the new faculty at HPU.

Dr. Richard Fiese serves as dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts and professor of music.

Alexia Riggs serves as dean of libraries and associate professor of library science.

HPU honor student interns in Washington, D.C.

By Jaclyn Bonner, HPU sophomore
Katie Bonner dc for webBROWNWOOD – September 16, 2014 – Katie Rose Bonner of Lytle, a senior political science, history and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major at Howard Payne University, represented HPU this summer as a participant in The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) internship program.

Bonner received a full scholarship from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation and an expense stipend from the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

In addition to this honor, Bonner excelled in the Economics of Regulation and Ethics & Leadership courses she and other TFAS scholars took through George Mason University, where she was recognized as the top student in Ethics & Leadership with the Outstanding Student Award.

“I am immensely proud of Katie for receiving the George B. Peabody Award as the 2014 Outstanding Student from The Fund for American Studies and George Mason University’s Institute on Business and Government Affairs,” stated Dr. Justin D. Murphy, director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and dean of the School of Humanities. “It is an honor to have a student of her caliber in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy at Howard Payne University.”

Through TFAS, Bonner interned for the American Chemistry Council, the largest trade association in the chemistry industry. Her responsibilities included researching and drafting an advocacy letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, attending House Committee hearings and conducting a study on the National Science Academy’s committees that issue toxic chemical reports for legislators and regulators.

Bonner was selected by TFAS as the student speaker at the annual Congressional Student Awards Dinner which garnered more than 400 senators, lobbyists, CEOs and program sponsors.

Bonner voiced her appreciation for the program.

“TFAS has provided me opportunities to visit government institutions I might have otherwise only encountered through reading,” she said. “Interacting with individuals who play a critical role in our nation’s government allowed me to make some incredible contacts and receive sound career advice from highly successful individuals.”

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Photo cutline: Katie Rose Bonner, an HPU senior from Lytle, completed a summer internship in Washington, D.C. She is pictured in front of the Washington Monument.

HPU named a great value, veteran-friendly institution by U.S. News & World Report

PrintBROWNWOOD – September 10, 2014 – Howard Payne University maintained high rankings in the 2015 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. The publication announced Tuesday that HPU advanced four places from 2014 to be ranked fourth among the regional colleges of the west in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category. Additionally, the university placed 15 out of the ranked institutions in the “Best Regional Colleges of the West” category and seventh among the regional colleges of the west in the “Best Colleges for Veterans” category.

According to the publication, U.S. News determines its “Great Schools, Great Prices” category by taking into account an institution’s academic quality based on its “Best Colleges” ranking and the 2013-2014 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.

“The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal,” the publication stated.

U.S. News determines the “Best Colleges for Veterans” by examining institutions in the 2015 “Best Colleges” rankings which participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active service members apply, pay for and complete their degrees.

Institutions are ranked in all categories within four geographic regions: North, South, Midwest and West. Universities and colleges in Texas and Oklahoma compete in the West region, which is the largest geographic section, encompassing the entire Western U.S.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, voiced the university’s pleasure at once again being recognized as one of the top institutions in the region.

“We continually strive to be an outstanding value to our students and their families,” he said. “We’re honored to have been recognized for these efforts.”

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Photo cutline: HPU, celebrating 125 years of excellence in 2014, maintained high rankings in the 2015 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report.

Nine join Howard Payne University faculty

new faculty fall 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – September 4, 2014 – The fall 2014 semester at Howard Payne University brought nine new faculty members to the HPU classrooms.

“We’re very blessed at HPU to have an outstanding and dedicated group of faculty serving our students,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer. “We’re confident these individuals are of the same caliber and we’re delighted to welcome them to the university.”

Joining the faculty this semester are Scott Eddy, Dr. Richard Fiese, Dr. Adrian Gil, Dr. Debra Powell, Alexia Riggs, Dr. Nancy Romig, Shawntay Sparks-Hubbard, Kay Teague and Shannon Turner.

Scott Eddy, instructor of mathematics, received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Youngstown State University in 2009 and 2011. His experience includes serving as a math assessment writer, 2012-2014; part-time instructor at Kent State University, 2011-2013; and graduate assistant at Youngstown State University, 2009-2011.

Dr. Richard Fiese is the new dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts and professor of music. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1980 and his Master of Music and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Miami in 1986 and 1989. Dr. Fiese’s previous experience includes serving as professor in music education at Houston Baptist University, 2000-2014; associate professor of music education at the University of Miami, 1995-2000; associate professor of music education at the University of Houston, 1989-1995; and director of bands at Henry L. West Laboratory School in Coral Gables, Fla., 1986-1989.

Dr. Adrian Gil serves as the new director of HPU’s El Paso Center and as an associate professor of business. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1996), Master of Business Administration (2000) and Doctor of Philosophy degrees (2009) from The University of Texas at El Paso. His previous experience includes serving as assistant professor of management at the University of Houston, 2010-2014; associate instructor of management at The University of Texas at El Paso, 2004-2009; research assistant at The University of Texas at El Paso, 2004-2005; production control manager at A.O. Smith Water Heaters, 2002-2004; and purchasing/materials manager at Air System Components, Inc., 1998-2002.

Dr. Debra Powell, previously an adjunct instructor at HPU’s New Braunfels Center, now serves as assistant professor of business administration at the Brownwood campus. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from McMurry University in 1987, her Master of Business Administration degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 1990 and her Doctor of Business Administration degree from Argosy University in 2013. Her experience includes serving as an online facilitator at the Art Institute Online, 2006-present; adjunct in business administration at HPU, 2007 and 2013-2014; fashion and retail management faculty member at Art Institute of Austin, 2008-2010; visiting instructor at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 2005-2006; and various positions, including managerial, at J.C. Penney Co. in various cities, 1988-2004.

Alexia Riggs is HPU’s new dean of libraries and associate professor of library science. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from HPU in 2002, her Master of Divinity degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 2007 and her Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas in 2009. She has completed all but her dissertation toward a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. Riggs’ previous experience includes serving as reference librarian at Del Mar College, 2012-2014; technical services librarian at Paris Junior College, 2009-2012; government document librarian intern at Texas Christian University, 2009; and as a music library assistant at Hardin-Simmons University, 2004-2005.

Dr. Nancy Romig joins the HPU faculty as an assistant professor of English. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from HPU in 2004, her Master of Arts degree from Texas State University in 2008 and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of Arkansas in 2013. Dr. Romig’s previous experience includes serving as visiting assistant professor of English at HPU, spring 2014; instructor of English at University of Arkansas, summer and fall 2013; teaching assistant for English at University of Arkansas, 2010-2013; graduate tutor at University of Arkansas, 2009-2013; and adjunct at HPU, 2008-2009.

Shawntay Sparks-Hubbard serves as associate professor of nursing and director of the university’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Midwestern State University in 1994, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Tarleton State University in 2005 and her Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Phoenix in 2008. She has completed all but her dissertation toward a doctoral degree from the University of Phoenix. Her experience includes serving as program coordinator at Comanche County Medical Center, 2013-2014; L.V.N. to A.D.N. Bridge Program chair at Texas State Technical College, 2010-2014; registered nurse at Texas Nurse Connection, 2006-2012; and registered nurse at CHS/Abilene Regional Medical Center, 2004-2011.

Kay Teague serves as HPU’s new instructor of mathematics. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University in 1991 and her Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University in 1993. Her previous experience includes serving as instructor at Tarleton State University, 2013-2014; instructor and freshman math coordinator at Tarleton State University, 2006-2013; and lecturer at Tarleton State University, 1997-2006.

Shannon Turner, previously an HPU staff member, has joined the faculty as instructor of academic services, learning assistance and academic recovery. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees from Tarleton State University in 2000 and 2001. Her previous experience includes serving as director of institutional research and effectiveness at HPU, 2011-2014; computer science/multimedia/English I teacher at Brownwood High School, 2008-2011; computer science/credit recovery/English II teacher at Vista Ridge High School, 2004-2008; English II/computer science teacher at Leander High School, 2001-2004; and graduate assistant for visual basic computer labs at Tarleton State University, 2000-2001.

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Photo cutline: Nine individuals recently joined the HPU faculty. Left to right: Dr. Adrian Gil, Dr. Richard Fiese, Shawntay Sparks-Hubbard, Dr. Debra Powell, Shannon Turner, Dr. Nancy Romig, Kay Teague and Alexia Riggs. Not pictured is Scott Eddy.

HPU holds University Convocation ceremony

newbury 2014 convocation for webBROWNWOOD – August 28, 2014 – Howard Payne University kicked off its fall 2014 Chapel season yesterday with its annual University Convocation ceremony. Dr. Don Newbury, chancellor and former HPU president, addressed the audience.

Dr. Newbury spoke of many notable people in HPU’s 125-year-history including alumna Dr. Cynthia Clawson Courtney and former presidents Dr. Guy D. Newman and Dr. Thomas Taylor. He urged those in attendance to trust God’s plans for their lives.

Other program participants included Corey Ash, associate professor of music; Katie Bonner, HPU senior and president of the Student Government Association; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Amy Kresta, instructor of biology; Katherine Licce, HPU senior; Dr. Allen Reed, professor of music; Dr. Joe Robinson, professor of education; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; and Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and president of the Faculty Assembly.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Don Newbury, left, HPU chancellor and former president, addresses the university during the first Chapel ceremony of the fall 2014 semester. He is pictured with Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and president of the Faculty Assembly. Photo by Rachel Ellington, HPU junior.

HPU faculty member’s book recommended by FCA Magazine

john nickols with book for webBROWNWOOD – Aug. 7, 2014 – “The Last Three Outs,” a novel by John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at Howard Payne University, was recently recommended by FCA Magazine, a national publication of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The novel was the only work of fiction recommended by the magazine in its July/August issue.

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

“Joseph’s story has always intrigued me,” Nickols said. “There were many injustices in his life, but God redeemed him in a much greater way. In a very trivial way, the same thing happens to Danny in my story.”

The book was published by Tate Publishing and is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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Photo cutline: “The Last Three Outs” by John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, was recently recommended by FCA Magazine.

HPU education students travel to London

By Kendyl Moore ’14

BROWNWOOD – July 29, 2014 – Eight education majors from Howard Payne University traveled to London recently to learn firsthand about the British education system and compare it to education in Texas.

London group final for webHPU’s School of Education travels to London every other year to allow as many students as possible to attend. Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, associate professor of education, served as the trip sponsor and described it as an incredible learning experience.

“Even though things are done differently in the British education system, it’s still a good way of doing them,” states Dr. Lehrer. “This trip provides a great way to observe a different culture in a setting that’s familiar.”

The group stayed in London but took day trips to Warwick Castle, Hampton Court Palace and the village of Herne Bay. At Herne Bay, on the coast near Canterbury in Kent, the students spent a full day observing a primary school classroom. They compared the differences in teaching styles and the education systems in Britain and Texas.

They were also able to see many historical and educational sites in and around London including Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the London Eye and more.

“My wish is that every HPU student has the opportunity to travel,” says Dr. Lehrer. “It opens up students’ minds and expands their worldviews.”

The students who went on the trip were Jeremy Bartley, senior from Brownwood; Shelby Byrd, senior from Brownwood; Casey Coffee, senior from Early; Allyson Gainey, senior from Kermit; Katie Mann, junior from Blanket; Kensey Martinez, senior from Brownwood; Jill Parson, sophomore from Llano; and Whitney Turnacliff, senior from Andrews.

In addition to Dr. Lehrer, trip sponsors included Jill Underwood, adjunct instructor of education, and Paula Hoyle Morelock, former educator and HPU alumna.

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Photo cutline: Students and faculty from HPU’s School of Education recently traveled to London. Left to right: Jill Underwood, Katie Mann, Jeremy Bartley, Whitney Turnacliff, Allyson Gainey, Kensey Martinez, Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, Shelby Byrd, Paula Morelock, Casey Coffee and Jill Parson.

HPU assistant professor publishes books on women in missions

Melody Maxwell books for webBROWNWOOD – July 22, 2014 – Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at Howard Payne University, recently published two books analyzing the role of women in missions and church leadership.

Dr. Maxwell’s most recent work, “The Woman I Am: Southern Baptist Women’s Writings, 1906-2006,” references Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) publications and traces developing thought patterns regarding the role of women in missions and church leadership throughout the 20th century. The book was published by University of Alabama Press in early July.

Released in April, Dr. Maxwell’s first book, “Torches in the Corridor: 125 Years of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union,” is an expansion of a thesis she published as an undergraduate student at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. The book features historical profiles of leaders within Tennessee WMU. Dr. Maxwell had the opportunity to premiere her work at the group’s annual meeting in April.

“It is fascinating to look at the ways that changing American culture has affected Southern Baptist women’s roles,” she said. “Over the past century, Baptist women have advocated and filled positions from missionary homemaker to ordained pastor. My books explore these changes and how they were received by Southern Baptists, both women and men.”

Maxwell also has firsthand experience with her subject matter.

“I grew up in Tennessee, where I met leaders in WMU who helped shape my vocation and my life,” she said. “I also served on the national WMU staff, where I observed trends among Baptist women in the 21st century.”

“The Woman I Am” is available for purchase on Amazon and directly through the publisher at http://www.uapress.ua.edu/. “Torches in the Corridor” is available for purchase from Tennessee WMU by calling (615) 371-2038.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at HPU, recently published two books on the role of women in missions and church leadership.

HPU faculty member publishes book on worship and the Baptist faith

Hatch with book for webBROWNWOOD – June 20, 2014 – Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies at Howard Payne University, recently co-edited “Gathering Together: Baptists at Work in Worship,” a collection of essays examining how worship shapes the Baptist faith.

Penned by pastors and scholars from across the United States, the essays take a close look at the act of liturgy or corporate worship. According to Dr. Hatch, a reoccurring metaphor throughout the book views worship as a “seamless garment.”

“Baptists often think of worship as comprised of individual acts such as sermons, music, greeting periods and a time of invitation,” he said. “But ‘Gathering Together’ seeks to examine how each act reinforces the others and serves to strengthen church communities.”

Dr. Hatch stated that the purpose of the book is not to promote or emphasize one style of worship over another, but rather to encourage intentional and theological reflection on these acts by ministers and churchgoers.

“Regardless of style, we want Baptists to think intentionally about worship and to constantly move toward a ‘seamless garment,’” he said.

“Gathering Together” is co-edited by Rodney Wallace Kennedy, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio. It is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and directly from the publisher at www.wipfandstock.com.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies at HPU, discusses his new book, “Gathering Together: Baptists at Work in Worship,” at a recent book-signing event on campus.

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 is designed to give students firsthand experience in cross-cultural service.

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!”

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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.