News Archives: School of Humanities

Accreditation of HPU’s social work program reaffirmed until 2025

BROWNWOOD – August 10, 2018 – The Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation announced during the spring 2018 semester that the accreditation of Howard Payne University’s social work program has been reaffirmed until 2025. The program was first accredited by CSWE in 1997 and has been subsequently reaccredited on three occasions.

Graduates from accredited social work programs are eligible to take the state’s baccalaureate social work licensing exam, which enhances their employability. Additionally, for those planning to attend graduate schools upon completing their degrees at HPU, participation in an accredited undergraduate program such as HPU’s will reduce the number of hours required to obtain a Master of Social Work degree.

More than 20 alumni from HPU’s social work program are employed in the helping profession in the Brownwood community.

“HPU’s social work program has a long history of preparing students to help meet the needs of those at the margins of society,” said Dr. Millard Kimery, dean of HPU’s School of Humanities. “We’re proud to receive this notice of our reaffirmation and look forward to another seven years of excellence.”

The program’s accreditation was reaffirmed during the tenure of Dan Humeniuk, now retired from his role as assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Social Work and Sociology.


BGCT continues support of HPU’s restorative justice emphasis

BROWNWOOD – July 25, 2018 – Howard Payne University has received 2018 funding for the restorative justice emphasis of its criminal justice program from the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The BGCT has assisted with the emphasis since 2006.

Restorative justice is a practice that assists in repairing harm when unacceptable behavior has made a negative impact on a victim or a community such as a school, town or neighborhood. Many churches believe in the practice and work with universities to provide programs that equip students with communication, social work and criminal justice training.

The Christian Life Commission is a strong proponent of restorative justice, providing resources to churches and other organizations affiliated with the BGCT. A page on the BGCT’s website ( says restorative justice reflects biblical principles and encourages Christian leaders to make empathy an essential part of their response toward victims and offenders.

Personnel from the BGCT met with Lynn Humeniuk, director of HPU’s criminal justice program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, and representatives from seven other private Christian universities more than a decade ago to propose starting a focus on restorative justice in the universities’ criminal justice programs. HPU was the only university at that time to accept the funding.

The restorative justice emphasis is available for criminal justice majors and minors but is not limited to that department. Over the years, students from social work and psychology have completed restorative justice courses and students from other majors also have the opportunity to use elective hours to complete these courses. The criminal justice department offers a four-class rotation that grants students certificates of completion after conclusion. The BGCT assists with funding to pay an adjunct instructor to teach the classes each semester both in the undergraduate and graduate programs. The funds have also been used to sponsor a trip for a professor and a student to present a topic on restorative justice at an academic conference.

Students in the program have gone on to assist the community by aiding juvenile and adult probation programs, the Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Complex, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Trucore, local attorney offices, local youth ministries and more programs outside the Brownwood area.

“As a Christian university, we delight in the opportunity to teach those going into fields of criminal justice how to steward relationships of forgiveness and healing between offenders, victims, families and communities at large,” said Humeniuk. “We’re thankful to the BGCT for its ongoing support of our students.”

HPU students complete semester-long criminal justice internships

CRJ internsBROWNWOOD – May 30, 2018 – Ten Howard Payne University students were recently honored for the successful completion of criminal justice internships. The students and their supervising agencies were recognized at the end of the spring 2018 semester at a luncheon held at Section Hand Steakhouse in Brownwood.

Criminal justice majors are required to complete 150 hours of service with an agency or organization which reflects three credit hours toward their degrees. Internships include working with “at risk” students and adults at local, state and federal agencies as well as positions with law firms, law enforcement agencies and many other opportunities that help students prepare for a future in the field of criminal justice.

Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of the criminal justice program, expressed her appreciation to the individuals who mentored the HPU students throughout the length of their internships.

“Their guidance is very beneficial to the interns,” Humeniuk said. “Our students are well poised to enter careers in the field of criminal justice due to their own hard work and the mentorship from their supervisors. The men and women from our supervising agencies go above and beyond to model the true meaning of how to serve and protect. Our criminal justice program and our interns are truly blessed.”

Criminal justice interns for the 2017-2018 academic year included Amber Carroll, junior from Brownwood, intern at Hope Home Ministry; Andria Garza, senior from San Antonio, intern at Steele Law Firm; Matthew Gomez, senior from Brownwood, intern at Comanche County Probation Department; Alsatia Jowers, senior from Brownwood, intern at New Horizons; Keeley McKinney, senior from Poth, intern at the Ron Jackson Unit; Krystal Moreno, senior from Marion, intern at the Brownwood Police Department; Jacob Salazar, senior from Lockhart, intern at the Travis County District Attorney’s Office; Kyle Steele, senior from Brownwood, intern at the Brown County District Attorney’s Office; Michael Thomas, junior from Brownwood, intern at the Texas Department of Public Safety; and Jeremiah Wenzel, senior from Brownwood, intern at Comanche County Probation Department.


Cutline: HPU’s criminal justice interns are pictured with their supervisors and HPU faculty and staff. From left to right are Gina Gibbs, instructor of criminal justice; Dr. Millard Kimery, dean of HPU’s School of Humanities; Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program; Rebecca Cadena, supervisor at Ron Jackson Unit; Keeley McKinney, intern; Kyle Steele, intern; Alsatia Jowers, intern; Matthew Gomez, intern; Amber Carroll, intern; Jeremiah Wenzel, intern; Krystal Moreno, intern; Michael Thomas, intern; Cynthia Givan, departmental administrative assistant; and Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry.

Not pictured are interns Andria Garza and Jacob Salazar and supervisors Chassidy Carroll (Hope Home Ministry), Sgt. Scott Fraiser (Texas Department of Public Safety), Assistant Chief James Fuller (Brownwood Police Department), Regina Johnson (Comanche County Adult Probation), Chief Mike Lummus (Travis County District Attorney’s Office), Michael Murray (Brown County District Attorney’s Office), Todd Steele (Steele Law Firm) and Niki Terway (New Horizons).

HPU freshman receives Sheriffs’ Association of Texas scholarship

Ratliff and HillBROWNWOOD – May 25, 2018 – William Ratliff, Howard Payne University freshman from Kyle, has been awarded a scholarship by the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas. Sheriff Vance Hill of Brown County presented the award to Ratliff during a luncheon held at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

Ratliff is a criminal justice major and a member of the HPU Yellow Jacket football team.

“I would like to thank the Sheriffs’ Association for granting me this scholarship and Sheriff Hill for presenting it to me,” said Ratliff.

The Sheriffs’ Association of Texas offers scholarships to eligible students pursuing an academic degree at a college or university. In addition to the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas scholarships, several others are made available through the generosity of individuals or organizations. These funds are managed by the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas to award to qualified students. The scholarships are awarded once in the spring semester and once in the fall semester of each year.

Each applicant must have a parent in law enforcement in Texas; must be a high school graduate and have completed at least one semester of college; must be enrolled in a college or university, in an academic course of study, as a full-time student during the semester the application is submitted; must be younger than 25 years of age at time of application; must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5; and must not have been convicted of a crime which would make an individual ineligible for employment in his/her field of study.

For the spring 2018 semester, the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas awarded 16 scholarships to students throughout the state.

“Will Ratliff is an outstanding young man who is a blessing to have in the classroom,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program. “I am grateful to Sheriff Hill for all his support with the criminal justice program at HPU and for representing the Sheriffs’ Association that is so generous with its funds.”

For more information about the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, visit


Cutline: Sheriff Vance Hill of Brown County (right) recently presented the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas scholarship to HPU freshman William Ratliff.

HPU students study advocacy, legislative process at Texas State Capitol

Capitol-2018BROWNWOOD – April 25, 2018 – Fourteen Howard Payne University students recently traveled to the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The travelers, students in Dan Humeniuk’s Social Welfare Programs, Policies and Issues course, are social work and family studies majors who plan to enter careers advocating for and serving society’s marginalized populations.

The students attended a session with representatives from the Christian Life Commission during which they learned about the legislative process and policy initiatives of the commission. While at the Capitol, the students visited with their district representatives to present their concerns regarding payday and car title loans.

“Predatory lending practices such as payday and car title loans are often targeted toward socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals, to the detriment of this already struggling group of people,” said Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Social Work and Sociology. “In advance of the trip, we studied the social implications of these practices so that students would be well informed when speaking with their district representatives.”

Aryn Morris, senior from Pipe Creek, said she believes everyone who has the opportunity should visit the state capitol.

“It is so beneficial because it teaches and proves that it is not just the people with important titles who are able to make a difference in the world,” she said. “Anyone can go and express their opinions and beliefs to legislators and representatives.”

Lindsey Tumlinson, sophomore from New Braunfels, remarked that the representatives seemed eager to hear from their constituents.

“Not only is it a welcoming place, but our Texas state representatives actually want to hear from us and see us actively involved in the legislative process,” she said. “Citizens have a voice and the representatives want to hear from us.”

In addition to Morris and Tumlinson, HPU students in attendance included Jessica Catlett, senior from Alleyton; Zoe Emley, senior from Natalia; Brooke Gibbs, junior from Fort Worth; Crystal Hernandez, senior from Brownwood; Erin McCleer, junior from San Angelo; Jessica Meeks, junior from Bridgeport; Shelby Nash, senior from Cypress; Lyn Norway, junior from Brownwood; Richard Parmer, junior from Brownwood; Emma Reed, junior from Kennedale; Marina Sheets-Ochoa, junior from El Paso; and Candace Stark, junior from Midland.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Fourteen HPU students recently traveled to the Texas State Capitol to meet with representatives of the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. Back row, left to right: Marina Sheet-Ochoa, Shelby Nash, Zoe Emley, Richard Parmer, Lindsey Tumlinson, Dan Humeniuk and Brooke Gibbs. Middle row, left to right: Jessica Meeks, Erin McCleer, Emma Reed, Aryn Morris and Jessica Catlett. Front row, left to right: Lyn Norway, Candace Stark and Crystal Hernandez.

HPU’s Social Work Club offers free prom dresses to area high school students

Spruill with prom dressBROWNWOOD – March 21, 2018 – Members of Howard Payne University’s Social Work Club are excited to once again assist area high school students in securing the prom dresses of their dreams. The club will host its annual Cinderella Project this Friday, March 23, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at HPU’s Girling Center for Social Justice, 1308 Austin Avenue in Brownwood.

Young women from area high schools may each receive one free prom dress while supplies last. The gently used dresses are current fashions donated by HPU students and others from the community.

“This is the twelfth year the HPU Social Work Club has hosted this event,” said Dan Humeniuk, club adviser, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Social Work and Sociology. “Last year, 52 dresses were distributed to students from a variety of area high schools.”

Social Work Club members, led by the group’s president, Sierra Spruill, senior from Ranger, create a boutique experience for the high school students complete with music and fitting rooms.

“Many girls look forward to prom night and the perfect dress plays a large role in that,” said Spruill. “Our goal is to help make prom a memorable and positive experience for as many girls as possible.”

For more information, contact Spruill at 254-433-0242.


Cutline: Sierra Spruill, president of HPU’s Social Work Club, displays one of the dresses that was available during the club’s 2017 Cinderella Project event.

HPU Moot Court students clinch national championship title

Hahn and Sommers National ChampsBROWNWOOD – February 1, 2018 – Howard Payne University students Jordan Hahn, sophomore from Burnet, and Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, were recently named National Brief Writing Champions during the American Moot Court Association’s national competition at the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law. Hahn and Sommers secured HPU’s second national championship title in the history of collegiate Moot Court with the previous title occurring in 2002.

Moot Court is a competition during which students participate in the preparation and arguing of cases in front of judges, designed to simulate argument before the United States Supreme Court.

In addition to writing the top brief, HPU’s team was ranked ninth in the oral component of the tournament placing in the top three percent in the country. Additionally, each student was recognized as a top orator in the tournament, with Hahn finishing as the 13th top speaker and Sommers finishing as the 20th top speaker.

Lorianna Kelley, HPU’s assistant professor of government, advises the Moot Court team.

“This tournament tops off an incredible year for HPU, with several wins, top orator awards and countless hours of hard work behind us,” she said. “It also is a great way to finish the collegiate career of our one graduating senior on the team, Isaac Sommers. He has advanced to nationals every year of competition, so it’s great to go out with a win!”

Hahn said it was an immense blessing to have had such success at the national championship tournament.

“I would never have expected to be at this point in only my second year of Moot Court,” she said. “I’m thankful for my fantastic partner and my coach who made it possible. Isaac and I have worked hard all year to prepare for this tournament, so it feels amazing to have that recognized and bring home a win for HPU.”


Cutline: HPU Moot Court competitors Jordan Hahn (left) and Isaac Sommers recently secured the university’s second national championship title in the history of collegiate Moot Court.

HPU social work students participate in Mission Waco’s poverty simulation

Poverty simulation group HPU 2017BROWNWOOD – January 24, 2018 – Seven Howard Payne University students and one faculty member recently took part in one of Mission Waco’s poverty simulations, an experience designed to give participants a firsthand look at poverty in America. This was HPU’s ninth year to participate in the event.

Mission Waco creates a safe, controlled weekend of experiences that is designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty in America. HPU students joined approximately 30 other people of various ages to go through this simulation together.

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Social Work and Sociology, takes part in the simulation with his students each year.

“The whole group of participants was smaller this year which was actually a good thing,” said Humeniuk. “We were able to go through the simulation and spend more time in processing the experience which is difficult with a larger group.”

Attendees experienced a very small sample of the hunger, tiredness and hardship many homeless people have to endure on a daily basis. Morgan Lacy, a senior from Early, attended the simulation and gave his perspective of the event.

“Those who are from a poor background are not less than me; they are my equals according to God,” Lacy said. “Having a better understanding of the hardships of those in poverty, I can understand what their needs are.”

The poverty simulation participants were not given any luxuries, including transportation. They walked everywhere they needed to go which totaled about 18 miles over the weekend.

The group had the opportunity to experience a church service and worship under the I-35 bridge over 8th Street in Waco on Sunday morning. Mission Waco conducts the church services and, as part of the simulation, participants walk one-and-a-half miles from the site to the bridge. Groups of people from all over Waco including college students, families and homeless people join together to worship under the bridge.

Another HPU student who attended the poverty simulation weekend, junior Lyn Norway from Brownwood, shared her takeaway from the event.

“I believe that all people, no matter what career they go into, should go through this poverty simulation, so that they will have a better understanding of what poverty truly is and how they can help to end it,” said Norway.

Besides Humeniuk, Lacy and Norway, others from HPU who attended were junior Jessica Catlett from Alleyton, senior Jacob Escobar from Brownwood, 2017 HPU graduate Gabriella Guest from Brownwood, senior Crystal Hernandez from Brownwood and junior Marina Sheets-Ochoa from Brownwood.


Photo cutline: Eight from HPU participated in the 2017 Poverty Simulation in Waco. They are pictured on the HPU campus. Left to right: Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Social Work and Sociology; Jacob Escobar; Gabriella Guest; Crystal Hernandez; Lyn Norway; Marina Sheets-Ochoa; Jessica Catlett; and Morgan Lacy.

HPU’s Spirit of Social Work Award presented to Anna Moulder Cloud of Brownwood

Anna Cloud Spirit of Social WorkBROWNWOOD – November 6, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Advisory Board recently presented its Spirit of Social Work Award to Anna Moulder Cloud of Brownwood. The award is presented annually to an individual whose career reflects an outstanding contribution to the social work profession or to the field of human services in general.

Cloud, who worked as a secretary in the communication department at Abilene Christian University for 10 years, decided to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work; and in 1995, she completed her Master of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. While at UTA, Cloud assisted with research on the evaluation of day care centers.

Cloud began a nearly 14-year career in 1996 as a caseworker with the Texas Youth Commission (now Texas Juvenile Justice Department) at the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex. She had the opportunity to work with the substance abuse and sex-offender-treatment programs, and served as the security unit caseworker.

Cloud has served her communities in many other ways as well. She taught a Bible class for 20 years at Hillcrest Church of Christ in Abilene and volunteered as a van driver for disabled and elderly church members for 10 years. Cloud has also participated in nursing home and homebound outreach ministries at Austin Avenue Church of Christ in Brownwood for 12 years and has been the coordinator of those services for the past six years.

HPU has also been the recipient of Cloud’s generous love of social work as she served as a field instructor for the university’s social work program. Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Social Work and Sociology, offered his congratulations to Cloud.

”I had the pleasure of working with Anna at the Ron Jackson Complex for 10 years,” said Humeniuk. “During that time, I found her to be most compassionate and highly professional in her approach to her assigned duties. She certainly represents the true spirit of social work.”

Cloud and her husband, Aaron, have been married 56 years. The couple has a son who is deceased and a grown daughter.


Cutline: Dan Humeniuk, right, recently presented the HPU Social Work Advisory Board’s Spirit of Social Work Award to Anna Moulder Cloud.

HPU Moot Court wins first tournament of the season

Hahn and Sommers with judges for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2017 – Howard Payne University students dominated at the first Moot Court invitational tournament of the 2017-2018 season. Jordan Hahn, sophomore from Burnet, and Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, were declared tournament champions at the recent St. Mary’s University School of Law tournament in San Antonio.

In addition to Hahn and Sommers, the team of Bailey Myler, junior from Brownwood, and Justin Harris, senior from Fort Worth, finished the first day in the top eight. Hahn and Sommers advanced to semifinals then finals, winning the championship in a 3-0 decision.

“I am so proud of the hard work these four have already put in this semester,” said Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government and Moot Court adviser. “It’s a promising start to what I know will be a very successful competition season.”

HPU Moot Court Teams for webThis win is the most recent in a long series of victories for HPU’s Moot Court program. In the spring semester, the team successfully defended its position as one of the best in the state by winning the tournament at Southern Methodist University. At the end of the semester, six HPU 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.


Cutlines: HPU students Jordan Hahn, second from left, and Isaac Sommers, fourth from left, are pictured with the Moot Court judges upon being named tournament champions.

HPU Moot Court students dominated at the recent tournament at St. Mary’s University School of Law. Left to right: Isaac Sommers, Jordan Hahn, Bailey Myler and Justin Harris.