News Archives: School of Humanities

HPU students participate in Social Work Student Day at the Legislature

social work students in Austin for webBROWNWOOD – April 23, 2014 – Six Howard Payne University students recently traveled to the Texas State Capitol in Austin to take part in the Social Work Student Day at the Legislature, sponsored by the Texas Association of Social Work Deans and Directors. The travelers are students in Dan Humeniuk’s Social Welfare Policies, Programs and Issues course.

“The purpose of the trip was for our students to get a sense of their opportunities for participation in advocacy and government processes,” said Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology.

HPU students, joining students from universities across the state, participated in a legislative training session led by keynote speaker Ana DeFrates, assistant general counsel and legislative analyst for Senator Kirk Watson. The HPU group also met with Texas State Representative Jim Keffer’s legislative staff.

“Social workers and other human service professionals typically work with disenfranchised clients,” Humeniuk said. “This session taught them advocacy skills which can be applied at the local, state and federal levels.”

HPU students in attendance included Carolyn Barnes, a senior from Glen Rose; Brooke Goad, a junior from Carbon; Jennifer Goff, a senior from Austin; Angelica Gray, a junior from San Antonio; Paula Johnson, a junior from Spring; and Vanessa Marquez, a sophomore from Seguin.


Photo cutline: HPU students recently traveled to Austin to participate in the Social Work Student Day at the Legislature. Left to right: Angelica Gray, Carolyn Barnes, Jennifer Goff, Vanessa Marquez, Brooke Goad and Paula Johnson.

HPU Model United Nations team wins five awards at Rome conference

HPU Rome Model UN 2014 for webBy Kendyl Moore, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – April 4, 2014 – The Howard Payne University Model United Nations team traveled to Rome during Spring Break to participate in a conference held March 13-17. HPU students won five delegate awards, more than any other university at the event. With more than 1,500 students in attendance, the Rome conference is one of the largest Model UN conferences in the world.

Model UN is a simulation in which students gather to emulate UN proceedings and topics of discussion. The opening ceremony was held at the actual meeting place of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. HPU students were assigned to represent the Russian Federation throughout the proceedings.

HPU awards included Cara DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo, and Caleb McConnell, a senior from Burleson – Best Delegation in the General Assembly; Kerrie Ford, a senior from Houston – Best Delegate in the Security Council; Cody Perrin, a sophomore from Eastland – Best Delegate in the International Telecommunication Unit; Elizabeth Rogers, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo. – Best Delegate in the International Court of Justice; and Erik Swenson, a senior from Carrollton – Champion Debater on the Security Council. All of the HPU delegates received high praise from committee chairs and directors.

“I am extremely proud of the HPU team’s performance at the Rome Model UN Conference,” stated 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. “It was an honor in itself to be invited to participate and to play the role of the Russian Federation. Six of our twelve students received awards, which was the most achieved by any university. I also want to thank the members of the Academy Board of Directors for their generous support which made it possible for us to attend the conference.”

Additional student participants included Camryn D’Rubio, a junior from Wallis; Kendyl Moore, a senior from Farmington, N.M.; Jason Murphy, a junior from Brownwood; Nicole Nehf, a junior from May; Ivy Nichols, a sophomore from Richardson; and Jessica Ramirez, a senior from Bangs.

The students also had a day to explore Rome, visiting sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, the Catacombs and other locations around the city.

“Traveling to Rome for the HPU Model UN trip was an incredible experience,” said Cara DeLoach. “I was able to meet college students from all across Europe. Representing Russia at the conference enabled my partner and me to adopt a different perspective, especially in light of current events. After attending, I have gained more confidence in being an effective delegate and have personally benefited from the amazing cultural experience we were able to have in Italy.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team won five awards at the recent Rome conference. Pictured at the Roman Pantheon are, from left, Nicole Nehf, Cody Perrin, Camryn D’Rubio, Elizabeth Rogers, Ivy Nichols, Jessica Ramirez, Cara DeLoach, Kerrie Ford, Erik Swenson, Kendyl Moore, Jason Murphy and Caleb McConnell.

HPU faculty member publishes Christian baseball novel

john nickols with book for webBROWNWOOD – March 4, 2014 – Just in time for spring training, a Howard Payne University faculty member has published “The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes. The author is John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU.

Nickols serves as special assistant to the athletic director at HPU and spent many years as a high school and college basketball coach. His sports background and former career as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation heavily influenced his writing.

“The Last Three Outs” 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 best part about writing a book, according to Nickols, is the use of imagination.

“It is fun to create something where there was nothing before,” he said.

The book, the entirety of which was handwritten by Nickols on a legal pad before being transcribed to the computer, also features a mafia story and a love connection. The author stated, however, that it was written to be encouraging.

“The book is intentionally Christian,” he said. “There is no profanity. It is a clean and moral story.”

“The Last Three Outs” (Tate Publishing) is available at and Barnes & Noble. There will be a book signing at Hastings in Brownwood on Saturday, April 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


Photo cutline: John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, recently published a Christian baseball novel, “The Last Three Outs.”

HPU Moot Court students named regional champs, advance to nationals

Moot CourtBROWNWOOD – December 18, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently dominated the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Championship at Baylor University Law School, with an HPU team beating the top team from Texas A&M University in the final round. Katie Rose Bonner, a junior from Lytle, and Elizabeth Rogers, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo., were named Southwestern Regional Champions and received an automatic invitation to the National Championship of Intercollegiate Moot Court on January 17-18, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

An additional HPU team comprised of Cayden McDonald, a senior from Whitehouse, and Christopher Mitchell, a junior from Pecos, advanced to quarter-finals and later received an invitation to compete in the national competition as well.

Awards were given to the top 10 speakers at the competition, including Bonner, Rogers and McDonald. This is a further testament to their practice and preparation, according to their sponsor Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of political science at HPU.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication the students have demonstrated over the course of the semester, evidenced by the results at this most recent tournament,” she said. “Most of our team was new to moot court, and had no prior exposure to this form of oral advocacy. This did not stop them from besting more seasoned teams.”

Undergraduate moot court competitions simulate the experience of arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court. According to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s website, teams that finish in the top 20 percent of each regional event earn an automatic bid to the national tournament.

Also competing from HPU were Zachary Eller, a freshman from Temple; Zachary Gafford, a senior from Brownwood; Colton McCabe, a junior from Gatesville; and Ryan Young, a senior from Mesquite.

Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities, and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, said he is also pleased with the successes of the Moot Court team.

“I am especially proud of Professor Kelley’s role in leading the team,” he said. “She is an outstanding asset to HPU and the Moot Court program.”


Photo cutline: Eight HPU students recently competed at the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Championship at Baylor University Law School, with four advancing to the national championships in January. Left to right: Elizabeth Rogers, champion; Katie Rose Bonner, champion; Cayden McDonald, quarterfinalist; and Christopher Mitchell, quarterfinalist.

HPU social work students get first-hand lessons in poverty

Poverty SimulationBROWNWOOD – December 17, 2013 – Five Howard Payne University social work students recently participated in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation, a weekend experience created to challenge students to “see the world through different eyes.”

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s criminal justice, social work and sociology department, has had a class participate in Poverty Simulation for the past five years.

“More than 15 percent of the American population lives below the poverty line,” he said, referencing U.S. Census Bureau statistics. “We’re increasingly becoming a society in which there is a great division between those who are economically disadvantaged and those who have substantial resources.”

Approximately 50 individuals participated in this year’s simulation, a safe experience designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty. In addition to planned activities, participants slept outdoors and experienced what it is like to find meals with very little money.

According to Humeniuk, these activities promote compassion for those who are less fortunate.

“The Bible addresses our responsibilities as Christians toward those who are struggling,” he said.

Rebekah Steadman, a junior social work major from Fort Worth, was one of two students who returned to Poverty Simulation a second year, despite only being required to participate once.

“I learned something different each time that I participated in the simulation,” she said. “This year, the great lesson that affected me was the importance of relationships and community. We met many people in poverty and heard many stories throughout the weekend that brought the truths of poverty to life. The one thing all the people had in common was that they lacked material possessions but were rich in their relationships with one another. It is a beautiful lesson we all must learn whether we are in poverty or not. How valuable are our relationships and friendships to us versus our material possessions?”

Humeniuk said social work is a “spiritual calling.”

“A social worker’s life’s goal is not to make a lot of money,” he said. “A social worker is more concerned with doing something rather than being somebody.”

Said Steadman, “Those who are impoverished should not be ignored by those of us who have been blessed to give and have the knowledge of how to do so. This simulation truly opens a person’s heart and eyes to the everyday lives of people in poverty and all the extreme struggles they face to survive.”

In addition to Steadman, other students on the trip included Shannon Bundy, a senior from Port Aransas; Jeffery Fennell, a junior from Converse; Jessica Ferrell-Raborn, a senior from Salado; and Paula Johnson, a junior from Spring.


Photo cutline: Five HPU students and a faculty member recently participated in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation. Left to right: Dan Humeniuk, Jessica Ferrell-Raborn, Shannon Bundy, Paula Johnson, Jeffery Fennell and Rebekah Steadman.

HPU’s Kelley addresses International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education

Kevin KelleyBROWNWOOD – December 5, 2013 – Dr. Kevin Kelley, assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at Howard Payne University, recently presented at the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) Fall Region VI Conference held in Dallas. The topic for Dr. Kelley’s presentation was “Employer Expectations for College Graduates.”

“Dr. Kelley presented several key insights on how college business programs can prepare their graduates for today’s dynamic business environment,” said Dr. Les Plagens, dean of HPU’s School of Business. “His experience in assessing managerial talent provided the conference participants an opportunity to discuss implications for learning outcomes for various business programs.”

Dr. Kelley teaches in the psychology and business administration departments at HPU. He also serves as a consultant/partner in the business development firm TAD (Talent Assessment and Development). Most recently, he has worked in organizational strategy and change management at Apple and IBM.

IACBE is the specialized accrediting body for six business programs at HPU. There are more than 250 institutions worldwide with business programs accredited by IACBE.


Photo cutline: Dr. Kevin Kelley, assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at HPU, recently addressed the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

HPU’s criminal justice program celebrates 10-year anniversary

steve tidwell for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2013 – Howard Payne University celebrated a decade of preparing students for careers in the criminal justice field this year, and faculty, staff, students and alumni of the program commemorated the occasion with a picnic held during HPU’s Homecoming Weekend earlier this month. Steve Tidwell, a 1974 HPU graduate and retired FBI agent, spoke during the event.

In 2003, Lynn Humeniuk, director of HPU’s criminal justice program, wrote the criminal justice curriculum for the university. The program started with only 10 students, but quickly grew to become one of the university’s most popular academic offerings. Humeniuk now oversees a program with 80 students.

Several of those students were in attendance as Tidwell, now a managing director for global risk management firm Freeh Group International Solutions, spoke at the picnic. Tidwell received a degree in Christian education at HPU, planning to pursue a ministry-related career.

“However,” Tidwell said, “If God can call you to a career, he can call you away from it.”

He went on to spend 34 years in law enforcement, including eight years as a police officer with the Richardson Police Department and 26 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He also served as a leadership consultant and executive director of the FBI National Academy Associates, Inc.

Tidwell entered the FBI in 1983 and served in a variety of capacities including investigative agent, SWAT team member, protection detail for the FBI director and Attorney General, supervisory special agent and Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake City Division.

In 2002, Tidwell was appointed Special Agent in Charge of the Louisville Field Office. During the high-profile sniper investigation in the Washington, D.C. area that year, he was detailed to serve as an on-scene commander and supervised the crime scene at the arrest site.

Tidwell continued to serve the FBI in several more positions. He was the FBI’s first National Asset Commander for major tactical and crisis incidents and was responsible for the FBI’s overall national response to Hurricane Katrina. At the time of his retirement from the bureau in 2009, he was responsible for more than 14,000 of the FBI’s personnel and the programs they supported.

“We were very blessed to have an HPU alumnus of Mr. Tidwell’s caliber return to address our current students who are planning to go in to similar career fields,” Humeniuk said. “We look forward to having these same students return to HPU in several years to discuss their own successes.”


Photo cutline: Steve Tidwell, 1974 HPU graduate and former FBI agent, spoke at an event marking the 10-year anniversary of the university’s criminal justice program.

HPU honor student receives scholarship to study in D.C.

BROWNWOOD – May 22, 2013 – Elizabeth Rogers, a senior political science and European history major in Howard Payne University’s Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom multidisciplinary honors program, was recently chosen to participate in the 2013 Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political & Economic Systems (ICPES) to be held this summer in Washington, D.C.

Rogers was chosen for ICPES through her participation in the Hatton W. Sumners Program through HPU. Sumners Scholars receive significant financial assistance and opportunities to attend lecture series by national figures and participate in public policy seminars and student leadership conferences. Through the generosity of the Hatton W Sumners Foundation Inc., Rogers was awarded a full scholarship to the D.C. program, covering her tuition and housing expenses.

A native of Grand Junction, Colo., Rogers has participated in Moot Court and Model United Nations throughout her HPU career. She recently completed her junior year while studying abroad in London.

“After graduating from HPU, I plan to attend law school to study criminal or international law,” she said.

ICPES participants take courses for transferable credit, attend a variety of guest lectures and briefings, and take advantage of opportunities for professional development and networking. Students who complete the program are guaranteed an internship with a government agency, Congressional office, policy group, political organization or law firm.

“I am so very proud of Elizabeth to be one of the select few to receive this tremendous opportunity though the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Scholarship,” said Dr. Justin Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Academy. “It is a reflection of her preparation through the Academy program and her outstanding qualities as a student.”


Chassidy Carroll honored with HPU Spirit of Social Work award

spirit_of_social_work_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – April 30, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Advisory Board recently presented the Spirit of Social Work award to Chassidy Carroll, a 2008 HPU graduate and co-founder of Hope Home Ministry of Brownwood. Carroll received the award for “many years of outstanding social work service helping others.”

Hope Home is a non-profit, faith-based transitional home for young women who are released from juvenile correctional facilities. The program focuses on teaching girls the life skills they need to become responsible adults and giving them true hope through a growing relationship with Jesus.

“I’m so grateful that God has allowed me to be a part of His work in the lives of the young women we serve,” Carroll said. “Seeing Jesus transform their hearts and watching them realize their worth, often for the first time, is a beautiful thing.”

HPU’s Social Work Advisory Board is comprised of individuals throughout the community who have an interest in the social work profession and HPU’s social work program. The board annually presents a Spirit of Social Work Award to an individual whose career reflects an outstanding contribution to the social work profession. It has been awarded to other individuals in the local community who have collaborated with the social work program and to distinguished program graduates.

“It is amazing to witness someone who has a vision for a specific ministry in college who then steps out in faith to create a service to address that need,” said Dan Humeniuk, director of HPU’s social work program. “Chassidy’s story of the founding and operation of Hope Home Ministry is truly inspirational.”


Photo cutline: Dan Humeniuk, director of HPU’s social work program, presents Chassidy Carroll with the 2013 Spirit of Social Work award.

Five HPU seniors honored at annual Sumners Banquet

Sumners Scholars 2013 for webBROWNWOOD – April 30, 2013 – Five graduating seniors in the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom honors program at Howard Payne University were recently honored during the annual Sumners Banquet held on the HPU campus.

The Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Scholars honored during the banquet included Charity Chambers, of Derby, Kan.; Gabi Guerrero, of Red Oak; Landon Hankins, of Decatur; Kait Kelm, of Lindale; and Kelley Miller, of Paradise. The students dined with members of the Foundation, the HPU Board of Trustees and Academy of Freedom Board of Directors, as well as Sumners Scholar alumni from HPU, before receiving plaques and expressing their gratitude to the Foundation.

Current HPU Sumners Scholars present at the banquet included Catherine Mullaney, a junior from Boylston, Mass.; Jessica Ramirez, a senior from Bangs; and Robin Scofield, a junior from Naples, Fla. Liz Rogers, a junior from Grand Junction, Colo., was studying abroad in London at the time of the event.

The Sumners Scholar program provides a generous scholarship of $5,500 per semester for two years. Students are selected after an in-depth application and interview by the trustees of the Sumners Foundation.

“Sumners Scholars not only receive significant financial assistance but, more importantly, the opportunities to attend lecture series by national figures and participate in public policy seminars and student leadership conferences,” said Dr. Justin Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Academy.

Named for its founder, former Congressman Hatton W. Sumners of Texas (Democrat, 1912-1947), who served as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation is dedicated to the study, teaching and promotion of self-government.


Photo cutline: Five HPU seniors were honored during the annual Sumners Banquet. Left to right: Charity Chambers, Gabi Guerrero, Kait Kelm, Kelley Miller and Landon Hankins.