News Archives: School of Humanities

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.

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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.

HPU students complete criminal justice internships

cj_picnic_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – April 25, 2013 – Eight Howard Payne University students were recently honored for the successful completion of criminal justice internships. The students were recognized at the annual luncheon held at HPU’s Girling Center for Social Justice.

Students are required to complete 150 hours of service which reflects three credit hours toward their major in criminal justice. 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 organizations that help students prepare for a future in the field of criminal justice.

“One of the best paths to future employment is for a student to intern at an agency or organization in his or her field,” said Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program. “Many HPU criminal justice interns have reaped the benefits of internships by building strong resumes and learning valuable insights from experts in the field. Our university is extremely blessed to have professionals who are willing to supervise our interns and, in the process, apply the valuable information students learn in the classroom.”

Participating students included Haleigh Caraway of Cisco, intern at Brown County Legal Aid; Senea Dillard of Cedar Hill, intern at Brown County Boys and Girls Club; Justin Jones of Austin, intern at HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Amy Martin of Brownwood, intern at Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Complex; Austin Mobley of Azle, intern at State of Texas Department of Public Safety; Linsey Reed of Alvin, intern at Ron Jackson Juvenile Correctional Complex; Justin Taylor of Early, intern at Brown County Sheriff’s Office; and Blaine Wynn of Rockwall, intern at HPU’s Department of Public Safety.

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Photo cutline: Criminal justice students from HPU recently gathered with mentors and faculty members to celebrate the successful completion of their internships. Left to right: Chief Paul Lilly, mentor, HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Lt. Bob Pacatte, mentor, HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Justin Jones, intern; Blaine Wynn, intern; Senea Dillard, intern; Austin Mobley, intern; Danny Willingham, mentor, Brown County Boys and Girls Club; Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program; Bobby Duvall, mentor, Brown County Sheriff’s Office; Linsey Reed, intern; Justin Taylor, intern; Delana Smethers, mentor, Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex; Chief Mike Corley, mentor, Brownwood Police Department; Lisa Ritter, mentor, Brown County Juvenile Probation Department; Lisa Marks, mentor, Brown County Legal Aid; and Laurie Lindsey, mentor, Brown County Legal Aid. Not pictured are interns Amy Martin and Haleigh Caraway.

HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau wraps up successful spring semester

ssb_2013_for_webBROWNWOOD – April 10, 2013 – Student Speaker Bureau, Howard Payne University’s competitive speech and debate team, completed their spring tournament schedule in March.

The Student Speaker Bureau (SSB) competed in two tournaments during the spring semester: The Sweetheart Swing at Oklahoma University in Norman and the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament held at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.

The team had a strong showing in debate at both tournaments. The open division team of Marcos Corley, a sophomore criminal justice major from Corpus Christi, and Ben Palmer, a junior youth ministry and Academy of Freedom major from Van, advanced to quarterfinals at the Sweetheart Swing.

At nationals, the team of Katie Bonner, a sophomore political science and Academy major from Lytle, and Katie Mullaney, a junior English and Academy major, advanced to quarterfinals. Additionally, Mullaney won 8th place debate speaker award.

“I am extremely proud of all four of these students,” said Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and SSB coach. “We debate against the some of the best teams in the nation and we consistently hold our own.”

Dr. Welker added that the SSB competes against teams from schools that travel to a tournament every other weekend and are more seasoned in terms of competition.

“Our students have been able to step in and succeed even though we have travelled and competed much less than other teams this year,” she said. “This has been a growing semester for us. We have a smaller team than usual and have no graduating seniors, but on the flip side that is exciting in terms of next year’s season.”

Other students who competed in both debate and individual events this spring were Kaleigh Tankersley, a sophomore communication studies major from Iraan, and Dorie Walton, a sophomore communication studies and theatre major from Lolita. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, helps coach the team.

At the national tournament, Dr. Welker was re-elected treasurer for another two-year term for the National Christian College Forensics Association.

“I’m looking forward to next year’s season,” she said. “We have some great recruits and are already preparing for next year.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s SSB recently completed its spring semester. Back row, from left: Marcos Corley, Dorie Walton and Ben Palmer. Front row, from left: Kim Bryant, Katie Bonner, Katie Mullaney, Kaleigh Tankersley and Dr. Julie Welker

HPU to host Traffick911 training session

BROWNWOOD – March 25, 2013 – Howard Payne University will host a free Traffick911 training session on the prevention of domestic minor sex trafficking March 28 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will be held in the Bullion Suites of the Mabee University Center. The training is designed for CPS workers, teachers, school counselors, attorneys, family court personnel, social workers and others who come across at-risk children. Continuing Education Units are available.

Traffick911 is an agency which has trained hundreds of frontline responders at the local, state and national levels, focusing on the prevention of the crime, the rescue and restoration of the victims and the prosecution of the offenders. According to the Traffick911 website, human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the world and the average life expectancy for a child forced into sexual slavery is just seven years.

“Unfortunately for our society, domestic minor sex trafficking is a most relevant topic,” said Dan Humeniuk, chair of HPU’s social work department and assistant professor of social work. “This type of training is essential for human service professionals who regularly encounter at-risk children and adolescents.”

For more information, or to register for the training session, contact Bob Contreras, family liaison for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, at (325) 641-6486 or bob.contreras@tjjd.texas.gov. Other information and resources are available at www.traffick911.com.

HPU adjunct addresses Houston attorneys

BROWNWOOD – February 5, 2013 – David Balkum, adjunct instructor in Howard Payne University’s criminal justice department, addressed the Houston Chapter of the Christian Legal Society on January 31.

Operating in the nation’s capital, the Christian Legal Society is, according to its website, “a growing nationwide fellowship of Christian lawyers and law students who act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God.”

Adopting Micah 6:8 as its corporate vision, it exists “to inspire, encourage, and equip Christian lawyers and law students both individually and in community to proclaim, love and serve Jesus Christ through the study and practice of law, the provision of legal assistance to the poor and needy, and the defense of the inalienable rights to life and religious freedom.”

The group supports chapters in major cities, in many law schools and on some undergraduate campuses for pre-law groups.

Balkum’s audience included attorneys in private practice, ministerial staff and appellate judges. His address focused on the ethical and spiritual dilemmas faced by attorneys called on to represent their own churches, creating a dynamic known as a “dual relationship.”

While Balkum, author of Sheep Among Wolves: Texas Churches and the Law, stressed that all believers have a duty to support their churches, there are times when an attorney’s ethical obligations may conflict with his or her spiritual obligations. This particularly can occur over issues of confidentiality and when the parties involved have different expectations of an attorney’s role.

“That conflict also can arise even over rather mundane matters in which church members harbor hard feelings for the manner in which the attorney’s legal opinion happens to fall,” he said.

Balkum recounted one instance in which he was serving on his church’s missions committee and a committee member loudly blamed the church’s lawyers for scrapping a mission project which she supported.

“These situations can create problems for the attorney’s family, as well,” he said. “A solution is for Christian attorneys to be more proactive in developing referral networks to assist each other and sister churches in those times when representation is necessary. Such networks can bring much needed independence, formality, clarity and objectivity, in the form of an outsider looking in, to sometimes emotionally charged situations.

“That simple referral can keep the member attorney from becoming a lightning rod and, in so doing, safeguard his and his family’s more important roles as members of that congregation.”

Lynn Humeniuk, director of HPU’s criminal justice program and associate professor of sociology, calls Balkum a “blessing to the university.”

“He lives out his faith in his professional law practice as well as in his interactions with our HPU students.”

HPU’s Death and Dying course prepares students for life

By Courtney Wilmoth, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – December 14, 2012 – The name is sure to get attention – “Death and Dying.” Then one may wonder what a class called Death and Dying is like – perhaps morbid, definitely somber, maybe even depressing. Even so, Howard Payne University’s 8 a.m. class this fall reached the maximum enrollment and even had a waiting list.

Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of sociology and chair of the criminal justice program, teaches the class. She points out that the required textbook is titled Death & Dying, Life & Living. Students look at life every day during the class. They examine trends and processes of how and when dying occurs within ethnicities and around the world.

Humeniuk can remember the first time she was asked to teach the class in 2001.

“I was not happy about it,” she said. “I thought no one would talk.”

More than 40 students enrolled in the class, and before long Humeniuk was having them raise their hands so everyone could have a chance to speak. This was her seventh semester to teach the class, and she passionately believes every student should take it.

Her goal for the class is to prepare students to cope with sudden as well as anticipated death. No matter the career a student chooses, Humeniuk also seeks to relate the material in ways that will apply to a student’s career path.

Students are required to write journals, based on topics provided by Humeniuk.

“I learn a lot about my students through their journals,” she said.

Senior communication major Molly Marriott of Corpus Christi decided to take the class because she heard from her peers that it was interesting. She soon found the journals to be beneficial.

“It’s a good way to learn a lot about ourselves and how we would handle things,” Marriott said.

A number of guest speakers shared their own experiences with death. They included parents of children lost to suicide, automobile accidents and fires, as well as while traveling abroad. The class also heard from a couple who is dealing with a brain tumor and people who work in hospice care. Students visited a funeral home and volunteered at Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood during the semester, completing tasks such as distributing flags to veterans’ graves, trimming weeds around tombstones and assisting with office work.

Junior criminal justice major Daniel Taylor of Florence enjoyed the Greenleaf Cemetery project.

“I felt it allowed me to do something meaningful for others who have passed before me,” he said.

Along with the traditional lectures, guest speakers and volunteer work, Humeniuk shared her own personal stories about death and encouraged students to maintain healthy lifestyles. She regularly presented students with preventive measures to take care of their own bodies, discussed the value of nutrition and encouraged students to keep others safe, using videos that address texting and driving.

Humeniuk says issues of eternal life do come up in class, and she is thankful to work at a Christian university where conversations like this can happen. Students learn from each other, and honesty and respect are valued during class discussions.

“You’re going to get three hours of credit,” she said, “but you’re going to get a lot more than that.”

HPU claims Debate Sweepstakes and 2nd Place Overall at home tournament

ssb_tifa_fall_2012_for_webBROWNWOOD – November 7, 2012 – Howard Payne University’s speech and debate team, the Student Speaker Bureau, recently hosted the Fall 2012 Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) state championship tournament. HPU received several honors including Debate Sweepstakes and 2nd Place Overall.

The university hosted 19 institutions from Texas and other southern states and almost 200 people including competitors, coaches and judges. With 31 teams competing, the event had the largest Fall TIFA debate participation ever.

“Hosting this tournament for the first time on the HPU campus was a privilege and everything went smoothly,” said Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the communication department and Student Speaker Bureau (SSB) coach. “We were delighted to have so many guests on campus competing.”

HPU had the top two debate teams, winning the Debate Sweepstakes. The teams were comprised of Jake Aschmutat, a senior from Corpus Christi, and Ben Palmer, a junior from Van; and Katie Rose Bonner, a sophomore from Lytle, and Catherine Mullaney, a junior from Boylston, Mass.

The SSB’s 2nd Place Overall win included points earned from debate and individual events. Individual scores are as follows: Aschmutat, 2nd place Parliamentary Debate Speaking, 5th place Impromptu Speaking, 6th place Impromptu Speaking; Bonner, 3rd place Persuasive Speaking, 5th place Persuasive Speaking, Impromptu Speaking semifinalist; Timothy Hardy, a junior from Corpus Christi, 5th place Parliamentary Debate Speaking; Palmer, 7th place Parliamentary Debate Speaking, Impromptu Speaking semifinalist; and Mullaney, 9th place Parliamentary Debate Speaking. Also competing were Marcos Corley, Sarah Owens, Kaleigh Tankersley, Jessica Ramirez and Dorie Walton. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, also served as coach.

“I’m so proud of our team’s winning performance at this tournament,” Welker said. “It’s always nice to win but especially when you get to win on your own turf.”

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Photo cutline: HPU recently hosted the Fall 2012 Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association state championship tournament. HPU competitors included (back row, from left): Dorie Walton, Jake Aschmutat, Marcos Corley and Ben Palmer. Front row, left to right: Katie Rose Bonner, Jessica Ramirez, Kaleigh Tankersley, Sarah Owens and Katie Mullaney. Not pictured is Timothy Hardy.

HPU wins Moot Court tournament at South Texas College of Law

moot_court_south_texas_college_of_law_for_webBROWNWOOD – November 7, 2012 – The Howard Payne University team of Jake Aschmutat, a senior from Corpus Christi, and Charity Chambers, a senior from Derby, Kan., recently won the South Texas College of Law Moot Court Tournament in Houston.

The pair beat a team from the United States Air Force Academy in the final round, resulting in a unanimous 5-0 decision for Aschmutat and Chambers. The panel of judges consisted of the dean of the law school, a state appellate judge in Houston and one of the founding members of the undergraduate moot court organization, among others.

Aschmutat and Chambers were each awarded a $1,000 cash prize for their victory. A cash award also went to HPU’s Joshua Milam, a senior from Midland, who earned a 5th place oralist award out of 76 competitors and $100.

Additional honors for HPU included a 9th place oralist award to Chambers and advancement to Octofinals for the teams of Milam and Katie Rose Bonner, a sophomore from Lytle; and Cayden McDonald, a junior from Whitehouse, and Elizabeth Rogers, a junior from Grand Junction, Colo.

Other HPU students competing included Bethany Berry, a junior from Post; Zachary Gafford, a sophomore from Snyder; Landon Hankins, a senior from Decatur; and Caleb McConnell, a sophomore from Burleson.

HPU’s teams are coached by Mandy Locker, assistant professor of political science and criminal justice and Sandefer Chair of Political Science at HPU.

“I am extremely proud of Jake and Charity and all of their hard work that translated into such an amazing win at the South Texas College of Law tournament,” Locker said. “I am also very proud of all of the Howard Payne students who competed well, because even prior to Jake and Charity’s win, the law school admissions office was remarking about how great all of our students were and how much they wanted to make a visit to our campus to recruit.”

HPU competed against teams from 38 institutions including the Air Force Academy, Baylor University, the University of North Texas, California State University at Long Beach, Arkansas State University, The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas A&M University and more.

“This tournament was the first competition of the Moot Court season, and Howard Payne has set the bar high,” Locker said. “I feel like HPU has earned the reputation of being ‘the school to beat’ at the regional competitions.”

The Moot Court team will next travel to the Texas Tech University School of Law to compete in a tournament on November 16 and 17. Teams that break into quarterfinals during this competition will receive an automatic bid to the National Tournament at Regent University School of Law in January.

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Photo cutline: Members of HPU’s Moot Court recently returned from a tournament at South Texas College of Law. Shown are HPU students who were honored at the tournament. Left to right: Katie Rose Bonner, Octofinal qualifier; Elizabeth Rogers, Octofinal qualifier; Cayden McDonald, Octofinal qualifier; Jake Aschmutat, tournament champion; Charity Chambers, tournament champion and 9th place oralist; and Joshua Milam, Octofinal qualifier and 5th place oralist.

HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau has busy semester with tournaments at home and abroad

ssb_colorado_springs_for_webBROWNWOOD – October 30, 2012 – Howard Payne University’s speech and debate team, Student Speaker Bureau, has a busy month ahead hosting and competing in tournaments. In addition to conducting the Fall 2012 Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association state championship tournament Nov. 2-4 on the HPU campus, the SSB will travel to Oxford, England, to compete in the Oxford IV Inter-Varsity Debate Tournament Nov. 8-10.

Approximately 200 competitors, judges and coaches from 20 universities and colleges from Texas and other southern states will arrive on the HPU campus at the end of the week.

“We are absolutely delighted to host this competition for this first time ever on the HPU campus,” said Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the communication department and SSB coach. “The Fall TIFA tournament attracts many schools from across Texas and the surrounding states. We are excited about having these universities and junior colleges visit and compete at HPU.”

Directly on the heels of the TIFA tournament, HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau will travel to England for the Oxford debate tournament. The Oxford IV is the largest and most prestigious debating competition on the UK university circuit and is hosted by the famous Oxford Union.

“Several years ago I was presented with the idea of our team competing at the Oxford tournament and it’s been our goal to make that happen,” Welker said. “We normally compete in parliamentary debate, which differs from British Parliamentary style debate, so we knew making the transition would be a challenge.”

Welker added that she has relied heavily on the help of SSB member Jake Aschmutat, a senior from Corpus Christi, to whom she gave the task of learning about BP-style debate and coaching the students who are competing.

“Jake has done an outstanding job of coaching the BP students,” Welker said. “He has gone above and beyond to prepare them for the Oxford tournament.”

Welker will take eight students to Oxford. Two teams will compete – Catherine Mullaney, a junior from Boylston, Mass., and Katie Rose Bonner, a sophomore from Lytle; as well as Aschmutat and Jessica Ramirez, a junior from Bangs. Kaleigh Tankersley, a freshman from Iraan, and Marcos Corley, a freshman from Corpus Christi, will serve as “wing judges” at the competition, assisting the judges in adjudicating the debate. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication and SSB coach, will also travel with the team and serve as a wing judge along with Welker.

The group also recently travelled to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., to compete in the 50th Annual Forensics Classic Tournament.

For the first time in HPU history, the team competed in BP-style debate, governed by the World Universities Debating Council. SSB also had teams entered in parliamentary debate and individual events.

The team of Bonner and Mullaney advanced to the quarterfinal round.

“We weren’t sure what to expect since this was our first BP-style tournament, but we were very pleased that one team advanced to quarters – especially at a tournament like this with teams of a very high caliber competing,” Welker said.

Other students who competed included Aschmutat; Corley; Ramirez; Tankersley; Sarah Owens, a freshman from San Antonio; Ben Palmer, a junior from Van; and Dorie Walton, a freshman theatre major from Lolita.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau is having a busy semester hosting and competing in tournaments. Pictured at a recent competition at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., are: Dr. Julie Welker, Sarah Owens, Dorie Walton, Jessica Ramirez, Jake Aschmutat, Kaleigh Tankersley, Marcos Corley, Catherine Mullaney, Ben Palmer, Katie Rose Bonner and Kim Bryant.

Display at HPU memorializes domestic violence victims

empty_shoes_display_for_webBROWNWOOD – October 2, 2012 – In observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Howard Payne University is hosting a special exhibit to pay tribute to the lives lost to domestic violence. The “Empty Shoes” display at the university’s Girling Center for Social Justice features a pair of shoes for each of the 10 Central Texas women and children who have died in the last 13 years as a result of such violence.

The university will hold a candlelight vigil on Thursday, October 4, at 6:30 p.m., outside the Girling Center on the Academy of Freedom campus. The community is invited to attend to help honor the memory of the victims.

The Empty Shoes display was provided by the ARK (Advocacy, Respect, Kindness) Domestic Violence Shelter in Brownwood, and will be at HPU until Friday. After that, the exhibit will be featured at Heartland Mall.

For more information, contact The ARK at (325) 643-2699.

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Photo cutline: HPU students examine the Empty Shoes display at the university’s Girling Center for Social Justice.