News Archives: School of Humanities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Munster Spring 2015 for webBy Emily Peisker, HPU junior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HPU students excel at Prague Model United Nations Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

HPU’s Social Work Club helps create lasting memories for local high school students

cinderella project for webBROWNWOOD – March 26, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Club recently helped facilitate special moments in the lives of several local high school girls by giving away free prom dresses. Dubbed the Cinderella Project, 22 dresses were placed with new owners.

The like-new dresses, some complete with store tags, were donated by HPU students and others in the community. A total of 37 girls, accompanied by friends and loved ones, browsed through the collection.

The Social Work Club played music and set up a dressing room to complete the boutique experience.

“Rather than simply handing out dresses, we really wanted to help create a special moment that the girls and their families can remember fondly for years to come,” said Dan Humeniuk, club adviser, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology.


Photo cutline: HPU Social Work Club member Angelica Gray, a junior from San Antonio, browses the free prom dresses available during the club’s recent Cinderella Project.

HPU students bring home sportsmanship award from first Mock Trial tournament

Mock Trial team 2015 for webBy Emily Peisker, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – February 19, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s new Mock Trial team brought home a sportsmanship award from their first tournament held recently at The University of Texas at Dallas.

The American Mock Trial Association gives the “Spirit of the AMTA Award” to the team with the best expression of the values of civility, justice and fair play over the course of the whole tournament, before, during and after trials. The award is voted on by the competition teams and officials, and recognizes the team as best exemplifying the ethics and values of the association.

Mock Trial is a simulation of lower-court trials in the United States judicial system. AMTA acts as the governing body for intercollegiate Mock Trial competition and hosts tournaments at universities across the nation to provide opportunities for college students to gain experience for future law careers. Through the trial simulations, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures.

According to the AMTA website, the organization hosts a series of competitions from February through April each year to foster the development of undergraduate students in the areas of leadership, public speaking, rhetoric and persuasion through a legal forum.

New to HPU this semester, Mock Trial is a team activity led by Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of political science. Nicole Nehf, a senior from May, serves as team captain. Other members include TJ Counce, a senior from Lockhart; Zachary Eller, a junior from Temple; Christopher Mitchell, a senior from Pecos; Jakob Morgan, a sophomore from Blanket; Madeline Reigle, a sophomore from Brownwood; Skyler Schoolfield, a freshman from Aledo; and Andres Zambrano, a junior from Brownwood.

At tournaments, the team competes as either the plaintiff or prosecution and as the defense. On each side of the case, three students compete as attorneys and three students compete as witnesses.

“The students attended this competition with only three weeks of preparation time,” said Kelley. “They performed incredibly well, especially given the short amount of time they had been working on the case.”


Photo cutline: HPU’s new Mock Trial team brought home a sportsmanship award from their first tournament held recently at The University of Texas at Dallas. Left to right: Christopher Mitchell, Nicole Nehf, Madeline Reigle, Zachary Eller, Jakob Morgan, Andres Zambrano and Skyler Schoolfield. Not pictured is TJ Counce.

Howard Payne receives continued funding for restorative justice emphasis

By Emily Peisker, HPU junior

Lynn Humeniuk in class for webBROWNWOOD – February 12, 2015 – Howard Payne University has received 2015 funding for the restorative justice emphasis of its criminal justice program from the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The BGCT has assisted with the emphasis since 2006.

The restorative justice emphasis is available for criminal justice majors and minors. HPU 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. The funds have also been used to sponsor a trip to an academic conference for a professor and student.

Restorative justice is a theory that proposes assisting guilty parties in repairing damages caused by criminal behavior. Many churches believe in the theory and work with universities to provide programs that equip students with communication, social work and criminal justice training.

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 nine years ago to propose starting a focus on restorative justice in the universities’ criminal justice programs. HPU was the only university to accept the funding and has since awarded eight students with certificates of completion.

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, G4S: The Oaks, local attorney offices, local youth ministries and more programs outside the Brownwood area.

Humeniuk and Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, serve as fulltime professors with the restorative justice emphasis, while other instructors fill in part-time positions aided by the BGCT.

“This concept of bringing victims, offenders, families and communities together for forgiveness and healing is a perfect fit for a Christian university to offer to our students,” said Humeniuk.


Photo cutline: Lynn Humeniuk directs the criminal justice program at Howard Payne University.

HPU students advance to semifinals at national Moot Court tournament

By Emily Peisker, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – January 22, 2015 – Howard Payne University students Isaac Sommers and Katie Rose Bonner advanced to the semifinals at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association national tournament held at Florida International University in Miami on January 16 and 17.

ACMA National Tournament for webFor the individual speaker awards, Sommers, a freshman from Boerne, placed third overall, while Bonner, a senior from Lytle, placed thirteenth overall. The awards were given to the top 30 speakers, with a total of 160 at this year’s competition.

Moot Court offers undergraduate students the opportunity to cultivate their understanding of law interpretation, analytical debate, jurisprudence and case precedents through Supreme Court argument simulation. Approximately 400 teams competed at 10 regional tournaments from October to November, allowing the top 20 to 25 percent to proceed to nationals.

For the first day of the tournament, each team competed in three rounds of competition. Two-judge panels evaluated the rounds, resulting with only six out of 80 teams winning all six judges’ ballots at the end of the day. Sommers and Bonner were one of those six teams, securing them a top position in the round of 32.

The final day of the tournament showed Sommers and Bonner defeating the College of Wooster and Texas A&M University to face the former national champions from Patrick Henry College. The HPU team worked through a challenging round of arguments and a tough panel of judges to beat the Patrick Henry team and advance to the final four.

In the final four round, Sommers and Bonner faced another Patrick Henry team and were narrowly defeated by a two-to-one decision from the three-judge panel.

For the first time, HPU also competed in the national Brief-Writing Competition, during which Sommers and Bonner were awarded the ninth best respondent brief from the 10 best submitted from each side of the argument (petitioner and respondent).

Professor Lorianna Kelley coaches the Moot Court students and traveled with them to the event. Dr. Justin D. Murphy serves as HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

“HPU has not advanced this far at the national tournament since Professor Kelley and Rob Welker were partners as students and won the championship more than a decade ago,” said Dr. Murphy. “HPU and the Academy are blessed to have students of the caliber of Katie and Isaac, and we are also blessed to have professors of the caliber of Professor Kelley.”


Photo cutline: Lorianna Kelley, center, coaches HPU Moot Court students including Katie Rose Bonner, left, and Isaac Sommers, right, who recently advanced to the semifinals at a national tournament.

HPU criminal justice students complete internships

crj interns december 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – December 12, 2014 – Five Howard Payne University students were recently honored for the successful completion of criminal justice internships. The students and their mentors were recognized at a luncheon held at a local restaurant.

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 opportunities that help students prepare for a future in the field of criminal justice.

According to Lynn Humeniuk, director of the criminal justice program and associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, the internships are designed to match students’ interests and career goals.

“We’re very appreciative of the agencies and organizations that offer expertise and guidance to our students,” she said. “We’re fortunate to be able to collaborate with them and we feel confident that our students are positive additions to their workforce as well.”

Participating students were Austin Burt, senior from Sweetwater, intern at HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Kyle Dennis, senior from Placentia, Calif., intern at Haynes Law Firm; Paola Guzman, senior from Brownwood, intern at Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex; Matthew Simons, senior from Bangs, intern at G4S: The Oaks; and Luis Solis, senior from Prosper, intern at Brownwood Police Department.


Photo cutline: Five HPU students recently completed internships in the field of criminal justice. The students are pictured with their internship mentors and members of the HPU faculty. Left to right: Dr. Paul Lilly, assistant professor of criminal justice, chief of police and director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Mike Smith, attorney with Haynes Law Firm; Kyle Dennis, intern at Haynes Law Firm; Bob Pacatte, assistant chief of police and assistant director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program; Austin Burt, intern at HPU’s Department of Public Safety; Paola Guzman, intern at Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex; Bob Contreras, family liaison specialist at Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex; Matthew Simons, intern at G4S: The Oaks; Tyrene Green, superintendent at G4S: The Oaks; Luis Solis, intern at Brownwood Police Department; and Mike Corley, chief of police at Brownwood Police Department.

HPU presents Spirit of Social Work Award to Brownwood’s Doak Givan

Spirit of Social Work Award 2014 for webBROWNWOOD – December 11, 2014 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Advisory Board recently presented its Spirit of Social Work Award to Doak Givan 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.

Givan has served as executive director of Brownwood’s Family Services Center for 15 years, leading the program to increased outreach in the community. His previous career experience includes work with the Texas Department of Corrections, the Permian Basin Community Center for MHMR in Midland and the Betty Hardwick Center in Abilene.

He additionally has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America and serves as the chairperson of the Community Interagency Committee, the Community Children’s Advisory Committee and the Brown County Home Solutions Board of Directors. He also initiated the “Inside Out Dad” parenting program at the TR Havins Unit in Brownwood.

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology, is among the members of the Social Work Advisory Board.

“The board was honored to present this award to Mr. Givan,” he said. “His career and character greatly reflect everything that those in the field of human services strive to accomplish.”

Givan’s wife, Cynthia, serves as administrative assistant for the English and criminal justice departments at HPU. They have three sons – Wesley, Keith and Thomas, an HPU sophomore.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Dan Humeniuk, left, recently presented the Spirit of Social Work Award to Doak Givan, executive director of Brownwood’s Family Services Center.