News Archives: School of Humanities

HPU student organizations to host charity drive for Children’s Advocacy Center

BROWNWOOD – April 8, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s Criminal Justice Club and Amigos Unidos Club will host an event this Saturday, April 13, to collect new and gently used items for the Heart of Texas Children’s Advocacy Center in Early. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Abundant Life Church on West Commerce in Brownwood.

The organizations are requesting donations of blankets, backpacks, stuffed animals and hygiene products. Dr. Danny Brunette-López, associate professor of Spanish and chair of HPU’s Department of Spanish and Hispanic Studies, serves as adviser of the Amigos Unidos Club.

“The students of both clubs would like to give back to the community and show the true giving spirit of Howard Payne, especially to the children in our area who have suffered greatly,” he said.

For more information, contact Dr. Brunette-López via e-mail at dbrunette@hputx.edu.

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HPU Social Work Club to distribute free prom dresses to area high school students this Friday and Saturday

BROWNWOOD – April 1, 2019 – Howard Payne University’s Social Work Club will host its annual Project Cinderella this Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6. Young women from area high schools are invited to stop by HPU’s Girling Center for Social Justice (1308 Austin Avenue) between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday to choose from among the free, like-new prom dresses.

The Social Work Club aims to make this a fun experience for young women and their families by creating a boutique-like setting with music, fitting rooms and a large selection of stylish dresses.

“We’re excited to welcome high school students on HPU’s campus and help make prom a memorable experience for them,” said Toni Damron, assistant professor of social work.

For more information, contact Damron at tdamron@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Diana Torres (left), sophomore social work major from Houston, and Destiny Bible, junior social work major from Brownwood and member of the Social Work Club, display two of the dresses that will be available at HPU’s Project Cinderella event this weekend.

HPU social work program focuses on Christian approach to challenges

BROWNWOOD – February 22, 2019 – Social workers deal often with the darkest forces humanity has to offer – abuse, trauma and addictions among others. Perhaps none are better equipped, therefore, to become social workers than Christians walking daily in the light of Jesus. That is the premise of the social work program at Howard Payne University.

“Social workers are always dealing with the fallouts of evil in the world,” said Rachel Derrington, assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program. “If they are not rooted in Christ, are not relying on Jesus to empower them, it’s really hard to maintain a healthy balance in their lives and avoid burnout.”

Though a secular emphasis is often placed on social work, the field’s principles are in line with Christian values and the teachings of Jesus.

“Jesus taught us to take care of the vulnerable, the oppressed, orphans, displaced people,” said Derrington. “One of the values of social work is holding people in unconditional positive regard and protecting human dignity and the worth of people. That’s all in line with what the Bible tells us.”

Derrington, who lives in San Saba, spoke with her pastor, Sam Crosby of First Baptist Church of San Saba, about Jesus’ teachings.

“He said there are 13 references in the King James Version of the Gospels involving Jesus blessing or ministering to the poor,” she said. “Though opinions differ based on interpretations, some scholars argue that the Bible commands compassion toward those in need some 300 times.”

Derrington joined HPU’s faculty in the fall 2018 semester from the University of Denver where she was employed as an adjunct faculty member and curriculum developer. Prior to that, she worked in child welfare, helping to place children with adoptive families and providing the families with post-adoptive support. She additionally worked in child welfare policy analysis and marriage/family strengthening activities for the federal government, and for the state government in Colorado providing policy communications for the state regulatory agency. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Denver and a Master of Social Work degree in policy and program management from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.

“I worked in secular social work higher education in Colorado for eight years and always recognized the parallels between social work values and ethics and Jesus’ teachings but I couldn’t figure out a way to combine the two,” she said.

Derrington said she prayed over the situation consistently for two years.

“Last summer, out of the blue, I got a call from Toni Damron, assistant professor of social work at HPU,” she said. “She got my number from a friend of a friend and told me she heard I had moved to the area from a colleague I had only met once. It was quite serendipitous.”

Christian social workers are better positioned to see God’s redemptive powers at work in the lives of the people with which they interact.

“Secularly, social work promotes the idea of empowering others to reach their full potential,” said Derrington. “When you add in the Christian influences, social work is about reaching this potential within an individual’s relationship with Christ.”

Though the social work field can often be incredibly challenging, it is equally rewarding.

“Your entire life is centered around the principles of Jesus’ teachings,” said Derrington. “Your career, the way you relate to people in your personal life – even who you are in the community and in the world. Folks who have it in their hearts to serve and really want to model the life of Jesus will find that the social work field is a good way to accomplish that.”

It is also important, Derrington noted, to understand that social work is as much about preventing evil in the world as it is about dealing with the fallouts of it.

“Social work is also about promoting positive youth development and healthy relationships and strengthening marriages and parenting skills,” she said.

Those with a social work education are prepared to practice in organizations or institutions or to work with small groups or families. Careers include positions with adult protective services, child welfare, community organizations, schools, correctional facilities, prisons, hospitals and treatment facilities among many others. Social workers may also choose to go into politics, research, policy analysis or administrative roles.

“There are also opportunities to do international social work in any type of setting anywhere in the world,” said Derrington.

Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited program, such as HPU’s, and go on to graduate school may earn a master’s degree in social work in just one year.

Many may wonder if they have “what it takes” for a career in social work, but Derrington is certain that Christians do.

“You need a solid relationship with Jesus and a good understanding of how he taught us to treat others,” she said. “When put together with the concrete tools that social workers develop in higher education, there are really no limits on how you can impact positive changes in individuals, families, organizations and communities.”

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Cutline: Rachel Derrington serves as assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program.

HPU Moot Court wins Baylor University tournament

BROWNWOOD – November 29, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s Moot Court team recently triumphed at the Baylor University Moot Court Invitational tournament, competing against nine colleges and universities from across Texas and the neighboring states.

Four HPU students competed at the event – partners Jordan Hahn, junior from Burnet, and Lucy Manning, sophomore from Fort Worth, and partners Bailey Myler, senior from Brownwood, and Lauren Piper, freshman from Early.

Hahn and Manning advanced to out-rounds on day two and defeated the University of North Texas in the final round to win the tournament. Awards were also given to the top eight speakers at the tournament. Manning placed 5th, Myler placed 4th and Hahn was the top speaker at the event.

“This was the first tournament of the year for these four competitors and they did an amazing job,” said Lorianna Kelley, team adviser and assistant professor of government. “I am so proud of all the hard work the team has put in already this year, and I am confident they will continue to prevail at our upcoming tournaments.”

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Cutline: HPU’s Moot Court team recently triumphed at the Baylor University Moot Court Invitational tournament. Left to right: Lauren Piper, Bailey Myler, Jordan Hahn and Lucy Manning.

HPU senior Caleb Kostreva reflects on summer internship with 21Wilberforce

Caleb KostrevaBROWNWOOD – November 14, 2018 – During the summer, Howard Payne University senior Caleb Kostreva had the opportunity to work with Christian human rights organization 21Wilberforce through a 10-week internship program.

Kostreva, a native of Clifton, Colorado, is a double major in social sciences with a global studies emphasis and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy with an English minor. He is active in Student Government Association as the presiding senior senator. His other involvements include participation in Model U.N. and the Baptist Student Ministry. He also works as a residence hall assistant and with the HPU Office of Institutional Advancement.

According to the organization’s website, 21Wilberforce takes its name from 19th century British parliamentarian William Wilberforce, who led a successful abolitionist movement in England, using collaborative partnerships, grassroots empowerment and policy campaigns. By adopting these strategies, the organization is dedicated to defending people of faith internationally and the expanding religious freedom.

“The freedom of belief leads to a lot of other freedoms,” Kostreva said. “Countries that have more religious freedom have better economies, better gender equality and all these other positive things connected to religious freedom – not perfect, but better.”

Dr. Matthew McNiece, director of Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and associate professor of history and government, said Kostreva is an example of the ideals of the Honors Academy.

“Caleb’s desire to participate in an internship of this quality with an organization with this mission is a perfect demonstration of the alignment of the Academy’s motto: Facing the Future with Faith and Knowledge,” said Dr. McNiece. “We’re immensely proud of his work this summer, and eager to see where and how he applies this passion next.”

Kostreva, along with four other college students from institutions across the United States, worked with 21Wilberforce in the Washington, D.C. area meeting with legislators and planning events. Through the internship, he was able to experience firsthand some of the actions commonplace to the formation of United States policy on global issues such as human rights.

“It’s something that you won’t find interning for other organizations,” he said. “They see it as a professional-development internship, making it a really unique opportunity I really appreciated.”

A key contribution of Kostreva’s to 21Wilberforce’s work during the summer was a rally he planned highlighting the plight of prisoners of conscience, or political prisoners, in China.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) all spoke at the rally in support of such prisoners. The rally was held on the one-year anniversary of Nobel Peace Prize recipient and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo’s death. Xiaobo died in imprisonment following his 2008 arrest for helping to write and publish Charter 08, advocating for the shifting of China’s political system toward democracy.

“Religious freedom isn’t about advancing one specific faith, but it allows the common exchange of ideas,” Kostreva said. “In a society that allows people to have diverse beliefs, it means that people of all faiths have the ability to believe what they want, and it especially opens the door for Christians to spread the light.”

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2019 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: HPU senior Caleb Kostreva spent the summer working with human rights advocacy organization 21Wilberforce.

Local officers speak to HPU’s Spanish for Law Enforcement class

Spanish for Law EnforcementBROWNWOOD – October 18, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s Spanish for Law Enforcement course recently hosted local officers who offered students a unique perspective on challenges that may arise in law enforcement and the opportunities available to Spanish-speaking officers.

Speaking to students were Mike Corley, retired Brownwood Chief of Police; Trooper Chris Delgado with the Texas Department of Public Safety; and Officer Roberto Rodriguez of the Brownwood Police Department.

Spanish for Law Enforcement is an elective track offered to HPU criminal justice students who receive a certificate upon completion of the course. Dr. Danny Brunette-Lopez, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern Languages, teaches the course.

In addition to studying the Spanish language, students learn about Hispanic culture and customs including body language and common perceptions of law enforcement.

“Having a knowledge of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture ensures our future officers are better able to protect and serve all individuals,” said Dr. Brunette-López. “It can help prevent racial profiling and is vital to the safety of the officers as well as those with whom they come into contact.”

The law enforcement officers shared stories of specific situations they have encountered where a knowledge of the Spanish language was – or would have been – helpful.

“These criminal justice students are now better prepared to resolve situations peacefully,” said Dr. Brunette-López. “That is the ultimate goal of this course.”

Lynn Humeniuk, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology and director of HPU’s criminal justice program, also attended the presentation.

“These professional men place, or have placed, their lives on the line every single day for this community,” she said. “Their combined experience and knowledge as law enforcement officers verifies the vision that Dr. Brunette-López had years ago when he and I met about the possibility of combining Spanish and career choices. This is a unique academic course that most universities our size do not offer. I am very grateful that HPU prepares students to become law enforcement practitioners as the future of this great state of Texas continues to change demographics.”

Students in the course include Ruben Cruz, sophomore from Irving; Julissa Ibarra, sophomore from San Antonio; Adrian Jaramillo, freshman from Palmer; Juan Luna, junior from San Angelo; Victoria Maldonado, junior from Brownwood; Crystal Ochoa, senior from Early; and Kayla Rayos, sophomore from Houston.

Applications are being accepted for the spring 2019 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Local officers recently spoke with students in HPU’s Spanish for Law Enforcement class. Left to right: DPS Trooper Chris Delgado, Brownwood Police Department Patrol Officer Roberto Rodríguez, Former Brownwood Police Chief Mike Corley, Juan Luna, Ruben Cruz, Crystal Ochoa, Adrian Jaramillo, Kayla Rayos, Victoria Maldonado, Julissa Ibarra and Dr. Danny Brunette-López.

HPU Moot Court has successful showing at first tournament of 2018-19

moot court 2018 for webBROWNWOOD – October 17, 2018 – The newest members of Howard Payne University’s Moot Court team fared well at the first tournament of the 2018-19 academic year, the St. Mary’s School of Law Moot Court Invitational.

Representing HPU in this tournament were Reagan Coleman, freshman from Houston; Conner Faught, junior from Brownfield; Sierra Ross, sophomore from Canton; and Madison Zardiackas, freshman from Lockhart.

All four finished in the top half as individual speakers, with Ross and Faught advancing to the semifinal round.

“This tournament is very early in the season, and these four only had a few weeks to research a complicated constitutional issue, write legal arguments and practice delivering those arguments before a panel of judges,” said Lorianna Kelley, team adviser and assistant professor of government. “I could not be prouder of their success and am excited to watch their continued performance throughout the year and for the rest of their college careers.”

HPU is now enrolling for the spring 2019 semester. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: The newest members of HPU’s Moot Court team competed well at the first tournament of the 2018-19 academic year. Left to right: Conner Faught, Sierra Ross, Madison Zardiackas and Reagan Coleman.

Texas Senate honors HPU Moot Court team

Moot Court Senate Proclamation for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2018 – Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham has authored Senate Proclamation No. 569 in honor of HPU’s Moot Court program and team members Jordan Hahn, junior from Burnet, and Isaac Sommers, May 2018 graduate from Boerne. 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 Supreme Court of the United States.

Hahn and Sommers, now in his first year at Harvard Law School, brought home numerous Moot Court awards during their time together at HPU. Most notably, the team was named 2018 National Brief Writing Champions, HPU’s second national championship title in the history of collegiate Moot Court.

“HPU is very proud of Jordan and Isaac, and their adviser Professor Lorianna Kelley,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and chair and associate professor of history and government. “We’re thankful that the Texas Senate and Senator Buckingham honored them in this prestigious way.”

HPU is now enrolling for the spring 2019 semester. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham authored Senate Proclamation No. 569 in honor of HPU’s Moot Court team. Pictured are Jordan Hahn, senior, and Lorianna Kelley, Moot Court adviser and assistant professor of government. Not pictured is Isaac Sommers, May 2018 graduate.

HPU to host The ARK’s candlelight vigil for victims of domestic abuse

Empty Shoes displayBROWNWOOD – October 11, 2018 – Brownwood’s The ARK (Advocacy, Respect, Kindness) Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Shelter will host a candlelight vigil, open to the public, at Howard Payne University’s Bettie and Robert Girling Center for Social Justice. The event, to be held Thursday, October 18, at 6 p.m., is a time to honor the victims of domestic abuse, celebrate the survivors and announce the community’s commitment to ending domestic violence. Survivors of domestic violence will also speak at the event.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The vigil is held at HPU each year in conjunction with The ARK’s Empty Shoes display. Each pair of shoes in the exhibit represents a Central Texas individual who has died as a result of domestic violence. The display will open on Monday, October 15, and be available until the afternoon of Friday, October 19.

According to information provided by The ARK, one in four women and one in seven men aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Additionally, more than 12 million people in the United States over the course of a year are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner.

“Domestic violence is a social problem that affects both men and women of any socioeconomic class, culture or ethnicity,” said Rachel Derrington, assistant professor of social work and director of HPU’s social work program. “As a community we can commit to ending domestic violence by increasing awareness, assisting victims and their children and teaching individuals how to recognize healthy relationships.”

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

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Cutline: The ARK will host the Empty Shoes display and a candlelight vigil at HPU. Each pair of shoes in the display represents a Central Texas individual who has died as a result of domestic violence.

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.

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