JBU Appoints New Deans to Colleges and Programs

John Brown University announced this week the appointments of new deans to its colleges and programs, effective July 1: Dr. Ryan Ladner as the dean of the Soderquist College of Business; Dr. Richard Ellis as the dean of the College of Education & Human Services; Dr. Stacey Duke as the dean of The Graduate School and Dr. Joe Walenciak as the dean of business development and strategic partnerships in the Office of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Ryan Ladner began serving as the associate professor of marketing and chair of undergraduate business programs at JBU in 2015. In 2017, he became the chair of Graduate Business programs. Before JBU, Ladner was a district sales leader in the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo North America and then served in various roles at Bryan College and Palm Beach Atlantic University. He received a B.S.B.A. from The University of Southern Mississippi, a M.B.A. from Mississippi College, a M.A. from Liberty University and a D.B.A. from George Fox University. 

Dr. Richard Ellis held faculty and administrative positions at colleges in Michigan and Virginia prior to coming to JBU in 1993. Ellis helped initiate JBU’s Online Undergraduate programs, previously known as Degree Completion program for adult learners, in 1993 and was appointed dean of The Graduate School in 2004. He also directs and teaches for the M.A. in Higher Education program. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, a M.Div. from Biola University in California and a bachelor’s degree from William Tyndale College. 

Dr. Stacey Duke came to JBU in 2015 to serve as the dean of online undergraduate programs and strategic initiatives. As such, she oversees all of the operations for the online undergraduate curriculum, team and faculty, and she provides leadership for the development of academic partnerships with businesses and two-year institutions throughout Arkansas and Oklahoma. Duke will continue in this role in addition to becoming the dean of The Graduate School. She has taught business, leadership and communication courses at JBU in the graduate and undergraduate programs. Before joining JBU, she served as the assistant dean of adult and graduate studies at Bryan College. She earned her D.S.L. from Regent University in Virginia, a M.B.A. from Bryan College in Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University. 

Dr. Joe Walenciak holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Arkansas and an undergraduate degree from JBU. He has been a member of JBU’s business faculty since 1982, teaching business classes in the undergraduate, online and graduate programs. He has also chaired the undergraduate, graduate and online business programs and was the dean of the College of Business. His recognitions include being named as SIFE USA Sam Walton Fellow of the Year, SIFE USA Hall of Fame, Christian Business Faculty Association Richard C. Chewning Award, JBU Teacher of the Year and JBU Outstanding Alumnus.

“With outstanding careers, Ladner, Ellis, Duke and Walenciak have the experience to provide excellent leadership in their new roles,” said Ed Ericson, vice president for academic affairs. “JBU has such a high caliber of faculty and staff, and I am confident they will further JBU’s mission of providing a high-quality education to prepare students to be successful in their careers, love God and be change agents in this world.”

JBU Establishes Center for Faith and Flourishing

With commitments of more than half a million dollars, John Brown University announced today the establishment of the Center for Faith and Flourishing (CFF) at JBU. The center will provide programming, curriculum, partnerships and activities dedicated to exploring the relationship between Christianity and human flourishing.

Funding for the center’s operation will be provided by a $143,500 grant from the Charles Koch Foundation and a $430,500 grant from an anonymous donor, and includes support for CFF’s programs, activities and staff. Dr. James Bruce, JBU associate professor of philosophy, will serve as the center’s inaugural director, and Dr. Daniel Bennett, JBU assistant professor of political science, will be the assistant director.

“My dreams for this center began in the 2014-2015 academic year, and I’m excited to see them come to fruition,” Bruce said. “I am grateful to God for this opportunity, and I hope we prove ourselves to be diligent and trustworthy stewards of what we have received.”

The center will engage in and assist the university’s required Gateway Seminar for first year students and will also support the Honors Scholars Program’s new philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) courses and minor, as a way to promote a multifaceted approach to problems in our increasingly interdependent world. In the coming academic year, JBU will perform a nationwide search for a five-year faculty appointment to support Gateway and PPE.

CFF will also promote its principles through lectures and debates to foster open discussion about challenging topics; student reading groups and colloquia; and other extracurricular activities.

“JBU is deeply grateful for this wonderful financial support to launch the Center for Faith and Flourishing, and we look forward to how the work of the Center will enhance and deepen JBU students’ education,” Dr. Chip Pollard, president of JBU said.  “Dr. Bruce and Dr. Bennett will provide outstanding leadership for this work.”

The Charles Koch Foundation supports scholars and students at more than 350 colleges and universities. The foundation provides grants to support a wide range of inquiry including criminal justice and policing reform, free expression and open inquiry, foreign policy, economic opportunity, and innovation.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’s top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2019), JBU enrolls more than 2,100 students from 38 states and 53 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including engineering, nursing, family and human services, biology, graphic design and construction management. 

JBU, North Arkansas College Sign Articulation Agreement

Representatives from John Brown University and North Arkansas College (Northark) signed an articulation agreement last week to increase opportunities for student access to and success in higher education. The partnership creates a seamless path for students to earn an associate’s degree from Northark and then complete their bachelor’s degree at JBU.

“We are very excited to announce this new partnership with John Brown University to provide more opportunities for our students to earn their bachelor’s degree,” Northark President Dr. Randy Esters said. “John Brown University is known for providing high-quality academic programs, both on campus and online. We are proud to partner with them to offer Northark students a seamless transfer to JBU.”

By clarifying transfer policies and procedures through this formal transfer agreement, the institutions will assist students so that they are not required to retake courses already achieved. Through this agreement, students are eligible to transfer into any of JBU’s traditional undergraduate programs on JBU’s Siloam Springs campus or JBU’s online undergraduate programs.

“This agreement represents the continued commitment of JBU to serve Harrison and surrounding communities through flexible, engaging online education,” Dr. Stacey Duke, JBU’s dean of online undergraduate programs and strategic initiatives, said.

Students who graduate from Northark, complete Northark’s designated program courses and hold a GPA of 2.5 or higher are eligible for admission to JBU under the terms of this agreement.

Founded in 1974, North Arkansas College (Northark) is a public two-year college offering transfer and technical degree programs, one-year technical certificates, certificates of proficiency, customized business and industry training, adult basic education (GED) classes and non-credit community education courses. In addition, partnerships with area universities provide the opportunity to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Harrison, Arkansas. 

JBU Offers Summer Campus Immersion Programs for High School Students

Registration is open for John Brown University’s weeklong residential program, Summer Academy, for high school students to gain college experience. The Summer Academy programs include hands-on experience in Construction Management (July 7-12), Engineering (July 7-12), Art (July 7-12), Computer Gamebook (July 7-12), Worship Arts (July 21-26) and Piano (July 21-27). Taught by JBU professors with decades of experience in their field, the Summer Academy gives high school students a firsthand look into university life by learning real-world concepts, interacting with JBU students, and participating in field trips and various campus activities. 

The Construction Management Academy gives students hands-on experience that is needed to construct complex buildings in the modern world. The academy will cover topics like safety planning, proper tool usage, structural steel building assembly, project scheduling and more. Students will also be able to work on a service project in Oklahoma and compete in teams at the end of the week to test their knowledge. 

Students in the Engineering Academy will learn about electrical circuits, programming, 3D computer-aided design, 3D printing, strength and mechanics of materials, smart materials, motors and batteries. They’ll not only build teamwork skills by designing, building and testing projects, but will also learn how to integrate Christian principles with engineering. 

The Art Academy offers students three specializations to choose from: photography, art and design, and digital cinema. Photography students will create images in both digital and traditional film mediums, while also being inspired by Arkansas’ natural beauty. In the art and design track, students will learn new techniques and hone their skills in painting, graphic design, digital illustration, printmaking and typography. Digital cinema students will craft a short narrative film in an indie filmmaking environment, with access to the latest gear, a film set, an editing suite and a screening room.

The Computer Gamebook Academy gives students the opportunity to write interactive fiction, a literary genre of text-based adventure games with role-playing, riddle-like puzzles and labyrinthine worlds. Students will write adventure narratives, design gamebooks and learn basic coding and graphic interface. At the end of the week, students will produce an original work of digital literature that allows readers to interact with and explore a digital world.

The Worship Arts Academy is geared toward aspiring worship leaders, church musicians and pastors. Students will be teamed up in four worship bands with both vocalists and instrumentalists and will rehearse together throughout the week. The academy closes with a combined worship service led by the four worship bands. This worship service is open to the public.

The Piano Academy offers daily, private lessons for students, as well as a chance to participate in theory and aural skills. Students will also gain insight into memorization techniques, the art of interpretation, building solid technique, accompanying congregational hymns and how to practice effectively. Students have the opportunity to perform solo and duet repertoire in master classes and recitals.

All Summer Academies, except for the Piano Academy, cost $503.75, which includes meals, housing, field trips and projects materials. The Piano Academy costs $524.50. For more information, visit jbu.edu/summer-academy/ or contact Lauren Huffman at Lhuffman@jbu.edu or 479.524.7423 with any questions.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2019), JBU enrolls more than 2,100 students from 38 states and 53 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including engineering, nursing, family and human services, biology, graphic design and construction management.

Windgate Foundation Gives $1M Matching Scholarship Grant to Honor John Brown III

John Brown University announced today a matching scholarship grant of $1 million from the Windgate Foundation to be used for endowed scholarships. The gift is in honor of former JBU President John Brown III and his 25 years of service as executive director of the Windgate Foundation.  

The university will add $1 million of undesignated gifts to the scholarship fund to honor Brown’s lifetime commitment to JBU, including 14 years as JBU president and 14 years on JBU’s board of trustees.

The combined $2 million challenge grants will match donations dollar for dollar up to a total of $4 million in new scholarship endowment. The new endowed scholarships will help students in financial need, with some preference for students whose parents are missionaries or in Christian ministry. JBU has a long history of students whose parents have served as missionaries, including 108 students from 32 countries this year. In the 2018-19 school year, $50 million in university endowed scholarships funded $2.1 million in scholarships for over 550 students.

“John has been the guiding hand behind Windgate Foundation for the past 25 years,” Windgate Executive Director Patricia Forgy said. “We will be forever grateful for John’s dedication, integrity and kindness in stewarding the foundation’s resources and responsibilities and are delighted to express our appreciation through this matching endowment. We are pleased JBU is joining us in honoring John’s service by including additional matching funds to benefit scholarships.”

John Brown III, the grandson of the university’s founder, served as president of JBU from 1979 to 1993. He became executive director of the Windgate Foundation in 1993, a role he filled until 2018. From 1995-2002 Brown also served two terms as a senator in the Arkansas legislature during which he authored and passed major legislation in juvenile justice, nursing home care, and education.

Brown continues to serve as a senior adviser to the Windgate Foundation and as trustee emeriti of JBU’s board of trustees, having served on the board from 2003 to 2017.

“We are deeply grateful to the Windgate Foundation for their generous support, and we are honored to join them in this endowed scholarship challenge to honor John Brown III,” JBU President Chip Pollard said. “He has done so much to serve JBU, Siloam Springs, Arkansas and the country through his work at the university, in the Arkansas senate and through the Windgate Foundation. There could not be a better way to recognize his service then creating scholarships for the next generation of JBU students who will influence the world.”

JBU, Crowder College Sign Articulation Agreement to Facilitate Transfers

John Brown University and Crowder College signed a memorandum of understanding today to create a pathway for students to earn an associate’s degree from Crowder and then complete their bachelor’s degree at JBU, as well as reverse transfer credit to complete their associate’s degree from Crowder. Through this agreement, students are eligible to transfer into any of JBU’s traditional undergraduate programs on JBU’s Siloam Springs campus, or JBU’s online undergraduate programs.

Representatives from JBU and Crowder College (back from left to right) JBU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ed Ericson, JBU Dean of Online Undergraduate Programs and Strategic Initiatives Dr. Stacey Duke, Crowder College Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Adam Morris, (front from left to right) JBU President Dr. Chip Pollard and Crowder College

“JBU strives to build lasting partnerships to create more opportunities for students to further their educational goals,” JBU President Dr. Chip Pollard said. “Through this agreement, we hope to build a bridge between Crowder and JBU so that students will more easily continue to pursue a high quality education and receive the tools to be successful in their careers while also serving God and others.”

By clarifying transfer policies and procedures through this formal transfer agreement, JBU and Crowder engage in a shared commitment to increase opportunities for student access to and success in higher education. The institutions will assist students so that they are not required to retake courses already achieved.

“We’re very excited about signing the articulation agreement,” Crowder College President Dr. Glenn Coltharp said. “It opens the doors for many opportunities for our students and gives many options for them to continue their education. We offer many quality associate degrees that are a natural fit with JBU’s bachelor’s programs.

Students who graduate from Crowder, complete Crowder’s designated program courses and hold a GPA of 2.5 or higher are eligible for admission to JBU under the terms of this agreement.

“We believe that this strategic collaboration will build new pathways for students to achieve their academic goals and will create stronger community relations in NWA and the region,” Dr. Stacey Duke, JBU’s dean of online undergraduate programs and strategic initiatives, said.

Crowder College is a comprehensive community college situated in the beautiful Ozark region of Southwest Missouri. The College was founded in 1963 by a vote of district citizens in five contiguous school districts in McDonald and Newton Counties, which composes the formal college district. The College is also assigned a nine-county service region which extends north up the Oklahoma and Kansas state lines to Vernon County and east along the Arkansas state line to Barry County. Crowder is well respected in the community, state and nation. Crowder has been named as one of the “Great Colleges to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education the last 5 of 7 years.

JBU, Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium Sign Articulation Agreement

Representatives from John Brown University and Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium (ARNEC) signed a memorandum of understanding this week to increase opportunities for students to advance their careers without leaving their communities. The partnership creates a seamless path for nursing students to earn an associate’s degree from an institution within the ARNEC consortium and then complete their bachelor’s degree at JBU through JBU’s online RN to BSN Program.

ARNEC’s consortium includes Arkansas State University-Newport, Black River Technical College, Cossatot Community College, Ozarka College, South Arkansas Community College, University of Arkansas Hope/Texarkana, University of Arkansas Morrilton and University of Arkansas Rich Mountain. Through ARNEC, licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses in Arkansas can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree with the flexibility to work full time in their communities.

“We believe that this partnership will encourage many students in the rural communities who want to achieve their academic goals in higher education to know that they can,” Dr. Stacey Duke, JBU’s dean of online undergraduate programs and strategic initiatives, said. “JBU looks forward to building on this agreement to meet the nationwide need for nurses throughout Arkansas.”

JBU’s RN to BSN program equips students for management roles in the nursing industry and for graduate studies to pursue additional training opportunities leading to independent practice roles such as nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.

Students who graduate with an ARNEC designated degree/program, complete ARNEC’s designated program courses and hold a GPA of 2.0 or higher are eligible for admission at JBU under the terms of this agreement.

ARNEC offers an LPN/LVN-to-RN transition program. Graduates receive an Associates of Applied Sciences (AAS) in Nursing, which prepares them to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. ARNEC’s program provides a high-quality, comprehensive, accessible and affordable Registered Nursing program to students in rural Arkansas.

John Brown University, City of Siloam Springs Partner to Offer Tuition Discount

John Brown University and the City of Siloam Springs have partnered to offer a 10 percent tuition discount to eligible city employees for JBU’s graduate and online undergraduate programs. City employees must be full time or permanent part time in order to qualify for the discount.

Through the partnership, eligible city employees can finish bachelor’s degrees in business administration, liberal arts, organizational leadership, psychology and the RN to BSN degree through the JBU online undergraduate program or earn master’s degrees in business, healthcare administration, cybersecurity, outdoor program management, leadership, and design thinking and innovation through JBU’s Graduate School. 

All of the degrees offered through the partnership can be completed either exclusively online or through a combination of online and evening classes at the JBU Rogers Center

“JBU’s main campus since its founding has called Siloam Springs home. As such, we’ve been able to create a long history of partnerships with the city that have benefitted the local community,” said Dr. Ed Ericson, JBU’s vice president for academic affairs. “We’re excited to provide opportunities that expand JBU’s mission to reach city employees as they further their educational pursuits and career goals.”

JBU offers a tuition discount to employees through business partnerships at many organizations across Northwest Arkansas, including Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, J.B. Hunt, Sam’s Club and Walmart. If your business is interested in a partnership agreement, please contact Dr. Stacey Duke, dean of online undergraduate programs and strategic initiatives, at sduke@jbu.edu for more information.

JBU Director of Human Resources Amy Fisher Receives HR Professional of the Year Award

Amy Fisher, John Brown University’s director of human resources, received the HR Professional of the Year award from the Northwest Arkansas Human Resources Association (NOARK). This award recognizes an individual that has shown outstanding service, promoted the Human Resources Management profession and is a member of NOARK.

Woman posing for photo in front of brick building.
Amy Fisher, John Brown University’s director of human resources, received the HR Professional of the Year award from NOARK. As recipient of this award, Fisher will be NOARK’s official nominee for the Arkansas Society for Human Resources Management’s (ASHRM) Professional of the Year Award.

As recipient of this award, Fisher will be NOARK’s official nominee for the Arkansas Society for Human Resources Management’s (ASHRM) Professional of the Year Award for 2019.

“I am honored to have been chosen for this award,” Fisher said. “Human Resources is a great profession, and I have loved learning and serving with my other Human Resource Colleagues in Northwest Arkansas.”

Fisher, with an MBA in Leadership and Ethics, began her career at JBU as a student accounts representative before advancing to become the director of human resources, risk management and government relations. In this role, Fisher oversees human resources, risk management, food service contract administration, bookstore contract administration and mail operations. In addition, she serves as Title IX co-coordinator, overseeing staff-related Title IX matters and providing university wide training opportunities. She also strategically plans and oversees all federal compliance issues including updated tax laws, Department of Labor regulations and the Affordable Health Care Act.

Fisher has been a NOARK member since 2007, working in a variety of roles from treasurer between 2013-2015, vice president in 2016, president-elect in 2017 and president in 2018. She has served as facilities chair and finance chair at the ARSHRM State Conference. She holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification and is a Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional.  

“Amy Fisher is a valued professional at JBU,” Kim Hadley, JBU vice president of finance and administration, said. “She builds trust across campus, develops strategic solutions and is known for her excellent work. Her colleagues at JBU are delighted to see her recognized by her peers in the wider human resources profession. We celebrate with her, as she truly deserves this honor.”

Fisher was also named the 2016 Golden Eagle Excellence in Service Award winner at JBU’s Employee Recognition Banquet. The award is given to recognize a staff member who has given exceptional service to the JBU community.

NOARK has been providing service to the Human Resources community of Northwest Arkansas since Sept. 2, 1971. NOARK is a not-for-profit organization with a membership of more than 300+ Human Resource professionals, with over 225 companies represented. As the local SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) affiliate Chapter 0148, NOARK has been awarded numerous awards including most recently the 2017 SHRM Excel Award: Platinum Chapter and the 2017 SHRM Foundation Chapter Champion.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2019), JBU enrolls more than 2,100 students from 38 states and 53 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including engineering, nursing, family and human services, biology, graphic design and construction management.