JBU Hosts Annual JB Hunt Hackathon

John Brown University will host the J.B. Hunt Hackathon programming competition on Oct. 11. in the Balzer Technology Center starting at 5 p.m. The event will go through the night and end with final project presentations at 11 a.m. on Oct 12.

“There is a great demand for computer science professionals in Northwest Arkansas,” said Ted Song, associate professor of engineering. “John Brown University is thrilled to partner with J.B. Hunt to provide opportunities to high school and college students in exploring this career field.”

The competition is open to all high school, college and graduate students in the region with any level of programming experience. Past participants have ranged from computer scientists to business majors to graphic designers. Participants may sign up individually or with teams of up to six people, however no team may have more than two graduate students.

At the start of competition, the J.B. Hunt Hackathon will present a programming theme around which participants will create an original collaborative programming project. Once the theme is presented, teams have all night to develop their interactive prototype for review by a panel of J.B. Hunt employees at the end of the event.

Among the prizes, JBU is offering scholarships to each high school student in the top three teams. High school students can win $1,000 for finishing first, $750 for finishing second, and $500 for finishing third. Additionally, internship opportunities at JB Hunt are available for college students.

JBU Exceeds Campaign For the Next Century Goal, Receives $156 Million

John Brown University is celebrating its centennial birthday during homecoming this weekend, but it is also celebrating what is believed to be the largest capital campaign for a private university in Arkansas.

At The Next Century Campaign Celebration dinner tonight,  Dr. Jim Krall, vice president for university advancement, announced that JBU’s seven year fundraising campaign exceeded its  $125 million dollar goal by $31 million dollars, receiving $156 million in gifts and pledges.

“As JBU rejoices in its 100th anniversary this weekend, we are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of our historic Next Century Campaign,” said Dr. Chip Pollard, JBU president. “We are so grateful to the many alumni, friends, and foundations who have given or committed over $156 million to support the next century of JBU’s mission. Generations of future JBU students will benefit from these gifts, and we are deeply thankful to God for his blessings.” 

Through these gifts the university has been able to build or renovate eight facilities and fund programs in nursing, computer science, art, entrepreneurship, track and field and archaeology. Of the $156 million raised, over $42 million is designated toward financial assistance for students through the JBU Scholarship Fund and endowed scholarships. Campaign donors established 83 new endowed scholarships and increased 97 existing endowed scholarships, a total value of over $13 million.

This was the first JBU campaign that included estates for future gifts which account for over $30 million, many that will go toward future scholarships.

“We are blessed to have an incredible community of people who support JBU financially,” said Dr. Jim Krall, vice president for university advancement. “Nearly 9,000 alumni, parent, employees, foundations, corporations and friends of the university have given to support JBU during the Campaign because they believe in the value of Christian higher education and they desire to impact current and future students.”

Campaign donors, alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the University were all in attendance to hear the campaign total that will build on the university’s previous commitments and strengthen JBU’s capacity to offer a hope and a future to students into the next 100 years of the University’s existence.

JBU Ranked Top School in Arkansas by Wall Street Journal

John Brown University is the highest ranking university in Arkansas according to the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2020 U.S. College Rankings list and the top-ranked regional university in Arkansas according to U.S. News and World Report, released today. 

“We are grateful to be recognized by the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News and World Report because these rankings are a testament to the caliber of students, faculty and staff at JBU,” said Dr. Chip Pollard, JBU president. “JBU is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and this national recognition underscores our long-standing commitment to providing a rigorous Christian education that prepares students to honor God and serve others.”

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranked JBU 328 out of 968 institutions in the nation based on 15 performance indicators. These indicators focused primarily on student success and learning in four key areas: resources available to students, student engagement, student outcomes and learning environment. For more information on The Wall Street Journal methodology, visit www.timeshighereducation.com.

JBU also ranked 11th out of 141 southern universities in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Regional Universities list. That’s up two spots from 2019. This marks the fourth consecutive year JBU is the top-ranked Arkansas school in its cohort, which includes Harding University, Arkansas State University, University of Central Arkansas, Henderson State University, Arkansas Tech University and Southern Arkansas University.

U.S. News & World Report is widely recognized as a leader in higher education rankings and a key resource for a student’s college search. To determine its rankings, U.S. News evaluates graduation and student retention rates, class size, student-to-faculty ratio, SAT and ACT scores, alumni giving rate and peer assessment.

 “We are honored by the recognition from both the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News,” said Ed Ericson, vice president for academic affairs. “JBU faculty and staff are committed to equipping students not only with a high standard of academic and professional excellence, but also with values in servant leadership, a nourished spiritual life and a commitment to lifelong learning.”

U.S. News also recognized JBU as “Best Value School,” a top-10 “Best Colleges for Veterans,” a top school in “Undergraduate Teaching” and a top performer in “Social Mobility,” a new category which measures graduation rates for students who have received Pell Grants. For more information on U.S. News’ ranking methodology, visit https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/rankings-methodologies.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. 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 43 undergraduate majors, with top programs including engineering, nursing, family and human services, biology, graphic design and construction management. Sixteen graduate programs are available in the areas of business, counseling, cybersecurity, education and higher education.

Tyson Foods, John Brown University Partnership Offers Tuition Discount

Tyson Foods has partnered with John Brown University to offer a 10 percent tuition discount to Tyson Foods eligible employees through their employer benefits.

“The collaboration agreement between Tyson Foods and John Brown University is a true testament of our commitment to creating opportunities for team member professional development and personal growth,” said Alex Solis Amador, managing director, poultry strategy.

Eligible Tyson Foods team members will be able to receive the tuition discount to pursue a graduate degree in any of nine business programs: master of business administration, which includes options for MBAs in international business, market research & consumer insights, design thinking & innovation, cybersecurity and healthcare administration; as well as masters of science degrees in design thinking & innovation, leadership or outdoor program management. Employees with prior college credit looking to complete their bachelor’s degree can apply the discount to online undergraduate degrees including: business administration, liberal arts, organizational leadership, psychology and nursing.

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 has enjoyed a great relationship with Tyson Foods for many years, and this partnership gives us the opportunity to make that relationship even stronger,” said Joe Walenciak, dean, business development and strategic partnerships. “We look forward to serving the many Tyson team members who wish to further their education and continuing to see JBU students and graduates launch their careers at Tyson.” 

JBU Care Clinic Renamed to Community Counseling Clinic

John Brown University’s Care Clinic has been renamed to the Community Counseling Clinic in order to clarify the clinic’s mission to serve the local community by providing low-cost professional counseling services. The clinic now offers a flexible flat rate of $15 per session.

The Community Counseling Clinic works in conjunction with JBU’s Graduate Counseling program to train graduate students to become licensed counselors through experiential learning. Under the supervision of licensed professors and staff with extensive experience in the counseling field, each counseling graduate student will work with a community member(s) through issues that include depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, marital and relationship issues and challenges facing children.

The clinic serves adults, children, couples and families in two locations across Arkansas in Little Rock and Siloam Springs.

“We live in complicated times and managing the complexities of life is difficult. Living well requires understanding the challenges one faces and the courage and skill to make changes,” Dr. Tim Dinger, executive director of the Community Counseling Clinic, said. “The professional care and counsel provided supports the community member and helps facilitates the change necessary in their life.”

The clinic’s fees were previously set on a sliding scale that ranged from $0 to $40 per session, depending on the client’s income. Now, the flexible flat-rate pricing of $15 per session simplifies the payment for the client and ensures clients are not denied service and have the flexibility to pay as little as $1 per session.

The clinic also added staff to oversee all procedures and policies, and address emergent clinical issues.  

“The clinic provides a training culture that sets professional and ethical standards for our students to be exceptional in this field to benefit our community and future generations,” Dinger said. “We understand the time, effort, cost and commitment to care for the mental health and relational needs of our clients and their loved ones. We are glad to make our services affordable and accessible.”

To request an appointment or to get more information, visit www.jbu.edu/community-counseling-clinic/ or call 501-219-9245 for the Little Rock location or 479-524-7300 for the Siloam Springs location.

JBU Professor Jessica Hooten Wilson Awarded 2019 Hiett Prize in the Humanities

Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson, JBU associate professor of humanities, has been named the 2019 Hiett Prize in Humanities Award Winner. The Hiett Prize, awarded annually by The Dallas institute of Humanities and Culture, is given to candidates who are in the early stages of their careers, devoted to the humanities, whose work shows extraordinary promise and has a significant public component related to contemporary culture.

Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson, JBU associate professor of creative writing, has been named the 2019 Hiett Prize in Humanities Award Winner.

The Hiett Prize includes a cash award of $50,000 to assist and encourage the award recipient in their ongoing work as a future leader in humanities.

“Receiving a prize like this puts the spotlight on one person for a day, but the reality is that there are a ton of people involved who deserve the recognition for the award—the university that supports me, past teachers who have challenged me, writers who inspire me, students who learn with me, my friends who encourage me, the family who loves me and the Lord who is the giver of all good gifts. Soli Deo Gloria,” Wilson said. 

Wilson, a Fulbright Scholar, has published three books: “Giving the Devil his Due: Flannery O’Connor and The Brothers Karamazov” (Wipf & Stock 2016), “Walker Percy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the Search for Influence” (Ohio State UP, 2017) and “Reading Walker Percy’s Novels” (Louisiana State UP, 2018). 

Among Wilson’s current writing projects is the notable commission to work toward publication of Flannery O’Connor’s novel “Why Do the Heathen Rage?,” unfinished at the time of O’Connor’s death in 1964. 

Wilson’s research and teaching interests include Christianity and literature, especially Catholic literature and Russian novels. She has lectured widely across the U.S. and in Canada as an invited speaker and has initiated several programs in the humanities both within and outside academe.

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.