Philander Smith College Scholar Highlighted in UNCF’s Nationally Televised “An Evening of Stars”

A Philander Smith College freshman, Latavia Hill, 18, from Chicago, will be featured in the upcoming “UNCF’s An Evening of Stars” televised fundraiser for the United Negro College Fund. The show airs Sunday, Jan. 27, at 9 p.m. on Black Entertainment Television channels around the nation.

Hill is featured on the program because of her amazing drive and determination to attend college on a full scholarship. She received the Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers scholarship to attend a historically black college or university. She selected Philander Smith College with the help our recruitment team and the lure of such a prestigious academic center located in a beautiful city.

This year’s show is presented by Target and will be hosted by Anthony Anderson of NBC’s Guys With Kids. Other featured guests include: Chaka Khan, Yolanda Adams, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Tyrese Gibson and many, many more.

To preview Latavia’s appearance on the show click the link below:

Philander Smith College is the only UNCF-supported campus in Arkansas.

For more information contact, Shareese Kondo, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, at (501)370-5279 or at

Philander Smith College Receives $1.7 Million Grant to Expand Students’ Interests in STEM Careers

Philander Smith College’s Division of Natural and Physical Sciences received a $1.75 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Undergraduate Program. The program aims to increase the number of minorities graduating from an HBCU with degrees centered on careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Philander Smith College received the first phase of this project’s funding in 2006 with an allocated amount of $3 million. That funding phase expires in February 2013. The second phase of the project’s $1.75 million grant extends from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2017.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Philander Smith College to continue recruiting students interested in pursuing stable, prosperous careers,” said Dr. Frank James, Vice President of Academic Affairs, who is among the faculty overseeing the project. “We use this funding to offer courses that enrich students’ minds and prepare them for careers that secure their futures.”
Drs. Samar Swaid, Cynthia Burroughs and Chantia Hickman work with Dr. James to develop courses, programs, partnerships and seminars to carry out the terms of the project. Their curriculums under the project aim to increase students’ success, retention and persistence in STEM education. These courses also strengthen students’ preparation for graduate and medical school entrance exams. These faculty members work to enhance our current STEM undergraduate research infrastructure; improve STEM education by developing and implementing Transformative Cyber infrastructure-based Strategy in Teaching and Learning; and effectively prepare incoming high school students for transitioning into college-level STEM courses.
“We hope to experience continued growth in STEM at Philander Smith College as our STEM majors have increased from 81 in 2007 to 221 in 2011. This can be directly related to student interests evolving to more scientific fields. The HBCU-UP grant funded by the National Science Foundation has influenced these numbers, as well.” said Dr. Frank James.

PSC Screening Site for Arkansas Black Independent Film Festival

The seventh annual Arkansas Black Independent Film Festival (ARBIFF) is scheduled to occur Sept. 6 to 9. Philander Smith College will host the festival on Sept. 6 to 8 with screenings and directors and film workshops held Elder’s Lecture Hall inside the Kendall Building. Other screenings will be held at Arkansas Baptist College and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. A closing ceremony will be held at the Dreamland Ballroom.

Special guests will include M.K. Asante, director of Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration which is narrated by Maya Angelou depicting the origins of Kwanzaa. This film is one of several that will be screened on Philander’s campus. Julie Dash is also scheduled to be present during the festival. Dash is the director of Daughters of the Dust, a drama film depicting the culture of the Gullah people and an African-American family’s decision to move North during the early 20th century. Both film makers will be conducting workshops on campus as well. Film screenings are schedules to start at 11 a.m. each day.

Students from both Philander Smith College and Arkansas Baptist College are eligible to receive free tickets to the festival due to a $1,000 donation by Michael L. Williams, former railroad commissioner of the state of Texas. Williams is the uncle of Matt Ra Butterfly, executive producer of the ARBIFF. For non-students, standard admission tickets will be $15 while a four day pass is available for $75. Philander students must stop by the Office of Institutional Advancement inside Kelly Hall, Tuesday, Sept. 4 to obtain tickets. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis.

The Henry L. Dumas Foundation is the primary sponsor of the festival. For more information about tickets, locations, and film screenings, please visit

New Staggered Schedule Allows Students to Take Nine hours One Class at a Time

Philander Smith College is offering a flexible course plan to new students who have yet to complete their college registration process this school year and who want to ease into base level classes. These registrants will be allowed to complete at least nine credit hours by taking one class at a time starting Sept. 13 and ending Dec. 2.

“This semester within a semester will allow new students the opportunity to get plugged into their college courses with ease and flexibility,” said President Dr. Johnny Moore. “What’s imperative for students to know is that it’s not too late to sign up for college. We still have financial aid and scholarships available. We’re aiming to meet the needs of those who put off applying for college to the last minute.”

This system is designed to appeal to central Arkansas students who do not need campus housing. The flexible schedule allows new students to take sessions on Saturdays and at least four hours during weekday evenings.

The classes are offered one at time, meaning for four weeks, students could take Developmental English, Math or Reading; then, over the next four weeks select another class and complete a third class over a four-week period, ending in early December. The other classes being offered include Composition One, Introduction to Political Science and Introduction to Sociology, Basic Speech, College Math or Algebra. Each class is worth three credit hours.

To obtain information about cost, financial aid assistance and registering, call Cathy Young, in the Philander Smith College Admissions Office, (501)370-5221.

Visiting Professors Launch Social Justice Curriculum

Dr. Johnny Moore, president of Philander Smith College is making history by hiring two visiting professors to assist in infusing social justice themes and missions into the institution’s curriculum.

Professor Jonathan Hutchins and Dr. June Christian will be joining the faculty for a one-year appointment and to teach two classes per semester. Both professors will be working under the guidance of the Office of the Social Justice Initiative where director Dr. Joseph L. Jones will collaborate with on several community engagement projects. Both professors will also conduct workshops for faculty in our Social Sciences and Education Divisions to infuse or develop courses that include social justice themes.

Professor Hutchins earned his bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and master’s in History from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla. Upon completing his master’s degree, he became the first Feeder Scholar from Florida A&M University to enroll in the doctoral History program at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. He recently finished a summer seminar at Yale University focusing on slave narratives that focused on the writings of Fredrick Douglas. Jonathan’s research analyzes the intersections of public and private space, as well as power and racial uplift in the development of African Americans’ role in Mississippi and national politics. His dissertation examines Perry Wilbon Howard (1871-1961), an Assistant Attorney General, National Republican Committee member for the state of Mississippi, successful lawyer, and accomplished mathematics professor at Alcorn State College. Hutchins is committed to using his scholarly credentials in pursuit of “archival justice” to rediscover and reclaim the legacy and contributions of African Americans who have been on the margins of history.

Dr. Christian earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature as well as her master’s degree in Education from Washington University in St. Louis. She also earned a master’s degree in Literature from Tennessee State University in Nashville. In August of 2011, she received her doctorate degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in Educational Leadership and Policy with an emphasis on Social Justice. A long-time social justice advocate, Dr. Christian has facilitated numerous social justice workshops and leadership institutes aimed at assisting youth, teachers, superintendents, community members, health professionals, and university staff in understanding and dismantling several forms of oppression including racism, classism, sexism, ageism, genderism, and heterosexism. She taught middle school reading and creative writing in both the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and the Normandy School District in St. Louis, and is currently editing her book, The Black Flame Trilogy; Multigenerational Trauma, and the Dehumanization of Black Students, under contract with Lexington Books.

Philander Smith College is elated to have such rising scholars join our ranks and as we continue to fulfill our mission which is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better.

To obtain more information contact Dr. Joseph Jones, (501) 975-8543, or at

Fall Line Up of Bless the Mic Speaker Series Features Political Big Shots

The Bless the Mic speaker series — a Philander Smith College and Little Rock community staple, kicks off the school year with a hot bed of political prowess featuring national talents David Gergen, Donna Brazile and Eugene Robinson.

Starting Sept. 20, Gergen senior political analyst for CNN who has served as an adviser to four U.S. presidents will enlighten our students and the community. He is also professor of public service and the director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

On Oct. 15, we’ll host Donna Brazile, Democratic political strategist and a university professor, author, columnist, and the Democratic National Committee’s Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation. She’s the author of the best-selling book Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics. Ms. Brazile can be seen as a political contributor on CNN and ABC as well as “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

And on Nov. 13, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eugene Robinson is scheduled to Bless the Mic. Robinson is political writer at the Washington Post.

Each speaker is scheduled to appear at 7 p.m. in the M.L. Harris Auditorium. There are no tickets or reservations required for these events.

For more information, contact Shareese Kondo, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, (501) 370-5279.

Gulf Coast Conference Coaches and Staff Visit PSC to Make Tournament Plans in Little Rock

Mayor Mark Stodola will be on campus along with several other guests, Aug. 3 – 4, to prepare for several games and events surrounding the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference’s Volleyball and Basketball 2012-2013 tournaments. Philander Smith College will be the host campus for this season’s tournaments.

Athletic directors, coaches, staff and conference personnel will be attending planning meetings and Mayor Stodola has been asked to formally welcome the conference members to the city, which will attract up to 5,000 guests for the conference events this fall and next spring.

Teams making up the conference include Philander Smith, Talladega College, Talladega, Ala., Tougaloo, Tougaloo, Miss., Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn., Dillard University, and Xavier, Southern University of New Orleans, all in New Orleans, La., and Edward Waters College, in Jacksonville, Fla.

The GCAC Volleyball Tournament is scheduled for Nov. 7-10, with a players’ celebration banquet scheduled for Nov. 7 at the Kendall Center on campus.

The GCC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments are scheduled for Feb. 28 – March 1 to be held at Barton Coliseum with a players’ banquet scheduled for Feb. 27 to be held at the Kendall Center.

For more information about the conference, go to or contact, Coach Sam Weaver, at (501) 375-9845.

Non-Profit of the Year! New Title For PSC

Philander Smith College was chosen “Non-Profit Organization of the Year” by the Arkansas Business Publishing Group during its 2012 Arkansas Business of the Year Awards ceremony held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The event was presented by Centennial Bank.

It was the 24th year for the annual event which honors businesses in three categories, business executives, nonprofit executives and nonprofit organizations in Arkansas.

The college was nominated by Board of Trustees President Bob Birch and received the title based on several criteria including our work in helping black males succeed in college. In 2007, the college was the first Arkansas college or university to give substantive energy to improve the rates of black men graduating. The college’s efforts have led to a black male graduation rate of 22 percent, up from 11 percent.

College President Walter Kimbrough said the work isn’t done. He hopes to escalate the graduation rate of black males to first or second place among colleges in Arkansas within three years.

Arkansas Business readers nominate businesses, executives and nonprofits for the awards, and an independent panel of judges determines the winners.