Weaver Honored for Years of Service

Dr. Brad Baine with Dr. RoseMary Weaver

Dr. Brad Baine with Dr. RoseMary Weaver

Williams Baptist University has honored Dr. RoseMary Weaver for her years of service and dedication to the institution. Weaver will retire at the end of this month, after implementing WBU’s new online and graduate programs.

Dr. Brad Baine, academic dean at Williams, presented Weaver with a plaque in recognition of her time at Williams.

“Dr. Weaver has developed education degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Williams. Her superior ability to build quality academic programs is remarkable,” said Baine. “Dr. Weaver has positively impacted many lives through her teaching. Williams Baptist University has been blessed by Dr. Weaver’s leadership during her years of service.”

Weaver was the first chair of the Williams Teacher Education Program in the 1990s and guided WBU in beginning its Bachelor of Science in Education degree. Since then, the WTEP has earned wide respect across the region as it has prepared teachers in eight education majors.

After leaving Williams, Weaver served as curriculum coordinator for the Pocahontas School District, but she returned to WBU to help launch its graduate and online programs. In her most recent role, she has guided Williams in launching its first graduate degree, the Master of Arts in Teaching, which began last year, and in preparing its Master of Science in Education degree, which will launch this fall.

Williams offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in various areas of study. For more information, visit williamsbaptistuniversity.com.

JBU’s Nursing Program Earns Accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Program Receives Full Approval from Arkansas State Board of Nursing

John Brown University announced this week that its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has received full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a national nursing accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and full approval from Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN) to prepare nurse candidates for licensure.

CCNE evaluated JBU’s nursing program based on an internal self-study of the program’s quality and effectiveness, submitted comments from third parties concerning the program’s qualifications and a three-day, on-site evaluation performed by CCNE to ensure the program complies to CCNE’s accreditation standards and key elements.

“The nursing program aligns perfectly with JBU’s educational philosophy to provide students with career preparation, intellectual understanding and personal development. With the CCNE’s accreditation and ASBN’s full approval, JBU nursing students are assured that their education meets and exceeds all professional standards,” Dr. Richard Ellis, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Services, said. “We are proud of the work of JBU’s nursing faculty, particularly the head of our nursing department, Dr. Ellen Odell, in achieving these recognitions.”

In 2013, the university received unanimous approval from the ASBN to develop a nursing program, enabling pre-nursing students to register fall 2014. JBU raised $12 million to build and endow a 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Health Education Building. This facility includes three classrooms, four exam rooms with computer-operated, interactive mannequins that simulate urgent care scenarios, two health assessment labs, a computer lab, offices and study lounges.

Currently, the nursing program has become one of the largest majors at the university with 151 students enrolled as of fall 2017.

“Our goal is not only to excellently educate our students, but also to show them the power of their education to make a real impact in the world,” Dr. Ellen Odell, nursing program director, said. “With accreditation from CCNE and approval from ASBN, we are able to ensure the quality and integrity of our program and continue to educate the next generation of nurses with the qualifications and preparation to do their job and do it exceedingly well.”

JBU graduated its first class of nursing students in university history on May 5, with 28 students earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing. These graduates already accepted positions in hospitals across Northwest Arkansas, and in Oklahoma and Tennessee, working in units such as labor and delivery, emergency, intensive care, adult medical-surgical, neonatal intensive care, cardiac neurodevelopment, pediatric surgical and acute care.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education is an autonomous accrediting agency contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education programs and entry-to-practice nurse residency programs. As a voluntary, self-regulatory process, CCNE accreditation supports and encourages continuing self-assessment by nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and entry-to-practice nurse residency programs.

Established by the Arkansas Legislature in 1913 to safeguard the life and health of its citizens, the Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN) achieves its mission by developing standards for safe nursing care, approval of nursing schools and regulating licenses to practice nursing. In addition to the Nurse Practice Act and Rules, there are position statements and guidelines for nurses to follow. The ASBN is responsible for enforcing these laws and rules pertaining to the regulation of nurses, nursing education and nursing practice.

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, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

Arkansas Colleges of Health Education Breaks Ground on New Facility

The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) continues to make great strides in health and wellness with the ground breaking for their newest facility, the Arkansas College of Health Sciences.

Arkansas College of Health Sciences will be housed in a new, 66,000 square foot building located on the ACHE campus. The $25 million-dollar facility will be the home for Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Physician Assistant (PA) programs once accreditation is completed. Construction will be completed in early 2020 with the first classes planned for the Fall of 2020.

ACHE Board members and vice presidents break ground on new facility.

ACHE Board members and vice presidents break ground on new facility.

“It is all about our mission,” said Kyle Parker, President and CEO of ACHE. “We are breaking ground not only for this new facility, but also on the urgent need for quality healthcare professionals, research, and healthy living for the people of Arkansas. Our tremendous progress is the result of the vision of our Board of Trustees, an excellent Administrative Team, and from the generous support of our community. The facility was made available by another incredible anonymous gift after an extensive study on the most pressing needs of our State and region. This type of support is helping us to fulfill our mission to serve the underserved and to make a positive healthful impact. This effect will be felt in the lives of those served and also have a positive impact on the economy of the community and state.”

“Today is the day” stated Dr. Benny Gooden, Executive Director for Institutional Relations for ACHE. “The fields of PT, OT, and PA are among the highest areas of need for the current decade. That is why we are here today with an ambitious next step to address health care needs on Arkansas’ newest higher education campus devoted exclusively to graduate level preparation for health care professionals.”

Arkansas Colleges of Health Education is a private, non-profit institution located on 228 acres in Fort Smith, Arkansas. ACHE’s first college, the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) welcomed its inaugural class of 150 osteopathic medical students in August 2017. ACHE is the first and only private institution in Arkansas that is dedicated solely to healthcare and wellness.

JBU Alumnus Named Walton International Scholarship Program Director

Photo of Gabriel Williams.

JBU alumnus Gabriel Williams will become the director of JBU’s Walton International Scholarship Program, beginning this fall.

John Brown University announced this week that JBU alumnus Gabriel Williams will become the director of JBU’s Walton International Scholarship Program (WISP), beginning this fall. Williams will recruit and advise prospective WISP students and support current JBU WISP students through their studies until completion of their program requirements.

“We could not be happier to have Gabe Williams, an alumnus who grew up in Costa Rica and has been working internationally in missions, to take the lead role in directing JBU’s Walton International Scholars Program,” Dr. Steve Beers, JBU vice president of student development, said. “He and his wife, Andrea who is also a graduate, are excited to provide direct support for 60 Central American and Mexican students who enrich our campus each year.”

Launched by Sam and Helen Walton in 1985, the WISP awards 60 students a full-ride scholarship every year to attend one of three Arkansas institutions: John Brown University, University of the Ozarks or Harding University. In exchange, students commit to return to their home countries for four years after graduation to make a difference in their local communities.

In the over 30 years since its inception, JBU has graduated over 400 Walton scholars.

Williams graduated from JBU in 2004 with a bachelor’s of science degree in construction management. After graduation, he worked for three years as a field and office engineer for Hensel Phelps Construction Company before becoming construction manager for New Hope Uganda, where he manages and facilitates the construction and maintenance needs of the organization.

In addition, Williams and his wife Andrea, a JBU 2005 alumna, were JBU missionaries in residence for the 2014-2015 academic year. They built relationships with JBU’s missionary kids and international students through hospitality, counseling and fellowship.

“JBU has always held a special place my life,” Williams said. “It is where my wife and I met, and for four years was my only American ‘home’ since I grew up in Costa Rica. As the director of the Walton International Scholarship Program, I am excited to partner with students as they make the transition from their home to host culture and receive a liberal arts education that will play a transforming role in their lives, impacting their families, local communities and potentially their nations.”

Williams will be the fourth director to govern JBU’s WISP program. Ron Johnson was the director of JBU’s WISP program for over 20 years, before passing away in December 2018.

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, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.

WBU Alum Reggie Smith Establishes Minority Scholarship

Reggie Smith knows first-hand the struggles minority students often face in funding their college education. Now, he is stepping forward to help those students get a Williams Baptist University education.

Smith, a 1985 Williams alumnus, has launched the Reggie Smith Foundation Minority Scholarship for WBU students, and the foundation has announced its first class of recipients. Students who will receive the scholarship this fall are: Dara Britton of Raytown, Mo., Travon Cobb of Dumas, Erik Mercado of Senath, Mo., Jada Olloway of Jonesboro and Ricardo Quintero of Caracas, Venezuela.

“Looking back on my educational experiences, I wanted to see if we could help minority students who attend Williams in getting access to some much needed financial assistance to continue their educational pursuit,” Smith said.

Photo of students who received Smith Scholarship.

(left to right) Dr. Brett Cooper, Ricardo Quintero, Jada Olloway, Dara Britton, Erik Mercado and WBU President Dr. Stan Norman.

Smith, who lives in the Dallas area, is a graduate of Pocahontas High School. He is a US Army veteran, and for the past 24 years he has been in sales management within the pharma/biotech industry. He said he established the scholarship to assist and inspire a new generation of Williams students.

“I hope it helps them bridge a financial gap they may have in acquiring their education. I also hope it inspires them to see a person of color being in a position to reach back and help someone and that they too can do that one day,” he noted.

Smith said the foundation plans to select recipients and award the scholarships annually.

“It is incredibly gratifying to see one of our alumni take the initiative and help today’s students follow in his footsteps at Williams. On top of that, it has been very enjoyable working with Mr. Smith as his foundation has developed this scholarship. We are truly grateful to the Reggie Smith Foundation for assisting WBU students in such a meaningful way,” said Brett Cooper, vice president for institutional advancement.

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge.

Midkiff, Startup Receive Professor Emeritus Status

Photo of man and woman.

Dr. Kenneth Startup and Dr. Sheri Midkiff

Upon their retirement from Williams Baptist University, Dr. Sheri Midkiff and Dr. Kenneth Startup have each been given the title of professor emeritus. Midkiff is retiring after 43 years of service to Williams, and Dr. Startup spent more than 35 years at WBU.

Awarding the title professor emeritus enables Williams to acknowledge faculty who have provided meritorious and longstanding service to the university. Any member of the faculty who retires after 20 years of full-time service to WBU, with a minimum rank of assistant professor, and who has rendered “distinguished and meritorious services” to the university, may be appointed professor emeritus.

Midkiff spent her time at Williams as a professor of English. Along with professor emeritus, a new scholarship has been created in honor of Midkiff’s legacy and service to the institution. WBU has established the Dr. Sheri Midkiff English Scholarship, an endowed scholarship for select English and English education majors at Williams

“Dr. Midkiff has taught for 43 years with genuine passion and presented the content of her courses in a dynamic fashion,” said Dr. Brad Baine, vice president for academic affairs at Williams. “During her years of service, she has put forth extraordinary efforts in all her institutional responsibilities. Dr. Midkiff has truly provided distinguished and meritorious service to the university.”

Over the course of his time at Williams, Startup served as a professor of history, chair of the history department, chair of the Division of Arts and Sciences, and spent many years as the vice president for academic affairs. He concluded his career as the interim president. WBU’s historic WWII era chapel will now be named Startup Chapel, in honor of Startup’s leadership at Williams.

“Dr. Startup has been an exceptional faculty member and leader for Williams for the last 35 years,” added Baine. “He has earned the highest compliments from his students and colleagues, due to his teaching, leadership and commitment to the university on and off campus. As attested by the faculty and staff, Dr. Startup has devoted 35 years of superior service to Williams.”

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge.

Williams Students Teach Children to Save

Williams Baptist College education students joined Integrity First Bank of Pocahontas to present the 21st annual Teach Children to Save Day at Alma Spikes Elementary School last month. Teach Children to Save Day is a nationwide program of the American Bankers Association. Its aim is to teach students about the value of saving their money.

Since 1997, Integrity First Bank has partnered with Williams Baptist College Teacher Education Program to bring Teach Children to Save Day to over 3,200 students. This year, the Williams students presented the lesson on saving to 175 Alma Spikes second graders. Integrity First Bank employees assisted the student teachers with the lessons and the bank presented each second grader a piggy bank with a dollar bill inside.

Young men and women pose for photograph.

Williams education students and Integrity First Bank of Pocahontas joined together for Teach Children to Save Day.

Williams is a Christian University in Walnut Ridge. It officially becomes Williams Baptist University this summer.

Williams Graduates Final “College” Class

Williams Baptist College will hold its final commencement exercises under the title of “college” this Saturday, May 5. Last fall, WBC announced the name change to Williams Baptist University, and as the final student walks across the stage to receive the final Williams Baptist College diploma, WBC will take one more step in its transition to WBU.

With more than 90 students ready to receive their diplomas, the added significance of this year’s commencement is not lost on the graduating class.

“To be in the last class graduating class as Williams Baptist College is a surreal aspect to grasp,” said Makayla Marshall. “For me, it means that I can say I graduated from an amazing college that will now be an amazing university. We are at the end of something great, but it is only the beginning of something greater.”

Marshall is from Farmington, Mo., and will receive her degree in Christian ministries.

Fellow graduate Ryan Whittle echoed Marshall’s sentiments.

“I came to Williams expecting to just earn my degree and wrestle. Four years have now gone by and its incredible how much more God provided for me while here at WBC. I came as a part of WBC’s first ever wrestling program and then the first ever Greco-Roman program. So, it’s only fitting I get to be a part of WBC’s ‘last something,’ too,” he said.

Whittle is from Greenwich, Conn., and will receive his degree in health and physical education.

Williams graduates buy in to the mission and purpose of the institution, and often walk away with much more than a degree. While that foundation will remain unchanged, the class of 2018 will forever mark a turning point in Williams’s rich history.

“The history of Williams Baptist College is one of the main characteristics of the college, and to be etched into such a prolific background means something special to me. I will always be able to say that Williams Baptist College made a positive impact on my life before it was deemed Williams Baptist University,” added Alec Scott.

Scott is from Rector, Ark., and will receive his degree in business administration.

Saturday’s commencement will mark the institution’s final official ceremony as Williams Baptist College.

Graduation will begin at 10 a.m. in Williams’s Southerland-Mabee Center, and Dr. Sheri Midkiff will deliver the commencement address. Midkiff is retiring at the end of this semester after 43 years as an English professor at WBC.

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge.

Brigance Wins Zondervan/WBC Greek Award at Williams

Brandon Brigance of Gentry, Ark., has been presented the 2018 Zondervan/Williams Baptist College Greek Award. The award was presented during the Christian Ministries Banquet at Williams Baptist College, held on April 24.

Brigance was selected for the Greek Award because of his achievement in the study of biblical Greek. Zondervan, which is a Christian publishing company, presents the annual award in conjunction with WBC. The winner is chosen each year by the Christian ministries faculty and presented with a gift from Zondervan Publishing, a letter of recognition, and a framed certificate. In addition, the student’s name is engraved on a permanent plaque at WBC which lists previous winners of the honor.

Brigance, a senior at Williams, is majoring in Christian ministries. He is the son of Scott and Michelle Brigance of Gentry.

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge, Ark. It will become Williams Baptist University this summer.

Buchanan Receives Rural Church Award at WBC

Blake Buchanan of Poplar Bluff, Mo., has been selected to receive the 2018 Rural Church Award at Williams Baptist College. The award was presented at the Department of Christian Ministries Banquet held on April 24.

The Rural Church Award is given to Christian ministry students in memory of the Rev. L. G. Miller, who labored for many years as a Baptist pastor in Arkansas. The recipient is selected by the Christian ministries faculty at WBC, and the award is presented to a graduating senior who makes the greatest contribution to rural church development.

Buchanan completed his degree in youth ministries in December of 2017 and is set to graduate in the commencement exercises on May 5. He is married to Rebekah Buchanan and is the son of Keenan and LaDonna Buchanan of Gideon, Mo.

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge, Ark. It will become Williams Baptist University in this summer.