Hendrix College Department of Physics Granted Membership in APS-IDEA Network

The Hendrix College Department of Physics has been accepted into the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA) network of the American Physical Society (APS).

APS is one of the largest professional organizations for physicists in the world. The APS-IDEA network is a new initiative meant to establish an international community of departments and organizations working to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

“The department wrote an application for a team that includes each faculty member, our lab manager, a senior student, and a sophomore student,” said Dr. Todd Tinsley ’98, professor of physics. “That application described the strides we have made in our department in creating a welcoming place for women, and we described the ways we want to broaden that work to include a more intersectional vision for diversity in our department.” 

In its application, the department specifically mentioned increasing attention to recruitment and retention of LGBTQ+ students and students of color, considering activities, events, and practices that acknowledge the diversity of physics majors and also help to foster a bond among those students and with the department, regardless of their individual identities.

Tinsley also credited Associate Provost for Faculty Development Dr. Leslie Templeton ’91 in the efforts that led to the department achieving the designation. “Her work as has been critical to our past successes and our thinking about the future,” he said.

The APS-IDEA Application Review Committee provided positive feedback to the Hendrix Department of Physics, applauding the department’s previous efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion, its significant support from the administration, and the proposed team’s makeup. The team is reflective of all the stakeholders in the department—faculty, staff, and students:

  • Julie Gunderson ’06, Assistant Professor of Physics
  • Jacob Nordin ’21, Senior Physics Major
  • Damon Spayde, Professor of Physics
  • John Steward ’94, Lab Manager
  • Todd Tinsley ’98, Professor of Physics, Department Chair
  • Mayra Velazquez ’23, Sophomore Physics Major
  • Ann Wright, Professor of Physics, Natural Sciences Area Chair

“On May 30, President Arnold challenged our community to ‘demonstrate our support of our students and our community, not just with statements on paper, but with acts of genuine love and support,’” Tinsley added. “Our department believes that the IDEA network is a way for us to focus on those acts, and our team is excited to get started on this work.”

‘Film Matters’ Partners with Hendrix College, Names Dr. Kristi McKim Online Editor

Film Matters, a magazine celebrating the work of undergraduate film scholars, has announced a new partnership with the Hendrix College Film and Media Studies program and Department of English.

Woman wearing scarf and sweater

Dr. Kristi McKim, chair of English and professor of English/Film and Media Studies, has been appointed online editor of Film Matters. In this role, she will guide undergraduate students in serving as joint authors and editors of Film Matters online, in cooperation with Film Matters home institution at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. With McKim’s guidance, Hendrix students will provide mentorship and peer review to fellow undergraduate authors worldwide through the drafting and editing process, while learning crucial publishing and project management skills on the job. Sophomores Sydney Boone, JaZmyn Shambley, and Sophia Stolkey—students who have studied film and writing in multiple courses and who hope for future careers in writing, editing, publishing, and film criticism—will comprise Hendrix’s first Online Editorial Board.  

“I am thrilled that this opportunity gives our Hendrix students a chance to gain precious experience as writers and editors,” McKim said. “It’s a chance for students to call for and curate what they want to read and learn, to gather work from students internationally, to generate a virtual home for undergraduate conversation about film and moving image media. Film Matters is singular in what it offers to students: the only international film/media undergraduate magazine of its kind. Film Matters’ ever-supportive editors-in-chief have been generous to entrust us with this charge, and I hope that our work will continue to earn this trust. Even as this work involves added responsibility, it is the kind of responsibility that yields community joy and pride. My English Department colleagues, and especially my comrade in Film and Media Studies, Dr. Joshua Glick, have been enthusiastic in supporting this opportunity for our students and in shaping future mentoring experiences with the magazine. I’m proud to lead this charge, and I’m grateful to share it with my colleagues and students, without whom none of this would be possible.” 

Published by students, for students, Film Matters includes features, reviews, profiles of film studies departments, articles that engage the undergraduate film studies community and prepare students for graduate study in the field, and resources and opportunities for undergraduate scholars. This partnership complements the focus on engaged learning provided through the Hendrix Odyssey Program, which offers a structured experience of active learning throughout students’ undergraduate education. 

McKim has been a longtime member of the Film Matters advisory board and has served as a guest editor in the past. At Hendrix, she has received multiple honors for her work with students, including the 2014-15 United Methodist Exemplary Teacher Award and the 2019-20 Carole Herrick Award for Excellence in Academic Advising. She has written the books Cinema as Weather: Stylistic Screens and Atmospheric Change and Love in the Time of Cinema, in addition to essays in a range of magazines and journals; her current project considers film as a natural history.  

“My own writing and teaching grow out of a love of experiencing films and reading books, which—in college and grad school, thanks to my peers and professors—helped me to find my own closest friends and truest self. As an undergraduate student, working together with my co-editor of our college literary magazine, I learned the power and intimacy of a friendship built through collaborative writing and shared inquiry,” McKim said. “Such opportunities that blend our learning with community, our professional interests with personal passions, are those that I always want to nurture in my students.” 

Starting in September 2020, current undergraduate students and recent alumni looking for online publication opportunities with Film Matters will now work with Hendrix College. Student writers, in addition to filmmakers seeking interview or review coverage, may email submissions or emails of interest/introduction to FilmMattersOnline@hendrix.edu.  

Three New Members Join Hendrix College Board of Trustees

The Hendrix College Board of Trustees announces three new members to fill open at-large positions. The new trustees, all of whom are Hendrix alumni, will begin their three-year terms at the Board’s October meeting.

Susan Farris DeBoard ’71 of Conway is a retired educator. In addition to her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hendrix, she earned a Master of Arts from the University of Central Arkansas in 1983. She spent much of her career teaching high school and served as a visiting instructor at Hendrix in English and German from 2007 through 2013. Her service to the College has included membership on the Alumni Association Board of Governors. DeBoard is not the first in her family to serve on the Hendrix Board of Trustees; her father, Bill Farris, was a Board member in the 1990s. She and her husband, Charlie, have three adult children, one of whom is also a Hendrix alumnus (Charles, class of ’91).

Luke Duffield ’91 leads Blackstone Construction in Russellville, Arkansas. A former Hendrix athlete who is passionate about the liberal arts, Duffield has supported several of the College’s athletics-related capital projects in recent years, and served on the committee for the recent Be Hendrix capital campaign, through which he provided support for the construction of the Dawkins Welcome Center. He is a member of the Russellville City Planning Commission, the Russellville Regional Economic Development Alliance Board, and a board member of Friendship Community Care and John L. Rankin Senior Living, a low-income housing project for seniors in Russellville. Duffield and his wife, Stephanie, have four daughters. 

Derrick Smith ’97 of Little Rock is an attorney with the Mitchell Williams Law Firm and serves on the firm’s Board of Directors. His practice focuses on insurance regulatory law, government relations, and energy and utility law, where he represents clients in their interactions with Arkansas governmental entities and state insurance departments throughout the United States. He has previously served as chair of the firm’s Regulated Business practice. Smith has been named in The Best Lawyers in America for Administrative/Regulatory Law for 2016-2020 and one of the “250 Most Influential Leaders” by Arkansas Business in 2019. He is a member of the Pulaski Academy Board of Trustees and a former member of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission and the Arkansas Lottery Commission. His past service to the College includes a term on the Alumni Association Board of Governors, of which he was President in 2003-2004, and as a member of the Be Hendrix campaign committee. He and his wife, Dr. Gwendolyn Bryant-Smith, have one son.

“We are excited to welcome these three outstanding individuals to our Board of Trustees,” said Hendrix President Ellis Arnold. “Hendrix has enjoyed a long history of visionary board leadership, and I am confident our new members will continue that tradition and work with their fellow Trustees for the long-term success of the College.”

Hendrix Professor Kolev Joins Democratic Erosion Consortium

Hendrix faculty member Dr. Kiril Kolev recently became a member of the Democratic Erosion Consortium, a collaboration of academics from more than 50 colleges and universities working to understand threats to democracy in the U.S. and abroad. 

Man wearing dress shirt and suit jacket
Dr. Kiril Kolev

Led by Dr. Robert Blair at Brown University, the consortium seeks to promote a just and peaceful world through research, teaching, and public engagement. Its other members include more than 50 colleagues from the U.S. and abroad.

This fall, Kolev will teach his POLI 100 course, New Authoritarianism, using a consortium-wide syllabus. In addition, students in that class will participate in multiple engaged learning assignments:

  • Attending a campaign rally of their choice, then writing about the experience on a consortium-wide blog;
  • Engaging in assessment of the state of democracy in the U.S. at the beginning and the end of the semester, based on the readings and resources that the consortium provides;
  • Participating in the Democratic Erosion simulation, which immerses students in a fictional country undergoing challenges to its democratic model;
  • Using a state-of-the-art repository of data and narratives on the state of democracy around the world.

“Democratic erosion is a complex process that requires us to put the country we know best in comparative perspective,” Kolev said. “What the consortium offers is a blueprint for understanding what the United States is experiencing currently by learning about the broader world and the social-scientific theory and evidence we use to track governance and accountability. Perhaps more importantly, it pushes students to engage with their immediate communities, as well as peers at other campuses that are learning the same material. It is an excellent approach to raising awareness and interactions both locally and globally — something that defines the socio-economic and political reality of our time.” 

Kolev, an associate professor who currently directs the Hendrix Odyssey Program and chairs the Hendrix College Department of Politics, joined the Hendrix faculty in 2011. After graduating from Whittier College with a degree in economics, he earned his Master of Science and Ph.D. in comparative politics at Duke University. He has taught courses on political economy, democratization, elections, research methods, and contemporary global issues. Between 2017 and 2019, he held the James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professorship, which funded his recent research on election quality, electoral systems, and political clientelism.

“In the classroom, I tell students that the best skill they can develop in college is being evidence-oriented and balanced ‘translators’ of academic knowledge for a broader audience,” Kolev said. “We often get one or the other: opinions in the numerous echo chambers on ideological right and left; rigorous but inaccessible analysis in academic journals. I believe this course will strengthen my ability to teach how we can narrow the gap between the two.”

Vernon Receives Distinguished Professorship

Dr. Alex Vernon, professor of English at Hendrix College, has been selected to hold the M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professorship.

Dr. Alex Vernon

Vernon is the third faculty member to hold this professorship. Established in 1982, the M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Professorship was first held by English professor Dr. Ashby Bland Crowder from 1982 to 2008, then by politics professor Dr. W. Jay Barth ’87 from 2008 to 2020. 

Because of the current pandemic, Vernon learned of his newest honor over the phone rather than in person. Provost Terri Bonebright delivered the news on a Monday. 

“When Terri told me, I broke into tears, because the Friday night before, my mother had died,” Vernon said. “I told the provost how nice it was to get good news. It was a very short phone call because I had to compose myself.”

Currently on a year-long research leave made possible by a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, Vernon will use some of the professorship’s funding in connection with his NEH project: a biography of novelist Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried. The professorship would support research-related travel (as the pandemic permits), along with obtaining primary source material and records, and participating in conferences.

All of which, ultimately, serve to enhance the educational experience for Hendrix students. Vernon recently taught a course on “Imagined Vietnam” and led an Oxford-style tutorial on O’Brien’s writings for a small group of Murphy Scholars in Literature and Language.

“Every time I step into a classroom and talk about books and ideas with students, it keeps me engaged, keeps me on my toes. The teaching-and-scholarship dynamic is really alive for me,” Vernon says. “The teaching really helps me think about my scholarship, and my scholarship enlivens my teaching in how I engage with students.”

Vernon earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina. He teaches a variety of courses in 20th Century American literature and writing, such as American Literature and the Environment and the Faulkner-Wideman Seminar. He has used two previous Odyssey professorships to take student groups abroad to study and perform service work in Vietnam, and to study the Spanish Civil War. Off campus, Vernon directed a two-year NEH “Dialogues on the Experience of War” program for central Arkansas veterans as well as the general public.

Vernon takes joy in sharing the same professorship as his predecessors Crowder and Barth, citing their teaching, their scholarship, and their friendship.

“I think we have an immensely talented faculty. Every day I am in awe of something a colleague has done, whether that’s inside or outside of the classroom,” Vernon says. “I’m a good teacher, but at Hendrix I feel like an average teacher on my best days. I’m amazed by my colleagues. Many of them are eminently qualified for a distinguished professorship. My oldest daughter likes to say she can’t imagine me being anything but a professor, and I tell her that I think she means a professor at Hendrix, because there’s something about this place that just fits me and my career.”

Colleagues who nominated Vernon for the professorship wrote about his work both inside and outside the classroom, including his published works—books, journal articles, and commentaries appearing in national news outlets; his pedagogical innovation and attention to engaging students in a communal learning experience; and his service in administrative and leadership roles on campus. 

“Alex’s service to Hendrix shows him to be committed to our college’s values, reflected in our statement of purpose, which he played a prominent role in authoring. The first goal in that statement is to ‘cultivate empathy.’ I must note that Alex has been instrumental in that regard on campus,” one colleague wrote. “Hendrix is often likened to a bubble, but Alex brings a rare perspective on this campus of someone who served in the military…. He may teach about war, but it is clear that his objective is to bring about peace.”

The professorship honors M.E. Peace, who attended Hendrix during the 1913-1914 academic year and went on to become a successful business owner in Magnolia, Arkansas, and his wife Ima Graves Peace, a longtime friend of the College.

Vernon joins five continuing holders of distinguished professorships at Hendrix: Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt, the Virginia A. McCormick Pittman Professor of Philosophy; Dr. John Krebs, the Willis H. Holmes Distinguished Professor of Music; Dr. Matt Moran, the Elbert L. Fausett Distinguished Professor of Biology; Dr. Lyle Rupert, the C. Louis and Charlotte Cabe Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business; and Dr. Lawrence Schmidt, the Harold and Lucy Cabe Distinguished Professor of Philosophy.

Hendrix College Board of Trustees Welcomes New Leadership

The Hendrix College Board of Trustees approved a new slate of officers for the upcoming year: 

  • Jo Ann Biggs ’80 — Chair 
  • Hank Neely ’83 — Vice Chair 
  • Kim Evans — Secretary
  • Albert Braunfisch ’86 — Immediate Past Chair 

“Hendrix is so fortunate to have leaders who are deeply committed to this institution and give so generously of their time, resources, and diverse talent to strengthen and advance the important mission of the College,” said Hendrix President W. Ellis Arnold III ’79. “I am excited to continue our important work together, impacting the lives of our students and making a difference in the world beyond our campus.” 

Biggs, who joined the Board in 1998, is an attorney and a partner at Vinson & Elkins in Dallas, Texas. An English major at Hendrix, Biggs was the first female student to serve as Hendrix Student Senate President, and she is the first female Chair of the Board of Trustees. She also has a juris doctorate from Vanderbilt University. 

Biggs succeeds Braunfisch, who joined the board in 2006, concluded his term as Board Chair this year, and will continue to serve on the Board. 

“As a member of the Board of Trustees at Hendrix for over 20 years, I have had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, many strong and talented Board leaders, including Charles Morgan, Madison Murphy, David Knight, and most recently, Albert Braunfisch. I am honored to follow in their footsteps,” said Biggs. “I am particularly thankful to Albert for his thoughtful leadership over the last three years and his unfailing devotion to Hendrix.  

“I look forward to working closely with the Trustees and everyone in the Hendrix community,” she added. “I know that we are all dedicated to providing Hendrix students with educational experiences and opportunities that can enrich their lives and empower them for the future.”  

Neely, an economics and business major, is retired from Ernst & Young in Dallas. He joined the Board in 2010.  

“I’ve enjoyed the last several years as a board member working collaboratively with past Presidents, past and current Board members, and our very talented faculty and staff to educate and develop Hendrix students,” he said. “I’m proud to be a Hendrix alum and place great value on the role of elite liberal arts institutions like Hendrix. My Hendrix education changed my life and introduced me to treasured life-long friendships.”  

Neely said he looks forward to working with President Arnold, Biggs, and other board members to advance the mission and future of Hendrix. 

“Ellis Arnold is a talented and seasoned leader and someone in whom I have great confidence to tackle the challenges and capture the opportunities that lie ahead,” Neely said. “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Jo Ann Biggs the last several years and look forward to teaming more closely with her in our shared stewardship of the College.” 

Evans, who joined the Board in 2018, is Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international economics from Georgetown University and a juris doctorate from the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  

A former assistant attorney general of Arkansas, Evans serves on a number of nonprofit and for-profit boards that seek to improve the lives of Arkansans, including Southern Bancorp, Centers for Youth and Families, eStem Public Charter Schools, and the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation of Dallas, Texas. Centers for Youth and Families, Inc., honored her with the 2017 Ellon Cockrill President’s Award, and she is the Junior League of Little Rock’s 2020 Sustainer of the Year. Her daughter is a 2018 Hendrix graduate.  

“As the parent of an alumna, I am proud to give back to an institution that both provides high quality education and develops civic-minded adults who serve the world around them in countless ways,” said Evans. “I also look forward to working with fellow board members who are passionate, dedicated, resourceful, and committed.” 

The slate of new Board of Trustees officers was approved at the Board’s May meeting, and the officers’ new terms began June 1. 

Sarah Donaghy Named Education Curator at Windgate Museum of Art

Sarah Donaghy has been named the new Education Curator at the Windgate Museum of Art (WMA) at Hendrix College, effective June 1, 2020. This new position, funded by the Windgate Foundation, is responsible for building strong bridges to students, faculty, staff, and community members in order to make the museum accessible and meaningful for everyone. Central to Donaghy’s responsibilities will be managing, training, and mentoring the approximately 20-25 paid student Gallery Educators employed at the museum each semester.

Photograph of woman
Sarah Donaghy

“We are delighted to have Sarah join the WMA team and bring her unique skills and talents working with Hendrix students in experiential learning opportunities to the museum,” said Mary Kennedy, Director/Curator of the WMA. “With a vision of being the premier teaching art museum in Arkansas, the WMA aspires to create opportunities for Hendrix students to build professional museum skills while engaging with a diverse array of exhibitions, educational programs, and social events. Sarah’s role will be critical to our success in achieving that vision.”

Donaghy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lyon College and her Master of Public Administration from Arkansas State University. Before coming to Hendrix College in 2017 as Coordinator of Community Partnerships, she held a number of education and public service positions with such organizations as Heifer International, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

For more information, contact Amanda Cheatham at 501-328-2383 or cheatham@hendrix.edu.  

About the Windgate Museum of Art

The Windgate Museum of Art is the new art museum located on the campus of Hendrix College. Scheduled to open in October 2020, the museum is an 8,000 square-foot, environmentally controlled space that includes three exhibition galleries. With a vision to be the premier teaching art museum in Arkansas, the WMA will present outstanding art exhibitions, compelling educational programs, and invigorating social activities for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus. Free and open to all, the museum will use hands-on experiences to train students in all facets of museum work, including curatorial research, collection management, educational and social programming, marketing and communications, as well as all aspects of exhibition research, planning, installation, and evaluation. 

Hendrix Student Named a Goldwater Scholar

Hendrix College junior Rebecca Parham ’21 of Alma, Arkansas, has received a Goldwater Scholarship from The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Parham, a chemistry major, is the 34th Hendrix student to receive this honor in the 32-year history of the scholarship competition.

photograph of young woman wearing glasses and a suit
Rebecca Parham

Parham’s research is in atmospheric chemistry. She is studying physical and chemical characterization of atmospheric aerosols and how they affect the warming and cooling of the atmosphere. Parham’s mentor for her Goldwater research proposal was chemistry professor Dr. Courtney Hatch ’00.

“Having been chosen as one of the nearly 400 Goldwater Scholars from across the nation is a unique honor bestowed to the most promising young scientists and future change makers,” Hatch said. “I’m extremely proud of Rebecca, and I can’t wait to see what amazing advances she will make as she continues her research career in the field of atmospheric chemistry.” 

In addition to Parham’s academic pursuits, she is active on campus as the co-founder and co-president of the Japanese Language and Culture Club, and as a three-year member of the Hendrix chapter of the American Chemical Society.

Jacelyn Hall ’22, Karen Morris ’21, and Tristian Wiles ’21 were also nominated by the College. Their research mentors were Drs. Julie Gunderson ’06, Laura MacDonald ’09, and Andrew Schurko, respectively. Like Parham, all of the other Goldwater nominees from Hendrix plan to earn a Ph.D.

Biology professor Dr. Jenn Dearolf, the current Goldwater Campus Representative, ushered Hendrix’s Goldwater nominees through the process.

“This year, over 450 institutions submitted their best students to be considered for the Goldwater Scholarship, and the Foundation selected 30% of these students to be awarded the scholarship,” Dearolf said. “Thus, we are ecstatic that Rebecca Parham was chosen to be among this group. She truly deserves this honor. And, the submission of four students for consideration for the Goldwater Scholarship and Rebecca’s selection as a Scholar would not have been possible without the high quality of all of our students at Hendrix, as well as the excellent mentors that helped shepherd our nominees through the application process.”

About the Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater and to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields. It is widely considered the most prestigious award bestowed on undergraduates studying in the natural sciences.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.

Hendrix College Senior Wins Florence Kahn Memorial Award

Photo of young woman posing in front of a landscape with snow-capped mountains in the background
Jacie Andrews

A poetry manuscript by Hendrix College creative writing major/religious studies minor Jacie Andrews ’20 has been selected as winner of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ Florence Kahn Memorial Award.

The manuscript, Sweetwork, earned Andrews a $500 cash prize, publication of her work plus 75 free copies, and a $300 stipend for travel to the NFSPS Annual Conference in June to read her poetry. Unfortunately, the 2020 NFSPS Conference was canceled recently due to the corona virus pandemic. Andrews’ Sweetwork will be published in June as a perfect-bound 6” x 9” chapbook and marketed through Amazon.com. She will receive all proceeds from her book’s sales.

Dawn Leas, judge of NFSPS’ 2020 College Undergraduate Poetry Competition, offered the following assessment of Andrews’s writing:

Sweetwork brims with diction, language, and imagery that immediately pulls the reader into a specific time or scene to learn more about what it means to have faith or to question it; what it means to keep going or give up; what it means to have an abundance of or very little hope. The poems are lean yet full of lyrical lines that often break into a run to the finish line. ‘Magic’ ends with: ‘But nobody pays / attention when you / are usually good / And I was usually good.’ Pay attention to Sweetwork.  It’s so much more than ‘usually good.’”

Murphy Visiting Fellow in Poetry Dr. Erin Hoover encouraged Andrews to submit her work after having her as a poetry student.

“Jacie has written a collection that challenges and pays homage to rural Southern life,” Hoover said. “These sensory, character-driven poems whose people know ‘damn well that / slice and salt was always / our only instruction’ offer those who have been denied power the chance to discover it, perhaps even the opportunity to heal.”

Andrews, a Springfield, Arkansas native who has spent summers during college in Florissant, Colorado, serves as the Hendrix Creative Writing Program’s student assistant, as social media intern for the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, and as committee chair for Word Garden, a reading series featuring the best in Hendrix student creative writing.