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Campus News: Summer 2021

mnu and ksu agreement
Accent Summer 2021 Magazine
Dr. Abby Hodges, MNU chair, Natural, Health & Mathematical Sciences, professor of chemistry, Dr. Nancy Damron, MNU VP for academic affairs and chief academic officer and Dr. Jackie Spears, K-State Olathe interim dean and CEO.

“K-State Olathe has been a tremendous asset to our community and this agreement is a dynamic advance for students seeking graduate degrees and careers in these key areas,” said MNU President David Spittal. “Partnerships like this work well not only for students and universities but also for workforce development. We are delighted to be included.”

K-State Olathe and MNU Team Up In New Partnership

MNU and Kansas State University have forged a new partnership allowing MNU undergraduates to take advanced animal health science courses at K-State’s Olathe campus. 

Not only do these courses count toward the students’ bachelor’s degree at MNU, but later they may be used to help MNU graduates who pursue graduate study at K-State, get a jump-start on a master’s degree in animal health or biosciences. 

“We are delighted to partner with MidAmerica Nazarene University to help fill a need for advanced science courses while offering these students fast-tracks to an industry-ready master’s degree,” said Jackie Spears, interim dean and CEO of K-State Olathe. “With a bit of academic creativity, we believe this partnership will ultimately help employers build a highly educated and highly skilled workforce to replace retiring talent and keep Kansas City nationally competitive.”

K-State Olathe’s academic programs support Greater Kansas City’s robust animal health, food production and safety, hospitality, leadership and education sectors. Olathe is in the world’s largest Animal Health Corridor stretching from Manhattan, Kansas, to Columbia, Missouri, and hosts 75 percent of the industry’s business. 

K-State Olathe works closely with K-12 schools, community colleges and industry in Johnson County, Kansas, to establish an education pipeline that spans from elementary school to in-demand graduate degrees and certificate programs. MNU leaders are delighted to be part of one such cooperative program.

Through the partnership, MNU students enroll as non-degree seeking students at K-State Olathe. Starting in the summer between their junior and senior year, students complete select advanced science courses at K-State Olathe. They can earn up to nine hours of graduate credits that apply to their bachelor’s degree at MNU. They can also apply to the M.S. in Veterinary Biomedical Science or Professional Science Master in Applied Biosciences graduate degrees at K-State’s Olathe campus, if the student is accepted in one of these degree programs after completing a bachelor’s degree at MNU.

Students eligible for this program are juniors and seniors majoring in biology or a similar field at MNU, with a 3.5 GPA or higher, and have completed at least 75 hours of their undergraduate degree before applying to one of the K-State graduate degree programs. They must have earned 90 hours before attending K-State classes.

MNU graduates in biology have an excellent track record with acceptance to graduate school and professional programs already. Adding the option of additional coursework in advanced animal health sciences through K-State is an innovation that Dr. David Spittal, MNU president, says will benefit those seeking either a graduate degree or career in this field.

“K-State Olathe has been a tremendous asset to our community and this agreement is a dynamic advance for students seeking graduate degrees and careers in these key areas,” Spittal said. “Partnerships like this work well not only for students and universities but also for workforce development. We are delighted to be included.”

The new cooperative program joins other options at MNU to help students prepare for careers in the professions. Standard options for students include medicine, dentistry, law, engineering, physical therapy, counseling, chiropractic and pharmacy. MNU advisors work with students who identify a desire to apply to graduate school in a professional field by preparing them throughout their education. Other universities, such as Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, and Kansas City University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, have created agreements with MNU for early entry to engineering and medical programs, respectively. 

MNU students will be able to take courses at K-State Olathe beginning in summer 2022. In addition to earning academic credit hours, MNU students who take advantage of the program may be eligible for a scholarship from the Johnson County Research Education Triangle or JCERT.

For questions on the cooperative credit program, contact Jill Speicher, DVM, assistant professor of biology at MNU, at Learn more about MNU’s pre-professional programs at

MNU Students Perform Well in First Moot Court Competition

Students Jeremy Thorpe, a junior business administration major, and Elizabeth Krohn, a senior marketing major, are the first MNU Pioneers to compete with the American Moot Court Association, the largest intercollegiate moot court organization in the United States. Moot Court is an event at which law students argue imaginary cases for practice.

Jeremy and Elizabeth competed in the Great Lakes Regional, hosted by Saginaw Valley State University. It was one of many competitions across the country testing students on their ability to identify legal standards. Our team competed in December and placed 16th overall out of 46 teams.

Jeremy and Elizabeth began preparing materials in June 2020, meeting via Zoom for multiple hours a week to analyze cases and formulate arguments. Todd Hiestand, professor of criminal justice and mentor for the moot court team, said he was proud of how the students competed at the regional tournament.

The students received additional aid and recommendations on their case arguments from three attorneys who are MNU alums, Joel Oster (’93), Matt Rogers (’07) and Stephen Netherton (’09). Stephen was impressed with how the students tackled issues and presented arguments.

“They had so much wisdom and insight to offer. It was helpful to speak with experts and listen to them weigh in on our progress,” said Jeremy. “This experience was wonderful, as I was able to build some connections with previous MNU graduates.” 

Though the students agreed the training process was difficult in the beginning, both students now feel better equipped to take on law school after graduation. 

“This competition brought me out of my comfort zone,” Elizabeth said. “It was something I had no knowledge about or prior experience in. This competition and preparation process will help prepare me for law school. I learned so many skills that I can apply. It also gave me confidence in my abilities. I watched myself grow and improve throughout the process.”

Undergraduate education at MNU is excellent preparation for graduate school and a career in the professions. 

MNU Holds 15th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration

Dr. Tiffany Anderson, above, was the speaker and Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Legacy Award honoree at the 15th annual MLK Community Celebration January 19, 2021. Dr. Anderson is the first female African American to hold the position of superintendent of Topeka Public Schools. 

Dr. Anderson was honored for her leadership, service, and fulfillment of this legacy of faith and service in action. 

“You have been and continue to be a bridge-builder in your life and work, and an inspiration for all who know you,” said President David Spittal as he presented her the award.

Bridge Builders Create More Opportunities To Connect 

This year Pioneers had many options to learn, communicate and build relationships surrounding the topic of differing cultures and ethnicities. Among seven workshops, two chapel services and numerous educational events, there was a new opportunity to continue the conversation. Bridge Builders, a group of volunteer faculty and staff members from the Diversity Advisory Council, have been available following each workshop. They lead small group discussions for interested students, staff, and faculty. The groups are held at different times and locations to provide convenience and multiple opportunities to attend.

“Our goal with Bridge Builders is to gain a deeper understanding of racial issues that affect each other and to help strengthen and build our campus community,” says Dr. Victoria Haynes, coordinator of diversity and cultural competency. “We may not always agree, and it can be uncomfortable, but this is okay because we are growing.”

Haynes provided the volunteers with a facilitator’s guide with ground rules for leading open, safe and meaningful dialogue along with discussion starters. Jessica Koebbe, an applied music professor, was one of the small group participants.

“Discussion topics helped to focus our discussions, but they also allowed our conversations to evolve into deeper issues allowing us to articulate even more specific incidents that we have witnessed,” Koebbe says. “We have been able to talk broadly about how inequalities in one area affect students and people of other marginalized populations in other areas. This has enlightened us about how intersectional many of these issues are. It has led to brainstorming ways to help solve these problems.”

Haynes is working with the Diversity Advisory Council on plans for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Ultimately Haynes and Koebbe, like other participants, look at these efforts as a way to strengthen understanding and build the Pioneer community.

“I believe that we will become stronger with events and discussions like these because it forces us to reckon with challenging topics,” Koebbe says. “It shows us the minds and hearts of our fellow faculty and students, and it connects us in deeper ways.”

In-Person Classes Continue This Fall

President David Spittal, EdD, announced that MidAmerica Nazarene University is planning for an open campus this fall and will offer all of its face-to-face classes and campus services for the 2021-22 academic year as well as its online programs. 

“We are thrilled with the outcome of the 2020-21 academic year,” Spittal said. “To have maintained in-person classes and most campus services, including housing and many student activities,
during the pandemic, was a tremendous boost to this university community.”

In addition to these results, MNU experienced an increase in enrollment during COVID with 17% more students in fall 2020 than the year before. 

Accent Summer 2020
This Issue

Summer 2021

Momentum builds with new construction, the return to in-person Commencement and athletic success despite the pandemic! Enjoy this issue of Accent Summer 2021.

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