Summer 2015: Campus News
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9th Annual MLK Community Celebration
MNU honored its Martin Luther King Leader Scholars at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration January 20. The students receive scholarships based on their campus leadership, commitment to diversity and community service and scholarship.
The scholars (left to right) are Micah McEwan; Rachel Gall; Rico McKay; Sydney Shamley; Chris Powers, coordinator for diversity and cultural competency; Jazmine Parra-Navarro; Shelton (Apollo) McCullough and Estela Gingerich.
The speaker, Olathe resident Bob Shands, related the story of his father the Rev. O. Norman Shands, posthumous recipient of the MLK Living Legacy Award and key figure in the peaceful desegregation of the Atlanta Public Schools in the early 1960s.
Many local organizations sponsored the event, including the City of Olathe, Olathe Medical Center, Sprint Foundation, Johnson County NAACP and the Global Ministry Center of the Church of the Nazarene.
School of Professional and Graduate Studies Created
Launching this year is a new unit to streamline recruiting, admissions and student services for MNU’s accelerated degree and graduate programs. The School of Professional and Graduate Studies (SPGS) is the gateway for programs that expand the mission, reach, and impact of MNU to working adults and professionals.
This initiative recognizes MNU’s long-standing success in the realm of adult and graduate education and supports ambitious new goals for the future, including the launch of new programs and increased enrollment.
In addition to implementing a new marketing strategy and advertising campaign, SPGS is generating awareness for these programs by creating strong community relationships, offering military discounts, and establishing agreements with local and regional employers.
New programs launching this fall include an online MBA for students who want to earn the credential at a distance and a dual MBA/MSN degree program (see page 24). This first-ever dual degree program features a blended delivery (online and on ground) format and allows students to earn both degrees in two years.
“As we grow our new academic programs, we increase MNU’s missional reach and impact, and create a stronger brand for the university,” says Mark Ford, Ed.D, J.D., ('87) vice provost and dean for the School of Professional and Graduate Studies. “The creation of this School will result in higher enrollment, higher student satisfaction and greater retention. All these aspects support goals in MNU’s strategic plan."
Center for Games & Learning Launches at MNU
What do games in the classroom do for learning? Nine faculty members from disciplines including religion, education, economics, English, history and physics researched the idea by utilizing at least one game in their courses last semester. In partnership with MNU’s newly established Center for Games & Learning, they investigated the connection between gameplay and learning and will present their findings at conferences and through articles submitted for publication. The Center is also presenting a conference on games and learning at MNU in July.
Through this research, MNU is setting itself apart as a pioneer in the area of games and learning, according to Lauren Hays, MLS, instructional and research librarian. The published articles will be some of the first written for the undergraduate learning context.
An additional Carnegie-Whitney grant from the American Library Association is allowing project staff to create an online bibliography about tabletop games and learning. While the activity of the Center focuses on games used within curriculum, Project Co-director Mark Hayse ('88), PhD, says there is a recreational component as well. Game nights have become regular events at the library and the community is invited. More information is available at www.mnu.edu/games.
The Center for Games & Learning at MidAmerica Nazarene University is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services; grant number (SP-02-14-0038-14).
Agreement Assists Community College Transfers
MNU and the other private universities and community colleges in Kansas have created a global reverse transfer agreement. The agreement is expected to significantly boost the number of Kansans who earn at least an associate’s degree, which has been linked to higher lifetime incomes, lower unemployment, better health outcomes and increased community involvement.
Any student who earns at least 45 credit hours from a Kansas community college or two-year private college and then transfers to MNU, may choose to take advantage of the global reverse transfer agreement. At the end of each academic year, MNU will send the transcripts of qualified students back to their most recent Kansas community college. If the student(s) has completed the relevant and sufficient credit hours at the private, nonprofit college, the community college then mails the student his or her associate’s degree.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual median incomes for associate’s degree holders are $2,600 higher than those with some college but no degree and $6,500 more than those with only a high school diploma. The unemployment rate among associate’s degree holders is also 1.6 percent lower than for those with some college but no degree and 2.1 percent lower than those with only a high school diploma.
“We’re very pleased with this agreement which will allow MNU to be of even greater service to our students,” says Dr. Mary Jones, provost. “The added benefit of transferring their MNU credit back to the community college will result in more degrees earned, while students continue progress toward a bachelor’s degree. It’s a win for the students and the community.”
The agreement goes into effect in the 2015-2016 academic year.
School of Business Accreditation Announced
The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), has accredited all undergraduate programs and the MBA in the School of Business.
ACBSP is a leading specialized accreditation association for business education, supporting, celebrating and rewarding teaching excellence. Based on the criteria of the National Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award, the ACBSP accreditation process evaluates aspects of the institutional leadership, strategic planning processes, relationships with the community, quality of academic programs, faculty credentials and services, and educational support to determine whether the institution offers a rigorous educational experience and demonstrates continuous quality improvement.
MNU Vice Provost Dr. Mark Ford ('87) says the achievement has significance not only for the university, but also for students and alumni.
“This respected and significant accreditation is validation of MNU's outstanding faculty, student support staff and academic quality,” Ford says. “ACBSP accreditation offers MNU business programs immediate recognition in the professional business community.”
For information on MNU’s School of Business visit www.mnu.edu/business.
What do Thoreau, athletic training and protein folding have in common? They were all high-energy faculty talks at the 7X7 Challenge during MNU’s Week of Scholarship. Seven professors gave seven-minute presentations on unique topics. The audience then voted for the winner. This year Dr. Tyler Blake ('88) won with his discussion of the words of Henry David Thoreau, a “pioneer of the mind.” Harkening back to pioneers of the West, Blake suggested that modern-day pioneers explore roads to simplified living in an ever more complicated universe.
The 7X7 Challenge is one of several Week of Scholarship events that highlight academic achievement. Other events include a Scholar Visit Day for high-achieving area high school students, a Faculty Academic Exhibition that features faculty research, and a Student Scholarships Exhibition that spotlights student research with PechaKucha-style presentations. The rapid-fire format of PechaKucha uses 20 PowerPoint slides for no more than 20 seconds each.
Notably, the MNU Institutional Repository was launched during the Week of Scholarship. The scholarly collection is a comprehensive, freely accessible, online compilation of academic resources created at MNU and built on the Church of the Nazarene’s Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library (WHDL) publishing platform. MNU is the first Nazarene University to use the WHDL in this manner.
Spring play, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Kensi Kitsmiller as Peaseblossom and Rachel Gall as Puck in the fanciful A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by students this spring in Bell Cultural Event Center’s Sunderland Black Box Theatre.