Archives for August 2013

Washington appointed to SOHS board

Lynn Washington, Human Services chair for Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus, has been appointed as the Arkansas representative to the Southern Organization of Human Services (SOHS) Board.

SOHS is one of five regional branches of the National Organization of Human Services (NOHS), a professional organization open to educators, professionals and students interested in current issues in the field of human services.

Human services professionals provide direct and indirect services in public and private agencies by assisting individuals, families and groups to meet human needs, which may be social, emotional, behavioral, environmental, vocational or health related.

Washington has been a member of NOHS and SOHS since October 2012, when she joined Arkansas Tech-Ozark as the chair of the Human Services program.

“It is quite an honor to be a part of an organization focused on improving the quality and professionalism of the human service industry,” she said.

NOHS’ mission is to strengthen the community of human services by: expanding professional development opportunities; promoting professional and organizational identity through certification; enhancing internal and external communications; advocating and implementing a social policy and agenda; and nurturing the financial sustainability and growth of the organization, according to the NOHS website.

SOHS includes the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico.

Washington was trained as a counselor and psychometrist at Northeaster State University at Tahlequah, Okla. Before accepting her position at Arkansas Tech-Ozark, she previously worked as a counselor in community mental health and has extensive experience working with trauma and abuse in children and adults, mood disorders and behavioral problems.

She was nominated to the board by President Susan Claxton, associate professor of sociology and human services coordinator for Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Ga.

Washington said her board membership will involve representing the state of Arkansas in increasing the visibility and viability of human service jobs, working with legislature to include these degrees for jobs traditionally filled by other degrees and educating stakeholders and communities.

“And, most of all, improving our programs to produce outstanding human service professionals,” she said.

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Revamped Orientation Program Successful

With a collective high school grade point average above 3.2 and an average ACT score higher than the state and national averages, the freshman class at Arkansas Tech University arrived over the past week with many of the skills necessary to succeed in college.

But with many freshmen living away from home for the first time and all of them transitioning to the rigors of college courses, personnel in the Arkansas Tech Office of Student Services and the Arkansas Tech Office of Academic Affairs decided last spring that they wanted to develop a new method to enhance students’ comfort level about beginning college.

The result was a revamped Go Bold new student orientation program, which was carried out on Monday and Tuesday with 94 returning Arkansas Tech students serving as orientation leaders. A total of 1,276 new Arkansas Tech students chose to take part in the orientation process.

Aleksi Stinnett of Morrilton was among the Arkansas Tech freshmen participating as a means of preparing for the first day of classes, which took place on Wednesday.

“I gained a lot of new friendships during orientation,” said Stinnett. “I met people that I am seeing around campus and calling to hang out during these first few days of classes. I also learned a lot about how to communicate with my professors. It was really nice to have the older students to learn from. They taught us about the roles they have performed on campus and how to get involved. It helped me know what to expect on the first day of class. The orientation was really helpful.”

In past years, Arkansas Tech offered multiple orientation sessions for new students throughout the summer months. Lower than desired participation rates caused administrators to re-think the orientation process.

Amy Pennington, dean of students at Arkansas Tech, said that a collaborative effort between student services and academic affairs to improve new student orientation started with a simple question.

“We asked ourselves,” said Pennington, “what is it that every first-year student needs to know on the first day of classes? From that question, we developed a list of learning objectives and identified the outcomes that we hoped to see. Basically, we just wanted students to feel comfortable, ready and prepared when classes began.”

Orientation sessions included information about the various computer portals that students use to communicate with their professors and peers, classroom etiquette, student organizations, meal plan options on campus, the student handbook and all of the student services resources that are available at Arkansas Tech.

“It was impressive to see the enthusiasm and energy level that our orientation leaders brought to the process,” said Pennington. “It was a demanding schedule, and never once did I see an orientation leader low. They were always upbeat, positive and welcoming. It was important to them that the freshmen had the best experience possible, and I’m very proud of the work they did.”

Freshmen also had an opportunity to meet with deans and department heads from various academic disciplines across campus and a chance to meet their Bridge to Excellence faculty and staff mentors during Go Bold new student orientation.

“I think the most common thing I’ve heard from freshmen is they love their orientation leaders, which means they have already had the opportunity to connect with some of our outstanding leaders on campus,” said Pennington. “Our orientation leaders have all demonstrated a record of academic success, so they are excellent role models for our new students to look to and follow their example.”

Jenny Butler, assistant director for campus life at Arkansas Tech, helped plan the new student orientation and train the orientation leaders.

“They participated in two-and-a-half days of intensive training,” said Butler when asked about the orientation leaders. “We gave them a lot of information in a short time and trusted them to present it in a way that would be helpful to our new students. They used their own experiences as examples. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of 94 orientation leaders. When freshmen see those orientation leaders on campus in the days and weeks to come, I know those leaders are going to continue to be a resource for our new students all year long.”

Residence Halls to Host Elections

Arkansas Tech students living on campus that are interested in playing an active role in their residence hall have an opportunity to represent their peers in hall government.

Each residence hall will elect several individuals to serve as hall leaders.

Positions available each hall include:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Community Senators

Students wishing to apply for these positions have until Monday to complete an application on the Residence Hall Association page on theLink.

Elections will take place Wednesday and Thursday on each residence hall’s page on theLink.

Students are also encouraged to join their hall’s page on theLink to stay informed about upcoming hall events and hall information.

Be sure to log back on ArkansasTechNews.com for more on how to get involved at Arkansas Tech

Gas Line Disruption at McEver Hall Resolved

Contractors working on the north side of McEver Hall at Arkansas Tech University disrupted a gas line on Friday morning.

As a precautionary measure, one wing of McEver Hall was evacuated. There was not a gas leak in the building, but the air conditioning system did circulate a gas odor inside the facility.

Joshua McMillian, chief of the Arkansas Tech Department of Public Safety, commended faculty in McEver Hall for their rapid execution of an orderly evacuation.

By 10:30 a.m., with the odor of gas no longer present and the situation resolved, classes resumed as scheduled.

Campus to Close Monday

The Arkansas Tech University campus will close Monday, September 2 in honor of the Labor Day holiday.

The campus will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, September 3.

Access the complete holiday schedule (PDF).