ATU Developing Degree in Criminal Justice

Individuals interested in pursuing job opportunities or furthering careers in law enforcement and the corrections system may soon have a new educational option at Arkansas Tech University.

The ATU Board of Trustees approved a letter of intent on Thursday calling for the creation of a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and criminology. The letter of intent, which was brought forth by the ATU College of Arts and Humanities and Department of Behavioral Sciences, calls for a proposed program implementation date of June 2018 with options to take courses in person on the ATU campus in Russellville or online.

The board approved the letter of intent as part of its regularly scheduled meeting at the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center.

“The purpose of this program is to increase the number of criminal justice graduates available for employment in Arkansas and the wider region,” wrote Dr. David Ward, head of the ATU Department of Behavioral Sciences and professor of psychology, in the letter of intent. “It will help meet the current demand for employees in areas including, but not limited to, the transportation security industry, policing, security, cybersecurity and corrections. One of the strengths of the program is the availability of the online format. With this format, the program will allow local and regional students greater access to the degree, including criminal justice professionals seeking to complete an undergraduate degree.”

Trustees also approved a letter of intent for a new master’s degree at ATU.

The Master of Education degree in K-12 literacy is designed to prepare specialists to work with students and colleagues in continuously improving the literacy knowledge and skills of students. Proposed start date for the new degree is spring 2018.

In other business on Thursday, the ATU Board of Trustees approved:

*MAHG Architecture Inc. of Fort Smith as the architectural firm for a planned renovation of Williamson Hall;

*edits to the faculty handbook that adjust student class attendance accounting procedures and add professional librarians to the list of individuals eligible to serve on university standing committees;

*the 2017-18 ATU student handbooks for the Russellville and Ozark campuses;

*academic outreach programs and campus involvement events planned for 2017-18 by the ATU Department of Diversity and Inclusion;

*an expansion of the campus free speech area near Hindsman Tower to include the lawn area from the south steps of the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center to the north side of Baswell Techionery, and from the west side of Chambers Cafeteria to Baswell Techionery;

*a letter of notification concerning the proposed creation of a Technical Certificate in health professions through ATU-Ozark Campus;

*a letter of notification concerning the proposed creation of Certificate of Proficiency programs in pharmacy tech and dispatcher telecommunications through ATU-Ozark Campus;

*a proposal to begin conferring posthumous, non-academic degrees to students who were degree-seeking students at the time of death;

*and a schedule of 2017-18 ATU Board of Trustees meetings to include Oct. 19, 2017, Dec. 14, 2017, Jan. 18, 2018, March 15, 2018, May 17, 2018 and Aug. 16, 2018.

In personnel matters, the ATU Board of Trustees approved hiring the following full-time faculty members:

*James Anderson, workforce education faculty of adult education at ATU-Ozark; Kasey Ballard, visiting instructor of mathematics; Katy Dodd, workforce education faculty of English at ATU-Ozark; Lisa Dubose, assistant professor of nursing; Kenneth Floyd, visiting workforce education faculty and program chair of collision repair technology at ATU-Ozark; Dr. Amir Ghazanfari, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Holli Hall, visiting instructor of biology; Dr. Reza Hamidi, assistant professor of electrical engineering; Christopher Harris, visiting instructor of music and director of choirs; Dr. Seyed Ehsan Hosseini, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Dr. Deepesh Khanna, assistant professor of health and physical education; Dr. Deborah Leslie, assistant professor of geology; Kevin Lyon, visiting assistant professor of physics; John McGrew, assistant professor of art; Dr. Aboozar Mosleh, visiting assistant professor of electrical engineering; Dr. Rajvardhan Patil, assistant professor of computer and information science; Dr. Mark Peacock, visiting associate professor of psychology; Dr. Jay Post, assistant professor of recreation and park administration; Dr. Bryan Rank, assistant professor of agricultural education; John Riggins, visiting instructor of management and marketing/entrepreneur in residence; Jesse Ring, assistant professor of art; Dr. Juliette Rivero, visiting instructor of chemistry; Dr. Rodney Roosevelt, assistant professor of psychology; Dr. Kevin Schoelz, visiting assistant professor of physics; Dr. Asim Shrestha, assistant professor of computer and information science; Dr. Robert Stevens, assistant professor of rehabilitation science; Dr. Michael Waller, associate professor of health and physical education; Daniel Warwick, assistant professor of psychology; Dr. Wan Wei, assistant professor of economics; Dr. Wayne Williams, visiting instructor of analytics; Dr. Matthew Wilson, assistant professor of agriculture; and Dr. Kaiman Zeng, assistant professor of electrical engineering.

Dr. Phillip Bridgmon was hired as associate vice president for academic affairs and professor of political science. His appointment will be effective Oct. 2, 2017.

Dr. Robin Lasey was named interim head of the ATU Department of Physical Sciences effective July 1, 2017.

Other administrative and full-time staff appointments made by trustees on Thursday include:

*Bryan Bramlett, research associate, effective Aug. 1, 2017; Sandy Cheffer, director of budget and financial reporting, effective July 1, 2017; Angela Cox, counselor for the ATU-Ozark Career Pathways Initiative, effective July 1, 2017; Randall Eubanks, machinist for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, effective June 26, 2017; Tommy Fields, interim associate dean for residence life, effective Aug. 1, 2017; Rob Grieve, assistant women’s basketball coach, effective Aug. 23, 2017; Carolyn Ishee, major gifts officer in the ATU Division of Advancement, effective Aug. 15, 2017; Chelsea Lairamore, academic counselor at Arkansas Tech Career Center, effective Aug. 1, 2017; Ashley McCool, research assistant for the Child Welfare Emphasis Partnership, effective July 10, 2017; John Ruff, programmer and analyst, effective Aug. 1, 2017; Jason Salmans, computer network coordinator, effective Aug. 7, 2017; Kassidy Simpson, admissions officer, effective July 19, 2017; Brandon Smith, assistant director of athletic communications, effective July 10, 2017; Heather Taylor, associate director of financial aid, effective June 15, 2017; and Dr. Jason Warnick, assistant vice president for student success, effective July 1, 2017.

The board accepted the following resignations:

*Dr. Steven Berg, assistant professor of psychology, effective Aug. 12, 2017; Dr. Tiffany Bone, visiting assistant professor of educational leadership, effective July 7, 2017; Tosha Bradley, associate director of admissions operations, effective July 31, 2017; Cindy Bunch, STEM Institute science specialist, effective July 31, 2017; Jesse Dare, admissions officer, effective June 30, 2017; Dr. MarTeze Hammonds, associate dean for diversity and inclusion, effective Aug. 5, 2017; Dr. Stewart Hart, assistant professor of chemistry, effective July 11, 2017; Dillin Hill, visiting workforce education faculty aide, effective July 18, 2017; Aaron Hogan, associate dean for residence life, effective July 31, 2017; Kristy Hogan, advanced nurse practitioner in the ATU Health and Wellness Center, effective May 4, 2017; Lindsey Ingmire, assistant director for programming in the International and Multicultural Student Services Office, effective July 31, 2017; Patrick McConnell, programmer and analyst, effective June 16, 2017; Dr. James Musser, associate professor of physics and head of the ATU Department of Physical Sciences, effective June 30, 2017; James Reasoner, visiting instructor of electrical engineering, effective June 30, 2017; Kaci Sexton, project and program specialist in adult education, effective Aug. 3, 2017; Adam Stanek, assistant director of athletic communications, effective June 30, 2017; Dr. W. Browder Swetnam, visiting instructor in the English Language Institute, effective July 31, 2017; and Dr. Zhi Tao, assistant professor of management, effective Aug. 12, 2017;

Trustees accepted the retirements of:

*Stanley Hatcher, workforce education faculty, program chair of collision repair technology and member of the ATU-Ozark faculty since 1997, effective July 31, 2017; Dr. Larry Morell, professor of computer and information science and member of the ATU faculty since 1998, effective Aug. 11, 2018; and Kenneth W. Shores, associate professor of mathematics and member of the ATU faculty since 1985, effective Dec. 31, 2017.

Solar Eclipse Watch Event on Monday

The Arkansas Tech University Department of Physical Sciences and library staff members from the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center will co-host a solar eclipse event for students, faculty, staff and members of the public on Monday, Aug. 21.

Solar eclipse glasses and two telescopes equipped with special solar filters will be available on the patio at the McEver Hall Astronomical Observatory from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Snacks and bottled water will be served.

Green and Gold Cupboard Drive Ends Friday

Organizers of a summer drive to stock the Green and Gold Cupboard at Arkansas Tech University are hoping to finish strong during the final week of the event.

Since beginning on July 17, the drive has collected more than 2,000 items and 1,200 pounds of food. In addition, members of the ATU community have donated $685 in cash to support the cupboard.

Multiple departments and offices across campus are competing to give the most during the drive, which will conclude on Friday, Aug. 18. Competition updates and more information are available at

Green and Gold Cupboard Board of Directors members Dr. Sean Huss, Dr. James Stobaugh, Lindelle Fraser and Angela Black are coordinating the summer drive to stock the shelves.

“The lion’s share of donations this summer have come from other staff members who remember what’s it like to be in need,” said Huss. “They also have seen the need in the students they serve and the other staff with whom they work. This is a phenomenal start, but Tech can do better. Our goal is to reach one ton of donations by Aug. 18. Help us reach our goal by supporting your team. We all win when you give.”

Forty members of the ATU marching band, Arkansas’ Band of Distinction, gave of their time on Tuesday, Aug. 15, to work at the Green and Gold Cupboard, which is located at 1019 N. Arkansas Ave. in Russellville. Registered student organization Because We Can is leading the effort to bring the resource to ATU.

“To part of something that’s bigger than we are…we love being part of that and putting our efforts into that,” said Alex Smith, a junior from Rogers and one of the ATU marching band members who volunteered at the Green and Gold Cupboard on Tuesday. “I think it’s because of the sense of family we have together in band. We’re all united by the same thing, and together we want to have the same goal.”

Those goals during the volunteer effort included stocking shelves, moving furniture, cleaning floors and washing windows.

All of it helped the Green and Gold Cupboard prepare to serve the ATU community when it opens in September.

“The Green and Gold Cupboard will offer non-perishable food to any member of the campus community who needs it,” said Huss. “Not only will it help feed Tech, it will provide a powerful teaching tool for students learning about food insecurity in their own backyard. In time, it is our hope that this will help alleviate the stigma of hunger on campus, create opportunities for students to help their fellow classmates and unite all members of Tech in the common goal to help its own.”

ATU Summer Grads Look to Journey Ahead

As the newly minted summer 2017 graduates of Arkansas Tech University go forth to pursue their adventures, they will follow a variety of paths.

Zach Thompson of Hamburg earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree during a commencement ceremony at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday morning. It was one of approximately 1,000 academic credentials conferred by ATU at the close of the summer 2017 terms.

Thompson’s path was constructed through an internship he completed with Stark Manufacturing in Paris on Friday. Saturday brought graduation, and less than 48 hours later he’ll be back with Stark Manufacturing as a full-time employee.

“I was able to pick up a lot of skills involving process design and process engineering that I definitely believe will help me later on in life,” said Thompson when asked about his internship. “An internship is definitely something each student should look for and something to look for early on. It gives you a major leg up career wise and understanding the material. There’s so much material that I learned, but didn’t fully understand until I could see it hands-on with this internship.”

It was the culture of ATU that drew Thompson to Russellville after beginning his higher education journey at another institution.

“The fact that I knew I could go to my professors for help, whether it be academic or personal…the fact that amongst the student body, we’re a team and you’re not fighting against your fellow student…that was a very big draw,” said Thompson.

Now he feels prepared for the journey ahead.

“An engineering degree does not teach you how to be an engineer,” said Thompson. “It teaches you how to learn to be an engineer. The curriculum here gave me the academic and theoretical backing, but it was my internship and a lot of my student involvement in projects like the Shell Eco-marathon car that gave me the technical basis to excel.”

Michele Leding of Tishomingo, Okla., said it was her sister who encouraged her to pursue a college degree. On Saturday, Leding earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in health information management through ATU-Ozark Campus at the age of 51.

“She said it’s a growing field and the best field to get into right now,” said Leding, who has earned a career opportunity with United Healthcare as a result of her studies. “I had two of the best instructors, Ms. (Brenda) Huntsinger and Ms. (Bonnie) Sher. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have made it.”

Leding wants to follow in their footsteps by earning a bachelor’s degree and eventually teaching health information management. She said that meeting and helping people has been the highlight of her Tech experience so far.

“Hanging out with younger people and feeling like I was part of the group, that’s what I like,” said Leding. “Taking that first step is scary, but don’t think twice. Do it. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. I thought long and hard about it, and it took me years because I was scared, but I did it. If you’re my age, you can do it. It’s amazing.”

Family connections were a familiar theme while visiting with graduates in the corridor of Tucker Coliseum before the commencement ceremony on Saturday morning.

ATU is a family tradition for Austin Brown of Heber Springs, who graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education. His older brother, Anthony, and younger brother, Aaron, have both attended Tech.

Brown was in the U.S. Army ROTC program during his time as an undergraduate student, and he has accepted an active duty assignment as a medical service officer. He will report for duty in Alaska on Aug. 26.

As he begins that serious mission, he’ll do so with fond and light-hearted memories of his time serving as lead handler for Jerry the Bulldog, campus ambassador at ATU, as part of his participation in ROTC.

“It’s just awesome,” said Brown of his involvement in the campus ambassador program. “To walk around with Jerry and everything…everybody loves Jerry and everybody wants to be around him. It’s a new atmosphere when Jerry is around. It’s been cool to be a part of it.”

Josie Chism’s path to ATU started when she accompanied her older sister, Jessica, on a campus tour of Tech in 2009. On Saturday, the Rose Bud native earned her Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality administration from Arkansas Tech.

“I went with her to orientation and move-in day, and I just kept falling in love with the campus,” said Chism. “As I went through high school, I decided I wanted to go into a hospitality program. So, I researched schools and came to find out that Arkansas Tech has one of the best hospitality programs.”

Chism chose to focus on lodging and club management as part of her hospitality administration degree because she knew that discipline would expose her to unique people from different cultures. It wasn’t always easy, but the mentorship of faculty member Susan West helped Chism channel her grit and remain on pace to earn her degree.

“Whenever I wanted to take less classes or anything like that, (West) told me no,” said Chism. “She said that everyone she had seen who decided to take fewer classes had dropped out, and she wasn’t going to let me do that. She kept pushing me and pushing me, and she is one of the main reasons why I am here. I’m so proud. There were times when I didn’t think I could do it, but I’m still here and I’m one of the first people in my family to graduate from college. It means a lot to me, and it means a lot to my family, especially graduating from Arkansas Tech. It just means even more.”

Commencement Weekend at ATU

Arkansas Tech University will award approximately 1,000 academic credentials during its graduation ceremony this weekend at John E. Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

The 10 a.m. ceremony includes participants from the following colleges:

  • Arkansas Tech Graduate College
  • College of Arts and Humanities
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • College of eTech
  • College of Business
  • College of Natural and Health Sciences
  • associate degrees

Members of the Tech family can stay connected during commencement using the hashtag #ATUGrad on social media.

Learn more about commencement at Arkansas Tech.

The ceremony, and each ceremony may be viewed below: