Archives for October 2018

Fulbright Scholar Enjoying ATU Experience

Dr. Michael Ogu immediately sensed freedom all around him upon arriving at Arkansas Tech University.

“I observed that there are no fences,” said Ogu. “Institutions are just open. Houses…there are no marks on the territory. In Nigeria, almost every house, every church and building has a fence with a gate and you need to go through security to get in. You can just drive in and drive out of Arkansas Tech. That was really kind of a shock and a surprise to me.”

A Fulbright Visiting Scholar in Residence teaching and researching at ATU during the 2018-19 academic year, Ogu is on sabbatical from his regular teaching duties at Babcock University in his native Nigeria.

“I am one who doesn’t fancy scholarship just domestically…I like to explore,” said Ogu. “I was told that I was selected, to my amazement, because I know that there are so many applications that come in and are scrutinized. I was really excited that I was selected (as a Fulbright Scholar).

“As an international relations scholar, I want to have a first-hand experience of how governance happens outside of Nigeria,” continued Ogu. “I haven’t traveled as much as I would have loved to, but when I have the opportunity, I like to seize it. It’s true that you leave loved ones behind, but it’s just temporary and you are expanding your sphere of influence and your circle of friends. Relationships are very important as we grow in life.”

Ogu completed his undergraduate degree at Babcock University in 2009 and invested the next year of his life in a compulsory program that included an internship in the banking industry.

The internship led to a job offer, but banking was not his destiny. Instead, he chose a graduate assistantship that opened the door to a teaching career.

“One of the reasons why I wanted to give it a try was I had this dream of earning my Ph.D. from a very early age,” said Ogu. “As I weighed my options, I thought that the graduate assistantship would lead me to the dream I’d always had. Everything came together at just the right time, and I seized the opportunity.”

At ATU, Ogu is teaching courses in international relations and the history of modern Africa during the fall 2018 semester.

He will preside over a seminar class during the spring 2019 semester concerning current politics and related issues in western Africa. Topics in that class will include immigration, displacement, conflict and security challenges.

“We will explore some of those issues and trying to see what exactly are the costs of these issues and what the consequences are for the people involved, as well as society,” said Ogu.

Ogu has attended a conference for college history professors in Arkansas since arriving at Arkansas Tech, and he has plans to participate in a similar conference for college political science professors around the state during the spring 2019 semester.

“Students here, perhaps they are still getting used to my style of teaching, but I find them a little reserved sometimes,” said Ogu. “I have devised means of getting to know them and asking them to visit me during my office hours so I can get to know them and make them feel at ease. I think that is helping to build the kind of bond that will help us interact better in the courses that I teach. It’s important to understand the students’ motivation so that I can know how to help sustain them in their studies.”

Ogu was the featured speaker for the Friday, Nov. 9, ATU Interdisciplinary Research Series event at Dr. Robert Charles Brown and Jill Lestage Brown Hall. The presentation focused on Ogu’s doctoral research on modern Nigeria and the security issues prevalent there due to terrorism and resource conflicts.

As he looks to the future, Ogu hopes to be able to mirror the detail included in syllabi at Arkansas Tech when he returns to his teaching work in Nigeria.

There’s something else of a more cultural nature that he hopes to model for colleagues, students and neighbors in his homeland.

“Everybody opens the door and allows you to walk past,” said Ogu of his experiences at ATU. “That hardly happens in Nigeria. I think that is one thing I will take back when I go. People here smile at you and say hello. That’s very interesting to me. People are friendly. I arrived with my wife, and we’ve had faculty and staff members volunteer to give us rides to the store and church. People help you selflessly without expecting anything in return. We have been made to feel very at home.”

Lady Bisons Edge Suns in Five Sets

An efficient offensive attack in the decisive set allowed Harding University to escape Tucker Coliseum in Russellville with a 23-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 15-7 volleyball victory over Arkansas Tech University on Tuesday night.

The Lady Bisons (21-7 overall, 14-1 Great American Conference) made seven kills against one attack error in 17 total attempts during the fifth set as they clinched the regular season GAC championship.

Allie Anderson notched 19 kills and Hunter Eshnaur had 15 kills for the Golden Suns (17-10, 10-5). Emily Acker made 49 assists and Meredith Darnell finished with 24 digs.

Arkansas Tech will conclude its regular season with a GAC match at Ouachita Baptist University on Thursday, Nov. 1. First serve in Arkadelphia is scheduled for 6 p.m.

ATU No. 1 in Social Mobility in Arkansas

Arkansas Tech University remains the undisputed champion of social mobility among institutions of higher learning in the Natural State.

CollegeNET’s 2018 Social Mobility Index (SMI) ranks ATU No. 1 among all Arkansas colleges and universities with an SMI score of 41.1. Every other institution in the state has a 2018 score below 30.

It marks the fifth consecutive year that Arkansas Tech has led the state in the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index, a standard that evaluates inputs such as tuition rate and the economic status of incoming students and compares them to outputs such as graduation rates and early career salaries for graduates.

“Arkansas Tech University is the statewide leader in social mobility because our faculty and staff have carefully cultivated, maintained and enhanced a culture focused on academic excellence and caring for all students,” said Dr. Robin E. Bowen, ATU president. “By providing access to higher education for 12,101 students this fall, 93.3 percent of whom are Arkansans, ATU remains true to its institutional heritage as a place of opportunity while maintaining an environment of academic excellence, innovation and achievement.”

CollegeNET ranks Arkansas Tech among the top 10.5 percent of all U.S. colleges and universities in social mobility in its 2018 listing.

View the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index.

Gunter Earns Statewide Education Award

Dr. Mary B. Gunter, chief of staff in the Arkansas Tech University Office of the President, received the 2018 AdvancED Arkansas Excellence in Education Award during a luncheon at the DoubleTree Hotel in Little Rock on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Gunter was presented with her award by Jon Collins, who earned the honor in 2017 and serves as superintendent of the West Memphis School District. Collins is a 1993 graduate of Arkansas Tech.

“It is an honor to be the recipient of this award this year,” said Gunter. “Anytime we in education are honored, we know that truly the honor rests with our colleagues…all of those we have been fortunate enough to work with while keeping the focus on the student. At Arkansas Tech, every student counts. People who have worked with me over the years know that I have one philosophy about meetings: if you haven’t talked about students in the first couple of minutes, we don’t need to be having that meeting at all.”

A first-generation college graduate, Gunter spent 22 years as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and educational co-op director. She was also director of the Governor’s Partnership on Education before joining the ATU faculty in 1998.

Gunter took on new leadership roles as her career at Tech progressed, adding the title of dean of the ATU Graduate College in 2009 and dean of the ATU College of Education in 2015 before moving to the ATU Office of the President in 2018.

Along the way, the evolution of the ATU Center for Leadership and Learning led to the development and implementation of the first doctoral degree in Arkansas Tech history. Gunter is the visionary behind the ATU Doctor of Education degree in school leadership, a program that produced Arkansas Tech’s first doctoral graduates in spring 2017.

Gunter has shared her expertise in the realm of leadership beyond the K-12 community. She was a member of the project development team and now serves as the director of Leadership Tech, a program designed to build leadership capacity and serve as professional development for faculty and staff at Arkansas Tech University.

Leadership Tech Cohort I completed its program in spring 2018. The second and third cohorts of the program are active.

“I see some of you in the audience that I’ve worked with over the years,” said Gunter. “We’ve made a difference, and what’s exciting is we’re continuing to make a difference. Our work is never done. It’s about our leadership and a basic philosophy that leadership exists at all levels. It’s not by position or title or by a resume that we have. It’s about our willingness to change the lives of others…one student at a time, one school at a time, one district at a time…that will set standards and expectations for excellence.”

AdvancED is a non-profit organization that conducts on-site reviews of a variety of educational institutions and systems to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to pursue their potential.

Visit www.advanc-ed.org to learn more.

P-Safe Announces Toys for Tots Drive

The Arkansas Tech University Department of Public Safety is conducting a Toys for Tots drive during the 2018 holiday season.

The drive will take place from Nov. 1-Dec. 15. All toys collected will benefit children in Pope and Yell counties.

Those wishing to donate new and unwrapped toys may drop them off weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Arkansas Tech Department of Public Safety headquarters, which is located at 1508 N. Boulder Ave.

For more information, call (479) 968-0222.