Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'll be away from my blog for a few weeks after this posting, but be patient--I'll be back in mid-February with all new material. --SY

Check out my Peace Journalism site, and my Facebook group on Peace Journalism. (Just go into Facebook, and type peace journalism in the search box)

Proud to be a Park Pirate

From the Parkville Luminary

I am proud to be a part of the Park University family.

I know that sounds corny, cliché, or sycophantic. However, since I am tenured professor, I have no need to kiss up to anyone. (In fact, upon hearing that I got tenure, my brother suggested that I test the boundaries of tenure by barging into the president’s office and launch into an obscenity-laced tirade. This won’t happen, primarily because I actually like the president.)

The fact is, most people associated with Park will tell you the same thing—they’re proud Park Pirates. A glance at recent Park news is really all you need to understand our pride. For example:

• On Martin Luther King Day, Park University students prepared lunch for more than 500 hungry and homeless individuals in Kansas City. Indeed, Park students and faculty are engaged year-round in volunteer and philanthropic activities throughout the community. Another example: As part of a class service-learning project, a Social Psychology class taught by Dennis Kerkman recently completed another round of collecting supplies for a school adjacent to Bagram Air Base in eastern Afghanistan. According to Kerkman, 390 pounds of pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons, rulers and other school supplies were collected for the Afghan children in this effort. Bravo.

• In a new era of openness, Park’s new President, Dr. Michael Droge, held a number of town hall sessions last fall when he visited with faculty, staff, and students about the university. Droge said on the Park website, “The conversations were excellent, and I'm looking forward to future opportunities to connect.” While the town hall concept isn’t revolutionary, Droge’s approach to these meetings is. You see, he actually listens.

• Park’s faculty is one of the best anywhere. Two new Fulbright Scholar applications are in the pipeline, and will most likely be officially awarded to faculty members soon. If both of these come through, this will give us seven Fulbrights since 2001—remarkable for a school our size. Our faculty is also engaged in a number of other ways. For example, Amber Dailey-Hebert, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, was recently selected by the board of the Association of Continuing and Higher Education to chair the organization's Research Committee. Dailey-Hebert will lead collaborations with colleagues across the country. Also, three Park School for Education faculty presented a session at the National Head Start Association's 26th annual Parent Training Conference, Dec. 7 in San Jose, Calif. Jo Agnew-Tally and LaDonna Ebright presented the session at the conference, while Amy Wolf presented via Skype. Their session was called "Engaging Families in Leadership and Advocacy”. Finally, a group of Park University students, along with Professor Tim Westcott, made a number of presentations at the Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society) Biennial Conference Jan. 6-9, in San Diego.

This list of faculty (and student) accomplishments is nearly endless, and is a clear demonstration of the commitment and professionalism of the faculty. I went to KU and am proud of it, but I will quickly point out to anyone who asks that Park’s faculty takes a back seat to no one, and further, that the quality of education our students receive is nothing short of outstanding.

• Our alumni are pretty outstanding themselves. One alumnus, Andre Butler ('95), is Chief Advancement Officer of Heart to Heart International, which is undertaking a major humanitarian response to the earthquake in Haiti. According to Heart to Heart’s website, since joining their staff, Butler “has elevated Heart to Heart’s reputation with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and other Fortune 500 companies.” (You can give to Haiti earthquake victims through Olathe-based Heart to Heart at )

• Park University might even host the World Cup…sort of. Kansas City has made the short list of 18 American cities selected to host the 2018 or the 2022 FIFA Soccer World Cup, if America is awarded the event. What’s cool is that Park University was listed in the Kansas City host candidate proposal as a practice site location. Beckham in Parkville? Could be.

If you’re interested in staying updated on everything Park University-related, join the 4,355 folks who have already become Facebook fans of Park. Just go to: .

Staying abreast of all the latest Park news will make it clear to why so many of us are proud to call Park University home.

NOTE--You can learn more at the Park University website.

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