ASU Newport PE instructor lauded as Higher Educator of the Year

By Lisa Burnett Published December 8, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Nick Hillemann

Allen Mooneyhan, division chair and assistant professor of physical education at Arkansas State University-Newport, was recently named Higher Educator of the Year by the Arkansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

NEWPORT — When Allen Mooneyhan went to the annual convention for the Arkansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in November, he wasn’t expecting to walk away with an award.

He was named the Higher Educator of the Year by the organization. Mooneyhan is the division chair and assistant professor of physical education at Arkansas State University-Newport.

“It’s a two-day conference, and the last thing they do is a luncheon,” Mooneyhan said. “It’s always a surprise, and they had to make sure that I was going to be there.”

Mooneyhan said that to make sure he stuck around for the end of the event, meeting coordinators told him they needed him to help move boxes after the luncheon.

“When they’re presenting the award, they start giving bits of information about the person,” he said. “When they said it was someone who had started a PE majors club on campus, I knew it was me.”

Mooneyhan has been a part of the ArkAHPERD Board for about eight years and said he created the board’s first website.

“ArkAHPERD is an advocate group for physical education [in schools],” he said. “What’s different about this organization is that it’s not specific to higher education; it’s for high school and elementary as well.”

Four-year college students can also be involved with ArkAHPERD, Mooneyhan said.

Mooneyhan has been at Arkansas State University-Newport since 1995. He started the PE majors club on the Newport campus because students who were transferring to ASU in Jonesboro with a physical education major had to be a part of a major-specific club.

“I decided to create one here,” he said.

Along with being a division chair, he teaches Concepts of Fitness, a course every student has to take to graduate, he said.

“I like being in front of students and being able to help students get to where they need to go,” Mooneyhan said. “I like the people I work with at ASU-Newport.”

Mooneyhan has seen the campus grow immensely during his almost 20 years there. Though the school has grown, it still has a “small” atmosphere, he said.

“We can make decisions quickly,” Mooneyhan said.

In addition to teaching at the college, Mooneyhan is the project coordinator for PACE students at ASU-Newport. PACE (Path to Accelerated Completion and Employment) is a program designed to reduce remediation and increase degree production.

His own experiences in college gave him a way to relate to students. He said he wasn’t the most ideal student in school and can be a role model to keep students in school and encourage them.

“I really like working with the PACE students,” he said.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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