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JBU unveils plan for college with a helping-others focus

By Teresa Moss

This article was published August 6, 2014 at 4:28 a.m.

John Brown University in Siloam Springs announced the formation of the College of Education and Human Services during an event Tuesday.

The college brings together studies that focus on helping others, said Chip Pollard, university president. This includes teaching, psychology and nursing programs.

"It is going to be a much better service for students," Pollard said. "Students will be better prepared to serve in the community."

Also, Jeff Terrell was announced as dean of the new college. Terrell previously was president of Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta.

"What we are doing here is training individuals to make a difference in the world," Terrell said about the college. He said it fits the mission of founder John Brown.

The new college is expected to have more than 600 students in its programs this fall, according to a university news release.

Ed Ericson, university vice president for academic affairs, said it will bring together students who are interested in helping others. This will make it easier for students to transfer to other programs they could be interested in or to get additional degrees.

A nursing student may find out he doesn't like working with blood but wants another career that serves the community, Ericson said. General core classes shared by programs in the college would make it easier for the student to transfer to another degree field, he said.

"These kinds of students tend to share a similar heartbeat," Ericson said. "Most students change their minds about their major. We are trying to make it easier for them to move around."

The College of Education and Human Services also is the first interdisciplinary college for the university, Ericson said. The plan is to have students from different degrees collaborating on projects.

Terrell said he plans to work with faculty and staff members to build a mission project that students in all of the programs can work together on.

"I love the ability to bring together different fields related to helping," Terrell said. "What kind of impact could we make?"

Margo Turner, university head of undergraduate education, said there are numerous ways that the education department is able to work with other fields.

For example, last year education students along with human services students visited Chinandega, Nicaragua, Turner said. She said the education students helped work with students at a school newly formed by a former John Brown University student. Human service students worked with the families of students during that trip.

Rebecca Ridings received a family and human services bachelor's degree from the university and is now working on a master's degree in family therapy with an emphasis on community counseling. She said the college will help her learn how to work with other disciplines.

"We will get a collaboration with interdisciplinary goals," Ridings said. "I will have to know how to work with educators, psychologists and nurses when I am working in the world. It is better for my future clients."

Pollard said the university plans to move to a college format in the future. The university currently has the Donald G. Soderquist College of Business. Other academic programs run under smaller departments at the university.

A new nursing program at the university started the discussion for creating the College of Education and Human Services, Pollard said.

"We were trying to figure out the best way to fit nursing into the academic structure," Pollard said. "People saw why this move to a college made sense for the students."

The university announced in 2013 that it was working to establish a nursing program. Thirty-three pre-nursing students will begin core classes this fall. The first students admitted to the program will begin study in the fall of 2016.

More than $7.7 million has been donated for a building to house the program with endowment. University officials estimate that between $10 million and $12 million is needed for the facility and endowment overall.

Metro on 08/06/2014

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