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Ouachita Stories


Seven OBU professors receive Faculty Growth Plan Grants

November 06, 2008 - Hayden Tucker

Seven Ouachita Baptist University professors received Faculty Growth Plan Grants this year to enhance their knowledge and instruction. 

The competitive Faculty Growth Plan Grants provide funding for worthy events and are available to all full-time faculty at Ouachita. “Growth plan grants support faculty as they work to improve their scholarship and teaching,” explained Dr. Randall Wight, current chair of the Faculty Development Committee.  This committee reviews all growth plan proposals.

“Every January faculty are required to submit growth plans as a part of their annual activity reports.  Growth plans outline long-range professional development goals and suggest strategies for achieving those goals,” said Dr. Wight, professor of psychology and biology.

Dr. Jon Secrest and Dr. Glenda Secrest, music faculty members at Ouachita Baptist University, were the recipients of a recent Faculty Growth Plan Grant.  The grant enabled them to attend the 50th National Association of Teachers of Singing National Conference held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

“We did apply specifically in order to go to the Nashville conference,” said Dr. Jon Secrest, professor of music.  “Otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to attend.”

Dr. Glenda Secrest, associate professor of music, and her husband said they wanted to attend the conference for opportunities to grow personally and professionally.  They attended various recitals and master classes from world-renowned musicians.

“We will use this information to spark our creative instructional methods for years to come,” Secrest said.  “This convention will transform our current pedagogy into a 21st century, cutting-edge approach.”

In addition to the Secrests, five other faculty members received Faculty Growth Plan Grants in the 2007-2008 school year.

Josh Bynum attended a workshop in Chicago taught by Charlie Vernon, bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  “This workshop allowed me to watch as he encountered several performance and teaching issues that would otherwise never have been addressed,” recalled Bynum, instructor of music.  “He successfully introduced several teaching and performing concepts I had not implemented before but now use on a regular basis.”

Dr. Mark Edwards, assistant professor of history, plans to use his grant to travel to New York City in January for the annual Association of American Historians meeting.  “I wanted to go primarily so that I can talk to editors of major university presses about possibly publishing the book I’m writing,” Edwards explained.

“The AHA trip will primarily advance the research and networking aspects of my career,” Edwards noted.  “At the same time, research allows us profs to offer new courses and revise existing courses in light of advancing knowledge.”  Edwards will also present a paper while at the conference.

Dr. Mike Reynolds, professor of kinesiology and leisure studies, used his grant to renew his Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification.  “WFR deals with injuries specific to outdoor recreation.  I hope no one becomes injured while canoeing, hiking, camping, kayaking, climbing or biking, but if they do, I’m trained to treat the injury,” Reynolds said.  The grant also allowed him to lead a 35-day camping trip for the Student Conservation Association in New Hampshire.

Other grant recipients for the 2007-2008 school year were Kristin Grant, instructor of music, and Margo Turner, former professor of education.

by Hayden Tucker