New scholarship brings honor, brighter futures

By Scarlet Sims

Webb ScholarshipA new scholarship will fund a brighter future for history or English majors at the University of Central Arkansas and honor former professor Maurice Webb, who inspired his students for decades.

“I hope, year by year, that this scholarship helps a deserving student,” said Rosalie Sanderson, who started the scholarship with her husband Steve.

The Sandersons are UCA alumni. They said they want to honor Webb, who retired in 2004, and help students who might not otherwise have access to scholarships in history or English.

Steve Sanderson, who is president emeritus and senior advisor to the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, was named a distinguished alumni in 2008.

Rosalie Sanderson was a respected law professor and law librarian and authored many research and teaching articles. She was elected chairwoman of the Academic Law Library Section of the American Association of Law Libraries in 2001.

The Sandersons both graduated in 1971 with bachelor degrees in history. They met at UCA and have been married 42 years. UCA matters on many levels and its education is top end, both said.

The new scholarship, which was announced at a recent reception honoring donors and recipients, is meant to help future UCA students. The Sandersons hope to set an example for other alumni.

“You don’t have to be a Rockefeller to give to the place that gave you your start,” Rosalie Sanderson said.
“We want the scholarship to show how deeply we feel about UCA,” Steve Sanderson said.

The couple started working with UCA to create the Maurice Webb Scholarship about 18 months ago, Steve Sanderson said. This past summer, the scholarship was awarded for the first time.

Courtney Sithem, 21, of Conway, earned the first Webb scholarship. She is a senior history major working on two minors. She wants to teach at the high school level.

“It’s exciting we’ve got our first scholar,” Steve Sanderson said. “This is a big thing for us.”

The $1,000 Stithem received from the Webb scholarship will go toward buying textbooks, the cost of which aren’t covered by her other UCA scholarship, Stithem said.

“Without this, I probably would have had a harder time paying for textbooks,” Stithem said.

Stithem, who will have a fifth year at UCA because of her minors, said she hopes to get the scholarship again. The Sandersons said they plan to help UCA fundraise for the scholarship to bring it up to a $25,000 endowment level — the amount needed to make the scholarship permanent.

The Sandersons said they want the scholarship to reward deserving students, like Stithem. Stithem said she is grateful because not many scholarships are specifically for history or English majors.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the UCA Foundation awarded 398 scholarships from 170 named scholarship funds within the Foundation, according to UCA records. The Webb scholarship is among only five for either history or English.

The Sandersons said they wanted their scholarship to focus on students studying humanities because humanities, like English and history, give students an appetite for lifelong learning.

The scholarship is named for Webb, who was a strong influence on Rosalie Sanderson.
She learned to be a lifetime learner from her professor and friend, she said.

Webb taught Sanderson in 1967 when he was a first-time professor teaching a Western Civilization class and she was a freshman. That one class gave Sanderson a passion for learning, she said.

“We did a lot that was worthwhile, and it made a huge impression on us,” Rosalie Sanderson said. “He could engage students. He cared about whether they learned.”

Webb gave his students a “total experience in Western Civilization,” Sanderson said during the Foundation’s scholarship reception held at UCA on Thursday, Sept. 26. Webb taught students vocabulary, geography, drama, literature and current events.

Webb served with distinction as a faculty member in the History Department for 37 years. His students felt strongly about him and his course, Rosalie Sanderson said.

“Professor Webb by his hard work, dedication and skill in the classroom epitomizes what a college professor should be,” said a UCA Board of Trustee resolution that honored Webb in 2004.

Stithem said she wished Webb had been at UCA to be her teacher. She met him for the first time at the scholarship reception.

“He just seems like an extremely fun guy,” Stithem said.

Williams tackles diversity challenges with new responsibilities

Ronnie WilliamsRonnie Williams sees opportunities.

With new responsibilities as vice president for student services and institutional diversity, he hopes that the Office of Diversity and Community can build on an established foundation and help under-represented populations campus wide.

“I think it’s evolving. I really don’t want the focus to be on the position and the person responsible for leading this initiative,” Williams said. “I won’t even call it a new initiative. The focus is going to be continuing to do some things that I think we’ve done well, and that’s sensitivity training. I think we’ve led the state in that. I think Charlotte Strickland and her office has done an excellent job in continuing to challenge the campus in ways that will help us to become and be culturally competent.”

Williams has served as the vice president of student services for 18 years before taking on the new title; however, having served as the first director of minority affairs, the fit seemed perfect.

“It is a challenge, because I have one division that is very demanding,” Williams said. “We should have 11,000 plus students (at the beginning of the fall semester), so it is a command (challenge), but again with the resources we can do it, and the president is committed to and providing the resources necessary to get it done.”

Williams added that President Tom Courtway has a three-pronged approach to tackling diversity issues. The hope is to house compliance within the president’s office, with responsibilities ranging from Title IX to affirmative action. A human resources component will report to Associate Vice President for Human Resources Graham Gillis. The third prong will be Williams’ office, which will handle programming related to campus diversity.

The first step in tackling that plan is instituting a strategic plan related to diversity, which Williams hopes to implement by the end of the fall semester.

“There is a need to implement a university diversity strategic plan,” he said. “What we hope will happen is that at the end of the fall semester is that we will have implemented a university-wide diversity plan, so that’s time sensitive and something we need to get up and running.”

President Courtway has also asked that every department and college on campus be reviewed to “assist them in meeting the diversity expectations of not only their respective colleges, but also for the entire campus,” according to Williams

“That will be a work in progress; that work will continue for years to come,” Williams said. “I anticipate the strategic plan to be a document that is a living document that we continue to massage from this point on.”

Another area in which Williams hopes to affect change is in the retention and graduation of under-represented students, particularly African American students.

“It’s not where we would like for it to be; it’s certainly not for me personally,” Williams said. “We have always been, and continue to be, a place of choice for under-represented students, African American students in particular. We have not been as successful in retaining and graduating those students at a rate that I think is acceptable for an institution like UCA.

“I don’t see it as a challenge; I see it as an opportunity. We have ideas as to what we can do to improve those numbers...we have a critical mass to work with, so we continue to work with those.

“On the academic side, I think there is opportunity there as well, because I think Provost Runge and President Courtway and others as well will tell you that we’ve got to beef up those numbers of faculty of color. I think there has to be improvement there as well.”

As a whole, Williams sees more positives than negatives with the work laid out before the office and is upbeat about the days ahead.

“Our focus has been on doing everything that we could to create an environment that allows our students to grow and develop and be everything that they could be, and that has been our focus for 18 years,” he said.

“It is a challenge, but we’re going to try to do everything we possibly can to make it work, and the president has assured us that we’ll have the resources necessary to do everything we can to help our institution be and become a 21st century institution in the truest sense of the word.”

Association of Future Alumni to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

The Association of Future Alumni will celebrate 10 years in existence this year. Special events, including a 10-year reunion on Oct. 5, are still in the planning phases.

The AFA is an elite group of University of Central Arkansas students who have achieved at least 30 credit hours, maintained a 2.5 GPA and are selected during a rigorous process of applications and interviews.

“There can only be 35 members each year and they have to renew that membership every year,” said Haley Fowler, Assistant Alumni Director.

“I speak from experience, it is an honor to be chosen,” said Miranda Parks-Crabtree, a charter member of the group. “There is a process to joining in order to keep the group elite. They want the best of the best.”

Founded in 2003 by Jan Newcomer, Director of Alumni Services, AFA has continued its tradition of service and dedication during the decade since, incorporating programs and projects each year, including welcoming activities for incoming freshmen and assisting with graduation and alumni events.

“We want these bright young people to maintain a relationship with the university after they have graduated,” Fowler said. “We want them to be invested in the success of the university and the alumni groups.”

Fowler said former members of the AFA go on to join the Alumni Association and continue to build on the university’s traditions. Several of the former AFA members are on the UCA Alumni Association Board of Directors and Young Alumni Chapter board.

“AFA is very important,” Fowler said. “They are the voice of the students when it comes to the alumni.”

Fowler said she always looks forward to the AFA members’ return to campus, bringing with them their families, but also their accomplishments.

“I always love it when they return, and I get to catch up with them,” said Fowler.

During the first year of the AFA, Parks-Crabtree said the 10-member group helped with the alumni tailgate events by setting up tables and chairs, and helped hand out caps and gowns at graduation. Members also sold roses for families to give to their graduates.

Today, in addition to assisting freshmen and helping at graduation, the group hosts Mudstock, a day-long mud volleyball tournament; promotes and sells the UCA Official Ring; presents UCA tradition keepers and fight song shirts to freshmen; organizes the Homecoming parade, and participates at the Half-Century Club Brunch and the Alumni Homecoming Party. The group also participates in at least one community service project each semester. The group continues its tradition of Roses for Grads each year as well.

“We got to go to conferences all around the United States,” said Parks-Crabtree. “We were able to work with the Alumni Association and represent our school.”

Parks-Crabtree said she has many fond memories of her time in AFA but spending time with other like-minded students was most important.

She added that current and future members of the group should take their role seriously.

“You are representing yourself, the student body, the university and all alumni of UCA,” Parks-Crabtree said. “We’re counting on you to show others why UCA is the best university in Arkansas.”

Parks-Crabtree, who is now a Speech-Language Pathologist at Alma Middle School, also served as an advisor for AFA during her time in graduate school.

All former members of the AFA are invited to the upcoming reunion, said Fowler.

“We want as many members of AFA as we can get,” Fowler said. “I look forward to catching up with the AFA members and their families.”

For more information about the reunion or AFA, contact Haley Fowler or Jan Newcomer at (501) 450-3197 or visit uca.edu/alumni/afa.

Camp inspires young authors

A project spearheaded by three University of Central Arkansas faculty members has helped channel the energy of aspiring young writers.

The camp, called “Bearswrite: From Pencils to Pixels”, helps rising fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders delve deeper into the world of writing as well as providing guidance for the campers.

“The point of the week is writing,” said camp director Dr. Donna Wake, who is teamed with Drs. Stephanie Vanderslice and Jeff Whittingham. . “We provide the kids with a lot of experiences and time for writing and guidance and structure for their writing.”

The students not only are involved with traditional writing methods, but are also introduced to writing with technology. They create digital portfolios of their work during the weeklong camp, culminating in a public performance of their work and a reception for their parents.

“The focus of the program is really the kids,” Wake said. “We really saw a need in this area for writing for kids, and particularly this age level seemed to have kind of a gap in terms of camps and availability. We just really loved writing and we wanted the kids to love writing, too.”

“The benefit to the college of education is probably getting some kids in here and getting some good information out about what good writing is and what we hope for writing in the school systems.”

The camp was started last year with seed money from the UCA Foundation. Tuition from the campers will help continue the camp, but materials used by the campers were provided by the initial grant.

This year, funding from the foundation was used to bring in children’s author Spelile Rivas to help inspire and encourage the campers.

“We saw her at the National Council for Teachers of English conference,” said Wake. “We thought she was engaging and very personable. The people with the grant told us that they usually don’t give money twice to the same organization, but we had made a strong enough case for what we were doing in bringing the author that they went ahead and gave us the funding to bring her, and we’re very grateful.”

Grants such as the one used to fund Bearswrite are made possible through unrestricted giving to the UCA Foundation’s Annual Fund. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the foundation was able to provide seed money in the amount of $35,000 for grants such as these, as well as allocate $35,000 for faculty grants this academic year.

Bears Unlimited compete in Microsoft Imagine Cup

Finding a way to motivate physical therapy patients to do their exercises led a group of University of Central Arkansas computer science students onto the world stage in Russia recently.

The students – R. Kyle Eichelberger, Michelle Enfinger, Ben Tackett and John White – researched and developed the Bear Claw system, a glove fitted with sensors that interfaced with a Windows-based smart phone. With tutelage from professors Dr. Tansel Halic and Dr. Sinan Kockara, their finished product was entered into Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition and made it to the world finals held in St. Petersburg, Russia in July.

“It was a wild ride getting to Russia,” said White. “The travel took us almost 30 hours. I don’t think I’ve ever feared for my life more than when I was in a Russian taxi.”

The idea’s genesis came in the form of a digital stress ball, which Enfinger proposed out of her personal experiences with relatives undergoing physical therapy.

“As we were working on that project, about halfway through we looked at each other and said, ‘You know, it would be cool if the sensors were on a glove instead of a ball.’ So, that’s where we started, and we added in the game aspects,” White said.

“The idea didn’t come from one specific place; it was several months of evolving and growing to be what it is today.”

One of the major hurdles that the team faced was being unfamiliar with the rehabilitation procedures the glove would be used to treat. This required a good deal of research by the team.

“We’re all computer science students,” Eichelberger said. “We really didn’t know a whole lot about physical therapy or what that entails. The entire product hinges on our ability to be successful in those fields, so we had a lot of research that we had to do about that, about everything medical, the problems facing that side of the project, and all of the previous work done by people who wanted to do similar things to what we’re doing.

With 71 countries represented in the competition, the team came away with a keen sense of bigger things that may be a part of our future.

“Our idea was really cool, but ours is only one of 86 ideas that were there,” White said. “You’re talking to all of these different people who have this incredible vision for the future, and so it’s almost like a preview of the future. It’s very exciting and very motivating being around 300 other students who are really excited about changing the world.”

According to White, the team has a new idea that it is keeping “under wraps,” and it plans not only on competing in the Imagine Cup in the future, but also ideas that they hope to take to the marketplace.

“I have learned a lot of things from this about what I’m capable of and people that I work with are capable of,” Eichelberger said. “With that knowledge, I realize it’s possible to achieve your dreams. We’re in the works of developing this further, which is definitely something we’ve been thinking about from the beginning.”

“I’ve always told people the reason I went into computer science is because I want to change the world, and this is just step one in that,” White added. “Kyle and I have a very big vision of some things we want to accomplish in terms of starting a company and doing things, maybe not necessarily with the Bear Claw, but making a lasting impact on people’s lives.“

Homecoming festivities highlighted by UCA Band Alumni performance

The year 2014 will mark 100 years of melody, music and marching at the University of Central Arkansas. The UCA Band Alumni are in the planning stages of special events and concerts to commemorate the occasion, including special emphasis at the 2013 Homecoming for the Alumni Band.

Back in 1914, fewer than 10 years after the university’s founding, student musicians were banding together to support the school’s football and basketball teams.

That tradition continues during the upcoming 2013 Homecoming festivities, when the UCA Bear Marching Band and Alumni Band members will perform together during pre-game activities and will tailgate before the game. Alumni Band members will play the university’s fight song and alma mater and support the band during the Homecoming game on Oct. 26.

“We have between 25 and 50 members each year in the Alumni Band,” said Jackie Lamar, professor of saxophone. “We would love to have a lot more this year, to really show the band’s impact during its 100 years at UCA.”

The university’s first band, organized around 1914, had about 20 members. It was a student-run organization, explained Lamar, adding that football and basketball games were the extent of the band’s performances. Sometime in the 1920s, the band acquired a faculty sponsor and has continue to grow since then.

Today, there are more than 200 members, with performances scheduled throughout the marching and concert seasons across Arkansas and other states.

To commemorate the band’s 100th anniversary, special guest alumni will be soloing with the band at concerts in Arkansas and in Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center, home of the Dallas Symphony. Guest alumni soloists include a professor of trombone at University of North Texas at Denton, and another who is a clarinetist with the U.S. Air Force Band.

A special piece has been commissioned by renowned composer David Gillingham, but is still being written, according to Dr. Ricky Brooks, director of bands.

Other events, including concerts and reunions will be held beginning January, according to Lamar.

“Alumni Band at Homecoming is our opportunity to give back to the university and see each other again,” Lamar said. Alumni Band members also raise funds for the UCA band scholarship fund.

Events to celebrate the 100th anniversary have been in the planning stages since last year, when new Associate Director of Bands Brantley Douglas, who had been part of a 100th-year band celebration when a student at University of Wisconsin -- Madison, came upon the information about the first UCA band in a book written by a retired music faculty member.

“He said ‘Do you realize that in 2014 we will have the 100th anniversary of the band?’” Lamar recalled. “We worked with others to get more historic information for this celebration.”

There are currently more than 700 band alumni on the music department’s mailing list, but Lamar said there is always room for more involvement.Band Alumni include any UCA alumni who have ever been in the band.

Lamar said there would be further announcements about upcoming 100th anniversary events as plans are completed. Alumni who plan to play in the Alumni Band should contact Lamar or Dr. Ricky Brooks to have an accurate head count and secure any needed instruments.

“We are so excited for this year’s Alumni Band,” Lamar said. “We encourage our Band Alumni to participate in this year’s Homecoming.”

For more information about the Alumni Band or anniversary happenings, contact Lamar at (501) 450-5763 or jackiel@uca.edu; or Dr. Brooks at (501) 450-5764 or rickyb@uca.edu. There is also a Facebook group for UCA band alumni.

Matching undergrads with mentors goal of program

Kyndal posing with a sleeping tiger in its denFor many undergraduates, the choice of a major is made without much experience of the actual jobs included in the major. Mentor Connection set out to change this, and has been rousingly successful for its participants.

Mentor Connection is a partnership between a current University of Central Arkansas student and a young alumnus, helping to establish relationships that provide a learning experience for the students and a leadership opportunity for the alumni, according to information provided by Haley Fowler, Assistant Director Alumni Services.

Two of the matches recently reported on their own experiences.

One of the most successful partnerships, according to Fowler, is that of student Tyler Rodgers and alumnus Ike Linck. Linck and Rodgers met several times a week, allowing Rodgers to consult not only with Linck, but with many of Linck’s colleagues at American Management Corp, an insurance firm located in Conway.

“I am someone who places high value in stability and security,” Rodgers said. “When I heard about this opportunity to actually get in the field and get some hands-on experience, I jumped right on it. In today’s world, any experience you can get before joining the workforce is essential.”

Rodgers learned about every aspect of the insurance business, from underwriting to claims to loss control, which Rodgers said allowed him to pinpoint which aspects he liked and which he didn’t.

Linck said he also learned a lot during Rodgers’ meetings with other departments.

“His opportunity turned into an opportunity for me that I didn’t have a chance to experience when I was finishing college and entering the insurance field,” Linck said.

Linck said he took a second glance at the Mentor Connection program while looking through a recent alumni newsletter and realizing the importance of mentoring those who are entering the workforce.

“One of the most important steps in advancing in a career is helping others,” Linck said. “It is my opinion that the golden rule should apply in business as well. Years from now Tyler and I may be working on the same team somewhere, and together our relationships and connections may prove beneficial to both of us in the long run.”

Student Kyndal Saverse and alumna Courtney Dunn have also forged a bond in their shared love for animals and conservation.

“While I was an undergraduate, I struggled to find other students who were interested in the same field as I was – conservation and zoological biology,” Dunn stated. “I knew that by participating in Mentor Connection that I would be able to help students overcome those hurdles that I once faced myself.”

Dunn and Saverse found they had many common interests in their initial meeting, and Saverse said she was “inspired” by Dunn’s work. Dunn helped Saverse with resume support and introduced her to opportunities for her to pursue in the future, one of which involved a trip to Branson, Mo.

“The most influential activity we participated in was a full shadow day at my place of research, the National Tiger Sanctuary,” Dunn said.

During the shadow day, Saverse helped lead educational tours for the public and provided “enrichment” in the form of large barrels as toys for the animals in the sanctuary. The tigers at the sanctuary come from several different backgrounds, including good homes in which the owners passed away to being confiscated after being sold illegally. Some have been abused or neglected.

Dunn explained that the barrels give the tigers a chance for fun activities and help them lead a stress-free life. During the shadow day, Saverse learned the steps to caring for the big cats, including feeding them a proper diet.

“This day gave my mentee an introduction to how amazing these critically endangered animals are,” Dunn said. “Experiences like these often inspire students to do more to preserve our natural world and, thus, overcome any obstacles they may have in their academic career to get to that point.”

Saverse echoed Dunn’s statement, adding that the experience “opened my eyes to other issues I wasn’t even aware I would become concerned with.”

Each participant has expressed their appreciation for the program, and its benefits to both mentor and mentee. They also encourage other students and alumni to participate.

“It is all rewarding and beneficial,” said Rodgers. “Don’t be afraid to take it and run with it. If you play your cards right, put in the effort and shake a few hands, it might even lead to a job.”

For more information, contact Alumni Services at 501-852-7463 or alumni.uca.edu.

Honors alum uses birthday as fund raiser

Wang DSC00928 large“The Honors College was the most amazing educational experience I had in my whole life.”

That’s according to Jialan “Jenny” Wang, who holds a bachelor’s degree in math from Cal Tech and a Ph.D. in financial economics from MIT. She so enjoyed her time at the University of Central Arkansas and the Honors College, she used the occasion of her 30th birthday and the 30th anniversary of the Honors College to raise $3,000 to benefit the Schedler Honors College Campaign.

The campaign aims to raise $3 million to grow the endowment for Travel Abroad Grants and Undergraduate Research Grants for Education. TAG and URGE allow Honors College students to travel to and study in other countries, or to assist in research opportunities in a variety of fields.

Wang, now working for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C. following a stint as a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, grew up around UCA, taking classes as early as middle school, while her father was a math professor.

“I started attending full-time in the fall of 1998 and spent two years in the Honors College before transferring to Cal Tech,” she said. “I had a lot of interactions with UCA through my family.”

The idea to raise money for the Honors College is just one in many years of charitable birthday giving.

“I never really liked to celebrate my birthday since I was little,” Wang explained. “It started with Facebook, because every time your friends see your birthday on the page, they would send happy birthday wishes. I thought that was a great opportunity to use that to help a cause.”

Each year since 2008, Wang has done an online fund-raiser for non-profits or causes in which she believes. Past recipients have been Heifer International, which provides farm animals for underprivileged families in third world countries, and PATS, which helps children living with HIV in rural China. Wang is also a board member for PATS.

“So this year, I decided to ask family and friends to help me support the Honors College since I knew I was going to visit in the spring, “ Wang said. In March, she spoke to students in the Honors College as a part of their spring lecture series.

Wang also took advantage of all the opportunities afforded her through the Honors College, participating in the URGE program to study artificial intelligence at the University of Memphis, which she described as a “wonderful experience.”

“I feel that in the Honors College, I’ve been with the best and brightest minds in the world,” Wang said. “I feel so happy to give back in any way. I feel that the Honors College really guided my choices in life.”

Friends donated $775, to which Wang and husband, Patrick, added $2,225 to reach the $3,000 goal. A check from Schedler to the cause had in its “For” line: “Celebrating Jenny.”

More information about the Schedler Honors College Campaign and how to give can be found at http://uca.edu/giving/honors/.

Sundance Channel taps UCA alum for wartime drama

Graham GordyGraham Gordy doesn’t seem to mind his long commute.

Living in Little Rock allows him to stay connected with his Southern roots and even helps find his voice in characters he develops for the small screen.

So far, it’s been successful. Gordy, a 2000 graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in English, splits his time between Little Rock and Los Angeles, where he has most recently written for a television show for the Sundance network and has a pilot in the making.

He collaborated with Oscar winner and former Little Rock resident Ray McKinnon on “Rectify”, a six-episode series that began on the Sundance Channel recently. Gordy most recently teamed with Michael D. Fuller for “Quarry,” a drama about a Vietnam veteran returning home in 1973.

Cinemax has ordered a pilot for “Quarry,” which Gordy feels confident will develop into a 10-episode series.

“I feel like most everything I write is set in the South, and being a part of that and allowing that to permeate what I do is really helpful in terms of my writing, and I think it also allows me to maintain a voice that’s a little different from others who are vying for those jobs. It gives me a little bit of identity,” he said.

The main characters in his most recent works are dealing with transitions from dark periods in their lives and searching for redemption in their new lives.

In “Quarry,” the main character is a Marine sniper who is alienated by friends and family upon his return. He finds a new life as a contract killer within a network of organized crime.

The main character in “Rectify” was no less demonized; he was freed from a Georgia prison after serving 18 years on death row. His conviction overturned by DNA evidence, he faces the challenges of mending broken relationships with his family while dealing with a community that believes he is still guilty of murder.

“So many of them are like “secret life” shows,” Gordy said, tying similarities with other cable network series. “All of these people have an element to them, which the audience can relate, in terms of ‘I have a normal job, I have a family, I have children.’ As a viewer, we’re like that guy.

“You get behind it, because there’s a structure of every-day life that we can recognize, but then there’s this kind of fantasy that you live through vicariously. There’s a certain perversity to it, but at the same time it’s showing us the darker sides of ourselves so that hopefully we don’t have to engage in those as much.”

The popularity of shows such as “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” and “Homeland” have opened the doors for character-based stories that allow viewers to follow the characters over a longer period of time than they would be able to in a feature film.

“(With) cable TV you’re able to invest in a main character and characters, for 10 to 13 hours a year as opposed to 90 to 120 minutes,” Gordy said. “When you think about the cable TV shows that work, you look at Tony Soprano or Don Draper (of Mad Men). You’re interested in seeing what those guys are going to do for an extended period, so you can get into the sort of character and nuance and just human life behavior in a way you can never afford to.”

A number of well-known names have also moved over to producing cable shows, which helps bring legitimacy to the medium. He pointed out Martin Scorsese’s involvement in HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” as an example. “That’s how we got our new show ‘Quarry’ sold, because John Hillcoat, who did “The Road” and “Lawless,” attached himself.,” Gordy said.

The pilot for “Quarry” will be shot “in the South” beginning in July, according to Gordy, and should wrap in about three weeks. He and writing partner Fuller will continue writing back-up episodes in hopes that the network will pick up the show for a full run of 10 episodes.

“I was heartened a few weeks ago because I saw that Steven Soderbergh, who did ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ sold a show to Cinemax and they’re going to do 10 episodes,” Gordy said.

In addition to his television work, Gordy has several film credits, including “The Love Guru” and “War Eagle, Arkansas,” and has even had acting bits in “My Dog Skip” and “Little Marines.”

Schedler reflects on career at UCA

By Mike Kemp

NorbWhen he was recently given a standing ovation during a University of Central Arkansas board of trustees meeting, UCA Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. Norbert Schedler was at a loss for words.

Sitting in his front row chair, he held his hand to his chin to keep his emotions in check, and accepting the adulation of his colleagues as his name was given to the program he has spent the majority of his professional career nurturing.

“I was thinking about how much I now want to softly go into the future,” Schedler said.

Trustee Elizabeth Farris, whose father, the late UCA President Jeff Farris, gave Schedler the go ahead to begin the Honors College, read from a prepared statement to propose naming the program after Schedler. It recounted how the program began with Schedler thinking aloud with Farris as the two sat in the shade of a tree near the administration building in August of 1981.

The program started with a $600 budget and a handful of students; today, there are 264 students enrolled in the program, helping the “severely gifted” receive a degree based on a close-knit relationship with their faculty and educational opportunities not available to every student.

“I got forced into being an administrator,” Schedler said. “It’s not something I chose. The dean at Purdue, when I got the John F. Kennedy Educator of the Year, in his statement to the public, he said, ‘Norb hovers over what is and imagines what could be.’ In essence, I’ve always been a daydreamer.

“In my next life, I want to be an architect; you draw the plans and let somebody else build it. Somebody said, ‘That’s what Norb is; he’s an intellectual architect.’”

Some of the opportunities for Honors students include participating in the Travel Abroad Grants (TAG) program, offering financial support for students to study across the globe; and the Undergraduate Research Grants in Education (URGE), allowing scholarships for research and creative projects.

The end result is evident. With a median ACT score over 30 for Honors College students, the program boasts a 90 percent graduate rate, and 80 percent continue their learning through advanced training. The program has produced national recognition among the students, with Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, Fulbright and Rotary Ambassador Scholars as well as a Cooke Fellow.

Not only did Schedler want to create an environment where students could realize their potential and excel, he wanted to create an educational experience based on community among students and faculty.

“I’m very much into the students participating in a community and that community having a collection of stories about its origin, about how it developed, about what its pedagogy is,” he said. “A lot of students have had a lot of encounters with all kind of different people, who take them on all sorts of retreats, and say, “You remember when we . . .?” I thought that was important in the Honors College . . . You’re part of a story, you’re part of a narrative, and I see a very tight connection in that sort of way.”

Although he admits he prefers to dream plans and let others administrate, Schedler never backed away from helping the “severely gifted” work around any hindrances they faced.

“As an administrator, as a mentor, I see the primary task as helping students deal with roadblocks that stand in their way of finding out just how good they are. I think a lot of the students would say, ‘I went and saw Norb and he said, you can do it,’ and they did, and they came back to report to me about what they’ve done, to me that’s one of the greatest thrills academically.

“Just imagine, to see on a student’s face their awareness, to come to realize just how good they are and how well they’ve done out there in the big world. A lot of them have never left Arkansas. You give them an URGE grant and they go off to Johns Hopkins and do research and they are interacting with kids from Ivy League schools and they did just as well. Think of how empowering that is for them, to see that on their faces, ‘I did it!’ To me, that’s the joy I’ve had of being a teacher.”

“I’m a word philosopher, so I love language. One of the expressions that models a great deal of what I do is the word pedagogy. It is the science of teaching.

“The interesting thing is that the root of that word is foot. Now, why ever would it be foot? Because the early teachers in western culture were the Greek slaves who walked with the rich young Roman boys to the agora, and the job of the slave is to get them ready to participate with virtue in the public arena. That has been a controlling image for me in terms of what I would hope my legacy would be. Students and faculty get together and walk to the public space where politics is done, business is done, and we prepare each other with the virtues that we need to be successful and have a healthy society.”