Honors Students, Faculty Attend First Woman Summit Conference By Mary Kathryn Whitaker

Students and faculty from the UCA Honors College attended the First Annual World Woman Summit, hosted by the World Woman Foundation, on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Little Rock. The World Woman Foundation, led by CEO Rupa Dash, hosted a variety of professional men and women to speak on the topic of “gender harmony.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was invited to make opening remarks at the conference. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, Little Rock Vice Mayor Kathy Webb, and Lynnette Watts were also invited to make opening remarks. All four spoke on economic and social developments for women, including the increasing percentage of women holding executive positions in companies. Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, Facebook and Pepsi all have women CEOs. “Intelligent, talent and strength are genderless words,” Watts said.

Anna María Chavez, former CEO of the Girl Scouts, was the first keynote speaker at the conference. The first woman of color to hold the highest position, Chavez joined the Girl Scouts of the USA for their advocacy for the protection and empowerment of girls.

“It is our collective responsibility as leaders to invest in girls and women and to model ethics, values and behaviors for young children,” Chavez said. “If we don’t change the dialogue, we will see a gap in leadership representing gender parity.”
Economic development was one of the main topics discussed at the conference. Of the world population, the panel shared, only 55 percent of women participate in the workforce, compared with 77% of men. Women have been found more likely to participate in informal economies, likely without social protections such as healthcare.

An increasing number of girls are displaying interest in technology and science fields. Seventy-six percent of high school girls expressed an interest in science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM); however, pursuing an education in STEM was ranked lower than the desire to stay at home and raise children.

Arkansas is the first state in the United States to require high schools to offer computer science courses, a decision that may influence the percentage of girls studying these topics in years to come. The biggest factor in girls deciding not to study science or technology, Chavez said, was a trusted, male figure telling them otherwise.

These historical gender stereotypes have carried over into the workforce. When it comes to applying for positions, women have a different mindset than men, Ceylan Rowe said. More men apply for job positions where they have a marginal opportunity for being hired; whereas, women oftimes apply only if they know they are 100 percent qualified. One way to combat this discrepancy, Rowe said, is by encouraging the use of gender neutral descriptors for corporate positions. Women may be discouraged from apply to positions with masculine descriptors, because they see themselves as not being qualified for the position, or feel they may not be welcome in the organization.

Empowering women allows for a more efficient use of the human capital of a country, said Shruti Kapoor, founder of Sayfty, an organization dedicated to educating women and girls in India about gender violence. A 10 percent increase in the number of girls attending schools would increase the GDP of a country by three percent, Kapoor said. Hilary Haddigan, Chief of Mission Effectiveness at Heifer International, said 77 percent of their food providers are women. However, only 43 percent of farmers worldwide are women. If women were given equal participation in the worldwide economy, Haddigan said, there could be a $23 trillion increase to the global GDP.

“The best way to establish change is to educate,” said Samantha Marqaurd, a global health policy expert. Marqaurd has worked closely with the city of St. Louis to establish health care strategies, including a push for school-based health care. “You can’t learn if you don’t go to school, and you can’t go to school if you are always sick.”

The World Woman Foundation ultimately aims to educate and advocate for the gender equality. In order to reach equality, however, we must focus on equity, which recognizes that not all groups require the same efforts and materials to be considered equal. In developing countries, women may face pushback in the forms of barriers in land ownership, information and technology. Just recently, Saudi Arabia announced that, beginning in June 2018, women will gain the right to drive.

“We can compare the human race is a bird with two wings,” Kapoor said. “If one of those wings is broken, no one can fly.”

Academic Advisor Attends Honors Summer Advising Institute 

Academically talented students are frequently perceived as not needing assistance or special attention, but in fact, high-achieving students often have needs that require special consideration. High achieving students encounter challenges similar to their peers, but also a unique set of challenges including managing their time and stress. Advisors who work with high achievers need both a thorough knowledge of the opportunities open to these students and the sensitivity to support them through realization of these opportunities. As such, it is recommended by the National Collegiate Honors Council that honors students should receive honors-related academic advising from qualified faculty and/or staff. 

This summer, Assistant Director of the Advising Center and Honors Advisor, Jenny Ruud joined 30 honors advisors from around the U.S. for an intensive workshop focused on meeting the needs of high-achieving students. The workshop discussed key theoretical foundations of advising and how to adapt and implement those frameworks to meet the needs of honors students. Participants were introduced to developmental advising approaches that foster relationships with students and help them focus on reaching their educational goals while providing the support and challenge these students need to succeed. 

Jenny described the institute as a “productive and enriching experience” and is excited to share what she’s learned with other academic advisors as well as prepare for a new year advising honors students.

Rick Scott Honored with Faculty Study Abroad Award


On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, UCA faculty and staff gathered with graduating seniors who had studied abroad during their time at UCA. President Houston Davis and Provost Steve Runge shared remarks and Provost Runge announced that the Office of Study Abroad had introduced a new award to recognize faculty who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to study abroad.

The inaugural recipient of the award was Dr. Rick Scott, Dean of the Schedler Honors College. During his 34-year career with UCA, Rick has lead Study Abroad trips to Africa and is leading a trip this summer to London and Liverpool. Dr. Scott has shown a tremendous dedication to increasing opportunities for students to study abroad and has worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Honors College Travel Abroad Grant (TAG) program, a program that has supported nearly 1,300 Study Abroad opportunities since its founding in 1993.



Three Schedler Honors College students named semi-finalists in Fulbright competition

One student and two alums in the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College at the University of Central Arkansas have been named semi-finalists in the 2017-2018 Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant competition.

The largest U.S. exchange program, Student Fulbright grants enable recipients to spend an academic year teaching, attending graduate school, or conducting research overseas.

From Conway, Arkansas, Laura Craig is a senior Political Science and Digital Film double-major. She hopes to enter graduate school at the University of Sussex, England to earn a Masters of Arts in Media Practice for Development and Social Change.

Maleka Momand, from Fort Smith, Arkansas, graduated in December 2016. A Political Science major, she has applied to teach English in Bulgaria.

Hailing from Texarkana, Texas, Madison Sewell graduated in May 2016 with a Health Science major.  If awarded a Student Fulbright, she will serve as an English teaching assistant in the Czech Republic.

Fulbright U.S. Student alumni populate a range of professions and include ambassadors, members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, teachers, scientists, and health-care professionals, among others.


Arkansas Democrat Gazette/River Valley covers Halloween Tree Production


Conway Symphony Orchestra to present puppet-theater production (in partnership with UCA Schedler Honors College and the El Zocalo Immigrant Resource Center). Read more.

Schedler Honors College announces 2016 Challenge Week Speakers


Norbert O. Schedler Honors College Receives $500,000 Pledge

University of Central Arkansas alumni and philanthropists Rush & Linda Harding have pledged $500,000 to benefit the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College.

Rush ’76 and Linda Harding ’82 have a long history of support and service to the institution.

In 2002, the Hardings established the Holloway-Hicks Scholarship to benefit African-American students. In 2004, they gave more than $1.4 million to UCA, which was the single largest gift in university history at that time. Those funds were used to support student scholarships and to construct Harding Centennial Plaza, a signature landmark on the campus.

“Nothing has impacted our lives and the lives of our family as much as UCA,” said Rush. “Linda and I are so pleased to make this gift, and we look forward to supporting our alma mater in a meaningful way for years to come.”  Read more here.

Halloween Tree (a project directed by Adam Frank)


Log Cabin: The Conway Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the University of Central Arkansas Schedler Honors College and El Zócalo Immigrant Resource Center, will present a puppet theatre adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree.”

Directed by Honors College faculty Adam Frank and with a live orchestra ensemble led by Israel Getzov, “The Halloween Tree” uses shadow puppetry and 3-D puppets to tell the story of three children trying to save their friend on Halloween night.

As the children chase Pip through time to ancient Egypt, Stonehenge, Notre Dame and Mexico, they learn about the ways we understand the borderland between life and death throughout history. The performance includes original compositions by Paul Dickinson (UCA), Karen Griebling (Hendrix College), Michael Pagan and Cory Winters.  Read more here.


Leia Isanhart (Honors Class of 2000) Helps Kenya’s Forgotten Children


Doug Isanhart, Executive in Residence and Lecturer of Management in the College of Business, recently shared an extraordinary story about his daughter Leia’s effort to establish health care and social services in the poorest parts of Nairobi, Kenya. As senior technical advisor of health for Catholic Relief Services, Leia Isanhart, in collaboration with Special Olympics and Adventist Center for Care and Support, was instrumental in developing a pilot program to care for children with intellectual and physical disabilities and provide positive parenting training to families. These forgotten children, previously locked away, receive the physical therapy and social interaction necessary to achieve their full human potential. Read more about Leia’s efforts here.

Farris Honors Hall Receives A New Look


The Honors residence hall, Farris, received a facelift this summer including stained concrete floors and brand new furnishings. The Honors Council, the elected student representatives of the honors student body, was consulted in making decisions regarding the type of furnishings they thought would be most used as well as the color scheme. The end results are spectacular!

Check it out here.