Noble idea, bad idea
Feb04

Noble idea, bad idea

One nation under God, indivisible with free tuition for all. At least that’s the pledge President Barack Obama made during this year’s State of the Union Address. Students at junior colleges with grade point averages of 2.5 and higher would have their costs completely covered.   While many Americans believe the White House’s proposal of free community college for every citizen is a noble gesture, some aren’t so sure it’s a practical one.   Supposing this plan was fiscally feasible, what happens to the influx of graduates who either enter the workforce with associate degrees or continue on to universities? How about working bipartisanly with Congress to implement measures to stabilize the economy so more jobs are available for the people who do pursue higher education? Qualifications are only as good as the market’s demand for them.   Transforming academia into a collegiate puppy mill churning out a flood of cookie-cutter graduates will only exacerbate the already inundated job market. We should be stressing the importance of identifying and choosing both traditional and unconventional career paths suited to each student’s unique aptitudes.   For instance, a certificate from a technical school that provides training in welding or specialized machinery is more practical in today’s energy-dependent, machine-driven society than a general business degree earned by someone who may have no aspirations of doing anything in a related field.   How will handing out tuition indiscriminately to students improve their work ethic? The incentive to achieve doesn’t seem to exist. According to data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, only about 19 percent of those who already receive federal funding for community college complete two-year associates degrees within three years. Why should the government and taxpayers invest more resources in such a dismal failure?   This plan spells big trouble for four-year institutions as there will be a lack of freshmen and sophomore students. Downsizing will most likely mean less government funding, which translates into fewer faculty and staff positions adding to unemployment.   Because these schools have fewer students, tuition will be all more expensive for those who try to continue their degrees after becoming accustomed to free community college tuition. This aggravates the rampant student loan problem, further hampering the economic independence of the lower and middle classes.   There is also the question of undocumented immigrants and their children, many of whom already receive assistance at the expense of American-born citizens. Will the taxpayers have to further subsidize their educations? When will the incentives for immigrating to this country illegally be cut off so America can see that its own are cared for?   What about...

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Student leaders look ahead,  seek guidance for future
Feb04

Student leaders look ahead, seek guidance for future

The weekend before last, students packed luggage into a trailer and filled several university vans and embarked on a three-and-a-half-hour journey to Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. Hardin-Simmons was this year’s host school for the annual Christian Association of Student Leaders conference. UMHB attendees represented almost every organization on campus including the likes of Student Government Association, Baptist Student Ministries, Campus Activities Board Welcome Week Steering Committee and Residence Life Association.   Junior psychology major Ross Jones went to the convention with members of First Year Council, also known as FYC. This was his third time to participate.   “My favorite part of CASL is getting to connect with students from other universities and sharing ideas. This year in particular really helped me step into the shoes of a first-year student and take into mind the stress level that they are experiencing and how to work with that not to overwhelm them more,” he said.   Not only did he meet and learn from students at other universities, but the experience made him grateful and gave him a new respect for his own school.   Overall, something I always end up taking away from CASL is perspective and the realization that we are truly blessed here at UMHB in a variety of ways and a lot of the time we tend to take it for granted.   Senior international business major and Student Body President Jonathan Kendall was among the representatives from SGA.   One lesson he took away from the event was how “to better prepare senators for SGA and to communicate the work that is happening within SGA.”   Maegan Loya, a senior education major and executive member of Campus Activities Board, enjoyed herself, but was sad this would be her last year to attend. What made this year special for her was being asked to make a presentation to all of the universities’ Campus Activities Boards about events she and her team have helped plan and execute at UMHB.   “It was great because it’s something I know, love and could talk about with ease. After submitting my presentation among every other school, I was honored to be one of two selected to present at CASL for Student Activities,” she said.   Another highlight of the event for Loya was the second night, which featured a concert by Christian songwriter and recording artist Jimmy Needham.   She said, “I absolutely loved it! I had never seen him live … which made me even more excited to see...

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New fossils wow students, professors
Jan22

New fossils wow students, professors

At the end of last semester, a local woman, Marion Mount an area native, donated her assortment of fossils to the university’s science department.   “Ms. Mount was very interested in assurance that the collection would be displayed, and after this was promised, she decided donate the collection to UMHB,” Dr. Ruth Ann Murphy chairperson for the environmental science and geology department said.   Murphy is excited about the new possibilities the collection will provide for students during their learning experiences and for faculty as they teach.   She said, “It allows students to see a greater variety of samples from various places in the world and provides professors with more options for maintaining student interest and involvement. Often our geology students become teachers themselves, so this can benefit their future students as well.   The collection offers multiple examples of many of the fossils, making it easier for a classroom full of people to view them.   “There are many, many specimens so large numbers of students could look at them at the same time, but many of the items are tiny. The entire collection would probably fit in a large file cabinet drawer, except we protect the items by wrapping and cushioning them with felt or the equivalent so that requires more space,” Murphy said.   Not only is there a greater quantity of specimens, but there are some special ones.   “We can show the students lots more examples of fossils including sharks’ teeth, turtles, shark vertebrae, a whale tooth, porpoise ear bone to mention a few. It is a phenomenal collection,” she said.   Bill Lukens is an adjunct professor of geology at UMHB and a doctoral candidate at Baylor University. He believes hands-on experience and visual aids enhance his ability to teach as well as his students’ ability to learn.   “Geology is the study of the Earth, its contents, processes and how each change through time. Ideally, I would bring my students to the best examples of every rock and fossil that exists for any particular lesson. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time and money to venture out into the great beyond twice a week! So instead, my job is to bring the geology to them,” he said.   Lukens is thrilled by one specific fossil in the new collection. “My favorite specimen is a well-preserved tortoise shell from a critter named Stylemys. Stylemys tortoises enjoyed the temperate, woody savannah landscapes of the Great Plains around 30-35 million years ago.”   Students are just as excited for the enhancements provided by the specimens.   Junior organismal biology major Victoria Camenisch believes the fossil...

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Junior social work major crowned new Miss MHB
Nov25

Junior social work major crowned new Miss MHB

As a campus that prides itself on unique traditions full of history and meaning, UMHB is home to the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant, a competition that searches for beauty in its contestants. Not outward beauty, but inward beauty.   The winner of the Nov. 9 event was junior social major Zasmyne Robinson.   She exudes pride and passion for her school saying, “What I have found through involvement here on campus and throughout my entire experience here at UMHB that will shape my life forever has been a community that I honestly could not imagine living without.”   Although Robinson had been aware of the tradition, she never suspected that one day she would be Miss MHB.   “I’ve attended pageant every year since I’ve been here at UMHB, and I have always wondered what it’s like to actually be a part of it, but I never knew if I had what it takes,” she said.   Through the campus activities she’s participated in, which include Freedom Movement, Ministry Leadership Council and Revival, Robinson believes she’s grown spiritually.   “As I’ve experienced hardships here, I’ve always been directed back to Christ through chapel, staff, students, etc. I have learned how important it is to surround yourself with people who want the best for you. I have been beyond encouraged by this campus and the faculty,” Robinson said.   She also credits a certainty about her future that many in her stage in life don’t possess to this spiritual growth.   “I feel confident about starting my career once I leave UMHB, because I truly feel as if I’ve benefited from such a Christ-centered education.”   It’s this same reliance on her faith that remained with Robinson when she was announced as the winner.   “I was completely shocked and overwhelmed with emotion when I heard my name called to be the new Miss MHB,” she said. “I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming. After all, I went through this experience with 25 other equally deserving girls. I also couldn’t help but marvel at how far God has brought me; from a young child being so insecure about who I was and what I had to offer, to this moment where I found myself center stage.”   First Runner-Up senior public relations major Payton Pierce is also grateful for growth she’s experienced during her years on campus.   Her participation in Student Foundation and the Welcome Week Steering Committee have allowed her to hone her leadership skills.   She was excited and grateful to have been able to represent her peers in the pageant.   “I became involved...

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CMAs: down-home controversy
Nov25

CMAs: down-home controversy

As is their custom every year, country music fans sat in anticipation watching to see which of their favorite stars would take home awards for their music. It was hosted yet again by a hilarious Brad Paisley and pregnant Carrie Underwood. They joked about everything from Ebola to Taylor Swift’s switch to the pop world.   What perhaps garnered the most laughs was an Ebola-inspired duet of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” re-named “Quarantined” by Underwood and Paisley.   This year highlighted what many hope is not a permanent break with tradition. Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church’s joint rap number and a performance by Ariana Grande left a lot of viewers scratching their heads.   What made the evening more controversial was a racial joke from Brad Paisley. He informed the TV audience they would not be seeing ABC’s new show Black-ish, but instead they were viewing “Whit-ish.”   This ignited a bitter firestorm of tweets from fans and celebrities alike.   One particularly passionate Tweeter @Tennacvol sent out, “Don’t get why @BradPaisley is getting grief over his comments, #BlackishABC … Isn’t the title racist itself? #comeonman.”   That wasn’t Paisley’s only flub of the evening. In an interview with the Highway, a Sirius XM country station, Underwood said she would be keeping the gender and due date of her baby a surprise. Paisley, in what may or may not have been a planned spilling of the beans announced that she would be having a boy.   Underwood says she and her husband may name the baby after Garth Brooks.   Country music’s hottest power couple, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert took home several awards that evening. Lambert, broke a record becoming the most decorated female country vocalist.   In an interview with ABC, her husband, Shelton, sarcastically said “I told my wife when we were walking off the stage, I go, ‘Miranda, I’m sorry, you only won four CMAs tonight. I mean, I’m really sorry.’”   Rising star, Kacey Musgraves received “Song of the Year” for her single, “Follow Your Arrow.”   “For a song that I was told could never be a single, it just blows my mind…. It’s just an anthem for all kinds of people, so I could not be more proud,” she told...

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