Missouri State University
CHPA Dean's Blog
College of Humanities and Public Affairs Blog

Four-star Admiral Cecil Haney Speaks at Defense and Strategic Studies Commencement

Missouri_State_2015_043Four-star Admiral Cecil Haney was the commencement speaker at the May 15, 2015 commencement ceremony of the MSU graduate Department of Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS), which is located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  ADM Haney is  the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command  (STRATCOM), which is located at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and is responsible for the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent, among many other responsibilities.  This commencement ceremony marked the 10th anniversary of the Department’s relocation from the Springfield, MO campus to its offices near Washington, DC. ADM Haney’s commencement address focused on the great opportunities and responsibilities the new DSS graduates would have as they begin their careers in public service in Washington.  He mentioned the title of each graduate’s Master’s thesis in his remarks and offered a number of principles that would help the graduates in their careers.  He also encouraged them  to excellence and perseverance in all there future endeavors.  At the reception for the graduates following commencement, ADM Haney spoke with each graduate individually and presented each personally with the U.S. Strategic Command Commander’s coin.  The  graduates, their friends and families all expressed their great appreciation for ADM Haney’s remarks and the individual attention he showed to each graduate.   It was a great honor for the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies for ADM Haney to participate in its 10th anniversary commencement celebration.  Missouri_State_2015_016

Posted in Awards, Commencement, Defense and Strategic Studies, Presentations, Reception, Recognition, Students | Leave a comment

Victor Matthews has 4th edition of book published


MatthewsVictor0003The 4th edition Victor Matthews’ book has just been published under the new title, The Cultural World of the Bible, by Baker Academic.

 This revised and expanded new edition contains historical summaries at the beginning of each chapter and a discussion of aspects of everyday life.  Rather than serving primarily as a reference work, its aim is to spark conversation and to bring the narratives and the biblical characters to life.  The Bible deserves close study and students should have the opportunity to exercise their critical thinking skills to raise questions and to seek out a fuller understanding of how the ancient world differs from their own.  While they cannot physically enter Jerusalem in the time of King David, they can explore what it is like to live in a world without automobiles, electricity, and smart phones.  Even though they may not experience being taken into exile after seeing their homes destroyed, they can be made aware through reading what prophets like Jeremiah had to say about these devastating times and they can feel the pain of musicians who no longer can sing a song to Yahweh in the Temple (Psalm 137).  And, when they read one of Jesus’ parables they can explore his use of agricultural metaphors and social situations, and gain a better sense of what he meant by the “kingdom of heaven.”

 Dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and Professor of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, Victor H. Matthews is a specialist in Hebrew Bible and the social world of the ancient Near East, and has published seventeen books and dozens of articles.   He obtained his Ph.D. from Brandeis in 1977 in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and has been on faculty at Missouri State University since 1984.


Posted in Books, Faculty and Staff, Publications, Religious Studies | Leave a comment

Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., student volunteers time

garciaVolunteering can be a great way to learn about yourself and your future desires. Jessica Garcia, junior sociology and Spanish student, had this very experience while volunteering with a variety of organizations and social campaigns.

Garcia has been actively involved with Kids Club, Inner City Outreach, NightLight International and many more.

Through Garcia’s efforts in volunteering, she discovered a passion to help others and saw a need for community service in the world. Her time spent with these organizations helped her see a way to continue this campaign later in life.

“I think this university truly pushes their public affairs mission of ethical leadership, community engagement and cultural competence,” said Garcia. “These components make us all better humans and I admire the way the university encourages the embodiment of these characteristics.”

For the complete article from the Springfield News Leader see: http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/education/2015/05/17/inspired-martin-luther-king-jr-student-volunteers-time/27501183/

Posted in Sociology and Anthropology, Students, Travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

John Harms receives 2015 William S. Tacey Award

Dr. John Harms, Professor and Sociology Program Coordinator, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2015 William S. Tacey Award. The Tacey award was established in honor of William S. Tacey, a founder and first president of the Assembly of State and Regional Conferences. The award is given annually to “an individual for outstanding service to a conference over a number of years.”1896

Since joining the American Association of University Professors Dr. Harms has served as Conference President, travelling across the state campaigning for higher education while mentoring fellow officers and colleagues. The impact of his work is evident on campuses throughout Missouri, and he has also exerted an important influence on the state legislature. His efforts in writing and presenting position papers on higher education funding were essential in helping to defeat TABOR and other bills which would have negatively impacted academic freedom in the state. He continues to support state conference initiatives directly and through his work as the Chapter Service Director.

The William S. Tacey Awards will be announced at the State Conferences Business Meeting held during the annual meeting in June.

Posted in Awards, Faculty and Staff, Recognition, Sociology and Anthropology | Leave a comment

Congratulations to Michelle Morgan for her Recent Publication

Michelle MorganMichelle Morgan, Assistant Professor in the History Department, recently had a chapter published in a book entitled “American Education in Popular Media, From the Blackboard to the Silver Screen”.   This book examines how popular media including mass magazines, radio, film, and television have represented schooling in the United States over the course of the twentieth century. Historical essays explore prevalent portrayals of students and professional educators while addressing contested purposes of schooling in American society.

Her chapter is: “A Touch of Risquity”: Teachers, Perception, and Popular Culture in the Progressive Era.  Congratulations Michelle!

Here’s a link:





Posted in Books, Faculty and Staff, History, Publications, Recognition | Leave a comment

Religious studies major travels abroad, finds beauty in cultural diversity

Bailey Wiles
Bailey Wiles

Bailey Wiles, a double-major in global studies and religious studies, participated in a four-month study away trip to Chambéry, France. She took intensive French classes, a wine and cheese course,

and multiple cultural awareness classes—all taught in French.

Wile’s continued to travel France for another two months. During this time she visited Plum Village, the Buddhist monastery of Thich Nhat Hahn, where she learned that cultures don’t have as many differences as we may think.

“I got a chance to meet with people from all over the world, which helped me learn the beauty of different cultures,” said Wiles. “It was eye-opening that I could connect on some level with every person I met.”

For more information see:  http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/education/2015/05/10/religious-studies-major-travels-abroad-finds-beauty-cultural-diversity/27086633/


Posted in Religious Studies, Students, Travel | Leave a comment

Ten Faculty Members Honored for Years of Service

Tuesday, May 5, ten members of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs were honored for their years of service.   Thank you all for your dedication.

45 Years

James Moyer, Religious Studies

30 Years

David Gutzke, History

John Harms, Sociology and Anthropology


25 Years

George Connor, Political Science

Thomas Dicke, History

Reed Olsen, Economics


15 Years

Suzanne Walker-Pacheco, Sociology and Anthropology


10 Years

Leslie Baynes, Religious Studies

David Mitchell, Economics

Gabriel Ondetti, Political Science


Posted in Faculty and Staff, Recognition | Leave a comment

Ray receives 2015 Hamilton Distinguished Service Award

Jack H. Ray, Assistant Research Professor and Assistant Director of the Center for Archaeological Research, received the 2015 Hamilton Distinguished Service Award at the annual meeting of the Missouri Archaeological Society on April 10. This award is conferred on professional archaeologists in recognition of many and exceptional contributions to Missouri archaeology.  DSCN0603


Posted in Archaeology, Awards, Faculty and Staff, Recognition | Leave a comment