Students Celebrate Arbor Day by Expanding Union Arboretum

Mark Bolyard, university professor of biology, and Michael Schiebout, associate professor of biology, went out this week with about 15 students to plant nine varieties of trees around campus to celebrate Arbor Day.

These additions bring the total trees in the Union University Arboretum to about 60. Students also helped place signs beside existing trees on campus, which will help educate visitors on what is planted here. Bolyard said he looks forward to continuing this tradition for Campus and Community Day each fall and Arbor Day each spring.

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The trees planted this week:

  1. Two Monkey Puzzle trees. These are endangered in their native range, and there are few of them planted in the state of Tennessee. They are unusual looking evergreen trees native to Chile (pictured above).
  2. Two small Catalpa trees, with plans to add a third one, which should become medium sized flowering trees.
  3. Shumard oak, which should have nice fall color.
  4. Burr oak
  5. Warei oak
  6. Black poplar
  7. Black Alder
  8. Kentucky coffee tree
  9. Basswood, which replaces a tree near the BAC that was struggling.

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Comm Arts Students Intern with MLK50 Event

Post by Austin Maddox, public relations major

I am a huge fan of several different Christian publications. Articles from websites such as Desiring God, Radical, The Gospel Coalition and the ERLC fill my news feeds from various social platforms throughout any given day.

Often, I will read an article that catches my attention, be inspired or convicted, and then share with close friends who I know will appreciate the content as well. There have even been times where we have joked about how incredible it would be to write and work for one of these publications alongside the great minds of John Piper, Kevin DeYoung or Russell Moore. What a dream that would be.

So, you can imagine how I felt when my adviser, Ashley Blair, offered me an internship with the ERLC for their MLK50 event in Memphis.

As soon as I receive the email, I freaked out. The ERLC? Are you kidding? I transferred from my community college in the fall of 2017 and had only been at Union University for a full semester at this point, and I was already getting unbelievable opportunities to serve in my desired field. It was nuts!

Of course, I accepted the offer, and on April 3-4, I woke up at 5:30 a.m., put on a tie (which felt super cool), and Corinne Olund and I headed to Memphis with nerves and excitement filling our spirits. The entire trip down we talked about what we would possibly be doing, as well as praising God for generously giving us such an amazing chance to work with a prestigious organization such as the ERLC.

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I can honestly say that those two days were probably some of the busiest of my life. As soon as we arrived, we met with Dan Darling, VP for communications for the ERLC, and talked about our life goals and why chose to study public relations. The meeting ended with a valuable offer for a recommendation whenever we needed one, and possible future job offers.

Afterwards, we worked alongside Elizabeth Bristow, press secretary for the ERLC. She showed us the ropes on her job during events like this, such as organizing the press that would come to interview the speakers, as well as keeping up with the buzz about the event on social media and writing press releases and emails. It was a very eye-opening experience.

Not only did we work hard, but we also got the opportunity to meet some of my personal role models, such as Russell Moore, Matt Chandler and John Piper. It was such a surreal experience.

After the work was done the last day, Corinne and I said our goodbyes to all of our new friends at the ERLC and headed back towards Union. The whole way home we talked about our experience, and how thankful we are for a school that values their students, knows them personally and matches them with opportunities that will further their professional careers and allow personal growth.

I can’t thank you enough, Union Communication Arts!

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Top Ten Photos of 2017

Throughout the year, staff photographer Kristi Woody and four student photographers took more than 40,000 photos documenting life at Union University. Here are 10 photos from 2017 that give an overview of the year at Union. We are looking forward to even more great moments in 2018!

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For Variety Show, members of Chi Omega performed a Mario-themed number complete with Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach. Their performance won them first place in the large group category. Photo by Gretchen Foels.

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Dr. Dub Oliver, president of the university, walks out of The Logos with Buster the Bulldog. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Members of the Bulldog soccer team celebrate after scoring a goal against Auburn University Montgomery. Photo by Hannah Heckart.

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The New Respects, who Rolling Stone described as “funky, exuberant blues-rock,” performed in Barefoots Joe in the fall. Photo by Gretchen Foels.

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On Aug. 21, Jackson experienced 96 percent totality during a solar eclipse. The event coincided with Welcome Week, so new students gathered on the Great Lawn to observe the eclipse. The physics department gave a short presentation and had viewing instruments out for use. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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The Union University players performed in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead under the direction of David Burke, professor of theatre, in the W.D. Powell Theatre. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Each building in the residence life complexes forms a team of students that competes for points throughout the year. These points are tallied up at the end of the spring semester, and the Union Cup is awarded to the team with the most points. The final event in the competition is Field Day, where students compete in a balloon toss. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Fireworks go off at the conclusion of Union Night during Family Weekend. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Undergraduate Admissions passed out free stadium horns during a community appreciation event at a soccer game. This event coincided with Bulldog Days so several prospective students had the opportunity to enjoy a Bulldog sporting event during their stay. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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The Student Government Association hosted a Christmas tree lighting outside of The Logos with the hope that it will become a new Union tradition. Students sang a few Christmas songs and enjoyed some hot chocolate before the tree was lit. Photo by Kristi Woody.

Organizational Behavior class presents to West TN Healthcare

A few weeks ago Laura Ladymon from West Tennessee Healthcare was invited to speak in Dr. Emily Lean’s Organizational Behavior course about problems they are having recruiting and retaining Millennial employees.

West Tennessee Healthcare is the largest employer in West Tennessee, so a high turnover rate with the majority of those leaving being Millennials was a serious concern for them. Over the course of several weeks, students prepared and presented their ideas to the class as to how they would improve the current strategies at West Tennessee Healthcare.

The best ideas and presenters were combined into one large presentation which was given in the J. Walter Barnes Auditorium at the Jackson Madison County General Hospital on Nov. 2. Junior and senior business students went before multiple WTH directors, human resources, benefits, and recruiting coordinators to offer their research findings and suggestions.

Additional interested community members such as individuals from the Chamber of Commerce were also in attendance at the presentation. The audience of approximately 100 people included many former and current Union MBA students. The presentation team was composed of Brooke Fisher, Gillian Gandy, Emily Swope, Matthew Grove, Blake Karnes, Daniel Turner, Casper Nyberg and Caleb DeMarigny. These students were the perfect example of professionalism and were excellent ambassadors for Union University.

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Interprofessional Mega-Simulation

171111_KMW_InterdisciplinarySimulation_022Union University held its first interprofessional mega-simulation Nov. 11. Interprofessional Education (IPE) occurs when students learn about, from and with other health care providers.

This IPE learning activity was designed to allow health care professional students from the College of Pharmacy, the School of Nursing and the School of Social Work to work together to provide patient care. Additionally, students from the theater department made this simulation more life-like by serving as family members of the patient. The objective of the simulation was to allow students to demonstrate IPE competencies to practice as collaborative health care team members.

171111_KMW_InterdisciplinarySimulation_037Forty health care teams that participated in the simulation, each composed of one or two students from each of the three disciplines. As the students worked together to provide care for their patient and for family members, this simulation allowed them to identify not only their own roles and responsibilities, but also those of other team members.

During debriefing sessions after the simulation exercise, students described the activity with words such as fun, intense, stressful, challenging and confidence booster. Students said the activity increased their realization of the importance of communication and collaboration in providing patient care.

They also walked away from the activity with a greater appreciation of the other disciplines on their team. Students reported that they better understand the importance of relationships with other health care team members and learned skills that will help them in their future practice.

Post by Kim Lindsey-Goodrich, photos by Kristi Woody

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Union Business Students Travel to Italy

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Earlier this fall, a group of five Master of Business Administration students and Luanne Powell, MBA coordinator, traveled to Rome, Italy, for MBA International Week at LUISS Business School. This event consisted of students from nine different schools across the world coming together to work on a franchising strategy for Italian fashion brand United Colors of Benetton.

The students were divided into groups to discuss the Benetton case study, “Benetton Sales Distribution Channel Strategy — The Franchise Expansion Case,” and work on presentations for the company. Representatives from Benetton were present to discuss the obstacles the company was facing.

“I think it spoke highly of Benetton to have that calibre of employee accessible to the students,” Union MBA student Alex Covarrubias said. “It gave you the sense that they were really interested in what we had to say, since there was a person of influence at our disposal.”

The groups were organized so students from different schools were working together. Each of our MBA students gained experience collaborating with people from other nations such as Russia, Argentina, England and Croatia.

“What I liked most about the program was mingling with students from other countries,” Covarrubias said. “It was very fun to have the opportunity to learn things about one another and ask questions. In the brief period of time some friends were made and maybe even future networking opportunities.”

After making their presentations to Benneton, the students each received a certificate of completion for their work. They also earned class credit during the trip.

This study abroad opportunity is one of many that Union students have the opportunity to choose from. Learn more about studying abroad on our website.

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Honoring God Through Nursing – Student Reflection

Post by Amanda Couch, junior nursing major

Amanda Couch portraitExperiencing nursing school has taught me many things such as dedication, empathy, and faithfulness. Most importantly, I am learning to rely upon the Lord for my strength and peace, because every source other than Jesus is too easily depleted in comparison with the infinite depths of Christ’s love and grace — a fact I need reminding of every single second of every single day.

Honestly, nursing school is hard, making it tempting to complain; yet, it’s in those moments that I need God’s grace to remind me of what a blessing it is to be called to become a nurse and what a privilege it is to attend a school like Union that is dedicated to the spiritual wellbeing and professional success of its students.

Being a nurse affords the special opportunity to work one-on-one with a person who is often going through one of the worst parts of his or her life. In those moments of pain and suffering, the patient is looking for a source of assurance, pain relief, and explanation of what is going on and what is to be expected in the hours to come. It’s the nurse’s privilege to anticipate and meet these physical and psychological needs.

Yes, this may mean fulfilling the doctor’s orders for such things as medication administration or IV insertion, but it also entails meeting the seemingly “smaller” needs of patients such as simply being there for them and listening with an empathetic spirit or holding their hand during a painful procedure. For example, I still remember my first patient teaching me to place the rolling bedside table back in its original position prior to leaving the room if the table had been moved during a procedure so that he could reach his possessions. Caring could also mean offering to help tidy up the patient’s appearance before having visitors if the patient is unable to do so.

The point is to show God’s love in everything we do, remembering Christ’s words found in Matthew 25:40: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (ESV). I would challenge you to identify specific and unique ways in which you can honor Christ in your chosen profession and then purposefully work “as for the Lord and not for men” every day of your life as you live as Christ’s ambassador (Colossians 3:23, ESV).

Nursing as a Calling – Student Reflection

Post by Rachel Edgren, senior nursing major

Rachel Edgren portraitI’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was in high school. As the older sister of three and the “mom” in many of my friend groups, I always enjoyed helping others. That, coupled with my curiosity, love for people and questioning nature, made nursing a fascinating and prospective choice for a career.

In the first week or two of nursing school one of my professors told the class that if we were here to simply make money, we were in the wrong profession. That struck me as poignant because for many going into the workforce, that is in fact the priority. However, for nursing there is something else that’s the ultimate goal. Going through each class, I began to learn more and more that nursing is the holistic care of a person. This particularly delighted me since I was passionate about the overall wellness of a being, such as emotional and spiritual health, and not just physical health.

In my short time as a nursing student working in the hospital, I have seen many different patients, each struggling with different physical, mental, spiritual and emotional ailments. Some patients have been difficult to care for, but all deserve love, kindness and respect.

I believe that nursing is the type of job that requires an overflow of love from the Lord. It is only when he pours into me that I am able to love and serve others with his love — the kind of love that does not give up and will bear all things.

Nursing is not merely a profession but a calling to the care and love of others, which was modeled best by Jesus. It is through him that I have the desire, compassion and patience to work toward becoming an excellent nurse. He is the one who has been with me each step of the way, and I know that he will continue to lead and restore me as I attempt to serve others.

Nurses, I believe, can be the very hands and feet of Jesus. Now that’s a calling I want to be a part of.

Boston trip provides inside look at PR in action for communication arts students

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Post by Anna Claire Sewell, PRSSA President
Photos by Ashley Fitch Blair and Shelby Kee

As I glanced around at my peers on the flight home, I couldn’t help but think about what an awesome experience we had in Boston. As students in Union University’s communication arts department, we are presented with opportunities through our PRSSA chapter that are not only educationally enriching, but also exciting.

PRSSA, Public Relations Student Society of America, is an on-campus organization that allows students to lead and learn through the integration of knowledge and professional development. Along with a day trip to meet with communication professionals in the fall, Union’s PRSSA chapter takes a trip to a larger market during the spring semester.

During our stay in Boston, we met with communication specialists in three different areas of the field. The first morning there was freezing — actually, quite below freezing. It did not faze us! We grabbed our coffee and were excited for the day ahead.

Our first meeting was with Shawn McBride, executive vice president of sports at Ketchum Sports & Entertainment. McBride shared about his love of working in a fast-paced international PR firm and gave us advice as we enter the work force.

A few short train rides later, we found ourselves stepping into a broadcast dreamland. The communications team at WGBH Boston gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how they handle strategic communication for such a large station. Here’s the most exciting part: WGBH Boston produces one-third of the national programming on PBS. A few of the shows produced by this station include Arthur, Zoom, Antiques Roadshow, The American Experience and NOVA!

To see the amount of work put into the shows I enjoyed throughout my childhood into adulthood really put my future career into perspective. This visit showed me that while I will only be one communications specialist, my work has the potential to affect millions of people.

Our list of professional visits concluded T.K. Skenderian, director of communication for the Boston Athletic Association and its signature event, the Boston Marathon. This meeting provided us with a chance to ask questions about nonprofit work and crisis communication. Skenderian shared some powerful insights through his experience with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing on how to carefully handle crisis communication during a tragedy. From that experience, Skenderian tied in his love for working for a cause bigger than himself.

In addition to the professional development aspect of the trip, we also spent some time checking out historical sites and taking in the local flare that Boston has to offer. From the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum visit, to the multiple cannoli consumed, to the large amounts of coffee purchased to keep us warm in the cold wind, we got a small glimpse at how Boston culture plays into the work environments in the Northeast.

When I decided to declare my major as public relations, I had no idea how many doors could be opened with a degree in the communications field. Our trip to Boston provided each member of PRSSA the chance to dive deeper into what exactly it means to be a communication professional. This Boston experience was an excellent way to top off my time at Union with peers who have become friends and professors who have become mentors.

As I picked up my bags at the airport to head back to Jackson, I left with a feeling of purpose and excitement for what is ahead for me and each of my fellow communications majors.

Meet Our Faculty – Part 2

Union University attracts some of the nation’s leading Christian intellectuals. They are dedicated to classroom teaching, mentorship, collaboration and the success of their students. Here are some faculty members we would like you to meet.


Earnest Easley

Ernest Easley – Professor of Evangelism

“We want evangelism to be in the DNA of every student that walks off this campus.”

Learn more about Ernest Easley here.

 

 

 

 


Colene Trent

Colene Trent – Assistant Professor of Economics

“We teach economics in a very specific way. We teach students to be good stewards.”

Read more about Colene Trent’s approach to teaching economics here.

 

 

 

 


Haifei Li

Haifei Li – Associate Professor of Computer Science

“It is important to me that students know not only how the software works, but how to deal with the hardware, the machines.”

Learn more about Haifei Li’s history with computer science here.