Union’s Class of ’63 proclaims Barefoot as honorary member

By Sarah Goff

On behalf of Union University’s Class of 1963, class members John Adams and Roy Jones presented a Proclamation to Hyran Barefoot on July 10 making him an honorary member of the Class of ’63. Barefoot served Union in various positions, including as the university’s 14th president, for nearly 40 years before retiring in 1996.

The reason behind this proclamation is “just out of love and appreciation to Dr. Barefoot, out of love and appreciation for Dr. Barefoot. We wanted to do something that would express that,” said Adams, who served for almost 19 years as Union’s vice president for religious affairs and special assistant to former President David S. Dockery, as well as a Union trustee for five years.

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The Class of 1963 will also place a brick with an inscription about Barefoot at Union’s fountain area, “The Circle,” near where the class’ own inscribed bricks reside. Upon his retirement, Barefoot and his wife, Joyce, were also presented with the Honorary Alumnus Award. The Class of ’63 has been an active and involved Union alumni group, said Teresa Rosson, assistant director for alumni and annual fund.

“Truly they are an exceptional class,” she said.

Their gifts to Union have included building the fountain area on their 25th class reunion, providing the flag poles at the Pleasant Plains entrance on their 50th reunion and presenting the university with an $100,000 check for student scholarships in 2019. Adams said Barefoot supported and contributed to all of those projects.

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The Class of ’63 also recently implemented a prayer group program that assigns class members to check on their classmates on a monthly basis and accumulate a list of prayer requests to send to the whole group.

“What a perfect example of our core values — Christ-centered and people focused,” Rosson said.

Tips for Students Transitioning to an Online Learning Environment

Post by Stephanie Hawley, programming coordinator for the Vocatio Center

Social distancing, safer-at-home orders and shortages of toilet paper. This isn’t what you thought 2020 would look like, is it? You may be feeling overwhelmed, uncomfortable, sad, angry, stressed … you name it. It’s OK to feel these things. A pandemic was not in any of our plans for this year.

Though we may not be physically present with you, the faculty and staff of Union University are allied with you as we move through these uncharted waters together. We’ve compiled some tips, strategies and resources to help you successfully navigate this period of social distancing and remote learning.

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Keep track of changes

How do I access that class online again? What link do I need? When is that paper due? Put all of your key dates, big changes and important links in one place to help you stay on top of things. This might feel like a no-brainer, but if you haven’t yet compiled the course changes in one place for easy reference, go ahead and try it. Things might start feeling a whole lot more manageable.

Make a schedule and stick to it

You might find that you are suddenly operating with very little structure. While at first this might feel freeing, it might also leave you feeling more scattered and less productive. Create some structure in your day, scheduling time for your designated online class meetings and video lectures, for research papers and projects to complete by specific due dates and for exercise and rest.

Avoid multitasking

Multitasking often tricks us into thinking that we’re being more efficient, when we really might be taking longer to accomplish those tasks because our attention is divided. Try to limit your distractions and focus on one thing at a time. Realizing that you need some help with your time management skills? Consider a method like the Pomodoro Technique, or check out the other resources compiled by the Center for Academic Success for time management tips, study skills and more.

Limit screen time

It’s so important to put a limit on your screen time, especially now that everything is online. By charting out your week’s schedule and giving yourself plenty of time to virtually attend classes and to study, you’ll also find that you’re left with time to eat, rest, exercise and maybe even read a book. Find some great book recommendations on the Library’s blog.

Adapt routines

Are there ways to adapt your usual routines to your new environment? Do you need to strategize and create new routines? One of the best things you can do right now is to stick with that school schedule you were used to; get up and dressed as if you are physically going to class. Start the day ready to go.

Do you study best in a comfy chair with light music or do you need a desk, good light and no noise? Do you study best with a partner? Host a virtual study group with your classmates. Check in with your friends and share ideas.

Practice healthy rhythms

There’s a lot to think about as we adjust to these new routines and rhythms. Remember to be kind to yourself, and be kind to others. We’re all adjusting and adapting to this new period together.

Take a walk and exercise daily. If you’re living in a community under safer-at-home directives, you might find that tensions start to run a little high after being cooped up at home. Follow @uucampusrec on Instagram for some at-home workouts and nutrition tips to help you work out your stress and stay healthy.

Engage with your spiritual community. Is your church offering online services? Is there an online community group or Bible study you can join? Follow @uu_ministries and @uu_mobilization on Instagram as they help us engage spiritually through this time of social distancing, and be sure to tune in to chapel each week as it streams online.

Practice good mental health and coping techniques. There’s so much that we can’t control right now, and it can be really helpful to name those things and then limit the time we spend thinking about them. Rather than dwelling on all that we can’t control, shift your focus to what you can control, and then start doing those things. Check out Counseling Services for more helpful mental health tips and resources, and to learn more about their services during this time.

Listen to music, like the Gospel Coalition’s playlist, Songs of Comfort for Anxious Souls. This playlist is available on Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music, and includes some of our most beloved hymns and worship songs.

Ask for Help

One of the most important things you can do right now is ask for help. There are so many resources available to you, even from home. Check out the list of departments and services below, and let us know how we can help you!

Academic Resources: Writing Center; Library; Center for Academic Success

Student Life support services: Counseling Services; Health Services; Disability Services

5 Tips for K-12 Teachers who are Teaching Online Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Post by Dr. Eric D. Marvin, professor of education

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A few short weeks ago, you probably never envisioned that you’d now be teaching without your classroom. Sure, you may have taken an online class, but you may have never taught one! In the wake of COVID-19, many K-12 teachers, like you, have been tasked with converting face-to-face lessons into online instruction.

At the surface, it’s OK if it seems a little daunting, or novel, to say the least. After all, feelings of uncertainty during times of change are natural, but deep down, you know you’ve got this! As an educator, “adaptable” is your middle name, but even so, a few tips never hurt. In the midst of the pandemic in which you find yourself, Union University is here to offer some support. Here are five tips that can guide you during this non-traditional time of instruction as you teach your students from a distance:

1. Good instruction is good instruction, regardless of the format. The good news is that you already understand the components of effective instruction. You know how to write objectives, create and facilitate strategies, and check for understanding with various means of assessment. Similarly, you already understand that your objectives, strategies and assessments must align. This doesn’t change as you move to an online format. So, don’t let the idea of online instruction misdirect you from what you already know and do. Rather, for each objective, ask yourself: what online tools will enable me to help students achieve this objective? Don’t consume your time with a blind search for online tools and technological solutions without first considering your objectives. Doing so puts the cart before the horse. Keep your attention on the components of effective instruction. Then, find specific tools to enable you to help your students achieve your specified objectives.

2. Use free resources. As a teacher, you are already likely a king or queen of finding free resources. Most of your freebies, however, have likely focused on content and not instructional tools. One tool that may be especially helpful as you aim to provide online instruction to your students is Screencast-O-Matic. This tool allows you to record, edit and share video content with students and parents, and best of all, it’s easy to use. Keep in mind that this tool can be used to record a mini-lecture, provide assignment instructions and communicate with parents. For older students, you could even ask them to record their own screencast with this powerful tool. Finally, if you are looking for some additional content-related freebies, check out: the live cameras at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, educator resources from the National Archives and the video archive from PBS Learning Media.

3. Online learning doesn’t require students to complete assignments online. In the absence of meeting in your traditional classroom, it may be easy to assume that online learning requires student work to occur online. Nothing could be further than the truth! What needs to be online is your communication with students and their submission of assignments to you. With social distancing, students can, however, be tasked with completing assignments with tangible objects in their home, around their yard or in their neighborhood. Similarly, they can call or Facetime grandparents to learn more about their lives. What a great time for such an interview project. After all, everyone is home and perhaps in need of some conversation. Your goal is to establish the guidelines and expectations. As always, be creative and see where you can take your students during this opportunity brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Relationships remain important, even when at a distance. More than anyone else, you know that relationships matter with your students. They know you care about them and want what is best for them. Now that you have been geographically separated from your students, it’s important for students to know you are continuing to think about them and their educational needs. Panorama Education offers a free online survey tool that can help your students learn about each other and build stronger classroom relationships. Additionally, sending a brief video message (see Screencast-O-Matic above) to students can help to bridge the gap. If you want to talk with them about COVID-19, the CDC offers some guidelines here.

5. Follow the guidelines provided by your district. Due to COVID-19, it is very probable that your district has a continuity of instruction plan and specific guidance in place related to your work and the legal parameters in which you can and should function as an educator in the online world. Now is not the time to press the limits or extend beyond such boundaries. Your school administrators are concerned about the situation at hand and need your prayers, support, cooperation and collaboration.

Union University’s School of Education is praying for and thinking about you as a K-12 educator. To learn more about the School of Education and its degree offerings, please visit uu.edu/education.

Sophomore Wesley Jennings serves those in need on mission in Honduras

Post by Corey Morris

This summer, Wesley Jennings, an incoming sophomore at Union University, followed the charge in James 1:27 to serve those in need while being different from the world. While many young men his age would be looking to advance themselves in this world and spend the summer relaxing, Wesley has shown his true faith and altruistic nature.

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As a member of our Honduras Mission Team, Wesley served in the impoverished regions of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in various capacities. Our church in McMinnville, Tennessee, partners with Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa. We visit Honduras for one week each summer to help in humanitarian, medical, dental and evangelical efforts and to share the love of Christ to those around us. As a vital member of our team, Wesley went above and beyond in his call of duty to help serve the underserved.

While with our missionary group, Wesley jumped in full-force in many ways. He helped on construction teams to build homes given only a few nails, a hammer and a chainsaw as his tools of the trade. In addition, he helped in our dental clinic doing various tasks, from trying to make a crying child laugh with puppets to helping sanitize extraction instruments.

Wesley also helped assist in our medical clinic by triaging over 170 patients (in two days) without medical care to be seen by our medical missionaries. He was involved in the intake of these patients and taking their vital signs. The professionalism he showed, as well as the care he gave to patients, was unmatched with someone his age.

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Not only did Wesley help these fellow brother and sisters in Christ with their immediate medical and survival needs, he also assisted in their spiritual needs. When Wesley wasn’t working hard in our clinics, you could see him playing with children who don’t regularly receive attention. He didn’t let a language barrier stop him, and you could see the love of Christ reflecting through him.

Wesley also helped assist with our Vacation Bible School for these children. He is an honorable young man, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to have served with him. Union University is doing something right in developing Christ-centered individuals, and I’m glad I was able to see that education through one of Union’s students.

Corey Morris is a medical student at Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tennessee, and a missionary with Westwood Church in McMinnville, Tennessee.

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Forever Bulldogs – Homecoming 2018

The Union University community gathered to celebrate alumni and current students during Homecoming weekend Nov. 1-3. Events included a 50 year reunion for the class of 1969, food and games on the Great Lawn, basketball and volleyball games and the crowning of the 2018 homecoming queen.

We’ve put together our favorite photos from the events of the weekend here for you all to enjoy.

Bulldog Olympics, student competition. Photos by Lynn Tucker

Class of 1969 welcome, mix and mingle. Photos by Kristi Woody

Homecoming chapel, featuring members of the Class of 1969 and the presentation of the gift from the Class of 1968. Photos by Kristi Woody

Meritorious Service Awards Banquet with 14 awards given. Photos by Kristi Woody

Bulldog Madness. Photos by Joey Echeverria

Basketball games: Lady Bulldogs vs. Martin Methodist and Bulldogs vs. Freed Hardeman. Photos by Riley Boggs and Kristi Woody

President’s Cup winners SAE; Mr. & Miss Union, Grant Allen and Corinne Olund; and Homecoming Queen 2018, Sallie Norman. Photos by Kristi Woody

Forever Bulldogs event on the Great Lawn. Photos by Joey Echeverria and Kristi Woody

Blank Slate Improv performance. Photos by Nikki Grim

Anthem Lights performance. Photos by Nikki Grim and Kristi Woody

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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Snow Days – January 2018

Union University has experienced an unusually snowy and cold January so far. The days off have given students and alumni in the area plenty of opportunities to get out and play in the snow. Here are a few of our favorite photos taken by our staff photographer, Kristi Woody, as well as photos submitted by students and alumni.

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Below are images submitted by students and alumni in the area.

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Biology professors host students for Be Our Guest event

Be Our Guest is an annual event where Union University faculty and staff host a group of students in their homes for an evening meal together.

Due to the popularity of Be Our Guest, we are now offering the program twice each academic year. 

Be Our Guest ranks as one of the most popular events SAC organizes each year. Students have shared that they love the chance to spend time with faculty and staff outside of the classroom and learn that their lives are more than academic pursuits. SAC truly hopes to encourage faculty/staff and student interaction, which we know contributes to student growth and retention.  As Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast sings, we trust the meals prepared are delicious, but we truly hope that the fellowship is enjoyable.

The following photos are from the home of Beth and Andy Madison, who hosted seven students at their home last Tuesday. Andy Madison is a professor of biology and Beth Madison is assistant professor of science in adult and professional studies.

Photos by Kristi Woody & Riley Boggs

Summer Music Camp

The Department of Music and the Community Music Center at Union University held their ninth annual Summer Music Camp this week. This camp for children grades 1-8 provides performance opportunities with expert clinicians, exposure to a wide variety of musical experiences, and a week of fun with friends.

All students sing in either the 1-5 grade or 6-8 grade choir, rehearsing several times during each day of camp. In addition, the younger students have a myriad of musical experiences with xylophones, handbells, piano, world drumming and beginning strings. Older students also participate in a variety of musical experiences in small groups including handbells, guitar, and technology.

Below are some photos of the many activities that camp participants enjoy throughout the week.