Washington Adventist University Mourns the Death of Adjunct Professor of Education Myschelle Spears

mspears

Takoma Park, MD (May 13, 2015) The May 2 death of Adjunct Professor of Education Myschelle Spears, Ph.D. is being mourned this week by Washington Adventist University (WAU) faculty, staff and students. Until recently, she taught an undergraduate education course, Material for Teaching Reading, for the university’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies. 

“It is the real-world experiences of adjunct professors like Dr. Spears that provides such value to our students,” said Nicole Currier, dean of the WAU School of Graduate and Professional Studies. “She is going to be missed, not only on this campus, but throughout the many schools and organizations where she has long worked to make a difference.”
 
In addition to teaching evening classes at WAU, Spears also taught sixth graders at Adelphi Elementary School.  Spears’ career included two years as principal of Sligo Adventist School, and she also taught at Howard University and Spencerville Adventist Academy.  In addition, Spears participated with the Pathfinders Club, which is a co-ed organization for young people that teaches camping and survival skills, leadership, community outreach, and includes recreational activities.

Spears’ funeral is scheduled for Friday, May 15, 2015 at the Emmanuel Brinklow Seventh-day Adventist Church, 18800 New Hampshire Avenue, Ashton, Maryland, 20861. The viewing will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, with the service following at 11:00 a.m.

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Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County's only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. A total of 1,100 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.

Media Contacts:
Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu
Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, dbigler@wau.edu

Adjunct Professor of Public Policy Offers Unique Perspective on Race and Social Justice Issues Affecting Baltimore, Ferguson and other Cities

ColinWellenkamp

Takoma Park, Md. (May 1, 2015) Adjunct Professor of Public Policy Colin Wellenkamp, who teaches in Washington Adventist University’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies, offers a unique perspective on the race and social justice issues that are currently affecting Baltimore, Maryland.

According to Wellenkamp, “A community's relationship with its police force is linked to the severity and character of that community's stress. As the stress ebbs and flows, so does the challenge of enforcing the law.”

Wellenkamp grew up near Ferguson, Missouri, and has, in his professional life, represented the cities of Baltimore and Philadelphia in Washington, DC.

Pointing to the success of law enforcement programs in the late 1990s through mid-2000s that enhanced community engagement and lowered recidivism rates for offenders by providing them with education, housing, health care, and transitional services, Wellenkamp makes the case that the issues playing out today in cities like Baltimore have much to do with the economic stresses and government program reductions that began during the recession.  He also points to the increasingly militarized police tactics and equipment in recent years to combat what was perceived to be a growing terrorist threat.

He suggests that the solutions to race and social justice issues are three-fold: 1) supporting justice assistance programs at all levels of government by embedding community policing in all facets of police work; 2) funding more oversight training and technology to better protect both the public and police during law enforcement activities; and 3) focusing more attention on education, job training, youth mentoring, and at-risk youth.

For Wellenkamp’s entire statement on his perspective regarding the Baltimore unrest, see below. Wellenkamp also participated last September in the “Dialogue on Ferguson” that Washington Adventist University co-hosted with Saint Louis University. The dialogue can still be heard in its entirety at http://www.wau.edu/audio-files/dialogue-on-ferguson.mp3

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Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County's only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. A total of 1,100 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.

Media Contacts:
Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu
Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, dbigler@wau.edu


May 1, 2015

I was raised next to Ferguson and worked for Baltimore:
A perspective on race and social justice issues

By Colin Wellenkamp
 Adjunct Professor of Public Policy
School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Context of the Issues

As someone who grew up a couple of miles from Ferguson, Missouri and represented the cities of Baltimore and Philadelphia in Washington, D.C., recent events in my hometown and in cities I worked with for years to create policy solutions strikes a chord and forces me to ask “what creates lasting change?” 

I advocated for community policing, worked with mayors, advised on public policy to help neighborhoods and empower communities. I see what’s happening and I’m trying to take stock of the past and see a path forward for the future. I think I have a handle on the policy situation underlying the unrest in Ferguson and now Baltimore. But, it was all very scholastic until one of my students, who grew-up in Sandtown, laid out for me that what has transpired through the perspective of public policy also occurred in very human terms on the ground – this was my greatest epiphany and relief.  

“Officer ‘Friendly’ left in the 1980s until Mayor O’Malley came into office”

There is a context to what we are seeing play out in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. A community's relationship with its police force is linked to the severity and character of that community's stress. As the stress ebbs and flows, so does the challenge of enforcing the law in those communities.

We first saw a change in the character of policing with the onset of the war on drugs. As drugs entered neighborhoods at an unprecedented level, public agencies responded with an emphasis on suppression. It was during this time that my student who grew-up in Sandtown, said that the relationship with the police began to deteriorate. When intervention and prevention entered the mix, however, the impact was less violence and more community engagement. One of the results of this was the 1994 enactment of the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program. From the time it began until 2005, the COPS program provided $10 billion across 12,000 police agencies. The point of the program was to hire police officers and train and equip them for deeper engagement with the community.

Baltimore used the program, but also supplemented COPS with other efforts. At the time, Mayor Martin O'Malley and Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm realized that crime was not a symptom of police activity. Rather, it was caused by other factors that fed a recidivist-prone system of offenders and re-offenders. So, Mayor O'Malley created the Ex-Offender Task Force in 2003 to provide those coming out of state supervision with education, housing, health care and transitional services. Something must have worked, because Maryland’s recidivism rate dropped 11 percent from 2000 to 2013. But, the early 2000s were relatively good years with a growing economy. Corroborating this, my student shared that Mayor O’Malley and Mayor Dixon both came out into the communities. He told me that seeing them interact on the street made a difference for people.

However, during the recession, the stress on communities began to grow. Unemployment rose and community program spending dropped. Coupled with increasingly militarized police tactics and equipment to combat what was perceived to be a growing terrorist threat, and you get a severe decline in community policing and an increase in suppressive policing.

The economic stress would have been harsh enough, but add to that decreased federal support and you have a recipe for serious problems. The National Criminal Justice Association conducted a survey of the impacts of cuts to national criminal justice grant programs. Since FY2012 the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program has been cut by 34 percent, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring grants by 44 percent, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by 75 percent, the juvenile delinquency prevention initiatives funded by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Part A (JJDPA) by more than 50 percent. What we are seeing play out today may be linked in part to these cuts.

“I would get harassed just for sitting on the steps in my neighborhood”

There was frustration in my student’s voice as he said this to me even many years later – sharing that it was completely baffling to him why the police would come and charge them with loitering. My policy mind takes over. I can think of several reasons why tactics like this may be employed, but then I reflect on how it would make me feel, regardless. I would feel angry and resentful, asking myself why I am a target. Policy analysis takes a backseat for a moment as I listen to my student’s experiences and hear the pain…even today. My policy mind begins to take control again because I want to find an answer, I want to prevent this from continuing.

Compare and Contrast to Ferguson

What differentiates St. Louis County and the City of Baltimore is a tremendous difference in the way the local governments are managed and organized. With St. Louis County, there has been much discussion and examination of the county’s 90 municipalities and how they compete with each other for resources to support such duplicative services as 60+ police departments.  We’ve been looking at and hearing about how these dynamics create municipal funding gaps that localities have tried to fill, in part, through suppression and enforcement activities. The financial strain on local governments has caused friction. It could be argued that community policing, like many things, fared best when there was sufficient funding for both community policing services and local government functions.

Solutions

There are three parts to addressing what we face: 1) support justice assistance programs at all levels of government - this means community policing is not a separate program in and to itself, but is intrinsically embedded into all facets of police work; 2) fund oversight training and technology so both the public and police are better protected through the carrying-out of law enforcement activity; 3) give majority attention to education, job training, youth mentoring, and at-risk youth through the bolstering of programs like the Harlem Children's Zone. When MSN published its listing of best and worst run cities, two primary indicators were spending on education and law enforcement.

The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued its report in March, emphasizing the need to create a permanent national crime and justice task force. Something I would add is a stronger focus on interagency cooperation. We tend to talk about the role of the Justice Department in all of this, but need to also address the role of the Department of Education in bringing police officers back into the schools -- not to patrol, but to talk to the kids about what it is that they do. 
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Washington Adventist University Enactus Team Wins at U.S. National Competition

EnactusSL

Takoma Park, MD (April 21, 2015)  Washington Adventist University’s Enactus team travelled to St. Louis, Missouri to participate in the Enactus United States National Exposition, held April 13-16.  The team received a number of awards, including being named finalists in the opening round of the competition, along with placing as finalists in their Walmart project. They also received 3rd place nationally in both their Coca Cola Foundation and Sam’s Club projects. 

“Being part of Enactus for my entire college experience has to be the most rewarding part of attending Washington Adventist University. Competition this year demonstrated that as college students we truly can change the world if we mean to do so. All the presenting teams exhibited so much professionalism and were so friendly that I will miss the interaction when I graduate,” said Royanne Richards, Enactus past president and senior class president.

“The ’We All Win’ mantra proved to be true of the Enactus National Exposition 2015. It was a pleasure to meet so many students and get a chance to demonstrate the impact we have been making across the world. We are the future, so it is great when we get a chance to connect and share ideas. Never in a million years would I imagine getting interviewed and offered an internship with such a large corporation on the same day.  Enactus is worth the effort,” said Sashawna McCalla, a senior finance major and Enactus Bridge Forte project leader.

Washington Adventist University was one of more than 180 university teams that competed for the U.S. championship last week. Participating students use business concepts to develop community outreach projects, transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. The culmination of the Enactus program is an annual series of competitions that provide a showcase for teams to present the results of their projects and be evaluated by business leaders serving as judges. Teams compete first at national level, then at the international level when the national champion teams from each country meet at the Enactus World Cup.

During this academic year, the Enactus Washington Adventist University team organized ten projects in the Takoma Park community; including working with Mr. Kim of Rainbow Coin Laundry, where the team created a tutoring service for K-4th graders while their parents do laundry. This project led to the Sam’s Club 3rd place award.
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Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County's only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. Approximately 1,100 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.

Enactus Contact:
Kimberly Pichot
Associate Professor and Chair | Sam Walton Fellow
Department of Business | Washington Adventist University
7600 Flower Ave. | Takoma Park, MD 20912 |
(301) 891-4034 Direct | kspichot@wau.edu |

Media Contacts:
Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu
Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, dbigler@wau.edu

Washington Adventist University Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Accelerated Evening Degree Program

Among the first to offer programs designed to accommodate working adults

SGPS30thanniversary

Takoma Park, Md. (May 1, 2015) Washington Adventist University (WAU) faculty, staff and alumni recently gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the university’s accelerated evening degree program – one of the first adult evening programs in the nation -- and to pay tribute to its founder, Gladstone Gurubatham, Ph.D. -- one of Washington Adventist University’s longest-serving faculty members with 50 years of service. He continues to teach psychology courses in both the traditional day program and the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Gurubatham was presented with an award at the April 9 event, which took place during the university’s annual Alumni Weekend. He was honored for designing and launching the evening program at what was then known as Columbia Union College. Although Gurubatham’s proposal for the program was not immediately embraced by the Board of Trustees at the time, it was approved after the third presentation of the proposal and considerable effort by Gurubatham, who is a self-described life-learner and strong supporter of adult education.

Thirty years ago, Gurubatham saw opportunity in the confluence of university’s empty classrooms in the evening and the lack of convenient educational opportunities for working adults. He proposed an evening program that offered undergraduate degrees in business administration, psychology and organizational management. Thirty-five students registered for classes in that first session, and the programs enabled students to earn a degree in 18 months with once-a-week evening or Sunday classes and accelerated six-week sessions.

Over the years, the evening program has grown to become what is now WAU’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS), offering eight graduate programs and 11 accelerated undergraduate programs. In addition, online classes have been added, and two of the master’s programs are now offered fully online.

From the initial 35 students, participation has expanded to the record number of graduate students enrolled last fall, 181, reflecting a 67 percent increase in the number of graduate students just five years ago.

“It’s nice that so many working adults in the Washington metropolitan area are discovering the convenience and accessibility of the classes, and the caring and supportive environment that we offer,” said Nicole Currier, dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. “We intentionally take a holistic approach to education that nurtures mind, body and spirit, which is something that most busy adults value, particularly those who are earning their degrees while holding full-time jobs and raising families.”

Gurubatham earned his Ph.D. in geoscience education and psychology from Catholic University of America, and he holds three master’s degrees – one each from Catholic University, University of Michigan, and Andrews University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Spicer Memorial College in Aundh, Pune, India, and is an honorary alumnus of Washington Adventist University.

A licensed professional counselor, Gurubatham is nationally certified as a crisis intervener and addictions specialist. He is also a licensed professional Diplomate of the American Academy of Health Care Providers in Addiction Disorders, American Academy of Pain Management, and a member of the American Society of Behavioral Medicine.  Gurubatham teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in psychopathology, health psychology, group therapy and individual counseling, along with sociology and geography.

The first session of SGPS summer classes begins the week of May 10, and it’s not too late to register. For more information, call 301-891-4092. The SGPS office is open Mondays through Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.  Information about the degree programs is available on the SGPS website.

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Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County's only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. A total of 1,100 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.

Media Contacts:
Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu
Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, dbigler@wau.edu

Washington Adventist University Chapter of International Business Honor Society Inducts New Members

Business-Honor-Society

Takoma Park, MD (April 7, 2015) New members were inducted recently into the Washington Adventist University (WAU) Chapter of Sigma Beta Delta International Business Honor Society, which encourages and recognizes scholarship and accomplishment among students in the school of business. The Honor Society also promotes personal and professional improvement and distinguished service.

Membership is by invitation, and those who are inducted rank in the top 20 percent of their class and are at least half-way through their bachelor’s or master’s degree program in the school of business. The WAU Chapter of Sigma Beta Delta International Business Honor Society has been on campus for three years. The first charter members were inducted on April 1, 2012.

This year’s new members were inducted during a March 22 ceremony that featured a keynote address by Richard Rajarthinam, President, Office Care, Inc.; and remarks by Milton Morris, President, MDM Office Systems, Inc. Those inducted include: Loza Ayana, BS Business Administration Management; Sean Cole, BS Business Administration; Annagabriella Colon, BS Accounting; Joseph Dunkelly, BS Accounting; Kassie Edwards, MA Public Administration; Daniel Hicklin, BS Information Systems; Sydney Mascoll, BS Accounting; Erica McKitty, BS Accounting; Esther Owusu, BS Accounting; Alana Pabon, MA Public Administration; Manikandan Panickar, MBA; Anissa Perez, MA Public Administration; Leland Pittman, BS Business Administration Management; and Ruben Soares, BS Business Administration Marketing.

Sigma Beta Delta International has more than 370 chapters in 47 states, with four international institutions. For more information about the WAU Chapter, contact Faculty Advisor Kimberly Pichot at kspichot@wau.edu or 301-891-4034.

 

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Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County's only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. Approximately 1,100 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.

 

Media Contacts:
Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu
Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169dbigler@wau.edu