The Crow’s Nest — June 29, 2018

University sees enrollment growth for fifth straight term

For the fifth consecutive academic term, Park University has increased its enrollment numbers, and since the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year, Park’s overall enrollment nationwide has grown 4.5 percent over the 2016-17 academic year. In addition, Park University President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., announced the University’s eight-week Summer Term enrollment increased 2.5 percent over last year’s Summer Term, and summer graduate enrollment saw a 10.1 percent increase in credit hours over last summer.

“The University has made enrollment growth a top strategic priority and it shows in our results,” said Gunderson. “With ‘all hooks on deck,’ our Park family has effectively turned the ship, stayed the course and set the sails for growth.”

“I recognize that clever themes rally us around a common goal, but real change happens when focused and determined people do the hard work. Day after day, the Park employees behind the focus have made the difference. Recruiting, instructing, supporting students, maintaining our campuses, telling our stories, sharing our brand — every effort matters.”

According to Shane Smeed, Park vice president and chief operating officer, a few key components have driven these favorable results over the last academic year, including Parkville Campus housing being at capacity, the addition of developmental (junior varsity) sports programs, surging demand for graduate programs and the opening of the Lenexa (Kan.) Campus.

Park campus centers hold commencement ceremonies

Park University campus centers across the country have held commencement ceremonies for 2018 graduates. As these ceremonies continue through the year, we’ll include the link to the news releases announcing the list of graduates at each campus.

          •  Barstow (Calif.) Community College Campus / Victor Valley College (Calif.) Campus
          •  Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (Ariz.) Campus
          •  Fairchild Air Force Base (Wash.) Campus
          •  F.E. Warren Air Force Base (Wyo.) Campus
          •  Hill Air Force Base (Utah) Campus
          •  Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (N.C.) Campus
          •  Scott Air Force Base (Ill.) Campus

Nursing department receives full accreditation from CCNE

Park University’s Ellen Finley Earhart Department of Nursing has received notification from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education that its programs are fully accredited. The accreditation guarantees program graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and enter a Master of Science in Nursing program if desired.

Park’s sports communications team honored with AVCA award

The American Volleyball Coaches Association named its 2017-18 Grant Berger Media Award winners, which includes Park University’s sports communications office as its NAIA women’s volleyball Midwest region honoree. The award recognizes those who have been involved in the advancement of the sport of volleyball through consistent coverage in all mediums. Mike Talamantes, Park’s director of volleyball, nominated the sports communications staff for the award. Steve Wilson, associate athletic director for media relations and compliance leads the team, which includes Nadine Leishman, sports communications coordinator, and Eric Montgomery, sports communications assistant. Read more about the honor at

Park campus directors honored during conference

Park University campus center directors from across the country met on the Parkville Campus June 18-20 for their annual leadership conference. On the last night of the conference, the University presented a variety of awards:
Star Recruiter Award
          •  Elias Valencia, Barstow (Calif.) Community College, Small Campus Center Category
          •  Matt deMayo, Fairchild Air Force Base (Wash.), Medium Campus Center Category
          •  Nancy Whitman, El Paso (Texas), Large Campus Center Category
Outstanding Retention Award
          •  Kari Middleton, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (Ariz.), Small CC
          •  Claudia Martinez, F.E. Warren Air Force Base (Wyo.), Medium CC
          •  Whitman
Student Satisfaction Award
          •  Pamela Washington, Headquarters Marine Corps / Headquarters Battalion Henderson Hall (Va.), Small CC
          •  Martinez
          •  Sicley Sidoran, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (N.C.), Large CC
Rising Star Award
          •  Amber Tolbert, Downtown Kansas City (Mo.) Campus
Excellence in Leadership Award
          •  deMayo
Peter Drucker Marketing Award
          •  Amie Koci, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio) Campus
Park Core Values Award
          •  Sabrina Vargas-Ortiz, Minot (N.D.) Air Force Base Campus
Partner of the Year Award
          •  TimeClock Plus (accepted by Wendy Medina, Goodfellow Air Force Base [Texas] Campus)

French consul general visits University

On June 6, faculty and staff at Park University’s Parkville Campus had the opportunity to meet with Guillaume Lacroix, Consul General of France in Chicago. The visit was arranged by Cyprienne Simchowitz, a member of Park’s Board of Trustees and the honorary consul of France in Kansas City. During the visit, the group discussed possible partnerships between the University and France, including a student exchange program.

Faculty, staff, student news

Kay Barnes, senior academic ambassador and liaison, was recognized by the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Alumni Association as its Alumna of the Year at an awards event on June 15. Barnes was honored for her service as mayor of Kansas City, Mo., from 1999-2007 and her leadership in helping revitalize the downtown area, as well as being a tireless champion for women.

Erik Bergrud, associate vice president for external relations, was recently appointed to a statewide taskforce for “Talent for Tomorrow,” an initiative of the Hawthorn Foundation, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The transformational project is designed to fundamentally reset Missouri’s approach to meeting the state’s workforce needs, with a major goal of aligning secondary and postsecondary education with the public workforce system and the needs of the private sector.

Mya Lawrence, director of the Lenexa (Kan.) Campus, was among those recognized by the Lincoln University (Mo.) National Alumni Association in its inaugural class of Young Alumni honorees during a gala event in St. Louis on June 8. The Young Alumni Honors Award recognizes LU alumni under the age of 40 who have achieved outstanding success in their chosen profession, social justice or in the advancement of Lincoln University.

Alla Adams, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor and program coordinator of healthcare administration, and Harold Griffin, Ph.D., associate professor and director of healthcare administration, were honored with an International Best of Regions Excellence Award from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The duo received the award at the ACBSP Conference on June 10 in Kansas City, Mo., for their presentation on “Record Graduate Growth Rates Through Faculty-Led Recruitment and Retention Strategies.” The presentation was published in the summer issue of The Transnational Journal of Business.

Griffin was also a co-author on the article “Association Between the Organization and Environmental Factors and Work Injuries Among Home Health Care Nurses” that was published in the recent edition of LIFE: International Journal of Health and Life-Sciences.

Karen Bleier, collection management and resource sharing librarian, and Jon Ritterbush, director of library services and learning commons, presented sessions at the MOBIUS annual conference in Independence, Mo., on June 5. Bleier presented “Lean and Mean: Flash-Weeding to Reduce Risk and Maximize Return on Investment in the Physical Monograph Collection,” while Ritterbush presented “Going Greek: Implementing OpenAthens to Authenticate Online Library Users.”

Lindsey Derry, softball head coach, is coaching a team of high school and college players taking part in the USA Athletes International softball tour of Aruba through Monday, July 2. Derry herself competed on a USAAI team in 2013. She will be joined on the trip by past, current and future Park softball players Jessica Stupar, Courtney Seymour, Lexie Duncan, Danielle White and Anna Albaugh. Read more at

An article co-authored by Cathy Taylor, J.D., online academic director, and Mike Taylor, J.D., LL.M., adjunct instructor of management, was published in the recent issue of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. The article is titled, “I’m Never Doing This Again!: Identifying and Solving Faculty Challenges in Adoption of Open Educational Resources.”

Timothy Westcott, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, associate professor of history and associate university archivist, is assisting the Kansas City Museum, Gallagher and Associates, and International Architects Atelier, as a local historian and educator. He is reviewing and commenting on the exhibit schematic design related to the design, development and implementation of exhibits and programs for the Museum’s restoration and renovation project.

Park In The News

A story about Michelle Brooks, ’09, becoming the new command master chief at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune (N.C.) appeared on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website on June 4.

A story about Frank Garcia, ’12, being appointed as the assistant athletic trainer at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., appeared on the WHKY-AM/FM website on June 5.

Rochelle Garciano, an incoming freshman, was highlighted in the June 8 issue of The Examiner  (Independence, Mo.) as one of the newspaper’s “academic all-stars.”

The Parkville (Mo.) Nature Sanctuary, located on the north side of Park University’s Parkville Campus, was featured on KCTV in Kansas City on June 8.

A story about Ashley Lunde, ’11, M.P.A. ’14, being appointed as engagement manager for Aligned, appeared in the Missouri Times on June 8.

Jason Withington, M.P.A. ’07, was pictured on the front page of The Kansas City Star on June 11. Withington is leading a petition initiative for the State of Missouri to audit the Clay County, Mo., government.

A story about women’s basketball signee Jade Winter, who will be a sophomore biology and social psychology major in the fall, appeared in her hometown newspaper, the Derby (Kan.) Informer, on June 12.

John Hamilton, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV on June 15 related to the shooting deaths of two Kansas City, Kan., police officers.

A story about Perl Decker, an 1897 graduate of Park University, appeared in the Joplin (Mo.) Globe on June 17.

Jim Johnson, ’95, was featured in a “CEO Profile” that appeared in the Newark (Ohio) Advocate on June 23. Johnson is the president and chief executive officer at Hopewell Federal Credit Union.

Park University degree programs have been ranked by various websites:
     •  Online Bachelor of Science degree in information and computer science ranked No. 3 on’s “Bachelor’s in Computer Science/IT Degrees Online: 40 Great Deals 2018” list.
     •  Online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program ranked No. 21 on’s “25 Best Bachelor’s in Psychology Degrees Online for 2018” list.
     •  Online Bachelor of Science in Logistics program ranked No. 23 on’s “Best Online Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management Programs” list.
     •  Online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education listed on’s “Top Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Online Degree Programs for 2018” list.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
     •  Through July 27 — Carl Gregory Photography Exhibit: Images of Kenya, Campanella Gallery (Norrington Center) (Reception: July 6, 2:30-4:30 p.m.)
     •  July 1 — Junemester Ends
     •  July 2 — Julymester Begins
     •  July 4 — Independence Day Holiday (all University offices closed nationwide; Summer Session/Julymester classes held as scheduled)
     •  July 4 — Parkville Symphonic Band Concert, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
     •  July 13 — Laughlin Air Force Base (Texas) Campus Commencement, 1 p.m., Anderson Hall
     •  July 13 — Goodfellow Air Force Base (Texas) Campus Commencement, 2 p.m., Base Event Center
     •  July 20 — Minot (N.D.) Air Force Base Campus Commencement, 6 p.m., James Crawford Airman Leadership School Building Auditorium
     •  July 20 — El Paso (Texas) Campus / Fort Bliss (Texas) Campus / Holloman Air Force Base (N.M.) Campus Commencement, 8 p.m., El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center
     •  July 29 — Julymester / Summer Session Ends
     •  August 4 — Lackland Air Force Base (Texas) Campus / Randolph Air Force Base (Texas) Campus Commencement, 10:30 a.m., St. George Maronite Catholic Church (Phoenician Ballroom)
     •  August 7-8 — Fall Faculty Conference, Parkville Campus
     •  August 13 — Fall Semester / Fall I Term Classes Begin

Note: To view a comprehensive schedule for all events, including athletics and student life, visit



Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.