Campus News

Tuesday
Jan312012

Hardin-Simmons University offers new doctoral degrees and MBA

Three new advanced degree programs will be offered at Hardin-Simmons University beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year. The HSU Board of Trustees recently approved the two new doctoral degrees, and a new track will be added to the M.B.A. degree program.

The new programs are part of a growing trend among universities in the United States to remain globally competitive as the premier location for post-graduate studies. According to the Council of Graduate Schools, during a 10-year period (1999 to 2009) doctoral degrees awarded in the United States increased annually by an average of 3.5%. Graduate education in European universities has also grown through the establishment of the European Higher Education Area.

HSU professors headed the teams that formulated the new degree offerings. Dr. Mary Christopher, associate dean of Irvin School of Education, professor of education studies, certification officer, and graduate program director, assisted by Dr. Pam Williford, dean of the Irvin School of Education, led the team for the new Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in leadership.

Dr. Robert Friberg, professor of physical therapy and Dr. Janelle O’Connell, director of the graduate studies program in physical therapy and professor of physical therapy, led the combined professorial and staff team that developed the Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) degree in functional manual therapy.

Dr. Doug McIntyre, associate professor of business, and director of job placement and internships in the Kelley College of Business; Dr. Jennifer Plantier, assistant professor of business and marketing, and director of the Master of Business Administration program; and Edgar Reed, instructor of fitness and sport sciences in the Irvin School of Education, comprised the team that developed the new Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree in sports management.

Doctor of Education in Leadership

 

The Doctor of Education degree in leadership seeks to merge scholars with community practitioners to develop enlightened, ethical leaders. Christopher says, “Through study in a faith-based environment, graduates of the program will embody skills, knowledge, and dispositions to bridge theories with research-based practices to become visionary leaders.

“Good leadership, like critical thinking, crosses all boundaries and applies to all circumstances in which people work together,” she says. Christopher points to several significant writers on the topic of leadership, and leaders in the Abilene area who agree that good leadership requires good character. “While the students who seek this doctorate in leadership may enter the program with well-developed character, the doctoral studies will influence further character development,” says Christopher. “Developing and encouraging the unique gifts and skills of an effective team requires character that demonstrates respect for fellow human beings. HSU’s inherent Christian foundation provides the perfect base for fostering exemplary character essential for leadership.”

The program has been designed to meet the demands of employment and family responsibilities many post-graduate students face. Students will receive supportive learning opportunities in various settings through faculty visits to student locations in other cities, video-conferencing, Skype, online chats, podcasts, and Blackboard assignments. Christopher says students will also benefit as they move through the program in cohort groups, providing collegial support, enhanced camaraderie, professional networking, and increased retention throughout the program. The diverse delivery model highlights a personal connection with students while providing a positive, productive learning environment that does not require residence on the HSU campus or in Abilene, Texas.

The interdisciplinary degree will offer the opportunity for concentrated leadership programs in a variety of disciplines. The initial concentration will be in higher education leadership. In the future, considerations for other areas will be explored.

Another unique distinction of the program includes three brief summer residencies (approximately one week each in length) that incorporate action research (a practical application of theoretical knowledge and research skills) in authentic settings at in Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and a specified global location.

U.S. News and World Report lists higher education administration among the Best Careers of 2011 with a strong job market for university administrative positions, which require a master’s or doctoral degree. Growth in the community college sector is projected to be even stronger. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a rapid employment growth rate of 8% in the field of higher education administration is projected from 2008-2018, and expected retirements will add to job opportunities.

Students completing an Ed.D. in higher education leadership must also consider potential salaries, says Christopher. In May 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that postsecondary school administrators earned a median income of $80,670. While salaries vary based on location and enrollment, administrators during 2008-2009 earned up to $158,000.

Doctor of Science in Functional Manual Therapy

 

The Doctor of Science degree in functional manual therapy provides a unique opportunity to integrate advanced study of applied sciences (relevant to physical therapy) with clinical skills offered through the Institute of Physical Art (IPA), a nationally recognized clinical organization specializing in functional manual therapy.

Dr. O’Connell explains that in 2000, when professor of physical therapy, Dr. Bob Friberg, joined the HSU PT faculty, a close relationship was started with IPA. Through this relationship, HSU students began participating in IPA clinical workshops as part of their clinical internship process. “With this positive history between HSU and IPA, there is a good match to provide a distinctive D.Sc. degree in functional manual therapy from HSU,” says O’Connell.

In the new program, directed by Friberg, physical therapists will combine post-professional academic coursework and advanced clinical skills to obtain both a functional manual therapy certification (through IPA) and a D.Sc. degree through Hardin-Simmons University.

The D.Sc. program consists of 64 credit hours. Ten clinical courses at HSU will augment the 10 IPA workshops that will contribute to 29 hours in the curriculum. Ten foundational courses will also be offered by HSU. These will include five applied science courses in biomechanics, neuromechanics, motor control, orthopedic physiology, advanced anatomy and an elective applied science course oriented to functional manual therapy. Additionally, students will take two research methodology courses and two courses focused on instructional design and educational outcome. The doctoral work will culminate with a doctoral research dissertation.

Based on the results of a needs assessment, Friberg says the program expects to attract at least 10 to 15 new students each year. Students will be expected to complete general coursework in four years, assuming the student takes approximately 18 credit hours per year.

The program is designed as a limited residency model where students would be expected to come to campus for a long weekend only one time per semester. Significant amounts of the coursework will be primarily distance-based, says O’Connell.

M.B.A. in Sports Management

 

In addition to the two new doctoral degrees, a new track will be added to the M.B.A. degree this fall. Students can currently earn a generalized Master of Business Administration degree from Hardin-Simmons University or the Acton M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship, which is housed in Austin, Texas. HSU’s new specialized M.B.A. in sports management will be available on the Abilene HSU campus.

Hardin-Simmons University has a large population of students active in sports programs, about 22% of the student body. Reed says, “HSU’s Irvin School of Education produces graduates from its Bachelor of Behavioral Science in fitness and sport sciences. These are students who represent a ready market for a graduate business degree in the sports field, which is popular throughout Texas.” McIntyre adds, “Fifteen colleges and universities in Texas currently offer a sport management program, 10 of them offering master’s degrees.

“Applications for these programs have risen in recent years,” says McIntyre, “as undergraduates have sought to beef up their credentials before hitting the job market.”

According to McIntyre, the new track will prepare managers and leaders for the dynamic and growing sports management, event management, and entertainment industries. The program will provide advanced study in all functional areas of business and will include those particular issues that arise in the field of sport management. As with any graduate program, it will help students develop and refine broad skills and abilities such as analytical thinking and problem solving.

The M.B.A. in sports management can be completed in 45 academic hours.

Wednesday
Nov232011

Howard Payne University offers MBA degree

A new master’s degree at Howard Payne University will soon pave the way for future Brownwood and Central Texas leaders looking to improve their effectiveness at their current jobs or learn skills to find new careers. The university will offer a Master of Business Administration degree beginning January 2012.

The unique MBA program will concentrate on equipping students for future leadership roles, while also aiding them in their current careers. While HPU’s MBA has a business core, it will also include other courses such as organizational communication and psychological applications, designed to add a deeper understanding of practical skills to business and management applications.

The university designed the degree plan around busy, working schedules. The MBA can be achieved in as few as 12 months, with all courses offered at night and on weekends.

“Unlike many MBA programs, HPU’s will focus more on application than theory,” said Dr. Mark Patton, professor of business administration, adding that the degree will be useful for business and non-business undergraduates alike.

He and his wife, Dr. Lois Patton, who serves as the MBA program director, will teach courses and have been instrumental players in bringing the degree to HPU.

“We want to give the students information that is relevant to them right now, not just in the future,” said Lois Patton. “We’ve designed the courses to include information they can use at work the very next day.”

The Pattons have many years of experience in business, both in the field and in the classroom, and have developed and taught MBA programs around the world. The couple joined HPU in 2009 after teaching in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as numerous universities throughout the United States.

Prerequisite self-study course work is available for non-business undergraduates entering the program.

“Students without a business undergraduate degree who wish to move toward a business career are also welcome,” said Lois Patton. “With two self-study courses directed by Dr. Les Plagens, dean of the School of Business, these students will be able to fit right into the program.”

“We’ve designed the MBA to be a broad-based management-oriented program that may offer value to anyone holding a bachelor’s degree,” Plagens said. “I’m excited about the possibilities for what it may do for future students and their career development, our local business community and the HPU School of Business.”

Faculty members have been assembled from across the university to teach in the program.

“The university appreciates the diligent work performed by Dean Plagens and the business school’s faculty in planning the new program and in achieving approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools,” said Dr. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer.

For more information about the program, visit www.hputx.edu/mba or call (325) 649-8704.

 

 

Monday
Oct242011

Central Seminary offers courses in St. Louis

The FOUNDATIONS Certificate in Ministry is a one-year program of courses offered in
partnership with Central Baptist Theological Seminary (www.cbts.edu), Shawnee, Kansas, and
Third Baptist Church (www.third-baptist.org), St. Louis, Missouri. Partial funding has been
provided by a legacy from what was formerly the Des Peres Baptist Church. FOUNDATIONS
is a broad and rapid introduction to the basics of ministry for those who serve as leaders in
congregations and want to enhance their ministry skills or those who are interested in serving
their church and want to improve their theological knowledge.

Interested persons may take courses in St. Louis beginning in January 2012 and complete the
certificate by October 2012. The ten courses will be offered once a month for $50 per course
– a total of $500 for all ten courses (textbooks are extra). Students may take a single course or
the entire rotation. The deadline to register for the first course is December 3, 2011.

Subjects covered in the courses include biblical studies, pastoral arts, missional church studies,
administration, ethics, Christian heritage, and Baptist polity, among others. They will be
offered Friday evening and all day on Saturdays at Third Baptist Church, 620 N. Grand, St. Louis,
MO 63103.

For more information visit www.cbts.edu or contact Terrell Carter at terrell.carter@cbts.edu or 314-704-9111 or 314-533-7340, ext. 126.

 

Thursday
Jul282011

Mars Hill College News

Sue Fitzgerald leaves Mars Hill after 48 years of ministry

It is at the decisive points in life that people ponder the big questions of life and purpose.  It has been the same for Rev. Sue Fitzgerald, who, in mid-July will leave Mars Hill, the town she has called home for 48 years.  At 80 years old, she is moving to Winston-Salem to be nearer to her extended family.

“I always wondered if I really did anything,” she said recently, as she considered the upcoming move.
 
Like everything else Fitzgerald says, the statement is made with genuineness and humility, but for anyone acquainted with her history, it seems laden with irony.  
 
Since coming to Mars Hill in 1963, Fitzgerald has held pivotal and trailblazing roles as the founder and only Director of the Christian Education Center at Mars Hill College, as one of the first ordained female Baptist ministers to serve in North Carolina, as Minister of Education and interim pastor at Mars Hill Baptist Church, as a teacher of seminary extension courses which gave both pastors and laypeople throughout the region access to religious education, as the founder of a program for handicapped children and adults in the late 1960s in Madison County, as a mentor and teacher to hundreds of college students, as chaplain for Hospice of Madison County, and as the most recent president and director of Madison County Neighbors in Need. During those years, Fitzgerald has received two honorary doctorates, from Mars Hill College and from Wake Forest University, largely for her work with the Christian Education Center.  She has been invited to preach baccalaureate sermons at Wake Forest, as well as at her alma mater, Meredith College in Raleigh.  She has had a scholarship for women seeking a career in the ministry named for her (the Fitzgerald-Bean Ministerial Scholarship at MHC). She has been featured in two books about female Baptist preachers in North Carolina and in May of 2011, she received a prestigious alumni award, called the Spirit of the Hill Award, from Andover-Newton Theological School, where she received her seminary degree.  
 
To everyone but Fitzgerald herself, it seems obvious that she has, indeed,
done something with the almost five decades she has spent in Mars Hill.  But, then again, if these titles and honors were the stuff of success in Fitzgerald’s mind, she would not be the woman that the people of Mars Hill have grown to love and admire.
 
“Success to me is ministering to people where they are and helping them to grow and opening myself to them so they can help me too,” she said. “I always prayed, ‘Lord help me to help one person today; help me to listen.’ Because if I listen, I get more, but I also know how to be able to help.”
 
Even after 48 years in the mountains, the gentle southern lilt of Fitzgerald’s speech gives her away as a native of Virginia.  Born and raised in Gretna, Virginia, she attended Meredith College in Raleigh, where she not only double-majored in religion and education, but she also played four varsity sports: softball, basketball, field hockey and soccer.  Though she continued to play all four years, a leg injury suffered in her freshman year would never fully heal, forcing her to walk with the aid of a cane for the rest of her life.
 
After graduation, Fitzgerald taught religion in the public schools of Virginia for one year, a job she said introduced her to “the joy of teaching.”   She then was offered a job as a minister of education at a church in Lynchburg, VA, and after much prayer, accepted the job that would effectively propel her into the ministry.
 
Finding that she enjoyed writing her own literature to meet the needs of the church, she decided to attend seminary at Andover-Newton Theological School in Boston, Massachusetts.  She graduated in 1959 and soon after, took another position as a minister of education in Franklin, Virginia.
 
In 1963, Fitzgerald came to Mars Hill Baptist Church as minister of education, a position that would last for 12 years.  There, she continued writing curriculum for the church and worked with the enormous collegiate Sunday school department, filled each Sunday morning with students from Mars Hill College.  Always the educator, she developed an internship program with college students to help direct the program, and she met with them weekly.
 
“The interns would have to come to my office for weekly meetings, and I pushed them.  I just felt it was my job to help them grow,” Fitzgerald said.  “If we don’t think we never grow.”
 
Rev. David Smith, a former trustee of Mars Hill College and current pastor of First Baptist Church of Lenoir, N.C., was a college sophomore in 1966 when he began his internship with Fitzgerald.  The ostensible purpose of his weekly meeting with Fitzgerald was to plan for that week’s lesson.  But now, as an adult looking back, he says, “The ultimate purpose was mentoring of students-- very quiet, but very powerful one-on-one mentoring of students -- and that’s what she did for me,” he said.
 
Smith had not at that point decided to be a pastor, but he now credits Fitzgerald’s mentoring with guiding him toward a more mature faith.  “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be,” he said.  “She was very kind to me, but she was also very challenging.  She did not believe in sloppy thinking or shallow faith.  She was always just pushing me to grow.”
 
In addition to her exhorting mentorship, Smith said Fitzgerald was “always giving me something to read,” and it tended to be cutting-edge, weighty material, written by theologians like Neibuhr, Cox, Bonhoeffer, and others.
 
“Mars Hill had a very strong religion faculty, but Sue held her weight with those academicians and challenged us to go as far as we could go,” Smith said.
 
Another of those students was Rev. Glenn Graves, now the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Mars Hill.  Graves calls himself “one of Sue’s boys,” because of the mentoring relationship he enjoyed with her as a student at Mars Hill College.
 
“She was like a surrogate mother to me,” he said.  “She is as transparent a person as you’ll ever meet, open, loving and caring.”  But, according to Graves, her gentleness should never be mistaken for weakness. “She is also very forthright, and she has a fierce tenacity,” he said “especially when she wants you to learn something.”
 
Even while she was teaching and influencing college students, Fitzgerald began teaching pastors and laypeople throughout the region when she instigated the establishment of seminary extension courses through the French Broad Baptist Association.
 
Edith Whitt, now the registrar of Mars Hill College, has been a close friend of Fitzgerald’s for many years.  She first got to know Fitzgerald as a 17-year-old girl, when she took her first seminary extension course.
 
According to Whitt, Fitzgerald not only started courses in the French Broad Association, but across western North Carolina.  “She taught courses in Bryson City, Asheville, Weaverville, Spruce Pine and other places.  I went with her to some of them,” she said.
 
Though she was, effectively, a minister, Fitzgerald at first refused to be ordained.  Her reasoning was that all Christians should be ministers.  And yet, she said she felt led of God to be ordained.  She prayed about the matter repeatedly, and said the urging in her heart would not go away.
 
She said: “Finally, I said, ‘OK God.  If you want me to be ordained, then the church has to ask me, and then I just dropped it.  And it wasn’t long after that that the minister of the church knocked on my door and said the deacons wanted the church to ordain me.” So, she agreed; that was 1973.
 
As Fitzgerald got to know people in the small churches that dotted the hills of western North Carolina, she saw that small, rural churches did not have access to the kinds of materials, ideas and resources that larger urban churches had.  Furthermore, it seemed that the state Baptist organizations that provided such materials had forgotten about the westernmost areas of North Carolina.
 
“A lot of people who worked in state Baptist work thought the state kind of stopped in Asheville,” Fitzgerald said.  “They didn’t think about how far it is from Asheville to Murphy.”  
 
Slowly, with much thought and prayer, a plan for meeting the educational and resource needs of small churches began to germinate in Fitzgerald’s mind and heart.  Unable to put the idea down, she began to realize that it was more than an idea; it was a calling she could not ignore. Fitzgerald believed the opportunity to meet the needs of small churches in the region would come through a future church position. But she was wrong.
 
One Sunday morning after service at Mars Hill Baptist Church, Dr. Fred Bentley, then-president of Mars Hill College, mentioned in informal conversation his desire to hire a person to engage in church/community relations at the college. He felt that Mars Hill, a Baptist college, needed an individual whose job would be to build relationships with people in the churches of Madison County and western North Carolina.
 
Immediately, Fitzgerald said she saw how the needs of the college and the churches could work together.  “I said, ‘I have what you want to do; I already have a plan.’  And Fred Bentley said, ‘see me in the morning in my office.’”
 
Fitzgerald went home and spent most of the night reworking her plan to be based out of a college, rather than based out of a church.  The next morning, she went to see Dr. Bentley, and the Mars Hill College Center for Christian Education Ministries was born.
 
For twenty years, Fitzgerald was Director of the Center, which provided leadership and ideas as well as an ever-growing and extensive library of audiovisuals, background reading, study materials and guides covering every imaginable church need, and all free for the asking for pastors and laypeople all over the region.
 
“The joy that I had at the college was that it was so creative. I did all these things, not because I knew it all, but because I knew that I could give them resources and I could open up the ideas, and then they could figure how to do it,” Fitzgerald said.  “If you had a problem, my philosophy was that if I give you ten ideas, you will think of the eleventh that will be your answer.”
 
The Center for Christian Education Ministries succeeded in fostering the college/community relationship that Bentley had envisioned.  It also fostered a relationship of respect between Bentley and Fitzgerald.
 
“It was really a beautiful relationship,” said Doris Bentley, widow of Dr. Fred Bentley.  “Fred just had the greatest respect for Sue and for the way she worked with people.  He respected how she could handle situations and the way she was able to go out into the community and just bond with community people, which was rather difficult with her being a woman. But Sue was just able to in her gentle but straightforward way, to make inroads,” she said.
 
According to Whitt, the Center did provide much-needed resources for the small churches of the area.  But the resources alone were only part of the story.
 
Fitzgerald visited innumerable churches, offering the services of the center, taking samples of the resources available, directing pastors on how to rewrite the literature to meet their needs, researching new resources and even providing church workshops and Bible studies when asked.
 
“Sue always put her ministry above her personal needs.  She was always thinking of what she could do for somebody else,” Whitt said. “She has spent a lot of that time just counseling people and listening.  Whether it was a pastor with a problem, or a student, she would listen and she would help. She just invested in people. And she respects and honors all people; regardless of their education level or station or position. She has given her whole life to this community.  She’s been here almost 50 years, and she’s invested her life in Mars Hill.”
 
Though Fitzgerald was widely appreciated for her help to churches, many of those same churches were reluctant to accept a woman as a minister.
 
“I have been able to go into most churches and be accepted,” Fitzgerald said.  “But if they didn’t accept me, I never worried about it.  I could accept them and accept who they were, and not worry about it, and still help the ministers, even the ones who didn’t want me.  I feel like the important thing is not whether I agree with you politically or theologically, but whether at the center of life is Jesus.  That’s the important thing.”
 
Whitt believes that refusal to take offense is one of the primary reasons for the success and longevity of Fitzgerald’s ministry. “She didn’t let rejection affect her ability to minister,” Whitt said.
 
Fitzgerald’s tenacity, and her unwavering sense of calling may help explain her refusal to be deterred.  “My philosophy of work is that I’m first a person, a God-created person,” she said.  “And I’m second a female.  I just feel strongly about that.  And if I’m first person, I don’t have to show off that I’m female, or make an issue of it.”
 
At the time, the MHC Christian Education Center was unique in North Carolina, and even across the country.  The center made Sue Fitzgerald well-known among Baptists across the state and earned her many honors, including two honorary doctorates, and invitations to preach baccalaureate sermons at Meredith College and Wake Forest University.
 
When Dr. Wanda Kidd first met Sue Fitzgerald in 1983, she was already renowned in the region for her work with the Christian Education Center.  Now the Collegiate Ministry Consultant
for the North Carolina Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Kidd initially came to western North Carolina as the collegiate ministry intern at Western Carolina University.
 
On the very day that Kidd drove into town, Fitzgerald was scheduled to speak at a local Baptist meeting.   But a disagreement had erupted because Fitzgerald was listed on the program as “Reverend Sue Fitzgerald,” drawing the ire of a conservative pastor in the area.
 
Later, Fitzgerald did come to a similar meeting and chose not to stand in the pulpit.
 
“She just stood down there in front of the congregation with such a presence and such a humility, and she never let where she was going to speak interfere with what she was going to say,” Kidd said.  “Most people would have been mad or hurt.  Her demeanor did not change.  Here’s a woman in the maelstrom of this controversy and she gave no acknowledgement at all that there had been any kind of issue.”  
 
The moment was profound for Kidd.  “Just that image of her, from that moment on, I thought, ‘that’s what I’m going to do as a woman in ministry in western North Carolina.  I’m not going to let anyone deter my call but I’m also going to be respectful in the process.’”
 
Kidd later served as Bonner Scholar Coordinator at Mars Hill College and shared an office with Fitzgerald. The two women remain close friends and Kidd said she regards Fitzgerald as one of her most trusted advisors.  Her combination of genuine concern and strength encourages an answering strength in those she counsels.
 
“She is so encouraging to me, but not in a placating way. She’s one of those people who will not so much offer you a variety of opportunities, but she will help you process how to be the best person you are called to be,” Kidd said.  “She is very masterful at making you own and claim your own call.”
 
When Fitzgerald retired from Mars Hill College in 1995, the Center was discontinued. So, she closed in her carport to create a library in her home where pastors and laypeople continue to be welcome for research and study. In “retirement,” she served as Hospice Chaplain in Madison County for ten years.  Most recently, she has been the volunteer president and director of Madison County Neighbors in Need, a ministry that provides food to families in crisis.  She continues to teach a Sunday School class at Mars Hill Baptist Church and she preaches from time to time.
 
And quietly, without fanfare, she does very, very important things.  One person at a time, she seeks to help.  She comforts the sick and the dying; she speaks at funerals; she marries those who are in love; she counsels the hurting and she teaches, in both word and deed.
 
Speaking of his mentor and friend, Rev. David Smith said: “Only the heavenly accounting will measure the impact of one person’s life that has blessed thousands of people.”  
 
And he’s right.

Thursday
Jul282011

Hardin Simmons University News

India Student Honored for Discovery of Asteroid in HSU-based Program; Space Rock Named for HSU Prof

Miller Honored with Asteroid; HSU Alum Given Right to Name His Discovery

“Patrick Miller” is the new name for an asteroid orbiting in our solar system just beyond the planet Mars.

The Minor Planet Center officially named the asteroid in honor of the work done by Hardin-Simmons University associate professor of mathematics, Dr. Patrick Miller.

Miller is the founder of the International Asteroid Search Collaboration where students from around the world discover new asteroids. Some of the student asteroid discoveries are so close to Earth that they are considered as new threats to our planet.

Miller started the educational outreach program, based at the Holland School of Mathematics and Sciences on the HSU campus, in October 2006. Dr. Miller and undergraduate honors student Jeff Davis founded the program, starting with five schools from around the United States.

As the program has grown, now more than 300 schools and some 4,000 students participate in search campaigns each year representing more than 30 countries on five continents.

The program, provided at no cost to the participating schools, gives high school and college students the opportunity to help in an international search for near-Earth objects and discoveries of previously unknown asteroids in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Over the Internet, the schools receive astronomical images taken only hours before at the Astronomical Research Institute (Westfield, IL), Institute for Astronomy (Pan-STARRS, University of Hawaii), and Xinglong Station (Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing). Students then use a software package to assist in the discovery and measurement of the positions of asteroids and all other near-Earth objects.

Students have discovered more than 300 previously unknown asteroids, which eventually receive an official number as they are recorded by the International Asteroid Search Collaboration with the Minor Planet Center at Harvard University and the International Astronomical Union in Paris, France.

Also honored with an asteroid named for his work is Tomas Vorobjov, the IASC astronomer who handles all of the data reduction and discovery follow-ups for the outreach program. The asteroid is simply named “Vorobjov” and is located outside of the orbit of Mars. “Vorobjov,” however, is almost twice as far from Earth as “Patrick Miller.”

The Center also announced that recent HSU graduate and IASC cofounder Jeff Davis has been awarded the opportunity to name the asteroid he discovered in the spring of 2007.  The asteroid was recently given a number and has been included in the world's official catalog of minor bodies in the solar system.  Davis is now considering what name he will propose for his discovery.

Student in India Honored for Asteroid Discovery in Program Based at HSU

Atul Felix Payapilly, a student at Karunya University near Coimbatore, India, surprised his advisor with news that he and a friend, from a university in China, had jointly discovered an asteroid while participating in a program based in the United States.

Payapilly’s advisor, Dr. Elijah Blessing, director of the School of Computer Science and Technology at Karunya University, handed a letter of congratulations from Hardin-Simmons University to Karunya’s vice chancellor, Paul Appasamy. Appasamy’s curiosity was piqued by the unusual congratulatory letter, which initiated a chain reaction for a celebration to honor Atul on campus at Karunya.

Founder of the International Asteroid Search Collaboration and HSU professor Dr. Patrick Miller explained to Appasamy in an email that Atul, and his friend Zhang from China, discovered the Main Belt asteroid during a 45-day campaign conducted by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, centered at Hardin-Simmons University.

The discovery by Payapilly and Zhang will be on provisional status for several years as Main Belt asteroid 2010 RR52, as it is currently called, is fully tracked.

Miller says, “Over the coming three to six years, the progress of the asteroid is followed until its orbit is completely known. It is then the asteroid is assigned a number and placed in the world's official catalogue maintained by the Minor Planet Center and the International Astronomical Union.

“After it reaches numbered status,” says Miller, “Atul and his friend will have a 10-year period of time to propose a name for the asteroid. All names are approved by an international committee of the IAU.”

Atul was honored during a commemorative ceremony at his university with a gold medal and a certificate.

IASC asteroid search campaigns to start this fall semester will include 112 schools from 17 countries and 12 U.S. states.