News Archives: Academic Affairs

HPU provost Dr. W. Mark Tew departs for president role at Judson College

BROWNWOOD – March 8, 2019 – Dr. W. Mark Tew, Howard Payne University’s provost and chief academic officer, has been named the 23rd president of Judson College in Marion, Alabama. He will assume the post on March 25.

Dr. Tew, who joined HPU’s administration as vice president for academic affairs in September 2007, is a native of Alabama and previously served at Judson College in a variety of administrative and academic capacities including senior vice president, vice president for institutional advancement, chief financial officer and professor of religious studies.

During his years at HPU, Dr. Tew has provided key leadership in a variety of initiatives, such as the creation and development of a range of degree programs and the university’s Strategic Plan.

“I consider it a great honor to have served Howard Payne University during these years,” said Dr. Tew. “My pride in what we as an academic community have accomplished is matched only by my confidence of the great things yet to come.”

A graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with Doctor of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees, he also holds the Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees from Samford University.

“Dr. Tew is a distinguished academic administrator who has served Howard Payne University with professionalism and grace,” said Dr. Paul W. Armes, interim president. “His unwavering commitment to HPU’s mission as a distinctively Christ-centered academic community has been a blessing to our institution.”

Dr. Celeste Church, assistant vice president for retention, research and accreditation, will serve as interim provost effective March 18. Dr. Church joined HPU’s music faculty in 2004 and progressed through the ranks from instructor to full professor. She has also served as chair of the Faculty Assembly, co-chair of the General Education Review Committee and dean of institutional research and effectiveness.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Dr. W. Mark Tew has been named president of Judson College.

Life of the Mind, Life of the Spirit: HPU speaking sessions celebrate crossroads of faith and academics

BROWNWOOD – February 27, 2019 – Embracing true Christian higher education is less about integrating faith with learning than it is about recognizing that the two are already inherently joined – no “integration” required. The study of science, history, math, English – every subject – is also the study of God the Creator.

With this in mind, Howard Payne University has instituted a new one-semester, intensive speaking series during which representative faculty and staff members share with their colleagues how they are incorporating this “life of the mind, life of the Spirit” philosophy into their teaching and/or administrative work. The personnel speak on how their areas of oversight function at the crossroads of the mind and the Spirit to teach and work from a biblically informed, Christian worldview that goes beyond simply allowing a Christian emphasis to fostering it.

Staff members from HPU’s offices of admission, marketing and communications and financial aid, along with faculty members from the schools of science and mathematics, education and Christian studies, have presented to their peers with several more sessions from others across campus planned throughout the semester.

Additionally, two colleagues in Christian higher education from North Greenville University in South Carolina recently joined HPU personnel for a professional development day on the topic of engaging the mind and the Spirit.

Speaking on the HPU campus were Dr. Gene C. Fant Jr., president of North Greenville University, and Dr. H. Paul Thompson Jr., dean of North Greenville’s College of Humanities and Sciences and chair of the history department. Both emphasized that truly Christian higher education is about much more than praying before class.

Dr. Fant said that Christian educators have unique access to ideas and concepts in their content areas as illuminated by the light of Christ.

“You ought to understand the philosophical framework of your discipline through a light that others in your discipline who are not Christ followers cannot comprehend,” he said. “If I have the mind of Christ, I have the mind of the One who has helped us to understand the reality that He has prepared for us. I have access to ideas, understandings and perceptions that others (non-Christians) do not.”

He went on to say that students are hungry for spiritual conversations.

“Not only that, they are hungry for you to have spiritual conversations about your discipline,” he said. “There’s nothing that is ‘second class’ about being Christian in higher education. You have true academic freedom in that you can talk about things here that you would be called on the carpet for at a state university.”

Dr. Thompson taught for 13 years in public education before entering a career in Christian higher education.

“Making the transition to a place of being able to merge my faith with my discipline has not been arduous,” he said. “It’s been a joy. There is a wholeness now that I never had before professionally or personally.”

The two most powerful, life-changing experiences a person can have, said Dr. Thompson, are a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and a high-quality education.

“We are at ground zero in Christian higher education to merge those two intentionally and explicitly,” he said. “That’s a really, really powerful thing.”

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, said all HPU faculty and staff, regardless of their individual roles, are responsible for teaching the students in some way.

“Our prayer is that as we perform our jobs, we recognize that they are more than a series of tasks,” he said. “We have the opportunity every day to present and model to the students God sends our way the image of people who are seeking to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives.”

It is exciting to know that we have been placed where we can help prepare the next generation of leaders, Dr. Tew said.

“We recognize that we can accept that challenge and shape and mold students in such a way that they go from here knowing that their careers are their calling to serve God so that they can use their gifts and talents that we’ve helped them fine-tune,” he said. “We pray they use these not just to make a living for themselves but as a means to a far greater end – that is to share the love of Christ in everything that they do.”


Cutline: Colleagues in Christian higher education from North Greenville University recently joined HPU personnel for a professional development day on engaging the mind and the Spirit. Pictured are Dr. Gene C. Fant Jr. (left), president of North Greenville University, and Dr. H. Paul Thompson Jr., dean of North Greenville’s College of Humanities and Sciences and chair of the history department.

HPU to adjust academic programs and related staffing based on budget outlook

HPU Old Main Tower PlazaBROWNWOOD – November 8, 2018 – Howard Payne University recently announced plans to reduce or otherwise modify selected academic programs to strengthen the institution’s footing in an increasingly challenging higher-education landscape. The moves were unanimously approved by HPU’s Board of Trustees at a meeting on November 2.

While the university’s long-term financial standing is stable due to a strong endowment and prudent resource management as demonstrated by the Board of Trustees, in recent years the annual operating budget has been strained due to a range of underpopulated courses and decreased external scholarship assistance for students.

The curriculum revisions were the result of a lengthy evaluation process prompted by decreased resources and other difficult trends in faith-based education.

“While there may be little comfort in this reality, our challenges are not unique,” said Dr. Paul W. Armes, HPU’s interim president. “There is simply no way for tuition-driven colleges to live beyond their means. That trajectory must change if these institutions are to move forward positively.”

HPU’s leadership has been facing these challenges for several years but sought other means to address them, due to the reality that personnel are connected to the programs that would be eliminated.

“This is a very painful process,” said Dr. Armes. “These changes are not a negative reflection on any individual employee or academic area but are simply realities we must face if we are to be responsible in our budgeting.”

After considering underperforming majors, the board acted to close 10 majors/minors and reconfigure seven others. All students with affected degree plans have been notified of these changes and the university will honor the curriculum that each student started. If a student wishes to change to another major at HPU or transfer to another institution, advisors and deans will give necessary assistance.

As a result of the program reorganization and realignment, the university closed one full-time administrative support position and 12 full-time faculty positions, including two faculty positions that were already planned to be vacancies in the next fiscal year.  All personnel who will be leaving the institution as a result of program closures will be provided with transition assistance.

The following majors/minors (listed by school) have been eliminated due to program realignment:

• Christian Studies – Biblical Languages (to be merged with the Bible major), Cross-Cultural Studies (to be merged with the Christian Education major)
• Humanities – Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Spanish (changing from major to minor)
• Music and Fine Arts – Art (changing from major to minor), Church Music and Worship (to be merged with the Bachelor of Arts – Music), Journalism, Music Performance (to be merged with the Bachelor of Arts – Music), Piano Pedagogy (to be merged with the Bachelor of Arts – Music)
• Science and Mathematics – Forensic Science

Not all of the above closures required personnel changes, and those individuals facing transition have already been notified.

Additionally, curricular realignments are being made in all academic areas to move toward greater efficiency and effectiveness. The following are specific areas (listed by school) with adjustments made at this time:

• Business – Master of Business Administration
• Education – Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership
• Music and Fine Arts – Theatre
• Science and Mathematics – Computer Information Systems, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering Science

“The board looked at several options,” said Dr. Armes. “In the end, the trustees approved the most compassionate and minimalist course they felt that they could. From my perspective, their action was careful, considered and generous.”


HPU personnel complete doctoral degrees

Dr. Jodi GoodeBROWNWOOD – August 15, 2018 – Two members of Howard Payne University’s staff and faculty earned doctor of philosophy degrees at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

Dr. Jodi Goode, assistant vice president for informational technology services and chief information officer, completed her degree in information systems – security from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She also holds a Master of Science degree in information systems from Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

“Dr. Goode’s research into cybersecurity has directly enhanced HPU’s operation, and her resulting expertise and winsome spirit have made her an internationally sought-after conference leader on the subject,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer. “She accomplished her doctoral research while successfully leading the university’s software conversion and also serving in a faculty role.”

Dr. Jennifer McNieceDr. Jennifer McNiece, assistant professor of government, director of international studies and academic travel, and acting Brand Chair, completed her degree in business administration from Northcentral University in San Diego, California. She also holds the Master of Arts degree in economics and the Master of Public Administration degree, both from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She is a graduate of HPU through the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy program.

“Dr. McNiece has provided exceptional leadership to the university and completed her doctoral work, all while advancing the university’s international studies program,” said Dr. Tew. “We’re thankful for the work she does with students in and out of the classroom and for her commitment to professional and personal development.”

Dr. Tew stated he was proud not only of the academic accomplishments of Dr. Goode and Dr. McNiece, but also of their outstanding service to the university on a daily basis.

“The earning of these degrees represents the culmination of years of hard work,” he said.


Cutlines: HPU personnel Dr. Jodi Goode (left) and Dr. Jennifer McNiece (right) completed their doctoral degrees at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

HPU receives unanimous approval for pre-licensure BSN from Texas Board of Nursing

BROWNWOOD – July 20, 2018 – The Texas Board of Nursing unanimously approved Howard Payne University’s proposal to offer the pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. At a BON meeting held Thursday in Austin, the news was communicated to HPU representatives Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; Dr. Nina Ouimette, dean of nursing; and Laci Sutton, instructor of nursing.

The approval follows many months of diligent preparation and close correspondence with the BON by HPU administrators and faculty.

“Due to the excellent work of our dean and faculty, the Texas Board of Nursing unanimously approved HPU’s proposal for the pre-licensure BSN,” said Dr. Tew. “HPU expresses its sincerest appreciation to Dr. Ouimette and Mrs. Laci Sutton for leading the university through this process. The university also appreciates the rest of HPU’s faculty for their support in the development of curriculum.”

Carter Sharpe, member of HPU’s Board of Trustees and past chairman, called the BON approval great news and an answer to prayer.

“The Board of Nursing’s rigorous approval process helps ensure HPU’s School of Nursing will be even stronger than it was at the onset,” he said. “This is a great step forward for Howard Payne and I can’t thank Dr. Tew and Dr. Ouimette enough for their leadership.”

Quoting Matthew 23:11 (NIV), which reads “The greatest among you will be your servant,” Dr. Ouimette said she believes HPU will provide future nurses a solid Christ-centered foundation to serve others.

“I am elated that entering freshmen and transfer students may declare a nursing major,” she said. “Our curriculum is student centered with a focus on caring, faith and intellectual inquiry.”

The program is expected to be of great interest to current and prospective students, said Kevin Kirk, HPU’s associate vice president for enrollment management.

“We are thrilled that students seeking to follow God’s call into the field of nursing can now pursue that at Howard Payne,” he said. “The attitude of Christian service at HPU is a great fit for students who want to impact the world through the field of nursing.”

A quick-reference guide follows with more details.

When will BSN classes begin?

HPU is authorized to admit incoming students declared as nursing majors as early as the fall 2018 semester. These students will subsequently undergo a rigorous and competitive process to gain admission to the university’s School of Nursing during the spring semester of their sophomore year. If admitted to the program, students will start BSN coursework the following semester (fall 2019).

In addition to incoming first-year students, transfer students and HPU upperclassmen may enroll as nursing majors with plans to apply to HPU’s School of Nursing during the latter portion of their sophomore year.

What process did HPU undergo to gain approval from the Texas Board of Nursing?

In September 2017, Dr. Ouimette filed a Letter of Intent with the BON that outlined the university’s intentions of establishing a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. The BON approved Dr. Ouimette to serve as HPU’s proposed Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Education program director. The following month, Dr. Ouimette and Sutton attended a BON new program development information session in Austin. BON representatives performed a site visit in June 2018 to ensure HPU’s classrooms, labs and other facilities are complete and ready for use by students. The representatives then recommended approval of HPU’s proposal to the full Board of Nursing.

Who teaches in the program?

The primary faculty members in HPU’s School of Nursing are Dr. Nina Ouimette and Mrs. Laci Sutton (biographies follow). Additional prospective faculty members have been identified and will be employed as the program grows.

Dr. Ouimette, employed by HPU in June 2017, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from George Mason University, a Master of Science degree in child development and family relations from East Carolina University, a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Hardin-Simmons University and a Doctor of Education degree from Texas Tech University. Her past experience includes serving as dean and professor of nursing with tenure at Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing from 2009 to 2016. Also with Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, she served as Bachelor of Science in Nursing director and associate professor of nursing with tenure from 2008 to 2009 and as assistant professor from 2002 to 2008. Additionally, she served as an adjunct faculty member at Abilene Intercollegiate School of Nursing from 2000 to 2002 and as RN clinical nurse analyst and nurse educator at Hendrick Medical Center from 1997 to 2002.

Sutton, who joined the HPU faculty in 2016, received her Bachelor of Science degree from HPU in 2009 and a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Lubbock Christian University in 2014. Her experience includes clinical examiner and adjunct faculty positions at Excelsior College in New York. She has also held positions at the Medical Intensive Care Unit of Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock, including unit nurse tech, unit registered nurse and relief charge nurse. Sutton is completing work toward a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Grand Canyon University.

Does HPU offer additional routes to the BSN degree?

In addition to its pre-licensure BSN degree, HPU offers the RN-to-BSN degree program. This program allows for a registered nurse with an unencumbered license to continue his or her education toward a post-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Contact Information

For more information about HPU and its academic offerings, visit The School of Nursing may be contacted by e-mail at or by phone at 325-649-8182.

HPU honors 70 students at Academic Awards Convocation

BROWNWOOD – June 1, 2018 – Howard Payne University honored 70 students for academic achievements at a ceremony held near the end of the spring 2018 semester. The students were recognized during the university’s annual Academic Awards Convocation.

Receiving awards were:

Skyler Schoolfield, Outstanding Mock Trial Student, Outstanding Student in Library Science

Brianna Weaver, English Academic Achievement Award
Cole Bene’, Outstanding Lower Division Student in Chemistry

Jay Holland, Outstanding Male General Kinesiology Student

Taylor Davis, Outstanding Music Major (Vocal) Lower Division

Reagan McKinley Grisham, Outstanding Upper Division Communication Studies Student
Emma Reed, Outstanding Model UN Student, Outstanding Student in Family Studies

Marissa Godbey, Outstanding Music Major (Vocal) Upper Division
Riley Morrison, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Engineering Science

Corey Martinez, Outstanding Male Athletic Training Student
Jordan Pitman, Outstanding Christian Studies Student

Djimonii Rai Jackson, Outstanding Student in Marketing
Khyce Randall , Paul Jay Cunningham Memorial Award

Jeffrey Gilseth, Outstanding Lower Division Student in Chemistry

Suzanne Schad, Outstanding Music Major (Piano) Lower Division

Katie Ash, Outstanding New All-Level Teacher, Outstanding Candidate For Graduation In Computer Information Systems
Regina Dunlap, Outstanding Lower Division Student in Chemistry
Regina Mayrene Fleming, Outstanding Perseverance Award
Christopher Freeland, Outstanding Student Speaker Bureau Member, Texas All-State Forensics Squad
Kindell Hill, Outstanding Cross-Cultural Studies Student
Alsatia Jowers, Honor Award in Criminal Justice
Hannah Justice, Outstanding Upper Division Biology Student
Joel Justice, Outstanding History Student
Cheyanne Lovelady, Tami Pattillo Memorial Award
Seth Owen, Outstanding Male Physical Education All-Level Certification Student
Jay Sauce, Outstanding Biblical Languages Student
Isaac Sommers, Outstanding Government Student, Outstanding Moot Court Student
Andrew Stevenson, Outstanding New Secondary Teacher
Stephanie Tarigan, Outstanding Student in Mathematics
Caitlin Vincent, Outstanding Cross-Cultural Studies Student
Katelyn Zimmer, Outstanding Music Major (Instrumental) Upper Division

Paighton McNeely, Outstanding Female General Kinesiology Student

Jordan Hahn, Glenn Hopp Outstanding Writing Award, Outstanding Lower Division Student Of Spanish, Outstanding Moot Court Student

Kristin Cunningham, Outstanding Female Physical Education All-Level Certification Student

Katie Straach, Outstanding New Elementary Teacher

Jaze Randolph, Outstanding Student In Accounting, Male ASC Medal of Honor Award

Ryan Wesley Mason, Outstanding Student in Accounting, Emphasis in Finance

Abraham Cooper, Outstanding Music Major (Piano) Upper Division
Frank Ritter, Outstanding Non-traditional Student
Austin Caleb Throckmorton, Outstanding Student in Management

El Paso
Marina Sheets-Ochoa, Outstanding Swarm Yearbook Staff Member

Hanna Henson, Outstanding Bible Student, Honor Award in Psychology, Outstanding Student in Library Science

Seth Rainey, Outstanding Lower Division Communication Studies Student

Katelyn O’Conner, Outstanding Youth Ministry Student

Harker Heights
Jada Ciera Evans, Outstanding Student in Accounting

Lydia Heinrichs, Outstanding New Elementary Teacher
Sara Heinrichs, Most Promising Newcomer in Theatre

Lindsey Krueger, Outstanding Music Major (Instrumental) Lower Division

William Noah Payne, Outstanding Upper Division Student in Engineering Science

Kathleen Cravey, English Academic Achievement Award

Abner Abdia Reyes, American Ideals Award

Julia Lynne James, Outstanding Student in Accounting

Morgan Patterson, Outstanding Student in General Biology

Little Elm
Rachel Crane, Outstanding Candidate for Graduation in Biology

Justin Hughes, Outstanding Lower Division Student in Engineering Science
Rachel Hughes, Outstanding Yellow Jacket Newspaper Staff Member

Rebekah Lytle, Outstanding Academic Achievement in Communication Studies

Sarah Abigail Brown, Outstanding Lower Division Student of Spanish, Jack White Character Scholarship Award

Mount Pleasant
Josh Dykes, Outstanding Christian Studies Student

Sierra Spruill, Honor Award in Social Work

Round Rock
Shawn Brody, HPU Outstanding Male Scholar-Athlete

Michael Ryan Hazard, Outstanding Student in the School of Business

Holly Leatherman, Outstanding Student in Mathematics Education

Kayla Boucher, Female ASC Medal of Honor Award

Ethan Molnari, Outstanding Practical Theology Student

Ariana Rehm, Outstanding Female Athletic Training Student

Valley Mills
Lance Bracco, Outstanding Lower Division Biology Student

Kaitlyn Harrison, HPU Outstanding Female Scholar-Athlete

Cassia Rose, Outstanding Upper Division Student of Spanish, Outstanding Achievement in Theatre

Montana Phelps, Outstanding Candidate for Graduation in Engineering Science

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


HPU’s Dr. Celeste Church named accreditation liaison

Dr. Celeste Church 2.13.18 1BROWNWOOD – February 13, 2018 – Dr. Bill Ellis, Howard Payne University president, has appointed Dr. Celeste Church as the university’s accreditation liaison to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Dr. Church additionally serves the university as dean of institutional research and effectiveness and professor of music.

HPU has been accredited by the Commission on Colleges since 1948. The president of each member institution designates one person to be the organization’s official conduit for all correspondence with the Commission.

“Serving in her role as dean of institutional research and effectiveness, Dr. Church was a natural and obvious choice,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer. “With her engagement in assisting all areas of the university in making improvements based upon assessment data, Dr. Church is already very knowledgeable of the accreditation process.”

The accreditation procedure includes the thorough examination of all aspects of university operation including administrative processes, academic programs, student life, library services and physical and financial resources.

Dr. Church assumes the role of accreditation liaison following the retirement of Dr. Robert Bicknell, who served in that position since 2000, at the close of the fall 2017 semester. She and Dr. Bicknell are preparing the university to receive its SACSCOC visiting committee in April.

Dr. Church joined HPU’s faculty in 2004 and holds the Master of Church Music degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Texas Tech University. Her husband, Dr. Gregory Church, serves as professor of music at HPU.

“I look forward to stepping into this role and am thankful for Dr. Bicknell’s guidance and forethought,” she said.


Cutline: Dr. Celeste Church has been named HPU’s accreditation liaison to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Dr. Robert Bicknell retires from HPU, named first Provost Emeritus

Tew, Bicknell and Ellis at Commencement for webBROWNWOOD – December 15, 2017 – Dr. Robert Bicknell, who has served at Howard Payne University for almost 30 years, retired from his role as accreditation liaison at the close of the fall 2017 semester after stepping down from his concurrent role as dean of extended education in May. In appreciation of Dr. Bicknell’s faithful service to the university, Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, named Dr. Bicknell HPU’s first Provost Emeritus.

Dr. Bicknell began his career at HPU in 1989 as vice president of academic affairs before being named provost. He has since served the university in a variety of administrative and academic roles. Prior to coming to HPU, Dr. Bicknell served at Enterprise State Junior College, Wayland Baptist University and Southwest Baptist University.

As accreditation liaison to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Dr. Bicknell has successfully shepherded HPU through three decennial reaffirmations, numerous substantive change proposals and countless period reports and has served on 24 SACSCOC visiting and off-site committees, many of these as committee chair. He is a sought-after speaker regarding the subject of regional, peer-reviewed accreditation and is frequently enlisted as consultant to institutions beginning the reaffirmation process.

Dr. Bicknell also led the university in the innovation of distance learning, including the development of curriculum and the initiation of HPU’s extension centers in El Paso and New Braunfels.

He is active in the community and has served as an officer of the Brownwood Rotary Club, the Brownwood Economic Development Corporation, the Brownwood Regional Medical Center Institutional Review Board, the Brownwood Technology Board and the West Texas Telecommunications Consortium.

Dr. Ellis informed Dr. Bicknell of his Provost Emeritus designation in a recent letter thanking the retiree for his many years of dedicated leadership.

“Your service to Howard Payne and your commitment to the cause of Christian higher education deserve nothing less,” Dr. Ellis wrote.

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, commended Dr. Bicknell on his leadership and said his presence at HPU will be missed.

“Dr. Bicknell approached his time at HPU not only as his career but as his calling,” Dr. Tew said. “We’re appreciative of his dedication to the university and wish him all the best in the years to come.”


Cutline: A Resolution of Appreciation honoring Dr. Robert Bicknell was read during HPU’s fall 2017 Commencement ceremony. Left to right: Dr. W. Mark Tew, Dr. Bicknell and Dr. Bill Ellis.

HPU names six faculty promotions

Faculty Promotions Fall 17BROWNWOOD – September 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University announced the promotion of six faculty members at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. Receiving promotions are Dr. Celeste Church, Dr. Gregory Church, Dr. Kevin Kelley, Dr. Paul Lilly, Dr. José Romero and Dr. Rusty Wheelington.

“We’re proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these individuals,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer. “The promotions granted are indicative of their hard work and faithful service to the university.”

Dr. Celeste Church, HPU faculty member since 2005 and formerly associate professor of music, was named professor of music. She additionally retains the title of dean of institutional research and effectiveness.

Dr. Gregory Church, formerly associate professor of music, has been named professor of music. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2004.

Dr. Kevin Kelley, who joined the HPU faculty in 2013, was named associate professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology and Family Studies. He was formerly assistant professor of organizational psychology and business.

Dr. Paul Lilly, formerly assistant professor of criminal justice, was named associate professor of criminal justice. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2011 and also served as director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety from 2011 to 2017.

Dr. José Romero, previously associate professor of mathematics, was named professor of mathematics. He joined HPU’s faculty in 1996 and additionally serves as chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Dr. Rusty Wheelington, who joined the HPU faculty in 2006, was named professor of Christian studies. Dr. Wheelington formerly served as associate professor of Christian studies.


Cutline: Six HPU faculty members were promoted at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. Left to right: Dr. José Romero, Dr. Rusty Wheelington, Dr. Gregory Church, Dr. Celeste Church and Dr. Paul Lilly. Not pictured is Dr. Kevin Kelley.

Dr. Nina Ouimette named HPU dean of nursing

Dr. Nina OuimetteBROWNWOOD – August 17, 2017 – Having served as a teacher and administrator in faith-based educational systems for almost 20 years, Dr. Nina Ouimette, Howard Payne University’s new dean of the School of Nursing, recognizes the importance of holistic nursing care.

“This means providing for the whole person – physically, mentally and spiritually,” she said.

Dr. Ouimette joined HPU’s faculty this summer after serving 17 years with Abilene’s Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, most recently as dean and professor of nursing with tenure. She has additionally worked at hospitals and health care systems in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Her career experience and fields of specialization are broad, ranging from women’s and children’s health to nursing informatics. Dr. Ouimette holds a Doctor of Education degree in instructional technology from Texas Tech University. Her dissertation, which focused on developing and implementing online nurse education, was titled “Community of Inquiry as a Foundation for Academic Success: A Study of Social, Teaching and Cognitive Presence in Undergraduate Nursing Hybrid Courses.” Additionally, she earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Hardin-Simmons University; a Master of Science degree in child development and family relations from East Carolina University; and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from George Mason University.

As a nursing school administrator, Dr. Ouimette has experience in matters of program and curriculum development, recruitment, regulation and accreditation. At HPU, she will lead the university’s efforts in making application to the Texas Board of Nursing to offer a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Dr. Ouimette has numerous publications to her credit and her professional memberships include the Texas Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Nurses Informatics Association, the National League for Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Association of Information Technology Professionals.

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, said the university is pleased that Dr. Ouimette has joined the faculty.

“Dr. Ouimette has extensive experience in the areas of administration, education and nursing,” he said. “We look forward to seeing HPU’s School of Nursing advance under her leadership.”

Dr. Ouimette said she feels called by God to the nursing profession and to the education of nurses.

“I believe the nursing profession provides a platform of spreading the word of God to others while also promoting healthy living,” she said. “We try to follow the example of what Jesus did Himself – teaching, preaching and healing.”


Cutline: Dr. Nina Ouimette has joined HPU’s faculty as dean of the School of Nursing.