Kentucky Wesleyan College’s 153rd annual Commencement will take place Saturday, April 24, at 10 a.m. President Emeritus Barton D. Darrell ’84 will address the 163 members of the Class of 2021 and members of the Class of 2020 who will return to campus to take part in this year’s ceremony. The 2020 Commencement was virtual due to the pandemic.
Mr. Darrell was raised in Owensboro and graduated from Daviess County High School. He earned a bachelor of arts in business management from Wesleyan and a juris doctor from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. He practiced law with Bell, Orr, Ayers & Moore in Bowling Green for many years. A former Wesleyan trustee, he became the thirty-fourth president of the College in September 2014 after serving his alma mater as vice president of external services for 11 months. He was president until May 2019.
Mark Shook Named Interim Athletic Director effective June 1
Kentucky Wesleyan College Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Rob Mallory has announced his departure to serve as director of athletics at Missouri Southern State University. Mallory will conclude his time with the Panther athletic program on June 1. Mark Shook, senior associate athletic director for internal operations/compliance, will serve as the interim athletic director following Mallory’ departure.
“Rob will be missed at Kentucky Wesleyan College,” said KWC President Thomas Mitzel. “He epitomized what it means to be a Panther and live The Wesleyan Way. He has built the Athletic Department into something for which we can all be proud and will leave it in a positive place, positioned to continue moving forward.”
During Mallory’s almost six years at Kentucky Wesleyan, he oversaw an overall increase in revenue for the Department of Athletics through the development and streamlining of athletic giving with the introduction of the Panther Athletic Fund. The number of athletic programs offered by KWC expanded during his tenure with the addition of four new programs. The Panthers have also flourished in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, winning five conference titles and making six appearances in NCAA tournaments. In the classroom, 16 programs (of 19) maintain a cumulative GPA above 3.0.
“I give because I want to pay it forward. I was a Brown Scholar at KWC, and I will never forget what it meant to me, and still does, that my education was paid for. I want to help the next generation, and I want KWC and our students to flourish.”
“KWC is a family tradition. My grandmother, Claribel (Moore) Bivins, graduated in 1961, and my mother, Anna (Bivins) Roberts, in 1974. Cousins Ruth (Clark) Seydel ’64 and Rosa (Clark) Allomong ’66 are also graduates, and it means a lot to me that am a part of our KWC tradition.
“My major was computer information systems, and my professor, Joe Francom, did so much to help me prepare for my career. He took theory and made it practical for real world application. I appreciated his time and support. One of the great things about KWC was the one-on-one time I had with professors.
Alex Phillips is the first Kentucky Wesleyan student to enter the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in the 3 + 3 program between the two institutions. After three years at KWC, he will enter law school and his first year of law school will also count as his senior year at Wesleyan.
“It has been my life-long dream to become an attorney, and I get to go to law school a year early. I was sitting down for a class a few weeks ago, and checked my status with UofL on an app. It had changed from pending to admitted. I was overwhelmed, and the first thing I did was call my dad.
“I want to be a trial lawyer and work in family practice with my dad and my two older brothers. KWC prepared me.
“It was very liberating after I arrived here to learn that my professors and classmates supported me academically and personally. I am so thankful, and I encourage any prospective student who is considering KWC to make the KWC choice and embrace the tight-knit community here.
“I chose Kentucky Wesleyan because I knew the College’s reputation and that I would get the academic foundation I needed for admission to graduate school. I was very fortunate to get a softball scholarship, too.
From Abba to Aerosmith to Ariana Grande, Panther Radio listeners enjoy an eclectic mix of music, along with local news and weather. The community-based radio station is also a training ground for future broadcasters, under the direction of station manager Derik Hancock.
Certified with the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Derik is an instructor of communications, and he currently guides and coordinates the 20+ students who are interns and volunteers at the station, located in the Ralph Center for Fine Arts and Communications Arts.
WKWC 90.3FM recently participated in the Broadcast Education Association’s “2021 Festival of Media Arts,” and communication arts major Lain Taleno ’22 won second place in the category for Best Comedy or Drama in Student Audio Production. Taleno produced and directed a radio broadcast production of “Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Tolling Bell” for broadcast on Halloween 2020.
Kentucky Wesleyan College has named James Cousins, Ph.D., as its vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College, President Thomas Mitzel announced Thursday. Dr. Cousins will officially begin his duties on July 1, 2021.
Dr. Cousins brings over 16 years of higher education experience to KWC. He currently serves as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University, overseeing student success, faculty engagement, assessment and curriculum development. Prior to this role, Dr. Cousins was a faculty member and director of undergraduate studies in Western Michigan University’s Department of History. At Western, Cousins has been instrumental in the creation of new academic programs, general education reforms, extra-institutional partnerships and a number of initiatives designed to increase student engagement and success.
“We are ecstatic that Dr. Cousins is joining our Panther family,” said President Mitzel. “James brings a strong background and diverse portfolio to this position. His insight and leadership will help Kentucky Wesleyan College continue to build upon its rich academic reputation while making necessary changes to ensure the College remains a global leader in education.”
The transition to remote learning in mid-Mar 2020 was painful for everyone. Very few of the faculty were trained in how to teach remotely or had even considered teaching in that manner. Likewise, our students were not prepared to have the teaching-learning enterprise shift more responsibility for learning to them.
Our faculty are dedicated to our students and helping them to succeed. They quickly galvanized the resources we had available to help them transition spring classes from face-to-face to remote instruction. The faculty who teach in our online programs as well the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning (CETL – Dr. Christine Salmon), the associate dean and director of online education (Dr. Rebecca Francis) and the learning management coordinator (Savannah Travis) all stepped up and offered helpful tips and encouragement, which enabled the faculty and students to complete the semester remotely.
We all recognized the need to be well prepared for what might happen in fall 2020 if we were remote. In preparation for our fall hybrid model, Drs. Salmon and Francis developed a five-week course for faculty to enable them to learn how to be effective and engaging in the virtual environment. Fifty faculty took this course, which started shortly after commencement. The work and time required to create and deliver an engaging, high-quality experience in a remote environment was monumental. The majority of our faculty prepared four courses for the fall, as we have very few multi-section courses, which meant little time for rest, reflection, and recharging during the summer. During the academic year, our faculty – many who were also managing schooling for their children, caring for parents, dealing with COVID themselves or within their families – their commitment to their profession and to the well-being of our students cannot be recognized enough. Several were teaching entirely remotely, several had students who were entirely remote, and all managed to not only teach their courses but also reached out to make sure our students had help navigating the environment. They provided one-on-one conversations, helping students get resources (food, books, shelter, mental health services, etc.), and offered encouragement and reminders when students were getting behind or not turning in work, etc.
“As soon as I stepped on campus, KWC felt like home. I didn’t want to be just another number at a big university; I wanted the staff and students to truly know me. When I came for my first visit, the president of the school already knew exactly who I was. You’re not going to get that anywhere but Kentucky Wesleyan.
“My advisor, Andrew Bolin (assistant professor of communications), has really impacted me. He began at Wesleyan my sophomore year and took all of his students under his wing. He continued to look for internships and job openings that fit what I wanted to do after graduation. He truly cared about my future.
“Another person who has impacted my college experience is my coach, Miles Mallette. College athletics can be intense and hard to juggle with your everyday life. He made sure our academics came first and that we were able to have lives outside of softball. That was important for me because I was a student-athlete who worked a job, as well.
Chelsea Adams ’13 is a member of the Young Alumni President’s Circle. She shares her KWC connection and reasons for giving back to her alma mater in such a significant way.
“I cherished my time at KWC and always look back fondly on those years in Owensboro. KWC gave me many learning experiences, lifelong friends and more great memories than I can count. Even as a student, I knew I wanted all young people to have college experiences as amazing as I had, which is why I worked as a Phonathon caller and Student Ambassador. I give now to help make those dreams a reality for other young students.
“I encourage others to give to KWC so we can share The Wesleyan Way with as many young students as possible.”