JBU Faculty Sacrifice to Create Scholarship

Siloam Springs, Ark. (February 1, 2007) — John Brown University’s faculty in the Education Division are taking the old adage of “to teach is to touch a life forever” to a new level. Over the last four years, the education faculty have elected to work overtime to help area teachers by teaching TESOL methods in local public schools. Rather than using surplus funds brought in by the programs for their own projects, the JBU faculty recently decided to use the money to create an endowed scholarship for JBU students.

The JBU education faculty agreed to use the $50,000 they amassed to fund the Dr. Roger Iddings Endowed Education Scholarship in honor of a former division chairperson. The education faculty's contribution was matched through JBU's $10 Million Challenge to create a $100,000 endowed scholarship.

A special presentation was held on Thursday, Feb. 1 in JBU’s chapel service at 10:30 a.m. in the Cathedral of the Ozarks with the Division of Education and special guest, Dr. Roger Iddings, former chairperson the Education Division.

Four years ago, JBU faculty began serving the needs of Northwest Arkansas school districts by training teachers in English as a Second Language (ESL) methods through the English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programs. Fees for these courses paid all JBU’s costs, including paying the faculty at a minimal overload rate. Any surplus revenue was then deposited in a fund to support the work of JBU's Education Division with permission from JBU's Academic Affairs Office.

Although their moonlighting required effort, the Education Division faculty chose to take on the additional work believing that surplus revenues could benefit JBU's education majors in some way.

As the fund began to grow, the division began to dream about how to use this money. Although raising the instructor's pay for teaching the TESOL program was an option, faculty were dedicated to focusing fund dollars on more altruistic goals. When the fund value reached $50,000, members of the Education Division decided that the funds would be best used to create an endowed scholarship for JBU education students.

“The instructors sacrificially gave their personal time to teach these courses to public school teachers and then turned around gave their income to the division" Dr. Sandra Van Thiel, chair of the Education Division, said. “The education faculty was in agreement that the funds needed to be used for students in the Education Division. When we saw that the $10 Million Challenge gave us the chance to double our money toward an endowed scholarship, it was perfectly clear to us what we should do with the funds.”

The heart of JBU’s education faculty lies in training future teachers. Without the vision and leadership from Dr. Roger Iddings in the mid 1990s and the sacrificial faculty, this new scholarship would not be possible.

Dr. Roger Iddings, the namesake of the new Education Division scholarship, was chair of the Education Division from 1988 to 1997 and made a lasting impact on students and faculty alike. During his tenure, he was responsible for seeing that JBU started training future teachers in ESL methods through the TESOL program.

Mrs. Grace Youmans-Davis, assistant professor of education and language was encouraged by Iddings to design and deliver ESL/TESOL courses for education majors.

“When Dr. Iddings asked me to take on this project, I had no idea how much ESL/TESOL would be needed in Northwest Arkansas,” Youmans-Davis, said.

Beyond the JBU Education classroom, area school districts began to request teacher training in ESL methods. Administrators approached Davis about teaching the ESL endorsement courses prescribed by the Arkansas Department of Education. JBU’s education faculty responded with a group effort that will now provide aid for future teachers.

Iddings' forethought about the importance of ESL/TESOL programs ultimately created the opportunities for JBU professors to train teachers in Northwest Arkansas and earn funds to create the new scholarship. The $50,000 from the division was matched by the $10 Million Challenge to create a $100,000 endowed scholarship. The $4,500-$5,000 scholarship will be offered next year and for many years to come. The education faculty will meet each year to decide on a scholarship recipient.

John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked sixth by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU enrolls more than 2,000 students from 40 states and 45 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges & Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.