Passing the Baton…A Peek into our Summer at CHHS

As the 2016-2017 academic year has winded down, I wanted to take a moment to thank our faculty, our staff, and our community for the tireless commitment and energy you placed into the success of our university, our college, our programs and ultimately the lives of our students. To our students, I want to thank-you for your perseverance and your commitment to the faculty, staff, CHHS and WKU. Your investment will reap rewards over time as you continue to pursue your academic and career paths.

This year, I had the opportunity to shake the hands of over 1,100 CHHS students at our December and May commencement ceremonies. From associates to doctoral degrees, in disciplines that range across eight departments, and three campuses, our college provides diverse, educational opportunities. I am hopeful that those 1,100 students will soon be shaking the hands with their new employers, educators, clients, and colleagues. Granting a degree is one of the best rewards I can offer as an educator, as it is vital to the success of the generations to come.

I think of this transitional period in our lives in terms of a relay race. There comes a point in the race called the “exchange zone”. It is during this point in time that the baton must pass onto the next runner in the race. There is little time for this baton to pass between two runners, and the proper timing and preparation is vital to this part of the race and for this transition. Early exchange of the baton results in disqualification and late exchange ends in the same results, just as the dropping of the baton results in a risk for both the passer and the receiver. And in education, as I have discovered, just like in a relay race, each leg of the journey depends upon the leg before.

As administrators, faculty, teachers, educators, we must constantly be in preparation mode for the race set before us. We each have a leg in the race in which we must prepare ourselves. It is during this practice period that we are learning how to make proper exchange of the baton. We practice the passing on of knowledge to the runners, students, generations, that will continue the race. The race for educators does not end with the passing of the baton, it ends when we fail to make the exchange, transfer of knowledge to the generation after us. We must invest in each student, by preparing them to carry our successes forward. The race we have as educators, is to be so invested in our students that we come to the point in their lives in which we need them to carry the baton and to continue the race.

“What one man can’t finish alone he hands off to another who can complete the task.”

As true runners, and educators, we must constantly practice the art of the passing of the baton if we want to win the race.


I want to highlight a few key achievements from this past year at CHHS, a few upcoming events for this summer:

  • After a year of collaborating with faculty, staff, students and key stakeholders, we have officially launched our CHHS Strategic Plan. This strategic plan is imperative as CHHS transitions into the next phase of development. We currently have several committees formed, to meet the strategic objectives set forth by the plan. I look forward to sharing with you in the near future, the achievements stemmed from these committees and those dedicated to continually improving the body and the outcomes of the CHHS.


  • After 18 months of collaborative work with Merck & Co., we were able to partner with them to hold an inaugural Merck Medical Forum Symposium at the WKU Alumni Center in early June. Mike Sherrod, CEO of Tristar Greenview Hospital, worked closely with me to plan this spectacular event. The symposium centered on “relationship centered care”. This foci has emerged in the last two decades in an attempt to empower patients to better equip themselves with the knowledge necessary to communicate with their physicians as they attempt to take better care of themselves. Both speakers were very enlightening. The first speaker was Dr. Jeffrey Ring, a health psychologist, provided information on improving physician-patient communication and presented key ways that front line clinicians can keep the patient at the center of their communication patterns. The second speaker, Dr. Lenore Coleman, a doctorally prepared pharmacist, provided some novel information on how the root of poor medication adherence is complex due to cultural and communication patterns between providers and patients. Over 30 individuals attended this symposium, which was a spectacular number and some came to me to say that this was the best symposium of this nature that they had previously attended. As I continue to collaborate with Merck & Co., we will aim to have two of these per year.


  • We are wrapping up our second CHHS Annual Magazine: CHHS IMPACT: Engage. Serve. Collaborate. Learn. The magazine will be mailed out and electronically distributed in June, and will showcase some of our key achievements and success stories conducted by our students, faculty, staff, community and alumni


  • I am preparing for our inaugural WKU Study Abroad program at the University of Haifa in Mount Carmel, Israel that will begin this July. As mentioned in previous blog entries, Mount Carmel, Israel: Experiencing, Learning, Collaborating and Strengthening CHHS’ Global Footprint, WKU and the CHHS has formed a partnership with the University of Haifa and created a new graduate Global Health Summer program. I will be traveling to Israel for the month of July, teaching a course on Leadership Management of International Organizations.

I hope that you have enjoyable plans set for this summer. I encourage you to follow along on Twitter with me on my summer travels to Israel, @NealeChumbler, as I share the great partnerships we are building abroad.


Until next time,



Neale Chumbler

Annual CHHS Awards Banquet

This past weekend, our college had the opportunity to host our annual College of Health and Human Services’ Awards Banquet, at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green, KY. This awards ceremony celebrates and acknowledges the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff and community. It truly is the culmination of the year-long academic pursuits of our college, and that of which drives the success of the CHHS and the pursuit of our mission: to inspire the discovery and application of knowledge in health and human services.

We had the privilege to honor over 80 students, eight faculty and staff members, as well the recipient of this year’s “CHHS Hall of Fame” award. The banquet began with dinner and a lovely violin and viola accompaniment provided by internationally renowned musicians—-Dr. Ching-Yi Lin and Andrew Braddock from the WKU Strings Program. Following the dinner and the presentation of our student awards, we acknowledged the following faculty and staff for their contributions to the CHHS for the 2016-2017 academic year:

  • Faculty Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Ron Ramsing, Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport
  • Faculty Excellence in Research/Creativity – Dr. Jill Maples, Exercise Science
  • Faculty Excellence in Student Advisement – Dr. Amanda Funk, Exercise Science
  • Faculty Excellence in Public Service – Dr. Gayle Mallinger, Social Work
  • Outstanding Part Time Faculty Award- Charles “Mac” Cann, Public Health & Edward Sweeney, Communications Sciences and Disorders
  • CHHS Outstanding Staff Award – Judy English, CHHS Dean’s Office
  • Staff Advisor/Student Services Support Award – Austin Griffiths, Social Work

It was also my honor to present our CHHS Hall of Fame award to Mr. Kenneth Holland, Director of Operations for GoodWorks Unlimited, LLC. Mr. Holland has successfully operated nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities; freestanding assisted living properties, memory care locations and has served in multi-facility operations.  Mr. Holland has been a tremendous support to our students, provides financial support when needed, connects students with other industry leaders, and works to increase involvement of his own organization (GoodWorks Unlimited, LLC). He has a contagious excitement about this profession and a strong desire to prepare students as future leaders in long-term care.

“He is an outstanding example of quality education and preparation within our college for future leaders in health care organizations,” stated WKU Associate Professor, Masters of Health Care Administration Director William Mkanta. “He has also shown continued support and tremendous enthusiasm for WKU’s Health Care Administration program.”

Mr. Holland currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Health Care Administration major at WKU. He holds a degree in Health Care Administration from WKU, and also served as a preceptor for students from Auburn University, WKU, St. Petersburg Community College and Meharry Medical College.  It was an honor and a delight to not only present this well-deserved award to Mr. Holland, but to also meet and visit with his family.

Just as with the Holland family, I was delighted to see over 250 guests accompany our awardees at this highly touted event. From personal experience as a student, a graduate student, researcher, faculty member, and now as an administrator, if not for my own support system and mentors, I may have not persevered through some of the adversity and challenges I faced. Many of our student awardees shared some of the adversity they faced: first-generation college student, holding a full-time job, raising families, giving birth to a child, traveling abroad for research endeavors, or pursuing doctorate positions. Through this adversity, they still managed to earn great academic accolades, a victory in itself.

“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”— Abraham Lincoln

I just completed two years serving as Dean of the CHHS. There have been so many rewarding experiences in this short amount of time. Looking back, our noble seed-planting efforts are bearing much fruit in the present. Great things are happening in our college, as was seen at the awards banquet this past weekend. Strategy and planning drive our success. When I began my role as Dean, I worked at developing a strategic plan that would not only align with our university’s vision, but one that would also cast our vision, with direct action items, to position ourselves to be leaders in the field through our unique strengths, team based interests, individual, collaborative and collective efforts. I encourage you to read through our CHHS Strategic Plan , a plan that aims to advance practice, instruction, research, and service of health and human services in CHHS. As noted in the plan, our intent is to make the CHHS the college of choice for highly capable and motivated students from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. We are well on our way!


Warm Regards,

Las Vegas… Bright Future for our WKU Study Away Students

In early January, I took a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to join with eleven of our Hospitality Management and Dietetics (HMD) students from our CHHS Department of Family & Consumer Sciences as they embarked upon a Study Away trip to the city that never sleeps! Over the course of a week, the students were able to see the many layers of the ever-expanding hospitality industry, and I was glad to be a part of seeing students engage thru this experiential learning opportunity!

The trip, orchestrated by WKU HMD Instructor, Ms. Ann Embry, provided the students with insight of what it takes to be successful in business. With a schedule that allowed the students to meet the CEO’s of hotels, and popular resorts, to the leadership that operated the large laundry magnet for the city, it was an eye-opening experience for all.

From my perspective, this trip provided (students) insight into what it takes to be successful in business,” said Embry, “The drive, the passion, the ethics, were all displayed by people who hosted our group.  It was an amazing inside look at how companies operate and how you as a leader are dependent on those around you.

I was glad to see a common theme, projected thru the industry leaders to our students on this trip; hiring the right people to perform the jobs needed, and providing them with the proper training, is key in developing and growing a successful business.

In a sense, the WKU CHHS follows this model; to find the students that best fit our programs, and equip them with the tools for success upon graduation. This Study Away experience is one of the tools used to provide our students with a real-world experience, or as I am a proponent of, an experiential learning experience. Giving our HMD students access to industry leaders as well as access to facilities in a hospitality-rich city, allows our students to see new career opportunities, and a chance to form new relationships and connections that will assist them in their career paths.

This trip could not have taken place without the generosity of one of our very own WKU alum, and respected restaurateur, Mr. Joe Micatrotto, Jr.. His company, MGR Marketing and Management, is the parent company for the Raising Cane’s Chicken franchise, which has several restaurants located throughout Nevada and Arizona. Mr. Micatrotto, Jr. welcomed our group into his home and assisted in giving us access to many other industry leaders in Las Vegas. The students were very impressed with his background and found inspiration in his story of success. I am pleased to announce that Joe was recently elected to a term on the WKU Alumni Association Board of Directors. He will be a great voice on this Board!

One of our own alumni who has been so successful yet so humble and loves everything about his job,” said WKU HMD major Sydney A. Cordes. “To me, that was one of the most eye opening parts of the trip. Someone from a small city of Bowling Green can make it big in an even bigger city of Las Vegas. (Opportunity) allowed me to see that with enough hard work, dedication, and perseverance, I can do whatever I set my mind to.

I was honored to be a part of this trip. The exposure and knowledge imparted from these successful leaders to our students was spectacular. This experience has already opened doors and opportunities for our students. The future is very bright indeed.


Warm Regards,





City of Lights: WKU Study Away in Las Vegas

The holidays have come and gone and we are currently in preparation mode for a great 2017 academic year on the Hill! The year is starting off quite nicely as I will be heading out to Las Vegas, Nevada January 10 -13. This trip will not be marked with pool lounging and great shows, but rather, it will be a wonderful opportunity to join a group of our WKU students who will be participating in a WKU Study Away experience in the city of lights, to explore all facets of the hospitality industry that this spectacular city has to offer.

This Study Away experience will be led by two of our faculty that teach within the WKU College of Health and Human Services’ (CHHS) Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS); Ms. Ann Embry and Ms. Amanda Skinner. Skinner and Embry will lead the students on an eight-day excursion visiting hotels, restaurants, casinos, suppliers, event venues and popular tourist attractions. The course will include exposure to management styles of various industry facilities, marketing strategies that are used within the hospitality industry, comparative analysis between various types of establishments in the industry, and learning operational and logistical management in the hospitality industry. There will also be a special emphasis on careers related to the fields of: communication, marketing, sales, recreation, fashion, interior design, event management, hospitality restaurant, and/or business.

As mentioned in my prior blogs (i.e. Experiential Learning: Students and Community Benefit), I am a huge proponent of experiential learning opportunities for our students. As a popular topic in higher education, experiential learning, which is the expression of “learning from doing”, enhances positive outcomes, including student learning, on-time graduation, and seamless transition into the workforce. This will be a great opportunity for both our students and for the hospitality industry as we are empowering students to be well-equipped for this career field.

Another exciting element of this trip, will be for the opportunity I have to visit with some of our WKU and CHHS alumni that are now residing and working in the Vegas area. It is always a delight to be able to meet up with our WKU alumni on my various travels. I love learning about their trade and how their time and career have progressed from their days at WKU.

One alumni in particular that I will be visiting, has had and continues to have a profound impact on the growth and sustainability of our CHHS Department of FACS. If you recall from my earlier blog post, Friendraising as a Form of Advancement and Development in CHHS, we honored WKU alumnus and respected restaurateur, Joe Micatrotto, Jr. and the Micatrotto family for their $150,000 gift, the largest gift received in the FACS program’s history, that was used to establish the Micatrotto Fund for Excellence in Hospitality Management in Fall 2015. The generous fund provides incredible pedagogical and service learning opportunities in the foods and catering laboratory for the Hospitality Management and Dietetics majors. On this trip, I will have the pleasure of visiting with Mr. Joe Micatrotto, Jr., whose company, MRG Marketing and Management is the parent company for the Raising Cane’s Chicken franchise, among others.

WKU Study Away- Las Vegas, NV Itinerary:

  • Tour of Grand Casino & Hotel
  • MRG Marketing & Management/Raising Cane’s Chicken
  • Marketing Agency
  • Chemical and Towel Laundering Company
  • Manufacturer of T-shirts/marketing products
  • 2nd Casino/Hotel tour
  • Tour Convention Center
  • Tour of UNLV hospitality/gaming program

I look forward to sharing with you more about my time visiting with our WKU students and alumni upon my return!

Happy New Year!



Neale Chumbler

For more information on this WKU Study Away opportunity, please visit: WKU.EDU/GO/VEGAS

University of Haifa Partnership Update

I recently returned from a trip abroad to the University of Haifa in Mount Carmel, Israel.  If you have been reading along on my blog, you will know that we, CHHS, have been working with the University of Haifa (UH) to establish a Global Health Graduate summer program as a study abroad option for WKU students as well as an international teaching option for faculty within CHHS. This recent trip cemented our contract with the UH and we are pleased to announce that we will be offering this new program to our students starting this Summer 2017.

Fellow colleagues and administrators from the University of Haifa in Israel.

Our partnership with the UH will help pave the way for our students who are interested in studying health care delivery on a global scale. This experiential learning opportunity offers 3-6 weeks of coursework and integration of learning with students from other countries, other cultures and other health systems. WKU students are able to take up to 12 hours at the University of Haifa from the following classes offered:

  • Public Health Perspective
  • Leadership and Management in International Organizations
  • Global Health Systems
  • Community Health
  • Psychological & Behavioral Factors in Global Health
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Managing Health Communication Initiatives
  • Community Health-Field Experience

I am also pleased to announce, that yours truly will be teaching the Leadership and Management in International Organizations course this summer at the UH. I am excited about this opportunity of getting back into the classroom and engaging with students of various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. This course will provide an introduction and overview to leadership and management in global public health sectors. The course will also make extensive use of actual global issues the students face and provide a strong theoretical foundation to support and extend effective practice of leadership in a variety of cultural settings. I am very much looking forward to teaching this course in an opportunistic, and historically rich setting.

This opportunity for study abroad would not even be an option for some of our students had it not have been for the generous gifts received from our donors. Our donors are equipping WKU to fund student scholarships, as they see the benefit of students engaging in these experiential learning opportunities. As Malcolm X once stated, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” I am ever in debt to the hands and feet of those that have helped prepare the way for our students, your impact today will benefit the future of our global health care system.

For more information on our new Global Health Graduate summer program at the University of Haifa, please contact CHHS Communications Specialist Susan Megahee .

Until Next Time,


“Not So” Fly for a White Guy

Playing off of my limited knowledge of 90’s rock music, I can assure you, that after my trip to Missoula, I am Pretty Not So Fly for a White Guy!. Although I didn’t catch my 18″ trout, I had hoped for, I did find myself stacking up some numbers when it came to counting my catch!


As you may have read in my earlier blog, WKU Fly Fishing: A Visit to Missoula, MT, I recently participated in an experiential learning excursion with the WKU Fly Fishing group, led by Professor Raymond Poff, from WKU’s Recreation Administration program. This was the fifth trip to Montana that Poff has led at WKU, and let me say, what a remarkable time we had on the river!

WKU Fly Fishing Group at the Missoulian Angler Fly Shop in Missoula, MT.
WKU Fly Fishing Group at the Missoulian Angler Fly Shop in Missoula, MT.

I have been off of the beautiful Big Blackfoot River now for a little over a week and I am starting to get back into the rigor of my everyday schedule that I left behind when I headed out on this five-day trip to Missoula, MT. With our cell phones tucked away for 12 hours a day, the only schedule we followed was that of our anglers from the Missoulian Angler Fly Shop, who guided our time on the waters. Their skill, patience and direction created a better-than-textbook instruction for the sport.


There is something to say about the stillness of the waters and the prowess to the sport of fly fishing. The landscape of the Big Blackfoot River created a beautiful backdrop to the lesson plan for the day. As author Norman Maclean wrote in the book, “A River Runs Through It”;

‘One great thing about fly fishing, is that after a while nothing exists of the world but thoughts about fly fishing.’

And that was entirely true on this trip. The environment created an opportunity for precision focus on the subject matter. I remember back to the tutorials I read, the videos I watched, and the instruction I received from Poff on South Lawn, about the techniques of fly fishing, just prior to this trip. This trip allowed for the summation of those parts, to put all of that into practice.


I have been a huge proponent for promoting experiential learning opportunities for our students, as I strongly feel that this method of instruction results in enhanced student learning and seamless transition into the workforce. This trip provided an excellent hands-on experience where the classroom instruction came to life on the water. It was a great opportunity to see the students thrive on the waters after weeks of instruction on dry land.


After a long day on the river, we would all gather for dinner and reminisce of our day on the waters. I loved hearing the students sharing of their challenges and their catches. To hear their stories of practice on dry land and the difference it made once on the water. We compared flies, rods, fish species, anglers, temperatures, wildlife and knowledge.

Although I did not hit my goal of luring in a beautiful trout over 18 inches in length, I did find success in the many trout I did catch. With each fish, a victory was made and a new goal set. As with life, and as a visionary, this experience gave me a holistic sight of how this one, small experiential learning opportunity is paving the future for CHHS.

Until next time,


WKU Fly Fishing: A Visit to Missoula, MT

Next Monday, I will be heading to Montana, joining with the WKU Fly Fishing group on a five- day experiential learning excursion in Missoula. A total of 13 individuals (eight students and five community members) will be embarking upon this trip to MT, the fifth trip that Professor Raymond Poff, from WKU’s Recreation Administration program, has led at WKU. The students and community members will receive individualized instruction to improve their understanding and proficiency in fly fishing.

Fly fishing is somewhat of a foreign sport for me. Even though I grew up in Paducah, KY, which is situated around one of the nicest man-made lakes in the region, I never EVER went fishing before, much less fly-fishing. My childhood focused around the swinging of a bat. Needless to say, my baseball swing needed to be altered a bit in order to replicate the recent instruction I received on the casting of my rod. Professor Poff had me join him on South Lawn earlier this month to show me the basics of fly fishing. After several attempts, I eventually did get the hang of the casting. A little to my advantage is that the action of fly fishing reminds me of swinging a bat in baseball and combine that with the throwing of a frisbee. In an effort not to provide too much comic relief on my explanation of this sport, fly casting seems to be quite an arduous art.

Fly fishing on the South Lawn on the campus of Western Kentucky University.
Fly fishing on the South Lawn on the campus of Western Kentucky University.

Although this instruction was a great introduction to fly fishing, my guess is that the South Lawn is very different than the Big Blackfoot River! My practice will definitely be put to the test since I am a rookie angler at best. In Missoula, we will have access to five species of trout: Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat, Hybrid Cutbrow and Brook. My goal is to lure in a beautiful gray-green trout that is over 18 inches!! Our group will be on the Big Blackfoot River near Missoula, the same setting of which Norman Maclean’s 1976 book “A River Runs Through It” was set. You may be more familiar with the 1992 Robert Redford film adaptation of the book starring the young Brad Pitt. Just last month I read a great article on how fly-fishing in Montana is a rapturous experience: Fly-Fishing in Montana, Where a River Still Runs Through It . As an avid fisherman himself, the author emphasizes the sacredness of the Big Blackfoot River, and his experience on the river equivocal to that of the characters from “A River Runs Through It”:

 Just above the mouth of Belmont Creek, I hooked a rainbow of my own whose eponymous colors flashed in the sunlight. Shortly before I had left for Montana, the Orlando mass shooting had taken place. The day before my departure, Britain had voted to leave the European Union, threatening the global economy. A family member had recently received a serious medical diagnosis. But at that moment on the Big Blackfoot River, all that existed were the sun and the water and a fish on the other end of my line. “One great thing about fly fishing,” Maclean wrote, “is that after a while nothing exists of the world but thoughts about fly fishing.

I am hoping to capture that same revelation on the Big Blackfoot River, as Maclean described, a solidarity with the experience of the sport and the reflection on the instruction at hand. As I have said in previous blogs and the Impact magazine, experiential learning opportunities are extremely important for CHHS students. Experiential learning is the development of knowledge, abilities, values, behaviors and attitudes through first-hand experiences outside of the traditional classroom. In short, experiential learning involves “learning through doing”, but more importantly “learning through reflection on doing”.  Through continued strategic development, I aspire to expand experiential learning opportunities for both our students and faculty.  The WKU Fly Fishing group is a case in point of where students will develop unique skills and attitudes in Montana that one could not otherwise experience. I anticipate this trip will lead to a greater understanding and appreciation for the sport of fly fishing and a greater respect to the community that provides the instruction of the sport.

I have only passed through Missoula once, spending one night there, back in 1995. I do remember Missoula fondly—it is the home of the University of Montana and in the heart of the Rocky Mountains— upholding a very picturesque landscape. This time, I am even more excited about my venture to Missoula as it will definitely be more exciting and eventful in this outdoor paradise!

I encourage you to follow me @NealeChumbler, as I will highlight the trip in real time.

Until next time,




Neale R. Chumbler


Reflections from Cherry: Health as a Necessity

Shortly after my arrival back to the Hill to serve as Dean of CHHS, I met with Provost Emeritus Barbara Burch. She gave me a copy of the 1926 book, Education: The Basis of Democracy, written by WKU’s founding president, Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry. Dr. Cherry, who was president for over 31 years, was a prominent visionary and educator whose decree “The Spirit Makes the Master” steers the campus community yet today. Dr. Cherry’s famous and pronounced statue is fixed atop the hill in front of the building named after him.  His presence at WKU is evident to anyone who arrives on the Hilltop campus.

Cherry edit

Cherry’s Education book was a compilation of messages, lectures and presentations that he delivered at chapel services held daily in the Van Meter Auditorium on WKU’s campus. It is no wonder that WKU became one of the largest and best teacher-training institutions in the nation during Cherry’s tenure. Cherry was an educator with the keen ability to inspire others.

Reading through this book, with material dating well over 100 years old, I am amazed at the relevance of the material in our lives today. I find the material particularly applicable for the CHHS. As I read from chapter five, “Health, a Necessity in a Democracy”, I was struck with how Cherry’s words were so pertinent for units in CHHS such as: physical education, recreation administration, public health, nutrition, and dietetics, just to name a few.

Excerpts from chapter five of Cherry’s Education: The Basis of Democracy:

  • Religious, moral, mental, and economic weaknesses are written at the bottom on each page of the history of the governments that have neglected the health of their people (pg. 28).
  • In order for one to be an effective citizen, he must have a strong body for the soul to work in, a trained mind, and what I shall call ‘the other thing’. These are the three big necessities of an effective citizenship, and they should be a part of educational program and every other effort designed to advance the welfare of the human being (pg. 27).
  • Not many people are strong enough to carry the load of a sick body and to succeed in spite of physical weakness (pg. 28).
  • Good health is the normal nature of the human being (pg. 29).
  • It is a high duty of democracy to disseminate health information among the masses, to build up a good-health sentiment, to protect the people against preventable diseases, and to assist them in having a sanitary body for their minds to work in (pg. 30-31).
  • Universal physical training is the most important and urgent improvement in American education (pg. 31).
  • The conservation of health is a spiritual and economic problem that is challenging every citizen of America (pg. 31).
  • In order to promote the physical well-being of all the people, a proper system of physical examinations and health instruction must be carried on in the various grades of the schools (pg. 33).
  • Conserving the vitality of the people by stopping the pollution of streams, by observing the sanitary laws of health in the home, in the school, in business enterprise, and elsewhere will contribute not only to the ideals and to the happiness, but to the economic productivity and prosperity of the people (pg. 33-34).

In this chapter, Cherry describes how the health of the individual can also affect the non-physical qualities of the human body. Poor health can alter the morality, spirituality, and mental capacity as well. He went on to make a poignant claim that during the World War 4,650,500 men served in the United States Army and 1,340,625 men were rejected to serve based on physical disability. That is an astonishing number of rejections especially when you consider the age of the average man who fought in World War II was a mere 26 years of age. Cherry then states that most of the defects listed as the cause for rejection were preventable by adequate physical education programs.

“Health as a rule is a purchasable commodity, and its price is education.”

Cherry’s book dovetails so nicely with the vision and mission of CHHS; our dedication to improve the quality of life in the community through education, service, collaboration, leadership and scholarship. The disciplines in our college have roots in outreach to the community, and requires our students to complete clinical experiences, field work, or internships with a myriad of health and human service agencies in our region. What Cherry established in his chapel talks, was inspiration to care for generations to come by focusing on the conservation of health in the present generation. What we do today, creates what we are tomorrow. As our college evolves, and emphasis is placed on the future of CHHS, I am indebted to Cherry’s practical and relevant teachings on the importance and priority of our health today as the basis and foundation for everything else. As a health and human services college, CHHS has the responsibility to not only provide health education to our community, but to also be ambassadors and champions for making health instruction a vital component of education.

I am encouraged to know that WKU was in part built upon the instruction and discipline of good health and physical well-being. This foundation serves as an opportunity to guide CHHS from the heritage of our founding president.

Physical incompetence can be a powerful enemy. CHHS has positioned itself to have a profound generational impact over the enemy. As we educate ourselves, our students and our community about prevention, treatment and wellness, we are better able to perform at the capacity to which we can protect our generation and preserve future generations.



CHHS Strategic Plan, 2016-2020

As I begin my 18th month as Dean, I am so pleased to unveil our new strategic plan and it is now retrievable, Western Kentucky University (WKU) College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) Strategic Plan. From my first day as Dean, I have strived to obtain strategic balance in the functions of teaching, research and service, balancing stability and flexibility. I believe you will find this strategic plan nimble, yet profound with a great breadth of material that will guide CHHS through 2020, and that will inspire all to excel in pedagogy, scholarship and community service.

We revisited and revised our mission and vision statements, as important changes in the environment have occurred. The strategic plan also includes a summary of our planning process, our core values, vision/mission, strategic intent as well as our strategic objectives, as described here:

  1. Implement effective faculty development programs to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.
  2. Enhance existing international educational opportunities and develop new ones.
  3. Increase the opportunity to produce quality research, peer-reviewed publications, extramural grant/contract activity, and technology-based innovation.
  4. Enhance interprofessional education and service learning for students.
  5. Initiate and cultivate CHHS interdisciplinary collaboration at all levels within the University.
  6. Create an environment within CHHS that fosters diversity and inclusivity among students, staff and faculty.
  7. Provide opportunities for staff, faculty, and students to participate in community outreach programs.
  8. Implement workshop events for staff trainings and professional development.
  9. Implement the distribution of a staff handbook for quick reference to university systems.

In a previous blog, CHHS Strategic Plan: Phase 1 I articulated that it was important that CHHS had an active and relevant strategic plan, all of which is imperative for purposes of communication, marketing, and fundraising. We needed to identify high-priority areas that can help us accelerate more significant positive impact upon allied health and human service professions. Support for decisions is predicated on the ownership of decision making. The process of the strategic plan began 12 months ago and I strived for “bottom up” participation as a way to ensure support for this final version of the plan.

The first phase of the strategic planning process consisted of a one-day retreat held August 2015, that included the CHHS Administrative Council (Department Heads, Institute Directors, Associate Deans, Assistant to the Dean, Senior Development officer and myself) and our facilitator. Our facilitator was Dr. Dan Pesut, Professor of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. We learned several novel and innovative leadership techniques including strengths based and values based leadership and universal patterns of high performance, the principles of liberating structures (rules governing how we choose to relate to others), and ecocycle planning that invites a leader to focus on creative destruction and renewal in addition to typical themes regarding growth and efficiency. Then in January, the second phase of the strategic planning process was a one-day retreat. All CHHS faculty and staff, along with CHHS stakeholders and students attended the retreat. At this retreat, we used Open Space Technology (OST) that considers both freedom & accountability where participants create their own agenda. We sparked action on strategic matters that meant the most to the participants. OST is an effective, economical, fast and easily-repeatable strategy for organizing meetings between 5 and 1,000 participants. We had nearly 300 individuals participate in this event and started with the following premises:

    • Where do we have successes we can celebrate?
    • Where do we have assets we can capitalize on?
    • Strived for this bottom up planning as a way to ensure support for the final products.

We considered topics such as interprofessional education, applied research, teaching effectiveness, service learning, media and marketing, just to name a few. So many notes and ideas were put forward from so many participants. The OST platform enabled an egalitarian way of fostering input and sharing of information. After this productive day in January, I met with my, CHHS Dean’s Internal Advisory Council and then formed a new CHHS Coordinating Council that included equal representation from each department/school. Both of these groups compiled these detailed notes and, in turn, synthesized the key salient themes. A draft was developed by the CHHS Coordinating Council and provided to the CHHS Dean’s Internal Advisory Council, which reviewed the final draft. The final draft was then given to the CHHS Administrative Council to review. Significant feedback emerged from this draft and a sub-committee from each of these committees assisted me in preparing the final version of the strategic plan.

In sum, this plan was the result of many dedicated individuals committed to CHHS. We will review the plan every year and will not have a failure for follow-up. I am excited for what the next four years will entail at CHHS.

Excited for the journey,


Welcome Back to the Hill!

Today is the first official day of Fall 2016 semester start, and what an exciting time it is to be a Hilltopper! Our faculty and staff within the College of Health & Human Services (CHHS), have been busy preparing not only for this very first week of class, but also for this entire academic year and beyond. Shortly after my arrival to WKU in Spring 2015, I put plans together to work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students and constituents to develop a strategic plan for CHHS, as described in my blog entry, CHHS Strategic Planning: Phase I and CHHS: Strategic Planning: Phase II . There have been some challenges, a few setbacks and many wins. As the CHHS transitions into the next phase of development, it is essential that we are mindful of the CHHS value statement:

Collectively, we are challenged to be human change agents by creating a community of scholars dedicated to the education of next generation health and human services practitioners who are committed to enhancing the quality of life and health where people live, work, and play.


Creating a Community of Scholars:

While it is one of our goals to consistently recruit top talent into our college, it is also impeccable to make sure our infrastructure supports that goal. As reflected in our values statement, CHHS is challenged to create a community of scholars dedicated to the education of next generation health and human services practitioners. This week we hosted our bi-annual CHHS All College Meeting for our faculty and staff. These meetings, held before the start of the academic term, bring light to our upcoming goals, the challenges we face, and provides opportunity to recognize achievements and awards.

2016.08.17_ chhs meeting _lewis-0005
CHHS All College Meeting- August 17, 2016 at the Medical Health Sciences Complex

Being the largest college on campus, we have an equally large base of faculty and staff, with nearly 250 colleagues that support our college. I am honored to be working as Dean of a college that boasts such rich tradition, research and service at WKU. At the meeting, we were honored to bring recognition to the 57 colleagues within our college that have served over 10 years at Western Kentucky University, as well as honor 18 colleagues that have served over 20 years at Western Kentucky University. It is humbling to see the committed dedication our colleagues bring to both WKU and the CHHS.

CHHS Faculty & Staff with over 10 years of service to WKU.
CHHS faculty & staff with over 10 years of service to WKU.
CHHS Faculty and Staff with over 20 years of service to WKU!
CHHS faculty and staff with over 20 years of service to WKU.

We also recognized six colleagues for receiving advanced degrees in their respective fields.

I am thankful for the team we have in place at CHHS. Our success, as a college to be human change agents committed to enhancing the quality of life and health where people live, work and play, is as great as the people committed to our core. Without a doubt, I believe we have a resplendent basis for success at CHHS!


Committed to enhancing the quality of life and health:

As a college that has faced budget cuts and limitations to our resources, we are constantly re-evaluating our processes and structure to maximize our tools at hand when equipping our faculty, staff and students. Committed to excellence in the allied health and human service industries, CHHS and WKU are always striving to maintain an edge in this competitive and ever-demanding field. So, I cannot be more excited about the new partnership that was established just last week between Western Kentucky University and Med Center Health, in the construction of the Med Center Health Sports Medicine Complex on WKU’s campus. This new healthcare and affiliation agreement between WKU and Med Center Health further strengthens the commitment of leading education and healthcare service organizations in South Central Kentucky, and also creates an opportunity for the CHHS Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program to re-locate to main campus (DPT currently located off-campus at the Medical Health Sciences Complex), and be joined by Med Center Health’s Orthopaedic/Sports Medicine/Rehabilitation group. This new partnership and building engages our DPT program with our WKU athletic teams in a new state-of-the-art facility.

We have so many great successes, resources, projects, contributions, support, research and planning taking place in the CHHS, and I expect a grand, unparalleled 2016-2017 academic year on the Hill!

Warm Regards,