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