A Farewell Message from Dean Chumbler

Dear CHHS Community,

It has been an honor and privilege to have served the past three years as dean of the CHHS at WKU.  I will be leaving the deanship at the CHHS to live in the Dallas-Ft.Worth Metroplex and serve as the Dean of the College of Health and Public Service at the University of North Texas.

As a diligent, strategy-driven decision maker, I have learned over time that as a leader you have to employ a different repertoire of approaches based on the context and circumstances of the situation. Over the past three years, CHHS experienced an unprecedented $3.1 Million in cuts to the operating budget. This shortfall led us to use diverse approaches and systematic planning in order to steer CHHS thru this difficult challenge. However, this experience had many positives and served as a catalyst to the successful stewardship of CHHS through the next phase of growth.

Despite these budget cuts, we stayed focused on driving innovation and implementing positive change in CHHS. A strategic plan, which included strategies that involved active participation from the CHHS faculty and staff, as well as friends of the college, was developed and implemented in 2016 to guide the college through 2020. This strategic plan served as a blueprint that guided innovative initiatives that were congruent with the overall mission of WKU to be a student-centered, applied research university. We certainly have celebrated some amazing accomplishments, all of which would have not been possible without the diligence and collaboration of so many wonderful faculty and staff.

During my tenure, we made several strategic advancements. Below are a few:

  • Built a robust, applied extramurally funded research environment (the amount of expenditures in extramural research grants and contracts increased by 190% (from $1.2 Million to over $3.5 Million). We further enhanced the research operation in CHHS by adding a series of successful initiatives including:
    • An intensive Faculty Research Mentoring Program for Assistant Professors  that enhanced extramural grant writing and peer-reviewed publications skills.
    • Created its first Research Methods and Statistics Core (RMSC) Group. The RMSC Group provides scientific research guidance to the faculty during the pre-proposal stage, during ongoing research and post-study.
    • Developed and implemented a Summer Research Fellowship program for tenure track faculty.
    • Established two first-ever, interdisciplinary, applied research centers— the  Center for Environmental and Workplace Health and the Center for Applied Science in Health & Aging, both of which integrates students and fosters community partnerships to improve the health and well-being of Southcentral Kentuckians.
  • Expanded success in fundraising and development (the amount of new gift commitments increased by 73% and amount of new gift receipts increased by 30%.). There were 13 new donors who made gifts of $10,000 or more.
    • Establishment of Micatrotto Fund for Excellence in Hospitality Management (represented receipt of largest gift in program’s history and translated into dedication of dining room in Micatrotto name).
  • Bolstered Pedagogy, Student Success and Staff Development
    • Added 11 degree and certification programs.
    • Progression between Freshman and Sophomore year increased 4.6%.
    • Initiated the development of a Master of Excellence in Teaching Certificate Program.
    • Implemented a Teaching Effectiveness Workshop and Teaching Effectiveness survey tool to strengthen pedagogy
    • Created a Dean’s Merit Award to recognize faculty and staff for outstanding contributions.
    • Hired the first ever Chief Diversity Officer in CHHS.

We can all be proud of what we have jointly accomplished on behalf of the CHHS over the past three years.

I can’t part without sharing my gratitude for those who gave us their confidence and commitment as students. We could not have done what we did without you. Our treasured academic programs are strong, relevant and directly impact the workforce in South Central Kentucky. So many of our alumni are taking the knowledge they garnered from the WKU labs, classrooms and clinics and are directly impacting the health and well-being of Southcentral Kentuckians and elsewhere both in and outside of the USA.

In my final chapter as a dean of this college, I want to say thank-you. Thank-you to our faculty, our staff, our students, our alumni and our community for the support you have given us through the years. Your generous gifts, time and resources that you gave to CHHS and to me personally are so wonderfully appreciated. You embody the spirit of the university, “The Spirit Makes the Master”.

Wishing you the Very Best,

First Day Jitters

The New Year always connotes an opportunity to engage in something new. Reflection of the past year results in resolution for the future year. This past year, I committed some time to a newfound hobby of mine, and it was through that process that inspired me to enroll in a course, offered within our WKU College of Health and Human Services (CHHS). It’s time to strap on the backpack as I am walking back to campus this semester as not only the Dean of CHHS but also as a student of CHHS.

CSF 150 Gourmet Foods

Cooking. What better hobby is there, than one that rewards with a pleased palette? I am delighted to join with other students this semester in CSF 150 Gourmet Foods for an introduction to the principles and aesthetics of food preparation that is characteristic of both American cuisine as well as cuisines from around the world. This will be my first formalized instruction of food preparation as in recent months I have only taken a grass roots approach to cooking thru my own trial and error, to recipe sourcing, YouTube instruction, and help from friends.
This summer, while I was teaching abroad for six weeks in Mount Carmel, Israel, I had the opportunity to take cooking lessons from two private chefs, Guy and Ofer. As you may not know, people of the Mediterranean are known for their passion for good food and their gracious hospitality.

My first lesson was with Guy, who assembled my kitchen in preparation to output some simple, yet amazing Mediterranean dishes. With my limited background of Mediterranean cooking, I still found Guy’s recipes approachable. From hummus made with fresh garlic and chopped parsley to Tabbouleh salad, beef kabobs, summer sea bass and watermelon pizza, the cuisine was robust and filled with fresh flavor.

My second lesson was with Ofer, as he worked alongside me to show the technique of kneading and baking Moroccan Pranav bread. We also made lentil balls, a delicious Israeli Shakshuka (which is sunny side up eggs cooked with tomatoes), and tahini with a side of fresh watermelon and Bulgari cheese. The meal was a delicacy to me, yet something I could easily replicate back in the states in my own kitchen.

I learned that they key to these Mediterranean dishes was to eat with the seasons, to use whole foods, and above all, share. And share we did. Not a crumb was reserved for the trash.



Not only did I enroll in this course for the simple joy of cooking, I enrolled because I also wanted to view our college thru the lens of a student. As we continue to move important college initiatives forward, working through significant budget challenges, I want to make sure that through this progression, we remain student-centered. To keep that focus at our core, I find it important to position ourselves as students. This experience will also be instrumental to me to see how to navigate blackboard and multitask like so many students do on a daily basis. I also will get a better understanding from a different perspective to see how hard our faculty work to prepare for class each week!


It has been several years since I have held a student status at WKU, earning my master’s degree here in Sociology in 1991. I am excited to walk the halls again as a student at WKU, and if I seem a little nervous, just remember, even the Dean can have first day jitters!


Cheers to a safe and productive New Year!

Coming Home

As the theme “There’s No Place Like Home” came to life this past weekend in honor of WKU’s Homecoming events, I was encouraged by the many visits I had with former students and alumni of our college who found their way back “home” this weekend.

As we do every year, our College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) hosted a tailgate tent for Homecoming weekend on the South Lawn of WKU’s campus. It’s on this lawn that family, friends, alumni, and students gather for fellowship and food in preparation for the impending football game. It’s also on this lawn that I once walked past as a student crossing campus to my next lecture. Just as WKU President Tim Caboni and WKU Head Football Coach Mike Sanford found themselves returning to a place they called home many years ago, I too found myself returning to WKU, a placed I once called “home”, in March of 2015.

Even though I grew up in Paducah, KY, and traveled to numerous cities and states to earn my educational degrees and professional training and to advance my academic and administrative career there is something special about coming back to serve in a leadership role at a university in which I formally attended as a graduate student. Upon acceptance of the position to serve as Dean of the WKU CHHS, I briefly gleaned upon my time as a student at WKU. I knew there would be some familiarity with my surroundings as I returned to WKU. I was also aware that there would be much that was unfamiliar to me. This contrast of surroundings allowed me to engage in much discourse to share both what I knew about WKU and to learn what I did not yet know about WKU!
So much is the same when conversing with former colleagues, and alumni, there is a shared respect of lineage and roots to WKU. It’s humble ground we walk on as we return to the places we once called “home”. It’s always good to return to the places and to give back to the places that once watered our roots. In light of the Homecoming weekend on the Hill, I can also agree that there is no place like home!

Go Tops!


Debriefing and “Fall”ing Back into the School Year

Fall break is right around the corner and it seems as though it was only last week that we were welcoming our students back to the Hill! As you might recall, our Fall semester at WKU began the day of the Great American Eclipse. What a rare and unique experience we all shared on campus as the city of Bowling Green, Kentucky, happened to be on the eclipses’ path of totality, allowing those on campus to witness the totality for 1 minute: 16 seconds. It was in that minute, everything went against our natural experience to observe night in the middle of the day. The birds stopped chirping, the air got distinctively cooler, and the ripple of applause and cheering came rolling out of the hundreds of Hilltoppers that joined us for this lifetime event! What away to kick off the school year!

On top of Tate Page Hall overlooking South Lawn during the Great American Eclipse.


The week following the great American Eclipse, our college hosted our 2nd Annual CHHS Fall Welcome event in the courtyard of the Academic Complex. Over 200 students joined us for pizza, giveaways and an opportunity to learn about the many student groups that are offered within our college. We are very fortunate to have a committed group of faculty, staff and students to support and host this wonderful event each year.
I had the pleasure of meeting with some of our freshman students and transfer students that joined us at this event. One of the unique qualities we have in the CHHS, is the diverse nature of the programs that we offer. From dental hygiene and hospitality management, to social work and public health, to name a few, our college has an array of talented, service-minded students. The disciplines in our college have their roots in outreach to the community, and I am excited to see our students thrive both inside the classroom as well as outside of the classroom as they engage in their clinical experiences, field work, or internships.

2nd Annual CHHS Fall Welcome Event

This past summer I had the opportunity to travel abroad to teach a three week graduate, summer course on global health at the University of Haifa (UH) in Mount Carmel, Israel. This teaching opportunity resulted from a partnership our college initiated with UH and WKU. This year was our inaugural year and we were delighted to have five (5) WKU students travel abroad with us to partake in the Graduate Global Health courses. Along with my teaching assignment came the opportunity and challenge to navigate a foreign city. Not being able to rely on my language as being the preferred first language, I found this challenge awarded me the opportunity to see details I might otherwise have overlooked…there is a lot of beauty to be seen in the details.

Students in my classroom at the University of Haifa

There is a lot of excitement on campus this semester as we welcomed new WKU President Tim Caboni to the Hill. In President Caboni’s message to the faculty and staff at the beginning of the academic year, he stated, “And while change can be daunting, transitions create a cycle of renewal, often bring a new energy and a fresh focus”. I am further pleased with the fact that President Caboni has categorized WKU as a “student-centered, applied research university”. This aptly summarizes the strengths and opportunities of CHHS and I will further discuss this description in future blogs. I look forward to this transition, this opportunity to step outside our comfort zone, to be a part of the details within the strategic planning and to share in his vision for our university. It’s always a great day to be a Hilltopper!

Warm Regards,



Neale Chumbler

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 susan.megahee@wku.edu .

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,