Academic News

January 11, 2013

Simulators add new dimension of training to aviation program

Liberty University School of Aeronautics has invested in several simulators, ranging from paper mock-ups of the aircraft control panels and desktop instrument trainers to full motion and state-of-the art simulators.

The university recently made a million-dollar upgrade to the program with the purchase of three new flight simulators: a Cessna C-172 Skyhawk simulator, the program’s primary training aircraft; a Piper PA-28 Arrow simulator, which is used for advanced training; and a Canadair CRJ-200 simulator, used for jet training.

“The new state-of-the-art simulators raise the excellence of our program to rival that of any university flight training in the U.S.,” said Brig. Gen. USAF (Ret.) Dave Young, dean of the School of Aeronautics.

He said the simulators allow instructors to replicate situations that cannot be performed in  an actual airplane and give students a lower risk, cost-effective means for flight training. Other advantages include the ability to pause while in flight to assess situations, training for emergency operations, and training for all types of weather.

The CRJ-200 simulator is also proving useful in securing jobs for graduates. It is being used in conjunction with Liberty’s partnership with ExpressJet Airlines, the biggest regional airline in the world. The partnership, which began in August, guarantees a job with ExpressJet for every qualified graduate. Students will use the jet training simulator as part of their qualification process.

Forensics team earns top tournament honors

Liberty's forensics teamLiberty University’s Forensics team won several first-place honors at a two-day competition held at the University of Pennsylvania, Nov. 10-11.

Overall, the team earned second place, competing with teams from George Mason University, West Chester University, Cedar Crest College, James Madison University, Binghamton University, Drexel University, and Haverford College.

Individual overall honors went to team captain Josh Wade who took third place in cumulative points out of more than 100 competitors on the second day of competition. Kenny Lau won second place in overall points.

On the first day of competition, first-place honors went to Josh Wade for after dinner speaking, the team of Wade and Laurin Elliott for duo interpretation, Kenny Lau for informative speaking and poetry interpretation, and Shadrach Hicks for dramatic interpretation.

The next day, Wade and Elliott again placed first in duo interpretation, Yemisi Egbewole won first place in dramatic interpretation, and Lau took first in informative speaking and prose interpretation.

Six members of Liberty’s team have now qualified for the national competition in April 2013.

Adventure, drama, magic continue at Tower Theater

Tarzan posterAs the Spring 2013 semester gets under way, more magic, drama, adventure, laughs, and sensational melodies are still to come as the Liberty University Department of Theatre Arts presents the second half of its mainstage season.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” comes to Tower Theater for the first time ever Feb. 15-23, replacing “The Man Who Came to Dinner” in the original lineup.

Next up will be “All My Sons” beginning March 1. The powerful, post WWII drama will run for eight performances.

Disney’s “Tarzan” swings to the stage April 12-May 12 as the much-anticipated follow-up to Alluvion Stage Company’s inaugural production, “Peter Pan.” Alluvion, the professional division of Liberty’s theater department, brings the epic, family-friendly musical to Central Virginia for the first time ever, including flying stunts never before performed at Tower Theater.

Quiz Bowl posts wins against Virginia Tech, University of Virginia

Liberty University’s Quiz Bowl team won its sixth Big South Conference championship in seven years and finished 9-2 in the sectional tournament last year. After a strong showing in fall competitions, including several victories over three different Atlantic Coast Conference programs, the team will defend its crown at the BSC tournament at Gardner-Webb University on Jan. 26.

Liberty University’s novice Quiz Bowl team posted victories over two ACC schools — Virginia Tech (320-145) and the University of Virginia (365-205) — in its first tournament of the season Saturday, Sept. 29, at Virginia Tech.

Liberty’s novice A-team finished the tournament in sixth position with a record of 4-5, including two wins over Virginia Tech and their first-ever win over UVA. Two Liberty players, Doug Stephens and Jon Bateman, finished in the top 10 for individual scoring.

The novice team continued its success against ACC schools at the University of Maryland Tournament Oct. 14, beating the host school 350-25. Liberty’s varsity team also beat Maryland 195-175 in that tournament.

On Nov. 3 at the UVA Tournament, the Flames Quiz Bowl team defeated Virginia Tech once again, this time on the varsity level by a score of 230-90. Liberty also beat  another in-state opponent, Virginia Commonwealth University, four times (varsity 170-165; JV 260-85, 195-75; novice 290-40) in the UVA tourney.

Magazine names Liberty’s worship program ‘Best of the Best’

In its October 2012 issue, Worship Leader Magazine awarded the Liberty University Center for Music and Worship its editor’s choice award for “Best of the Best in Higher Education.” This is the second year in a row Liberty’s worship program has received the honor.

The magazine also named Liberty’s worship program the “Top College Program,” as selected by its readers.

“Worship Leader” surveys worship leaders and media teams around the world for the annual “Best of the Best” issue, which includes the top picks in music, software, books, and other worship resources.

Since its 2005 reorganization, the Center for Music and Worship, now housed within the School of Music, has experienced unprecedented growth, with nearly 1,000 students enrolled in its undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs.

Nursing department earns highest-ever exam pass rate

May 2012 graduates of the Liberty University Department of Nursing earned a 97 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination to become Registered Nurses. This is Liberty’s highest passing rate to date.

The department has been striving to see its scores improve every year, and recently implemented a semester-long NCLEX review course that students take their final semester. Liberty had 94 test takers in the May graduating class.

“This really shows that our curriculum is where it needs to be and our review course is working — students are getting what they need to become professional nurses once they leave,” said Dr. Deanna Britt, chair of the nursing department.

Report showing academic progress displayed at annual SACS meeting

Liberty University recently received a glowing review from its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. In December, its report was among the documents on display at the agency’s annual meeting in Dallas, Texas.

Liberty University was notified in August 2012 that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges fully accepted its Fifth-Year Interim Report with “no additional reporting” requested, which is considered to be a notable accomplishment for any university.

On the heels of that glowing review, SACS requested that Liberty’s complete report be included in the Resource Room at its annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, Dec. 8-11, 2012, where other institutions could study best practices.

Several hundred schools from the SACS region (Virginia to Kentucky to Texas) were represented at the meeting. Liberty sent representatives from its Office of Institutional Effectiveness, which compiled the data for the 201-page report.

Flight team wins regional competition

The Liberty University School of Aeronautics flight competition team won the National Intercollegiate Flight Association (NIFA) Region 10 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) air meet for the eighth consecutive year.

The competition, hosted by Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, N.C., was held Oct. 10-13 on the ECSU campus and at Elizabeth City Regional Airport.

Liberty flight instructor Nathan Edwards (’10) earned the Top Pilot award; Melanie Evans (’11), also a flight instructor, was named the Top Scoring Female Contestant.

The team placed first overall, first in the overall flying category, first in the overall ground category, and first in five of the nine events. They will go on to compete at nationals, to be held at the Ohio State University Airport in Columbus, Ohio, May 6-11.

Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society earns national recognition

Sandrea Williamson, an ALD National Council member, presents ALD Chapter President Brian Mauldin a scholarship.

Sandrea Williamson, an ALD National Council member, presents ALD Chapter President Brian Mauldin a scholarship.

Liberty University’s Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society chapter earned the 2012 National Order of the Torch Award last fall, ranking it among a select group of elite institutions nationwide.

Only five other universities received the award last year, including Duke University, the University of Maryland, the University of  Texas (Austin), Georgia State University, and the University of Texas (El Paso). There are more than 235 chapters nationwide.

The award requires the club to submit a comprehensive report to show it meets all 13 rigorous standards. Liberty’s chapter was recognized especially for its engagement in community outreach, including its work with the Lynchburg Jubilee Center for at-risk youths, gathering Thanksgiving baskets for families in need, coordinating a Teddy Bear Drive for the pediatric unit at the local hospital, donating care packages for Hope for the Homestead to aid area families at Christmastime, and supporting Liberty’s Students Behind Our Soldiers program.

In addition to the Order of the Torch, Brian Mauldin, Liberty’s 2011-12 chapter president, received a $1,000 2012 National ALD Trow Scholarship Award and Dr. Marilyn Gadomski, a professor of psychology and a chapter faculty advisor, received one of five Executive Director’s Awards at the National ALD Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 19-21.

Accreditation efforts move forward

Liberty University is dedicated to academic excellence. Its most rigorous programs have or are seeking accreditation from the top accreditation boards in their respective fields.

The Liberty University School of Engineering and Computational Sciences recently received accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology for its Electrical Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering programs. ABET is the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. The School of Engineering and Computational Sciences strives to maintain a standard of excellence and continues to seek accreditation for its programs as they become eligible.

Liberty continues on the path toward accreditation through the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for its College of Osteopathic Medicine, anticipating its first class of osteopathic medical students in Fall 2014.

The School of Business is pursuing accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs for its M.B.A. and M.S.A. degree programs, expecting to have full accreditation for those programs by mid-2014. ACBSP is a specialized accrediting organization that reviews the quality and integrity of business degree programs.

Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-COC) to award degrees at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral levels.

Accreditation ensures that Liberty University has met strict standards with regard to degree programs, faculty, administration, student support and services. Accreditation also ensures that courses taken and degrees earned through Liberty University will be accepted by other accredited institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Liberty University was first accredited by SACS in 1980. In 2009, it received Level VI accreditation, the highest classification from SACS that is reserved for colleges and universities that offer four or more doctoral degrees.

In addition to regional accreditation, many Liberty programs are accredited by specialized professional and accrediting agencies, including the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Commission for the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association.

Newt Gingrich visits campus, aids in government course development

Newt Gingrich speaks at Liberty University.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich visited Liberty University Oct. 18-19 to present a lecture at the Helms School of Government and to sign copies of his books at the Liberty University Barnes & Noble Bookstore along with his wife, Callista, who was promoting her new children’s book, “Land of the Pilgrim’s Pride.”

Callista Gingrich held a special story time at the bookstore to present her book, which teaches children about America’s heritage.

The couple said they were drawn to Liberty because of its strong stance on upholding America’s core values and Christian ethics.

Newt Gingrich arrived at Liberty on Friday, Oct. 19, to present a special one-hour lecture on what it means to be an American, focusing on the country’s rich heritage, distinguishing principles, and bountiful opportunities.

The lecture was recorded and will be used in future course development. Newt Gingrich has already helped the university create a course called “American Exceptionalism,” which is available through Liberty University Online.

Earlier in the fall semester, he delivered a simulcast lecture to resident and online government students. Utilizing WebEx technology, Gingrich spoke from an office in Atlanta, Ga., and answered questions afterward. This was his first experience as a visiting professor, though he has visited Liberty several times, including delivering the May 2007 Commencement address.

Newt Gingrich said he enjoys visiting Liberty, calling it a “remarkable institution” with a “depth of commitment to America,” and citing its desire “to give young people an opportunity to encounter the core values and the religious beliefs which are at the very heart of the American experience.”

CAFE helps Liberty continue to build its online portfolio

Since 2006, Liberty University Online, a pioneer in distance education, has worked to create more than 800 online courses in 100 programs, allowing students from around the world to participate in the same class via the Internet.

Each class is uniquely designed to fit into eight-week periods, enabling several courses to be taken each semester.

The Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence, partnering with Liberty’s academic deans, has worked hard to keep up with this online classroom experience.

Dr. David Nemitz, director of CAFE, said Liberty is one of the few universities that has a centralized system of online course development.

“The success of our system is grounded in the collaborative spirit between the academic and operational departments of the university,” Nemitz said.

In addition to creating 200 new courses each year, CAFE coordinates the ongoing strategic revision and enhancement of more than 300 existing online courses to ensure that the “curriculum is never static,” according to Nemitz.

Several new programs are in the process of being developed and are currently under review by faculty, committees, and provosts. These include programs in Health Sciences, Business Administration, Web Development, Oracle Certification, Cinematic Arts, Autism and Giftedness, Nurse Administration, Tourism, History, and Women’s Ministry.

Liberty has also launched a pilot program that will give online students the same high quality of academic advising as their resident counterparts. Now, 2,000 online students have been paired with a permanent advisor who will mentor them from the beginning to the end of their program.

Law school teams show up strong in competitions

Liberty University School of Law had a strong showing in competitions last fall, with the moot court team winning its second-straight national competition and the litigation and trial teams both earning slots at nationals.

For the second year in a row, Liberty’s moot court team took home top honors at the 12th annual Leroy R. Hassell, Sr. National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition held at Regent University, Oct. 26-27. The competition included 16 teams from 11 schools who competed in a simulated federal circuit court in front of prominent local and national judges and attorneys. They presented arguments on the constitutionality of forcing religiously affiliated private colleges to supply access to birth control and abortion services, part of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). The case that was argued was similar to three cases that are currently being litigated on the subject.

The Liberty team of Julia Amato and Michael Levens won first place and an award for fifth Best Brief. They defeated teams from Ave Maria University, St. Louis University, and William & Mary. They also posted two wins over Florida Coastal and the University of Richmond to finish with a perfect 7-0 record. Levens was also named the Best Oralist; Amato was the Fourth Best Oralist.

The litigation team will compete in nationals for the fifth time in six years after finishing runner-up in the American Bar Association Regional Negotiations Tournament at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Md., Nov. 10-11. Representing Liberty at nationals will be the team of Caitlin Pennell and Chelsea Surprenant.

By qualifying for nationals, Liberty’s litigation team is now ranked in the top 24 teams in the nation. The national tournament will be held in Dallas, Texas, Feb. 8-9, 2013.

The trial team took second place in the American Bar Association’s 2012-2013 Regional Arbitration Competition in Jackson, Miss., Nov. 17-18, qualifying for the national competition in Chicago, Jan. 25-26. This was the first year Liberty had entered a team in the competition, facing teams from Mississippi College of Law, Emory University, University of Memphis, Stetson University College of Law, and Chapman University School of Law.

The win came as a surprise, as coach Pamela Bell, associate professor of law, entered the newly formed team in this competition as a way to prepare it for the upcoming National Trial Competition and American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition.

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