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HU Launches ‘Bright Star’ Program

The launch of Huntington University’s “Bright Star” program has generated new degree options, creative classroom strategies and a scholarship day for high school students.

As a part of the Faith Forward 2022 strategic plan, the university opened up a contest for faculty and staff idea submissions. “Bright Star” ideas are initiatives that draw students, collaborative partners, friends and/or donors to the university and can be implemented with a budget of $1,000 to $25,000. Ideas must possess a shelf life of at least two years.

“One of the hallmarks of a learning organization is that people are always thinking about and creating ways to improve what how they serve others,” said Dr. Ann McPherren, vice president for strategy & graduate/adult programs and professor of business and economics. “This year’s Bright Star initiative gave faculty and staff a formal way to bring their ideas forth. We had such strong participation and good ideas that we are going to continue the process in the future.”

Twenty-eight strong and widely varying Bright Star ideas were submitted. With the support of a donor, the university will fund and initiate four ideas this year. The other ideas will be considered for future implementation.

The 2014-2015 Bright Stars winning ideas are:

  1. Creation of a Master of Fine Arts degree in digital media & film and in digital media and producing – submitted by Dawn Ford, associate professor of digital media arts.
    “It was an honor to have this graduate program proposal selected for a Bright Star grant, and many people participated in the formation of the plan,” Ford said. “The Master of Fine Arts in creative producing degree will increase our enrollment and enrich our educational opportunities for undergraduates as they engage with graduate students on film projects. Faith-integration combined with the convenience of online classes make this program unique and very attractive to Christian filmmakers already working in the industry because grad students can attend this program while living anywhere in the world.”
  2. DIY (do-it-yourself) major – Creation of a framework/process for student designed inter-disciplinary majors – submitted by Sarah Harvey, registrar.
    “We are excited about this new program and the opportunities our students will have to design a program that precisely fits their educational goals,” Harvey said.
  3. Invigorating the classroom with reacting to the past curriculum – using the research-based case on how role immersion games transform college – submitted by Dr. Dwight Brautigam, professor of European history.
    “I am really grateful to the university for this honor, and I hope I can use the funds to accomplish two goals,” Brautigam said. “One is to find ways to improve my own teaching, and the second is to then share what I’m learning with other HU faculty so that we can offer our students even better classroom experiences than we already do. I am convinced that one of our greatest strengths now and in the years to come is the quality of our undergraduate faculty instruction, and anything we can do to strengthen that will benefit us and our students for decades. I am very excited to participate in a couple of weeks in a training institute in New York City that will create a great deal of momentum for this initiative, and my participation in the institute is only possible because of the Bright Star funding.”
  4. High School Student Scholarship Day – Creation of a prospective student visit day centered on the annual Academic Research Forum and participation by high-schoolers in events that day – submitted by Dr. Del Doughty, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of English.
    “I proposed that we bring back our old scholarship competition, but that we bundle it with the Academic Research Forum [learn about the 2015 event], one of the signature moments on our campus calendar,” Doughty said. “When families visit for Scholarship Day, they’ll see a bustling campus and many of our best students showing off their best work at the Academic Research Forum. For families who wonder about the value of a college degree, it’s an unimpeachable way for us to show them how an HU education changes lives for the better.”

Authors of the Bright Star initiatives selected will receive a $500 stipend and be recognized for their efforts.