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Supervisors: Neil Jones and Nancy Leonhardt
The team will conduct research to inform the development of a strategic plan that addresses the need for community-based adult literacy programs in Cleveland, Lincoln, Desha, Drew, Bradley, Ashley, and Chicot counties. The plan will be used by Arkansas Literacy Councils to establish and develop new literacy councils in the region. Students participating in the project will develop evaluation criteria for successful program startups, perform a needs and readiness analysis for the potential new sites, and provide recommendations for a strategic plan incorporating the results of this research.
Mission: READying Arkansas for a lifetime of literacy
“Since joining the Adult Learning Alliance, we have dreamed of developing a literacy council in the southeast area of our state. Statewide, 14% of Arkansans lack basic literacy skills. In the southeast, that percentage ranges from 16%-25%. A foundation of basic literacy skills will increase a learner’s employability, their children’s education level, community involvement, and most importantly, their self-esteem. Through the work of the Clinton School students, we hope that dream will be much closer to becoming reality.” – Nancy Leonhardt, Executive Director
The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will help sponsor the Just Communities of Arkansas Walk for Community for the 10th consecutive year. This year’s walk is set for Sunday, November 5 at the River Market Pavilions.
Clinton School alum James Szenher organized the first JCA Clinton School walk team in 2007. Each year since, Clinton School students, staff, faculty, and alumni have participated in this unique, diverse, family-friendly walk.
More Information on the Walk for Community
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Little Rock River Market Pavilions
Admission is FREE with a suggested donation of $25, or what you can, to JCA programs
With food, fellowship and a short walk down to the Arkansas River and back to the River Market Pavilions together, the Walk for Community is an event the whole family – and the whole community – can enjoy. Wheelchairs, strollers, and pets on leashes are welcome. This year’s event is a part of an intentional series of gatherings and conversations designed to serve the community as healing spaces. Dedicated to the work of dismantling the current culture of power and building an equitable, inclusive just Arkansas, JCA understands the need to create places in which we can simply be together.
Darlynton Adegor, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, is using a combination of existing legal knowledge with the Clinton School’s curriculum for community engagement to have a real impact on a major international crisis.
A graduate of Lagos State University and the Nigerian Law School, Adegor has been working with the Washington D.C.-based Syrian Emergency Task Force since June 2017.
Last summer, seeking opportunities to fulfill his International Public Service Project in Arkansas, Adegor received an email about SETF, who has an office in Little Rock, and was “taken aback” by the scope of its initiatives. Adegor first met with Natalie Larrison, SETF’s director of outreach, to discuss the SETF’s mission, vision, and ongoing programs.
“Darlynton really impressed me because he had such a closeness to this type of conflict and could really relate to what the Syrian people are going through,” Larrison said. “He believed in the type of work we were doing and the more he learned, the more it stirred up in him. His passion for the work was apparent immediately.”
SETF supports the demands of the Syrian people for freedom and democracy. Founded in April 2011, it advocates in solidarity with the Syrian people to inform and educate the American public and its representatives about their suffering.
Since the onset of the Arab Spring protests in 2011, tensions between Syrian protestors and President Bashar Assad have risen to create one of the world’s great humanitarian crises. The nation’s civil war has left more than 500,000 dead and sparked a major refugee crisis, with more than five million Syrians fleeing to neighboring countries and more than six million internally displaced. Syria’s citizens are the most displaced in the world.
Adegor saw SETF as an opportunity to work with an organization “truly dedicated to global development.”
As his first duty with SETF, Adegor was tasked with creating a community engagement program and strategy. The goal was to build a framework that would raise awareness of the Syrian crisis in a way that would resonate with Americans.
“My day-to-day work was going to community engagement programs,” Adegor said. “To do observations, to do interviews with people who are connected to organizations, and ask them what they felt would be the best approach for the SETF to reach out to the American people.”
Adegor attended fundraisers and events while joining other SETF members for marketing strategy meetings. He sent out updates through SETF’s social media channels. Additionally, Adegor offered ideas on how to improve communication within SETF’s existing network.
“One thing Darlynton said, and I repeat this all the time: ‘You have to have regular Thanksgivings,’” Larrison said. “He said that to get something done in Nigeria, they would get everyone together. It’s not just cell phone messaging – everyone needs to see each other.”
Larrison said the advice was taken to heart. Ensuring SETF volunteers are included in regular meetings and regular collaboration with the working group in Conway – SETF’s base in terms of humanitarian work in Syria – are just a couple ways SETF works to stay close with its supporters.
Additionally, Adegor’s law background was put to use. One of the SETF’s organizational goals is to gather legal evidence to pursue prosecution of the Assad regime. Complicating this mission is the fact that Syria is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court, meaning the ICC has no independent authority to investigate or prosecute crimes that take place within Syrian territory.
Germany, however, is one of the few countries in the world to employ universal jurisdiction. A German federal public prosecutor opened investigations of international crimes in Syria soon after the outbreak of the conflict.
In one of these investigations, prosecutors are currently analyzing 28,000 photos of people tortured in Syrian prisons. The photos – featured in the documentary “Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad” – were smuggled out of Syria by the former Syrian military photographer “Caesar” and are now at the disposal of prosecutors in Europe.
Adegor drafted the memorandum of understanding between the German prosecutor, who was given the mandate to prosecute the war criminals in Syria, and the individuals responsible with bringing the evidence to court. Specifically, the MOU was drafted to keep the photos of tortured Syrians out of the public domain.
“That’s what the MOU was all about – use it, but don’t post it on Facebook, don’t send it to any media streams,” Adegor said. “Just use it for court purposes.”
At the conclusion of his IPSP, SETF asked Adegor about staying onboard to help with the implementation of the outreach strategy he compiled through research.
“Basically, after I drafted the MOU and the community engagement framework, the board was impressed with what I had done,” Adegor said. “Then, they needed someone to help them implement the strategy.”
Though unable to stay with SETF in a full-time capacity, he stayed involved. His framework from the interviews, focus groups, and observations laid out a broad aspect of methods for SETF to help American people understand what is happening in Syria and how they can support the mission of SETF.
“His research helped prove things we felt like we already knew,” Larrison said. “For instance, one of his main points was simply that people do not have good information about Syria and its people. We knew that, but it solidified the fact that if we are going to do anything for Syria, we need to make sure people have the right information.”
SETF has since become even more ingrained in education, paying visits to local schools and universities, including LISA Academy, Lakeside High School, UA Little Rock, and the University of Central Arkansas. Its visit to the Clinton School in early October included a screening of “Syria’s Disappeared” and appearances by SETF Executive Director Mouaz Moustafa and Mazen Alhummada, a survivor of detention in Syria.
“What the Clinton School teaches is that it has to be from the bottom-up,” Adegor said. “And that’s basically what the community has told us about Syria.”
Adegor is currently completing his Capstone, the Clinton School’s final field service project. Working with Winrock International, he is developing an evaluation toolkit that measures peer-to-peer relationships in the organization’s community-based food systems project.
James L. “Skip” Rutherford III, adviser to a senator and president, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service and alum of the University of Arkansas, will deliver the Distinguished Alumni Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, in Giffels Auditorium in Old Main. It is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.
Rutherford is a 1972 graduate of the School of Journalism and Strategic Media, formerly called the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism.
The student Distinguished Lecture Series committee is sponsoring this lecture with the Arkansas Alumni Association as part of Homecoming Week events.
Rutherford grew up in Batesville, Ark. At the U of A he served as editor of The Arkansas Traveler, president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and was named to Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities.
After graduating he worked in Fayetteville as public relations director at McIlroy Bank & Trust. During this time he got to know two young School of Law professors, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham.
Rutherford got actively involved in state politics in 1978 when he volunteered in then-Gov. David Pryor’s first senatorial campaign. He worked from 1979 to 1983 as director of Pryor’s Arkansas office in Little Rock. In 1983, he left to work for Mack McLarty, CEO of the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Co., but found an outlet for his political interests by founding the Political Animals Club, a nonpartisan organization of political activists and community leaders who met regularly to talk politics.
Rutherford was elected to the Little Rock School Board in 1987, serving as president in 1990 and helping forge an agreement with the state to counter lingering segregation in Pulaski County’s schools.
When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992 Rutherford worked as a senior adviser and a special assistant to campaign manager David Wilhelm.
After the election Rutherford remained in Little Rock, becoming executive vice president of Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, one of the state’s largest public relations and advertising agencies, and creating its public policy division.
During this period he also taught journalism and political science classes for several years in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
Rutherford is an active supporter of downtown Little Rock. Starting in 1997 he supervised the planning and construction of the Clinton Presidential Center and Park, greatly contributing to the rebirth of what became the River Market District. When the library opened in 2004, Rutherford was named Arkansan of the Year by the Arkansas Broadcasters Association and the Arkansas Times, Headliner of the Year by the Arkansas Press Association, and received the Tourism Person of the Year Award at the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
Rutherford became dean of the Clinton School of Public Service in 2006. The school is the first in the nation to offer a master’s degree in public service. Under Rutherford’s leadership, the Clinton School developed concurrent degree programs with the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas; the Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; and the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The school has also developed one of the nation’s most outstanding college speakers’ series, featuring ambassadors, academics, business leaders, philanthropists, politicians, journalists and the occasional former president.
A graduate of UA Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and a master’s degree in secondary education, Ganelle Blake is a first-year student at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Blake keeps a busy schedule. She is the owner and a strategic consultant at The Giovanna Group and was a major gift officer at the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the American Red Cross. Additionally, she is a senior strategist for Terrapin Philanthropy and a commissioner for the Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority Commission. She also works as a development associate for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
Outside of work, Blake and her husband, State Representative Charles Blake, enjoy a large family, including a one-year-old daughter, Bronx.
Blake’s public service interests include fundraising and strategic planning.
When you Google your name, several things come up – The Giovanna Group, Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority, the Clinton School, etc. In addition to being a wife and mother, how do you balance your time?
I guess I balance it by focusing on the one thing that’s in front of me. I really just have to take it one task at a time, because it can get overwhelming. I work in chunks of time, and there are times that are solely dedicated to my family. Saturday mornings are really sacred to me, and I keep those free, period.
Knowing that I have that time is nice. Otherwise, I don’t know, I feel like the less time I have to get things done, the more I get done. You just do what you have to do. I know every mom – working moms in particular – say that. My daughter woke up at 3 a.m. this morning, and I was still awake studying for my field research midterm. Luckily, my husband was there and I just was like, “Here, you’re going to have to wake up.”
So, I do have help, and that’s the key. I have an amazing family; they make it possible for me to do this. Nobody could do this alone. I’m not over here superwoman doing it. I have a lot of help and I just focus on one thing at a time.
What is The Giovanna Group?
I have a variety of nonprofit experience, and something I’ve learned from the last eight years working in nonprofits is one of my talents is going into an organization and identifying what that one key factor is that could transform an organization quickly.
I liked the idea of being able to work with several different organizations at one time. The Giovanna Group is a consulting company that allows me to do that. I wanted to figure out if I could make money and stay home with her for the first year, and I did.
Once I started it, about eight months in I applied at the Clinton School, mainly so I could further my company and build relationships and formalize the work experience I already had. So, a bunch of this I was already doing but I just didn’t have the terminology for it. The Giovanna Group is a company that helps organizations identify the one thing they can do to transform and have a higher impact on the people they work for. My daughter’s middle name is Giovanna.
How did you transition from degrees in theatre and secondary education to fundraising?
Through AmeriCorps VISTA. I was going to be a high school drama teacher. While I was getting my master’s degree in secondary education, I was going to church at Mosaic in Little Rock, and my friend Georgia Mjartan was in a small group with me. She was the executive director of Our House.
I had never heard of Our House at the time, but we became friends. She mentioned to everyone in our small group that she had an AmeriCorps VISTA position open and it was in development. I was a standardized patient at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. There was a woman named Mary Cantrell who told me I should really look into development, so that was the first time I had ever heard the word development in that sense and I didn’t know what it meant. She explained to me that it was fundraising and I had a personality for it, and with my public service orientation that it might be something I’d be interested in.
When I saw this development assistant position that Georgia sent out to our small group, I thought, “That’s interesting, somebody said I might be good at that. I’ll give it a shot.”
I realized that event planning was very much like putting on a theatrical performance and when the curtain goes up, it’s up. You have to be ready to go and then you have to tear it down. There’s a lot of preparation for it, and then it’s over. That sort of flow is something that I really enjoy, I think.
So, I went to Our House through AmeriCorps. Then when I went to my public service training at AmeriCorps, that really opened my eyes to public service in general. I took that oath and it meant the world to me and I meant every word I said. That was it, and I was just off running with public service.
When I finished my internship for my master’s program, I knew I was at a fork in the road where I was either going to be in a classroom or build on these relationships and the networking I had done – meeting their board, planning their events, meeting all of their volunteers, and I wanted to capitalize on the network that I had built up, because fundraising is all about relationships. So, that’s the path I went down and here we are.
What is the Water Reclamation Project and how did you become involved?
Greg Ramon is the CEO of what is now called Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority, and I met him through Just Communities of Arkansas. We honored him at our walk for community events so he was one of the honorary chair people. He’s very inclusive and wanted to make sure that there was a very diverse group of people on that commission in terms of age, race, and profession. It is a utility to the city whereby we’re able to reuse our water. We clean it and repurpose it into the community.
My job is just to go to the meetings and represent the rate-payer, the public who pays for it, and make sure the money is being used well and that they have a strategic plan. I don’t have the hard job, but they do and it’s interesting. As the city expands out west, that’s going to be a challenge for the city. So, my focus is figuring out what that looks like for the rate-payers.
What brought you to the Clinton School?
Bill Clinton, and a lot of the work he did, brought me to the Clinton School. I’m like five-generations Little Rock, but I’ve lived other places. Around the time I was in college I traveled around the country quite a bit, but I’m from here and my story is his story. My story is the work that he did here, in the state and in the city.
I grew up in Quapaw, across the street from the governor’s mansion on Arch street. I went to Arkansas governor’s school. There’s no denying the work that he did here in the state affected my life. There’s no other program like this in the country, plus it’s right in my backyard. I’m very passionate about Little Rock and seeing it do well, so it was a no-brainer.
Do you know what you want to do for your IPSP?
I know I want to take my daughter with me, so I’m going to have to work around that. I want her to have that experience.
I’ve never been outside of this continent, I’ve been to Mexico and I’ve been to Canada, but I’ve never crossed the seas. I want to be in a metropolis, I know that. I don’t want to be anywhere rural. Not that I don’t appreciate it, or wouldn’t visit it, but in terms of having to take my one-and-a-half-year-old there, I just want to have access to schools, hospitals, and roads without fear of coming into any kind of emergency.
That’s as far as I’ve gone down the IPSP road right now. I would love to go to Africa. I have never been and being African-American and just feeling so not at home in your home is an interesting dynamic. I would like to be around a sea of brown people; that really appeals to me. Walking around and not seeing yourself or seeing yourself under represented is seriously impactful. Having said that, I really want to see the old cliché western Europe, too. I’m not fluent in Spanish, but I can understand it, and write it a little bit. I would love to go to Spain. So, I don’t know, the world’s just open and I can’t wait to figure it out.
The Kettering Foundation asks the basic primary research question of what does it take to make democracy work as it should? Their hypothesis is that deliberative democracy could be the answer. They have a very specific definition of democracy and citizenship and their definition of citizenship really only includes people who are participating not just by virtue of the fact that you were born here, but that you are actively working towards establishing and maintaining the democracy that we have. So, one of the ways that they do that is they develop forums and issue guides.
The forums go through the National Issues Forums Institute and they host conversations. They’re guides that show people how to host conversations about really important issues like food insecurity, healthcare, mental illness, race, and ethnicity – just really big, heavy stuff that affects our country.
The other way they do it is through issue guides about historical positions. For example, the Clinton Library has one on Kosovo. What happens is they have groups of people come in and deliberate about three value-based options that President Clinton had and sort of take his seat and say, “What would I have done?” Together as a group they decide on one of those things and the answer could be “none of those things.”
But they definitely have those three value-based options to deliberate about. So, the Kettering Group believes that the work of deliberating and coming to a decision with a group of people who have different values is the work of being in a democratic society and not just voting and participating, but being active in having those conversations in a formal way.
So, the ARHDLE is taking that idea of the historic issue guide and putting them in for museums across the state – Crystal Bridges, Delta Cultural Museum, US Marshalls which isn’t built yet, but is very programmatically active, and the MacArthur Park Military Museum. We are asking each of those museums to come up with an issue that is of interest to them and is important to them.
For example, the military museum has picked the Little Rock arsenal crisis. The short story is that the Civil War almost started here, because the Union wanted to take back the arsenal, which is what the museum is in now. There was sort of a militia of Confederate rebels that were trying to stop that from happening. There was a captain who had to make the decision of what to do – give that arsenal back to the union or start the civil war here in Little Rock.
So, there are values there that could be weighed. That’s what we’re doing, we’re coming up with those three options, and what those three options are for those issues.
We went to Dayton to participate in a forum with the Kettering Foundation and just talked to them about what their expectations are and what they would like to see and why they even want us to do this.
What made you decide to come back for a degree in Public Service?
One, the networking and the relationship building specific to Clinton School. Like I said, I know the value of building relationships. I mean, I asked Dean Rutherford to be my advisor, so that’s why I’m here. The field practice work I find to be really appealing and informative in a very practical way, too. It just fit what I was doing and I really thought that it would further my business. At the end of the day I want to be marketable. My degree didn’t necessarily match up with what I was doing. I could’ve kept doing it anyway; I didn’t need the degree to continue what I was already doing. But I think that building the relationships here, formalizing the things that I knew and doing the international field work. Again, a no brainer. I’m doing this for my business.
You listed your favorite book as “When and Where I Enter.” At what age did you first read this book and what sort of impact has it had on your life?
I mentioned earlier when I started talking about being black here and what a challenge that is, just to be here. Often times it feels like people don’t understand why you’re upset. Like, you’re free now, and you have the same opportunities that I do, so why can’t you do what we’ve all been doing? That’s really hurtful.
Slavery is now a mental issue; we are enslaved in our minds. That’s not to say that there are not still institutions that are literally enslaving people, because there are. But, for me, it was more of growing up and thinking, at 11 and 12-years-old, not really knowing I was black, because no one around me was. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, and I identified with mostly white people. When I read that book, for me, it validated a lot of feelings and questions I had about why am I the way that I am. Why do I have this particular set of issues that I can’t seem to break the chains for?
Having that knowledge of the role that black women have played in the American democracy from the beginning until now is what the book is about. It was so eye opening and validating, because it showed me who I am.
It’s sort of freeing because it’s not you, you’re not crazy. This is what it means to be black, female, and American. It’s super special to me.
In June 2017, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service Student Emily Loker used a string of five Liberating Structures (LS) to conduct six “listening sessions” with groups of Philippi high school students in Cape Town, South Africa. Her purpose was to more deeply understand how they viewed “success.”
Loker’s Clinton School professor and William J. Clinton Distinguished Fellow Arvind Singhal believes that this might have been “the first time that a LS string was systematically employed to collect research data in a sequential manner.”
The data collection process consisted of the following LS string: TRIZ inspired a light-hearted atmosphere as participants discussed how to ensure they were “unsuccessful,” and, hence, what they needed to stop doing. Appreciative Interviews began generating definition of success using 1-2-4-All to distill responses.
Discovery and Action Dialogues uncovered what created the conditions for success and allowed learners to contextualize it in their own lives. Drawing Together provided the opportunity for students to conceptualize and express success in a non-verbal way. Fifteen Percent Solutions revealed what each person in the room had the power to do now to achieve success in their own lives.
“By designing this string, Loker used each LS to unpack an onion of insights, one layer at a time,” Singhal noted.
Liberating Structures are a series of engaging and inviting processes that change the nature and quality of the interactions among a group of people (www.liberatingstructures.com). In contrast to one-on-one survey interviews, LS creates the conditions for the group to collectively engage with a salient issue, while honoring the individual voices of all participants. For research, this means they contrast the extractive nature of traditional survey methods and instead allow for the exchange of ideas amongst participants, flattening hierarchies through multiple modalities of interaction.
Loker undertook this study on behalf of the South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) to help students to vocalize their own visions of success and inform future programming. Almost 90 youth from three schools in Cape Town came together to share and discuss what “success” meant in their own lives.
How did Loker hit upon the idea of employing liberating structures? Her professors at the Clinton School of Public Service – Christina Standerfer, Warigia Bowman, Hilary Trudell, and Singhal – utilized LS in various ways to engage with the course material.
Intrigued by what LS made possible, and with encouragement from Arvind Singhal, Loker and two other Clinton School students, Xochitl Delgado-Solorzano and Thaddeus Smith, traveled to
Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., for a three-day Liberating Structures workshop.
The most common benefit expressed by the students was working in groups and learning from one another. After participating in the listening session, one student remarked, “I really enjoyed hearing from my classmates. We don’t get that opportunity every day. I’m inspired.”
From a research perspective, Loker is convinced of the value of employing LS strings as a research method – i.e., as a way of collecting data with a group of participants.
“The true potential of LS as a method of research is yet to be realized. LS allow for data to be gathered from a group of people in a dynamic, generative, and sequential manner,” Singhal emphasized. And, by “engaging and involving everyone at once,” he added.
“While I was at the workshop, I got a chance to talk with LS Gurus Keith McCandless and Fisher Qua,” Loker said. “Fisher started brainstorming with me about my research in South Africa and everything fell into place.”
When Loker arrived in South Africa, she wondered if her supervisors would be open to her using Liberating Structures instead of the agreed-upon focus groups. She even brought along her copy of The Surprising Power Liberating Structures by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless to vouch for the validity of the alternative method. Fortuitously, her supervisors were intrigued by LS and gave her the green light. They grasped that LS would make it possible to engage all participants at once, enriching and building on the collective research insights.
The most common benefit expressed by the students was working in groups and learning from one another. After participating in the listening session, one student remarked, “I really enjoyed hearing from my classmates. We don’t get that opportunity every day. I’m inspired.”
From a research perspective, Loker is convinced of the value of employing LS strings as a research method – i.e., as a way of collecting data with a group of participants.
“The true potential of LS as a method of research is yet to be realized. LS allow for data to be gathered from a group of people in a dynamic, generative, and sequential manner,” Singhal Singhal emphasized. “And, by engaging and involving everyone at once,” he added.
McLarty Scholars is pleased to announce its 2017 recipients—Mollie Henager and Emily Smith, two University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service students, and Yvonne Quek, a graduate of the Clinton School. During their semester-long fellowships at Vital Voices Global Partnership in Washington, D.C. Henager and Smith are conducting research and will present an impact evaluation on Vital Voices’ network of women leaders in their VVGROW and Global Freedom Exchange programs. Quek’s year-long fellowship at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) is focusing on researching issue areas related to the economic empowerment of women and the impact of climate change on women.
“Mollie, Yvonne and Emily continue the tradition of accomplished and engaged graduate students from the Clinton School of Public Service who have participated in our Scholars program,” said Donna McLarty, co-founder of McLarty Scholars and co-founder of Vital Voices. “These women are true leaders who are passionately committed to both public service and women’s empowerment on their campuses, in their communities and on their international projects.”
A second-year graduate student at the Clinton School of Public Service, Mollie Henager received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas in psychology and Spanish, was a consultant for the Centers for Youth and Families and worked as a medical interpreter for the Westside Free Medical Clinic. She also served as an English teacher and independent researcher in Guatemala. This past summer, Henager worked in Peru as a monitoring and evaluation coordinator for Awamaki, a nonprofit organization that provides local businesswomen with professional skills and access to new markets.
Yvonne Quek, a graduate of the Clinton School who was born and raised in Singapore, recently worked in Peru at a project related to the social return on investment. She is a graduate of the National University of Singapore with a law degree. Before heading to the Clinton School, Quek was a corporate attorney in Singapore and also assisted with fundraising for Saigon’s Children Charity in Ho Chi Minh City. Quek was also a McLarty Scholar recipient in 2016 and helped assess the impact of the Vital Voices GROW Fellowship.
Emily Smith, also a second-year graduate student at the Clinton School, received her undergraduate degree from Hendrix University in Conway, Arkansas. She has served as a project consultant on rural issues for Arkansas Electric Cooperative and as a team leader for AmeriCorps in Little Rock and Boston. Smith has also worked as an onsite researcher in Bengalaura, India for MYRADA, a non-governmental organization dedicated to developing programs to empower women in small, tribal communities. Smith spent the past summer in Uganda, collecting data on how the Limited Resource Teacher Training program provides opportunities for teachers.
McLarty Scholars was established in 2011 by Donna and Mack McLarty and their sons Mark and Franklin, daughter-in-law Gabriella and granddaughter Brianna. This prestigious program provides students with substantive opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, research, international experience and cross cultural understanding.
“Gaining a world-perspective is one of the most valuable gifts to give a student,” said Mack McLarty. “We are very proud that McLarty Scholars continues to connect students studying in Arkansas with the professional and public service endeavors in Washington, D.C. and globally.”
Henager, Quek and Smith are the fourth class of McLarty Scholars granted fellowships. Past McLarty Scholars include Anna Applebaum of California, Tshering Yudon of Bhutan, Mara D’Amico of Michigan, Jennifer Guzman of Arkansas, Michelle Perez of Venezuela and Arjola Limani of Albania.
For more information about the McLarty Scholars program visit McLartyScholars.com.
“A significant portion of the Clinton School curriculum is field service project work,” said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III. “Having experienced professionals here supplements the great work of our permanent faculty while broadening the student experience.”
The first, Social Entrepreneurship, will be taught by Terry Mazany and will seek to determine how to organize as a society to solve complex problems.
The second, Wicked Problems, will be taught by Dr. Kent Thornton and focus on societal, cultural, and political problems that cannot be solved by traditional techniques.
Social Entrepreneurship is a course designed for change-makers who seek to make a difference in the world. Open to first and second-year students, participants in this course will have the opportunity to study and examine the social enterprises they participate in, identify challenges, and design their own social enterprise to address those challenges.
Currently a senior fellow at ForwARd Arkansas, Mazany was previously President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s leading community foundations with assets of more than $2.6 billion and grant making of over $250 million annually. His course will be taught at Little Rock’s Venture Center.
Available to second-year students only, Wicked Problems integrates concepts from the social sciences – behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, sociology – with physical sciences – systems analysis, engineering, biogeochemistry – to document and illustrate the critical need for integrated, holistic, trans-disciplinary approaches to address wicked problems.
Named for a term originally coined by Rittel and Weber (1973), “wicked problems” are an entirely different class or domain of problems that cannot be addressed using traditional problem-solving approaches. Currently, nearly all social, cultural, and policy issues are wicked problems (gun control, poverty, income inequality, terrorism, violent crime, global climate change, etc.).
Thornton is a Principal in FTN Associates, Ltd., an interdisciplinary engineering and environmental consulting firm with offices in Little Rock, Fayetteville, and Baton Rouge, La., Thornton has almost 50 years of experience working on local, national, and international problems and issues related to water.
Mazany and Thornton join adjunct professors Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola (Contemporary Urbanism) and Dr. Arvind Singhal of the University of Texas at El Paso (Dynamics and Complexities of Social Change) in teaching at the Clinton School during the Spring 2018 Semester. The Stodola and Singhal courses are also open to first and second-year students.
Visiting fellow Nick Schifrin of PBS NewsHour will also continue working with both first and second-year students.
The Clinton School is the nation’s first to offer a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree. It is a two-year program with concurrent degrees offered with the Sam M. Walton College of Business (Master in Business Administration) at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; The Fay W. Boozman School of Public Health (Master of Public Health) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS); and the William H. Bowen School of Law (Juris Doctor) at UA Little Rock.
This spring, the Clinton School will launch its new Executive Master of Public Service degree. The first-of-its-kind program is offered entirely online, giving mid-career professionals the enhanced knowledge, skills and network they need to advance their careers without relocating while also being able to maintain full-time employment.
The program also offers the opportunity to learn and network with the Clinton School’s renowned speaker series. Over its 13-year history, the series has hosted nearly 1,200 programs that have totaled over 190,000 attendees and more than 450,000 online views.
The Clinton School is also home to the first Center on Community Philanthropy in the nation. Led by Dr. Charlotte Williams, the Center on Community Philanthropy is to explore the concept of philanthropy as the kind of giving and sharing from within that is characteristic of positive change and long-lasting development in impoverished communities.
John Jackson, a Little Rock native and graduate of UA Little Rock with a degree in anthropology, is a first-year student at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. He is pursuing a concurrent master’s degree in public health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science.
Jackson is a member of the United States Marine Corps, and has participated in several humanitarian operations. In addition, he has worked as an EMT-B Medic, providing field care and treatment to civilians and military personnel with the Arkansas Army National Guard. His areas of public service interest include international relations, access to healthcare, renewable energy, and access to safe drinking water.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
Right out of high school I joined the Marines, and I basically left Arkansas for about 13 years. In 2010, I left the Marine Corps and came back to Arkansas to go to school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to study anthropology. While I was in undergrad studies, I joined the National Guard where I became a combat medic, and I’m still doing that currently.
What prompted you to pursue your concurrent degree in public health at UAMS?
One of my interests for anthropology is a field called medical anthropology, which is studying how societies interact and deal with an illness or a sickness. For example, here in the United States, and western developed countries, we get sick and go to a doctor. Whereas there are other cultures that believe if you get sick, that means you did something terrible in a past life, or you upset your deity, or it’s some kind of immediate ancestor shaming kind of thing. That is something I was interested in looking at.
Because of my responsibilities outside of school, I was kind of geographically stuck in Arkansas, and that degree is not offered here. So, a public health degree became a good compromise. While doing the public health degree, I befriended an alumnus (of the Clinton School), Sarah Argue, who had suggested that with my given military background and my interest in cultures and public health that the Clinton School would be a really good fit for me and I should apply.
What are some of the humanitarian operations you participated in while in the Marine Corps?
When I was in active duty with the Marine Corps, back in about 2002 to 2003, Thailand had recently suffered a typhoon. The base we were working on with the Thai Marine Corps got turned into an evacuation camp. We gave people meals for a couple of days and some water, and all of a sudden one day, they were just leaving.
Most recently, over the summer, I was doing a partner choice station building in Central America with the Honduran Army. I went down with a group of National Guardsmen and we trained approximately 180-200 combined Honduran forces. We trained different forces like the EL TIGRES, which is the Honduran equivalent of LAPD Swat-style police officers, the Honduran Army, and the Honduran Navy members. We taught skills in basic infantry patrolling tactics, counter-narcotic operations, and field medicine, which is where I mostly specialized.
It was a little bit of a culture shock on several different levels that I don’t want to get into because it’s very military specific. The idea of having to take a shower with a water bottle isn’t foreign to me, however when I went to Honduras with the National Guard, which is the first time I was actually deployed with the National Guard, a lot of them were sort of in a culture shock that there was no running water. It kind of opened up my perspective. There are people that do not know that this is an issue and are unaware that indoor plumbing is not a universal thing, let alone safe, clean drinking water.
Expounding upon that, I would not only like to just make it more aware, maybe here locally, but I want to actually do something about it. Everyone should have safe, clean drinking water.
With the Thea Foundation practicum team, what are you most looking forward to? What have you done thus far for the project?
In complete honesty, I didn’t know anything about Thea until they said, “You’re working with Thea.” Anyway, I’m super excited to be on the program. What we’re doing is tracking down the scholarship winners from the last 10 years to find out what degree they got, how long it took them to finish school, and if they changed majors – very college-specific information. The reason we’re doing this is because prior to this project, the scholarship recipients have not been tracked in any kind of database.
Once we collect the information, we’re going to deliver that to the Thea Foundation owner and founder, Paul Leopoulos. He is going to use that information to create a binder to make the arts education world more aware, especially here in Arkansas.
We have talked about some of the things he’d like to do later on – finding out how the Thea Foundation may have helped them otherwise professionally or socially. But right now, we are focusing on scholarship recipients and their progress in college.
What do you see yourself doing for your International Public Service Project?
I’ve put in some applications for some opportunities I’ve found out about through the Clinton School, but as far as what I want to do for my IPSP, I have no idea. There’s this constant thing in the back of my head that says it has to be health related because of the concurrent credit program, which is not a terrible thing, but otherwise I’ll have to do two IPSP projects – one for the Clinton School and one for UAMS. If I get to go somewhere else for another three months, that’s not the worst thing that could ever happen.
Does the fact that you have traveled internationally shape at all where you want to go?
If anything, it gives me personally more issues. I’ve traveled before with the government, mostly, if not entirely. So there’s the chance that if I could do it all over again, without the constraints of having a curfew or having some kind of organization telling you that you have to be at this place at this time, maybe I’d like to do that again and explore out on my own. But at the same time, I’ve already been there, why would I want to go back when I could go somewhere completely new and different?
I didn’t specify this at the beginning of the interview, but my job in the Marine Corps was a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense specialist. The meat and potatoes of that is weapons of mass destruction and how to protect yourself against them. It goes into a whole lot of nuclear weapons proliferation, weapons of mass destruction proliferation. I would definitely be interested in doing something as far as policy on that. One of my best memories from the Marine Corps is walking around in those capsulated moon suits looking for chemical weapons and decontaminated stuff. I enjoy doing stuff on the hazardous materials technician level. I’d like to do something with that, or maybe do something that’s more public health related, like epidemiology, which is what I’m focusing on at UAMS.
You listed A Message to Garcia as your favorite book. What is it about? Why is it your favorite?
It’s written during the Spanish American War, and the idea is that this guy is told to deliver this message to Garcia. He just goes and does it. It’s a book I read when I was in the Marines, and the idea is just immediate obedience to orders and to just get it done. The culture shock of getting out of the military and coming back is when you ask someone to go do something, you’re going to have to answer five or six questions of why you need them do to it. Just go do it. It will be done and we can move on from there. That’s how progress is developed, I think.