UALR veteran invited to head group for statewide coalition

A UALR student has been asked to serve as chair of student veterans with the Arkansas Veterans Coalition. Tanya Brashers

Tanya Brashers, president of UALR Students Affected by the Military (SAM), said she will be tasked with reaching out to various university faculty and student veteran organizations throughout the state to assess their needs and concerns.

She will compile and report her findings at the quarterly statewide meeting to assist the coalition in creating legislation that meets the needs of student veterans in Arkansas.

“I’m thoroughly excited to have the opportunity to advocate for student veterans in the state,” said Brashers. “I think this is an outstanding opportunity to voice our needs and concerns with our state lawmakers.”

Beginning in 1995, Brashers served in the U.S. Navy for five years as a hospital corpsman. She graduated from Naval Service Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill.

She graduated from Orthopedic Tech “C” school from Naval Hospital Pensacola in Florida in 1998, serving at the Naval Air Station Branch Health Clinic there before she was attached to the U.S. Marines and stationed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, S.C.

Cheryl Kleeman, new veterans affairs coordinator in UALR’s Office of Veterans Affairs, said the honor was well-deserved.

Earlier this year, Brashers joined David Carnahan, vice president of SAM, at the signing of a bill into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson that entitles military and their dependents in-state tuition, regardless of residence.

New director of human resources named

Bob Adams, vice chancellor of finance and administration at UALR, has announced the appointment of a new director of human resources.

Dr. Charles Azebeokhai, UALR Director of Human Resources
Dr. Charles Azebeokhai, UALR Director of Human Resources

Dr. Charles Azebeokhai, ​who has more than 25 years of experience as a human resources professional, assumed his new role effective May 18. Most recently, he served as chief human resources officer at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia.

At Southern Polytechnic, his major areas of responsibility included planning, developing, implementing, and administering human resources programs and payroll services.

Among his accomplishments during his 15-year tenure at Southern Polytechnic, Azebeokhai implemented the HR self service information system, created an online orientation tutorial, and completed a comprehensive assessment of the university’s compensation schedule.

Azebeokhai was also an adjunct professor in the Business Administration Department at Southern Polytechnic.

His work experience also includes stints at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Mich., the Dubuque Human Rights Commission for the city of Dubuque, Iowa, and the Department of Employment Security in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Azebeokhai earned a doctorate in business administration management from Argosy University in Sarasota, Fla., an M.S. degree in human resource administration, and an M.S. degree in economics, both from Utah State University in Logan, Utah. He holds a B.S degree in finance from Utah State University.

Students present

Design project captures national engineering award

A team of six UALR civil and construction engineering students, five industry sponsors, and two faculty members has won a national award for a senior design project submitted for the American Red Cross of Greater Arkansas. Continue reading “Design project captures national engineering award”

Faculty honor city manager Bruce Moore

Hunter, Jerry, Bryan & Bruce jpg
Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore holds a plaque presented by UALR Master of Public Administration faculty.

Faculty of UALR’s Graduate Program in Public Administration recently recognized Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore at an annual awards ceremony held May 15.

Moore was honored with an “Outstanding Public Administrator” award in recognition of his many years of service to the city of Little Rock and instrumental role in the development of the Clinton Presidential Center and Park.

He was presented with a plaque by UALR Professors Hunter Bacot and Jerry Stevenson, along with Bryan Day, an adjunct MPA faculty member at UALR.

Moore holds his MPA degree from Arkansas State University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Henderson State University.

Davis named new director of UALR Children International

UALR announces that Ryan Davis has been named the new director of UALR Children International.

Davis mugDavis begins his job on June 16, bringing with him extensive professional and personal experience in the nonprofit sector, as well as academic and community-based organizations.

He currently serves as pastor of Mt. Pleasant Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church in Hope where he helped restructure the church’s debt and created and revitalized ministries for youth and homebound elderly members.

Davis will be leaving as the chief academic officer for Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids (PARK) in Little Rock, helping to develop the “Skill Builder” and the Academic Success Intervention programs there.

The programs give personalized assistance to students who are either failing school or in danger of failing. At PARK, Davis also manages and guides a staff of tutors and group leaders in addition to managing all budgets, acquisitions, and grants connected to the academic program.

Outside of his professional experience, Davis is a founding co-coordinator of the Supplementary National Black Male Development Symposium, helping to create literature, secure donations, and recruit experts for the public health portion of the symposium.

He is also an alumni board member of the Lake Forest College Interfaith Center, chaplain of the Arkansas Region of the 1st Episcopal District of the C.M.E. Church Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and advisory board vice chair of the Central Little Rock Promise Neighborhood.

He received a B.A. degree in liberal arts from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Ill.

“Mr. Davis offers a wealth of experience in working with youth in Arkansas, a passion for addressing the needs of underserved youth and their families, and an understanding of the hard work and dedication it takes to bring about change,” said Dr. Lillian C. Wichinsky, interim executive director of the UALR Community Connection Center.

Community mourns passing of Professor Emeritus Chastain

The UALR community is mourning Professor Emeritus Dr. Charles Chastain, who died Tuesday, June 2, following a cancer diagnosis.

“All of us who knew Charles Chastain feel impoverished by the loss of his friendship and his intelligence, wit, and wisdom,” said UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson.

“Although he did not do it alone, he had a bigger hand than anyone else in making the UALR Department of Criminal Justice the very successful and influential department it has become—starting with the associate degree and today offering the Ph.D.,” Anderson said.

Dr. Chastain was known as an excellent teacher who carried strong convictions that the liberal arts should be part of the criminal justice curriculum. Countless students, faculty, and staff expressed positive messages about him, saying what a profound impact he had made on them and UALR.

Anderson was Dr. Chastain’s colleague in the UALR Department of Political Science when the seeds of a criminal justice program were just being sown in the early 1970s. With Chastain a guiding force, the seeds of the program were nurtured and developed into a full-blown department of its own.

The department eventually dominated the field in Arkansas, graduating students who in time filled many leadership positions in law enforcement, corrections, and other fields of criminal justice.

From 1975 to 1997, he served as either coordinator or chair of Criminal Justice at UALR. In addition, he served on the state Parole Board from 1993 to 2003, and had served on the Board of the Law Enforcement Training Academy, and the Gov. Bill Clinton’s Task Force on Crime and Justice.

He also served on the Board of the Substance Abuse Treatment Clinic of UAMS, the Arkansas Assisted Housing Network, and the Inmate Council of the Department of Correction Pine Bluff Unit. Chastain developed a reentry into society program for inmates at the Wrightsville Unit of the Department of Correction.

For more than a decade, a favorite project of Dr. Chastain’s involved the coordinating of book donations from UALR faculty, staff, and friends to the Arkansas Department of Correction libraries. The project eventually received widespread media attention.

Born in Ventura, Calif., Chastain earned a B.A. degree in sociology and a minor in political science from Arkansas Tech University.

He received an M.A. degree in political science and sociology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and earned a Ph.D. in political science and the administration of justice from Southern Illinois University.

Funeral arrangements include a viewing, which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, June 5, at Roller-Chenal Funeral Home, 13801 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock.

The funeral service will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 6, at First United Methodist Church, 723 Center Street, Little Rock, with a reception to follow at the church.

Memorials may be made to Charles D. Chastain Founding Chair Scholarship, UALR Development Office, 2801 South University, Little Rock, 72204.

Annual conference highlights integrated mental health care

The 2015 MidSOUTH Summer Conference for Integrated Behavioral Health Studies (MSSC) will be held from Wednesday through Friday, June 10 to 12, on the UALR campus.

midsouth_logoThe conference is bringing a full slate of workshops, speakers, and panelists experienced in dealing in trauma-informed care and integrated mental health care for those individuals faced with many challenges in their lives.

The conference is in its 43rd year and its 21st at UALR, during which time there have been many changes in the fields of substance abuse, mental health, and child welfare.

MidSOUTH, the training center for the UALR School of Social Work, is co-sponsoring the annual event with help from the Division of Behavioral Health Services of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

For more information, contact Program Manager Charlotte Besch at the MidSOUTH Center for Prevention and Training at UALR, at 501.569.8459.

More about the conference speakers

Tonier Cain used to live a life of hustling the streets of Annapolis, Md. Known as “Neen” at the time, in just 15 years, she had been arrested 83 times with 66 convictions. Neen had–and lost–four children, she was a crack addict, a prostitute, and desperately lost. Today she receives requests to serve as the keynote speaker for the United Nations, government agencies, teachers, community and civic organizations, mental health agencies, substance abuse programs, corrections facilities and trauma survivors. She has been featured in the documentary, “Behind Closed Doors: Trauma Survivors and the Psychiatric System,” and is the subject of the award-winning film, “Healing Neen.” After surviving a childhood of unspeakable sexual abuse, unrelenting violence, and betrayal by systems that were charged with helping, Cain stands before her audiences today, a testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit exemplifying the innate human instinct to survive.

Christy Matta, author of “The Stress Response: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Free You from Needless Anxiety, Worry, Anger, and Other Symptoms of Stress,” is trained intensively in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Matta also has extensive training in Mindfulness. She has provided clinical supervision to DBT residential programs and was a member of the senior administrative team that designed Grove Street Adolescent Residential Program, a winner of the American Psychiatric Association’s Gold Award.

Dr. Steven Schroeder is the distinguished professor of health and health care for the Department of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, where he also heads the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center. The center, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Legacy Foundation, works with leaders of more than 80 American health professional organizations and healthcare institutions to increase the cessation rate for smokers. Between 1990 and 2002, he was president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. During that time the foundation made grant expenditures of almost $4 billion in pursuit of its mission of improving the health and health care of all Americans. The foundation developed new programs in substance abuse prevention and treatment, care at the end of life, and health insurance expansion for children, among others.

Kendra Johnson, state director of HRC Arkansas, leads the organization’s Project One America effort across the state to bring equality to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Johnson received an undergraduate degree from Spelman College and a graduate degree from UALR, where her capstone project was “HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs in Arkansas: A Needs Assessment.” She most recently worked at Better Community Development as Lead In-Person Assister. Johnson has worked with Southerners on New Ground and also served as the interim executive director of the Women’s Project in Little Rock. Panel members will consist of individuals working with LBGTQ youth; with the issue of homelessness; with cultural aspects in the community dealing with race, ethnicity and faith; with health disparity issues, and with the issues of suicide and violence.

UALR alumna contributes to upcoming Czech film festival

UALR Alumna Lenka Horakova, honorary consul of the Czech Republic, is doing her part to help promote a Czech Film Festival being held for the first time ever in Little Rock.

Lenka Horakova (left) with Priscilla McChristian, UALR Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor
UALR Alumna Lenka Horakova, left, stands with Priscilla McChristian, UALR Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor

The 2015 “Czech That Film Festival” takes place Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6, at the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave.

Five subtitled Czech films will be screened. The opening night movie, “Clownwise,” launches the festival at 7 p.m. and will be accompanied by a question-and-answer session with Czech actress Eva Jenickova.

Admission is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a seat, visit and click on “venues” or visit

The event is a collaboration with the Honorary Consulate, the Arkansas Film Commission, Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), and the Little Rock Film Festival.

“I am very excited about being able to bring Czech movies to Little Rock,” said Horakova, who also serves as the AEDC’s business development director for Europe.

“It is a fun way to give people a taste of the Czech culture. These movies will make audiences laugh and cry, bring people together, and present inspired entertainment for all. There is something for everyone. I am thankful to the Czech Embassy and our local partners for allowing us to provide the movies at no cost.”

The annual Czech Film Festival began in 2012 in New York City and grew to other U.S. cities as interest in Czech cinema and culture increased.

This year, the festival will be held in 18 cities throughout the U.S. Films are chosen in an effort to expose viewers to Czech culture, enlighten audiences, bring people together, and present inspired entertainment.

UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson speaks during the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new 10Fitness facility in the University District.

Fitness facility welcomed to University District

UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson joined civic and community leaders for the grand opening celebration of 10 Fitness University on Monday, June 1. Continue reading “Fitness facility welcomed to University District”

UA Little Rock College of Business

ASBTDC helps secure $500,000 in federal funds for small businesses

Assisted by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, three Arkansas companies have won federal Small Business Innovation Research funding this spring for groundbreaking product research and development. Continue reading “ASBTDC helps secure $500,000 in federal funds for small businesses”