University of the Ozarks has cancelled all public, student and academic events on campus for the remainder of the Spring 2020 Semester and is limiting off-campus visitors in an attempt to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
There are currently no reported or suspected cases of COVID-19 on the U of O campus or in Johnson County.
On Friday, University officials announced that in-person classes were suspended for the next two weeks and that the University would transition to an all-online method of course delivery starting March 30 and lasting through the remainder of the semester. The University will continue most normal operations, but is asking departments to utilize remote work and "social distancing" whenever possible.
All University-sponsored events have been cancelled for the remainder of the semester, including the Walton Arts & Ideas Series, Ozarks Fest, intercollegiate athletic competitions, alumni events, University Theatre productions, art exhibits and music department concerts and recitals. The University has also suspended all other public workshops, meetings and conferences that were to be hosted on campus this semester.
In addition, the University is restricting off-campus guests from visiting campus. Campus Perks, the Rawhouser Fitness Center, Robson Library and the residence halls are among the facilities that are closed to off-campus visitors until further notice.
University officials said no decision has been made on the status of the 2020 Spring Commencement ceremony, scheduled for May 16.
Spring break extended one week and classes to move to remote instruction.
The last few days and weeks have been unlike anything any of us have ever seen. The fluidity of the situation and the pace at which the environment is changing is creating an ever growing sense of angst and worry. I have asked myself and others countless times in the last few days what not only our mission, but our history calls us to do in order to prepare students to live life fully. Below you will see our current position. It reflects a collective best thinking for today. I believe, also, it is true to our Christian heritage.
Immediate Campus-Wide Changes
- Effective immediately, the University of the Ozarks is suspending all classes.
- Classes will resume after spring break on Monday, March 30 in an all online method of delivery and continue online for the rest of the semester.
- The University is open. Housing, dining, library, academic support and other services for students who remain on campus will continue to be provided.
No faculty, staff, or student should come to campus if they have any symptoms of the COVID-19. The most common symptoms include fever, cough, or respiratory symptoms.
Please consult with your family, friends, and mentors and decide whether it is best for you to continue your Ozarks coursework from home. If you believe campus/Clarksville is the best place for you to continue the semester, we will do our very best to serve you. The residence halls, houses, and apartments will remain open and there will be no break in food service from now until the end of the semester.
If you believe the best course of action is for you to go home, please make plans to check out of your residence hall at your earliest convenience. Residence Life is prepared to begin checking people out as early as tomorrow, Saturday, March 14. If you would like to take some time to prepare, please know that we will work with you. Please check your email regularly for communication from the University, especially your faculty.
All athletic activity including practices, strength and conditioning, and competitions have been suspended for the remainder of the semester.
Thank you! Thank you for leaning into these trying times. There will be training opportunities throughout the week for you and your colleagues to collaborate on moving courses away from face-to-face delivery. I hope over the next few days you review with your advisees their plan for the rest of the semester. Many of them will be preparing to leave campus and may need to check-in with you regarding best means of communication or challenges for finishing special projects from a distance. If you have challenges that prevent you from moving to an online environment taught from your homes, please work with your respective dean to find an appropriate solution.
Staff and Administration
If your work can be performed remotely, please work with your colleagues to make that a reality. If your work requires you to be on campus, please continue to monitor your health and behavior to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
If you have a personal situation that makes you vulnerable to the virus, please work with your supervisor to develop a plan to ensure your well-being and the well-being of those you love. Knowing every situation is a little different, supervisors have been given broad authority to find solutions while demonstrating institutional values.
All campus events intended to draw an audience are suspended. This includes the Walton Arts & Ideas Series, Winter Formal, Ozarks Fest and University Theatre’s Pinocchio.
In order to protect the most vulnerable among us, we suspended all official and previously-authorized international travel. Moving forward, all institutional travel is suspended. If you believe your circumstances warrant an exception, please consult with your respective vice president, dean, or director. Any member of the campus community who travels outside of the state is asked to self-report their travel plans. Any travel could result in initiation of self-quarantine protocols.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
- While students have the option to leave campus and return home, we are asking that if they check out of the residence halls that they stay away from campus for the remainder of the semester. Students will be able to check out of their residence halls starting Saturday by contacting the Office of Student Affairs.
- Many of the University’s student services will remain operational, including Robson Library, the Jones Learning Center, Borck Cafeteria, Rawhouser Fitness Center and computer labs.
- No outside guests will be allowed on campus.
- More information regarding online instruction will be communicated in the next few days to students from Provost Gill as well as from their respective professors.
- Staff members should check with their supervisor to determine their work protocol during this period.
- The University’s custodial team continues the enhanced environmental cleaning practices that have already been implemented, including increased sanitizing of touch points. We encourage all members of our campus community to adhere to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19.
- A decision about the Commencement in May will be determined in the upcoming weeks.
I know there are still a lot of unanswered questions. We will continue to provide updates on the transition in the next few days. The University’s highest priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. While there are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 at Ozarks or in Johnson County, we believe these measures are necessary to implement social distancing in the interest of public health.
Richard L. Dunsworth, J.D. University President
Clarksville Mayor David Rieder and Johnson County Judge Herman Houston joined University President Richard Dunsworth and alumna Lisa Gruben-Inness in a proclamation signing event declaring October 14-20 as University of the Ozarks 2019 Homecoming Week throughout the city and county.
The proclamation signing took place on Oct. 14 in front of the Johnson County Courthouse and was part of a pep rally that included more than 100 students from the University. Following the pep rally, many of the students decorated downtown businesses with University signs and decals in a Paint the Town Purple event.
Houston is a 1973 graduate of U of O and Gruben-Inness is a 1993 graduate of the University.
Homecoming 2019 will include a variety of events and reunions. For a complete schedule, please visit www.ozarks.edu/homecoming.
Thirteen University of the Ozarks students from six different countries and representing a variety of majors from around campus are coming together this semester as part of a global fellowship program. Their goal is to help improve food security on campus.
The students were selected as 2019 Millennium Fellows. The fellowship is a semester-long leadership development program developed as a partnership between the Millennium Campus Network and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) initiative. Fellows are leading projects that advance the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and the UNAI’s principles in the students’ communities and beyond.
The Class of 2019 includes 1,092 Millennium Fellows from 69 campuses across 16 nations. Ozarks was among only 6% of the world’s higher education institutions selected to host Fellows this year.
The U of O Fellows include, Jarret Bain, a junior psychology major from The Bahamas; Yailin Blackman, a senior business administration major from Panama; Ohany Roman Blandon, a senior accounting and management major from Nicaragua; Melissa Brenes, a senior business administration major from Nicaragua; Petron Brown, a sophomore environmental studies and theatre major from The Bahamas; Ralph Jean-Pierre, a business administration major from Haiti; Misael Perez-Medina, a sophomore mathematics major from Clarksville; Hendrick Octavius, a sophomore business administration major from Haiti; Rebecca Peterson, a junior environmental studies major from Coweta, OK; Kenia Roa, a sophomore business administration major from Costa Rica; Richard Rodriguez, a junior business administration and political science major from Nicaragua; Kengor Thermozier, a sophomore biology major from Haiti; and Christina Waddle, a junior environmental studies major from Pleasant Hill, MO.
Blandon and Rodriguez are serving as co-directors for the group and took the lead on writing the proposal and organizing the team. The group’s faculty advisors are Dr. Kim Van Scoy, professor of environmental studies and sustainable agriculture, and Dr. Allison Freed, assistant professor of education.
The U of O group’s project is called, “Student Initiative on Food Security,” and is aimed at improving food security for vulnerable students at the University. They will meet regularly throughout the semester with their campus cohorts to network, learn from each other and develop a range of leadership and professional skills such as grant writing and strategic planning.
Blandon cited a 2019 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that reported that between 9 and 50 percent of college students have faced food insecurity.
“At this University, there is a significant population of students who are at risk of food insecurity, especially during the holidays and breaks when the cafeteria closes,” said Blandon. “This was a project that we felt like we had the resources to take on and one that we felt could be impactful. We feel like we can come up with effective strategies where students can work hand-in-hand with other members of the campus community to help alleviate this problem and make a difference for many students.”
The diversity of the group is one of its strengths, according to Rodriguez.
“We wanted to find students who were already working on, or at least aware of, the problem and could bring different perspectives to the team,” Rodriguez said. “Some of the students work in food banks, some work with the campus garden and some have been personally affected by food insecurity. We really didn’t go into it planning to have such a diverse group, but that’s kind of how it turned out. I definitely think it’s a plus.”
While the fellowship technically just runs through the fall semester, Blandon hopes to continue the project through the academic year and beyond. One of the ways he plans to do that is to create a permanent campus working group.
“We believe this is something that shouldn’t just be a short-term project,” Blandon said, “We want to develop something that is going to be sustainable and that will make a difference for many years to come, so we don’t just want to work on it this semester and then stop. We’re looking at this is an ongoing project.”Local musician Ryan Harmon will highlight the second First Friday in downtown Clarksville, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 3. Presented by University of the Ozarks and the Clarksville-Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, First Friday is a community event held on the corner of Main Street and the Spadra Trail. It will feature live music, a variety of food trucks and vendors as well as lawn games. There is no charge for admission and the public is invited to attend and encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Harmon is a singer-songwriter from Lamar. With musical influences like Travis Tritt, Ray Charles and Bob Seger, and lyrical influences like Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson and Roger Miller, Harmon carries on the long tradition of "three chords and the truth." Combined with a commanding stage presence and fun, lively performances, he seeks to push the boundaries of what a solo acoustic act can be. Though commonly categorized as country music, Harmon's music more specifically fits Americana, a sub-genre of country. He describes Americana by saying, "You can put Hank Williams, Bob Seger, Ray Charles and Bill Monroe all in the same room, and it makes perfect sense." In 2017, Harmon released his self-titled, debut album. Taking all modern production standards and throwing them out the window, Harmon created a stripped-down, low-fi recording that allows the songs to stand on their own, good or bad. "I hear so much stuff where it seems like they put more focus on the production than the song. I love listening to old Hank Williams or Robert Johnson records where the word 'production' didn't even come into it. Press the 'record' button, and off you go! Get a performance of the song and that's it," Harmon said. From the rocking, early Johnny Cash influenced "Hold On Sally," to the powerful "Ride The Wind," and the emotional "Find Your Heart," Harmon's songwriting focuses on real life and real people. One of the album's more prominent songs, the humorous, yet true, anthemic country heartbreak "You Left, My Dog Died, and My Heart Did Too," was featured on an NPR Music playlist of dog-themed songs in January 2018. In 2019, Harmon is continuing that same style of writing, with new music coming soon. "It doesn't matter if it's a love song, a sad song, a funny song, etc. Life throws all of those different emotions at us. As long as people can relate to it and enjoy it, I feel like I've done my job." This will be the final First Friday of the spring semester. It will start again in September when the fall semester is underway. Something good has come out of those pesky parking tickets. Thanks to a new Food 4 Fines program, the University of the Ozarks’ Office of Public Safety on Friday donated a large barrel of canned goods to the Clarksville School District’s backpack program, which serves underprivileged families. The Food 4 Fines program was started earlier this semester and allows students, faculty and staff who receive parking tickets on campus to donate $10 worth of food to pay off their first parking ticket, which typically runs $50. “As you can imagine, this program has been quite popular,” said Larry Graham, director of public safety. “When people realize that they have the option of bringing in canned goods instead of paying a $50 fine, they’re usually pretty happy. Plus, they feel good about doing something that benefits the community and children.” University Chaplain Rev. Jeremy Wilhelmi and several students helped Graham box up the canned goods and deliver them to Pyron Elementary School, where they will be distributed through the school’s backpack program. Graham said the idea for the program came from U of O Wrestling Coach LeRoy Gardner, who had seen a similar program at another university. He said approximately 30 people have donated canned goods this semester in lieu of paying their parking fines. “We feel like the program has been a success and we plan to keep it going,” Graham said. “We feel like there are still deterrents to illegal parking, but that this program gives first offenders an option to turn something bad, like a parking ticket, into something positive, like helping people.” University officials said the Food 4 Fines program applies only to first-time offenders.
Dining HallCloses after lunch 3/15. Re-opens for dinner service 3/24.
Eagles NestCloses at 3 p.m. 3/15. Re-opens at 10 a.m. 3/25.
Campus PerksCloses at 3 p.m. 3/15. Open 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. 3/18 – 3/22. Re-opens for normal hours 3/24.
Residence HallsOpen as normal 3/18 – 3/22.
Post OfficeOpen 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 3/18 – 3/22.
LibraryOpen 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 3/18 – 3/22.
Ozarks ShuttleOpen 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 3/16 & 3/29.
Ozarks OutdoorsOpen 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 3/18 – 3/22.
Clarksville Community ResourcesClarksville Aquatic Center open 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. U of O Planet Club Presents: Star Party – 10 – 10:30 p.m. March 20 ($6 admission fee) Water Coloring at the Chamber of Commerce – 6 - 8 p.m. March 21 (Free admission) City Metro Taxi 479-979-4142 Clarksville - Johnson County Chamber Events University of the Ozarks will present a concert by up-and-coming Arkansas country music musicians Heath Sanders and Mallory Everett on Saturday, April 13, on the campus mall. The concert, which will begin at 6 p.m. on the campus mall, is part of the inaugural Ozarks Fest, an event for current and prospective U of O students. The public is invited to attend the concert and there is no cost for admission. Sanders, who grew up in Marshall, Ark., and graduated from Ozark (Ark.) High School, is a former oilfield worker turned full-time musician whose popularity skyrocketed after a performance on The Bobby Bones Show in early 2018. Bones found a cover that Sanders put online of Chris Stapleton’s “Either Way,” and invited him to perform on his show. While on the show, Sanders sang his song, “Bloodline,” which quickly went viral and has been viewed more than 1.2 million times. Since then, he has been selling out shows every weekend across the country. He’s opened up for Drake White and Cory Smith and has been invited to open for Bones’ own band, The Raging Idiots. In February he release a new single, “Down on the South.” Sanders is associated with L3 Entertainment, management home to Justin Moore, Tyler Rich, Leah Turner and Scott Stevens, and recently signed a publishing deal with Sony ATV. His music has been called authentic and country as they come, with a powerfully rich voice and a life story that needs to be told. Everett, who will open the concert with a 60-minute set, is a country music artist hailing from a rice farm in the Arkansas Delta. She learned to sing whatever the tractor's radio would pick up and now she plays acoustic acts throughout the mid-south. Her album "Arkansas" has sold in the thousands and her fan base continues to grow. Everett’s style has been described as “full of soul with a natural country twang that is sure to have you toe tapping.” Her second album is currently underway in Nashville and will be ready in 2019. There will be food vendors and food trucks available at the event for guests. Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
University of the Ozarks’ MacLean Hall is currently undergoing a $10 million renovation, the most extensive refurbishment project in the building’s 92-year history.
Construction began in December on the stately “H” shaped, three-story student residence hall that was completed in 1927 and sits on the east side of College Avenue. The current project is expected to be completed in early August, in time for the start of the 2019-20 academic year.
The renovation will include a fire sprinkler system, new central heat and air systems, an elevator, and all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing components. The student housing capacity will increase from 170 to 220 and additional common areas and laundry facilities will be created.
Most of the work this semester is being performed on the lower level after approximately 40 students who resided there in the fall were accommodated in other campus housing. The remainder of the renovations will take place during the summer break.
“This is a full renovation of MacLean Hall,” said Jeff Scaccia, vice president for finance and administration. “Basically we’re taking all the deferred maintenance out of the building and putting in new systems and components that are more modern and energy efficient. And, in many ways we’re restoring the building to its historic look.”
One example of reverting to the original look will be at the front of the building. With the inclusion of the fire sprinkler system, the external staircases that were added in the early 2000s are no longer needed and will be taken down.
The addition of an elevator to the historic building, as well as an ADA entrance door on the east side, will make MacLean Hall much more accessible.
The renovation project will also include new bathrooms, LED lightning and furnishings throughout the building. The large second-floor ballroom will also be renovated and a gas fireplace added. A courtyard will be created in the back of the building and new landscaping will be incorporated.
MacLean Hall was constructed in 1926-27 at a cost of $150,000. It was named in honor of Marie MacLean of Atlantic City, N.J., who was inspired to donate $60,000 for the project after hearing then-Ozarks President Dr. Wiley Lin Hurie speak at her church. Much of the original design and construction was completed by Ozarks’ faculty and students.
MacLean has undergone major renovations in 1968, 1976, 1988 and the early 2000s.
The current project’s construction company is Nabholz Corp., and Credo Design Architects is the architectural firm.Caitlin Huckfeldt has been named the new director of residential life at University of the Ozarks, effective immediately. Huckfeldt has served as the assistant director of residence life and student engagement at Ozarks since July. In her new duties, she will provide leadership and administrative direction to a comprehensive and vibrant student housing program, including the overall administration of a variety of University residential facilities. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to invest in our residential community at University of the Ozarks and excited to be a part of the continued development of our program and operations,’ Huckfeldt said. With an almost 50 percent growth in enrollment over the past five years, Luke Morrill, dean of students, said it was time for the University to have an administrator solely focused on residential life. “With the continued growth and development at the University, moving forward with an individual serving solely in the director of residential life leadership role is critical to the success of the student on-campus living experience,” Morrill said. “After conducting a national search, we identified Caitlin as the best person to lead us in that area. In her short time here she has had an incredible impact on the Office of Student Affairs. I am excited to work with her in this new role as she continues to provide visionary leadership and facilitate continued development to all aspects of residential living at University of the Ozarks.” Prior to arriving at Ozarks, Huckfeldt served as a graduate assistant in the Office of Dean of Students at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, where she also earned a master’s degree in leadership, student affairs in higher education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work and Bible and theology at Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Huckfeldt also has experience as a social caseworker and as an academic advisor. Her husband, Austin, serves as a public safety officer at the University.