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
Florida filmmaker Katie McEntire Wiatt will present a screening of her award-winning documentary, “Fly Like a Girl,” by Indie Atlantic Films at University of the Ozarks on Tuesday, March 17.
The event is part of the University’s Walton Arts & Ideas Series and begins at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center. There is no cost for admission and the public is invited to attend.
Wiatt will introduce the 84-minute film that marks her feature-length directorial debut as a filmmaker. Following the screening, Wiatt and her husband, Matt, executive producer and co-editor of the film, will discuss the making of the film and answer questions from the audience.
Wiatt said that while women make up half of the college educated workforce, they are significantly underrepresented in STEM/aviation fields. American women make up approximately six percent of the pilot population.
“This is a film about young girls and women relentlessly pursuing their passion for aviation, a field currently dominated by men,” Wiatt said. “From a Lego-loving young girl who includes female pilots in her toy airplanes, to a courageous woman who helped lead shuttle missions to space, ‘Fly Like A Girl’ shows us that women are in charge of their own destiny.”
Wiatt is a producer/director at the Lakeland, Florida film company, Indie Atlantic Films. She first explored film production as a student at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Fla. At Dreyfoos, not only did she learn to edit on one of the first non-linear editing systems, but she also learned the fundamentals of cinematic storytelling. As part of the Indie Atlantic Films team for more than 10 years, Wiatt has produced, edited and directed films for broadcast and web.
Before joining Indie Atlantic Films, Wiatt was an elementary educator. It was during her time as a primary school teacher that she first developed the idea for “Fly Like a Girl.”
“Fly Like a Girl” has been selected for more than 12 film festivals across the country. It has received several awards including Best Documentary at the Hot Springs International Film Festival, The Award of Innovation at the Fort Myers International Film Festival, and the prestigious DoXX Spotlight Documentary Award at the Tallgrass Film Festival.
“The outpouring of support from the aviation community has been amazing,” she said. “It seems every one we reach out to wants to be involved in helping to tell the story.”
Wiatt has also served as a panelist at several film festivals, speaking on the topic of women in film. She is an active member of Women in Film & Television-Florida. To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, please visit www.flylikeagirl.film
The American Shakespeare Center will present William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, as part of the 2019-20 Walton Arts & Ideas Series.
The production will be held in the Walton Fine Art Center’s Seay Theatre on campus. The event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.
Written by Shakespeare in 1595-96, the comedy portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. Shakespeare casts a theatrical spell powerful enough to make audiences of all ages believe in anything. This mischievous comedy of lovers, heroes, fairies, and rude mechanicals is his tribute to humankind's power of imagination, and reveals that the “course of true love can alter with just one touch of magic.”
The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.
Based in Staunton, Virginia, the American Shakespeare Center recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. Year-round in Staunton’s Blackfriars Playhouse — the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre — the ASC’s innovative programming and “shamelessly entertaining” (The Washington Post) productions have shared the delights of Shakespeare, modern classics and new plays with millions over the past 30 years.
Beyond the Playhouse, the ASC is a hub for Shakespeare education and scholarship and also tours from Texas to Maine each year with a repertory of three plays. Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com.The Institute of Jugglology, featuring a former world champion juggler, will perform at University of the Ozarks on Thursday, Oct. 17, as part of the University’s 2019-20 Walton Arts & Ideas Series. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Rowntree Recital Hall, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. There is no cost for admission and the public is invited to this family-friendly event. Based in Northwest Arkansas, the Institute of Jugglology’s performances create giant sand paintings using innovative juggling props filled with sand. The sand slowly spills out, creating an ethereal environment where every throw becomes a line, and every catch is a splash of color. The performance will feature Galen Harp, co-founder of the institute and a former international juggling champion. Harp grew up in a small town in Northwest Arkansas. After graduating from high school, he moved to Fayetteville, AR, to attend college at the University of Arkansas where he learned how to juggle. He has spent the last 15 years creating new ways for juggling to be perceived and has won multiple international awards, including the world championship of juggling awarded by the International Jugglers Association in 2014. The Institute of Jugglology has been creating unbelievable juggling tricks and amazing audiences all over the United States for over a decade. Using their innovative juggling props, the throws and catches of the juggling patterns trace vibrant lines through the air. Slowly, a fragile work of art appears on the ground constantly in danger of being destroyed by the very juggling props that create it. The institute’s jugglers have appeared all over North America in many venues, including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, El Paso Museum of Art and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. They have opened for Cake, Peter Frampton and Blues Traveler. The institute has been awarded the Northwest Arkansas Entertainer of the Year award for three years in a row.
J.R. Martinez, an actor, best-selling author, motivational speaker, advocate and wounded U.S. Army veteran, will speak at University of the Ozarks on Thursday, Sept. 19.
Martinez’s talk, titled “Facing Adversity with Optimism and Resilience,” will kick off the University’s 2019-20 Walton Arts & Ideas Series. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center and is free and open to the public.
Martinez, who lived in Hope, AR, between the ages of 9-17, joined the army following high school. In September of 2002, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.
In March of 2003, he was deployed to Iraq and a few weeks later a Humvee he was driving struck a roadside bomb. Three other soldiers were ejected from the burning vehicle, but Martinez was trapped inside. He suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to 34 percent of his body.
He spent 34 months in recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. He has undergone 34 different surgeries since his injury.
Since then, he’s traveled the world as a motivational speaker, talking with troops at various bases around the world as well as serving as the keynote speaker for Delta, Wells Fargo, Verizon, State Farm, General Motors, Red Cross and numerous other Fortune 500 companies,
His story may be unique, but his message is universal: Change isn't bad if you are willing to adapt.
“None of us knows what we're capable of until we're faced with a tough or unexpected challenge,” Martinez said. “Often this means having to adjust your dream or vision and sometimes event to create an entirely new goal. It can also mean getting through a tough time a week, day, hour or even minute at a time. By focusing on shorter term goals and keeping optimism (and even humor) at the forefront, your entire outlook and perspective can be transformed. We are all stronger and more resilient than we think. In facing challenges and recovering from setbacks, we have new opportunities to develop the unique gifts that have been given to us. It's about being able to become more what you can envision at the moment.”
On the Emmy Award winning ABC Daytime drama All My Children, Martinez played “Brot Monroe,” a combat veteran who was injured in Iraq and returned home to face the new challenges of reintegrating to civilian life. After All My Children ran its final season in 2011, Martinez went on to surprise and inspire a nation as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Along with partner Karina Smirnoff, Martinez won the coveted mirror ball trophy as the show’s season 13 champions.
Later he co-starred on the syndicated action series, SAF3 (CW Network) and also guest-starred in the season 6 finale of Lifetime’s Army Wives. Martinez has been featured on many shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, Ellen, The View, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, CBS Nightly News, CNN, Fox News, HLN, and Univision. He narrated the CNN documentary series In America: Vets Wanted? He’s served as a guest host on The View and ultimately hosted his own radio show, The J.R. Martinez Show, on KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles.
He has also been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, US Veterans Magazine, and was featured on the cover of People Magazine, and in their annual Sexiest Man Alive issue. Martinez is the author of the New York Times best-selling book “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit,” a memoir about how he was able to take his own personal tragedy and turn it into an inspiration for others.
As a firm believer in giving back, his dedication to the nonprofit world is something about which he is very passionate. Martinez serves as an ambassador for Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Glasswing International, No Barriers and Debra of America. Martinez resides in Austin, TX, with his wife, daughter and their black Labrador retriever, Romeo.
A motivational actor and wounded U.S. Army veteran, productions of “The Nutcracker” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and a rising star on the Caribbean music scene highlight the University of the Ozarks’ 2019-20 Walton Arts & Ideas Series.
The theme for the upcoming series is “Art in Motion,” and the lineup will feature six engaging and captivating events throughout he academic year. The public is invited to attend all the events and there is open, general seating and no fees or tickets required for admission.
The Walton Arts & Ideas Series, in its 27th season, is made possible through an endowment by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.
The 2019-20 lineup:
Sept. 19, 2019
7 p.m., Rogers Conference Center
Jose Rene “J.R.” Martinez, an American actor, author, motivational speaker and wounded U.S. Army soldier, will speak on “Facing Adversity with Optimism and Resilience.” In March of 2003, Martinez was deployed to Iraq and one month later he sustained severe burns to over 34 percent of his body when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb. Since his recovery, Martinez has since become a highly sought-after motivational speaker. He has traveled around the country speaking about his experiences to corporations, veteran’s groups, schools and other organizations. Martinez began his acting career on the Emmy Award winning daytime drama “All My Children.” Since then he’s appeared on numerous television shows. Many remember best him as the Season 13 champion on “Dancing with the Stars.” He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit.” Martinez serves as a spokesperson for Operation Finally Home, as well as for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, and Glasswing International.
Institute of Jugglology
Oct. 17, 2019
7 p.m., Walton Fine Arts Center
Based in Fayetteville, AR, the Institute of Jugglology is where the science of juggling and the art of performance meet. Arkansas native Galen Harp juggles to get out what’s inside. His performances explore the interaction between humans and objects. Humans are object manipulators, constantly moving things around to suit their needs. Juggling is a state of arrested decay: a pattern woven through time and space that is constantly falling apart only to be rebuilt in the same moment. The Institute of Jugglology’s performances create giant sand paintings using innovative juggling props filled with sand. The sand slowly spills out, creating an ethereal environment where every throw becomes a line, and every catch is a splash of color. In 2014, Harp won the world championship of juggling awarded by the International Jugglers Association. The Institute of Jugglology has been creating unbelievable juggling tricks and amazing audiences all over the United States for over a decade.
Nov. 30, 2019
7 p.m., Walton Fine Arts Center
The Western Arkansas Ballet Company will present a one-show performance of the classic Christmas story ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's 1816 fairy tale, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” it tells the story of a little girl who goes to the Land of Sweets on Christmas Eve. Ivan Vsevolozhsky and Marius Petipa adapted Hoffmann's story for the ballet and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the music. Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov designed the dances. “The Nutcracker” was first performed at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, in December 1892 to a modest success. Despite the failure of its initial performance, “The Nutcracker” has become the most frequently performed of all ballets and has served as an introduction to classical music for many young people. Founded in 1979 as the Fort Smith Civic Ballet, the Western Arkansas Ballet Company is comprised of 25 members under contract for all productions with members selected from an annual open audition. Company members take class and rehearse at the Western Arkansas Ballet studios. “The Nutcracker” is in its 34th year of production by the company.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Feb. 22, 2020
7 p.m., Walton Fine Arts Center
For one night only on the U of O campus, the American Shakespeare Center on Tour will present William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Shakespeare casts a theatrical spell powerful enough to make audiences of all ages believe in anything. This mischievous comedy of lovers, heroes, fairies, and rude mechanicals is his tribute to humankind's power of imagination, and reveals that the "course of true love" can alter with just one touch of magic. The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. Year-round in Staunton, Virginia’s Blackfriars Playhouse — the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre — the ASC’s innovative programming and “shamelessly entertaining” (The Washington Post) productions have shared the delights of Shakespeare, modern classics and new plays with millions over the past 30 years.
Documentary: Fly Like a Girl
March 17, 2020
7 p.m., Rogers Conference Center
The directorial debut of Floridian Katie McEntire Wiatt, “Fly Like a Girl” is an award-winning, feature-length documentary about young girls and women relentlessly pursuing their passion for aviation, a field currently dominated by men. This film features first-hand stories from girls and women who dared to aim higher. From a Lego-loving young girl who includes female pilots in her toy airplanes, to a courageous woman who helped lead shuttle missions to space, “Fly Like A Girl” shows us that women are in charge of their own destiny. Wiatt is a producer/director at the Lakeland, Florida, film company, Indie Atlantic Films. Before joining Indie Atlantic Films, she was an elementary educator. It was during her time as a primary school teacher that she first developed the idea for “Fly Like a Girl.” As part of the Indie Atlantic Films team, Katie has produced, edited, and directed films for broadcast and web. Wiatt is a member of Women in Film & Television-Florida and is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University.
April 4, 2020
6 p.m., Rogers Conference Center
Michael Brun is a Haitian DJ and record producer, known for blending electric dance music (EDM) genres such as progressive house with native Haitian styles. Born to a Haitian father and Guyanese mother who loved music, Brun’s influences stretched from the percussion-heavy Rara and Afro-groove music of his native Haiti, to Hip-hop and R and B. He played guitar and piano from a young age, and took up DJing and music production as a hobby at 16 after winning a full scholarship to attend military school in the U.S. Today, Brun has emerged as the face for a new generation of Haitians, working with international stars and home-grown musical heroes to share the richness of his island’s culture with a wider audience. His singular take on traditional Haitian sounds have caught the ears of tastemakers like Diplo and Arcade Fire, seen him land consulting work for Spotify, collaborate with superstars like J Balvin, sell out multiple headlining U.S. tours and notch up tens of millions of streams across tracks like Bayo, Soweto, Gaya and Spice. Esquire magazine said, “Michael Brun might be the biggest thing to come out of Haiti in the 21st Century.” In June, Brun released to rave reviews his new album, Lokal, a collection of contemporary Haitian music. Brun will present a talk followed by a concert at U of O.