Ben Fair, head baseball coach at Johnson University for five years, sees baseball as more than just competition.
Fair, a preacher’s son from Trafalgar, Ind., spent nine years in the landscaping business before pursuing a missions degree at Johnson University. Fair spent three years playing baseball there, where he led the team in batting average, RBIs and on-base percentage his final year playing.
After graduating, he spent a year on the mission field before coming back to Johnson to serve as grounds supervisor and head baseball coach.
“I’m kind of one of those guys that, I don’t feel that God called me to do one specific thing,” said Fair. “I believe, in my life, that wherever I go, whatever I do, God called me to honor him.”
Fair honors God through baseball by holding his players to high standards spiritually, academically and athletically. He believes his team can maintain Christian character while remaining highly competitive.
“I just kind of try to find a nice delicate balance between the two,” said Fair. “You know, to be competitive, but also to play the game the right way… and do it the way it should be.”
Fair sees himself ministering to his players who in turn witness to others as a team.
“You know, we kind of minister to schools that we play against, because a lot of times, we don’t play Christian schools,” said Fair.
While Fair puts emphasis on the ministry aspect of baseball, he also looks with optimism at his team’s potential to excel on the field.
“We’ve gotten on track to be a successful program, to win conference, to have a good winning record overall in the season and to make some headway in the region tournament at the end of the year,” said Fair.
Fair hopes to utilize the talent on the team this year to have a successful season.
The Royals baseball team practiced despite adverse field conditions Thursday.
Royals head coach, Ben Fair, made the call to move practice off the field after he determined that it was unconducive to use. The team instead made use of other facilities.
Fair and assistant coach, Brian Lovett worked with several of the team’s pitchers as they threw bullpens from artificial mounds in the Old Gym.
Assistant coach, Rob Harlamert, took the remaining players to the team’s batting cage to work on hitting off of tees.
Lovett encouraged the team prior to practice, saying that tee work may not be exciting, but when done with focus and purpose it can be used to improve one’s swing. Lovett said that Major Leaguers hit off of tees every day.
As the team gets closer to game-day, players remain optimistic about the quality of practice and anticipate a quality start to competition.
Sophomore middle infielder, Brian Cates, said that he felt good about that day’s practice. He said that it was great to come up and get a lot of swings in off the tee.
Micah Hescock, a Sophomore first baseman, also said he thought the day was successful. He said the team seemed to be coming together well and was in good position to obtain a win at its first double header.
The team will leave Feb. 14, for two games at The University of the South, in Sewanee, Tenn. They hope to see their hard work and dedication pay off with wins to begin the season.
Rachael Patton, director of undergraduate education and elementary education in the Johnson University Templar School of Education, shares her love for education with students across the world, which, eventually led her to teach at Johnson University.
Growing up as the child of missionaries in Seoul, South Korea Patton learned to appreciate other cultures.
She developed the ability and desire to travel, and the desire to try new exotic foods. All the while understanding what its like to be in a culture she was not part of.
This desire lead her from her hometown of Seoul, South Korea to Johnson University in East Tennessee to work on her undergraduate degree in Education.
Once completing her bachelor’s degree, she began to teach in her parents home state of Oregon while working on completing her master’s in Education.
Finally, returning to Johnson after completing her Ph.D at the University of Tennessee, she became part of the faculty in 1997.
“I feel called to be at Johnson because of the experiences I had teaching in an international school children’s home, and being in a Christian school in Oregon gave me the background I needed to work with people who were going to be teaching in public school, private school, and international school. So I had experience in all of those locations,” said Patton.
On returning to her hometown of Seoul, South Korea Patton said,“I went back and taught at the international school. I graduated from as a first grade through high school, and I went back and taught there for four years. So I had teaching experience as well as a completely different experience living there as an adult than as a child.”
Even though she considered it home and was not expecting to experience the culture shock, she found that due to the rapid growth of the city of Seoul–everything had changed.
According to Patton, this made it hard to fit in because it felt like going back to her home town without any of the people there. This was ”an odd sensation” for her by feeling at home but also feeling like an outsider.
Working with English as second language students during her time in South Korea helped her with understanding what its like to be in a culture she was not part of.
This experience has helped her when working with students experiencing culture shock, who are immigrating to this country or even students moving from another state to Johnson University.
Johnson University’s Tennessee campus held its first career fair on Jan. 23, in an attempt to help the students connect with 31 local and abroad organizations.
These organizations ranged from simple non-profit summer camps to other university’s graduate school programs and churches. Even a mortgage company was present at the event.
The Russell Preaching Center housed the church booths, while the PW Gymnasium held the non-profits and other miscellaneous organizations not necessarily tied to the school’s religious affiliation.
In the long joining hall between the two major rooms, universities were able to show off their various programs. Among them were Lincoln Christian University, Asbury Seminary, Milligan College and the University of Tennessee.
The fair was arranged by the Department of Student Life and Career Services Center in an attempt to engage students and aid them in their search for jobs after college. Both the offices show interest in the lives of their students.
Kara Smith, Senior in the counseling program, attended the career fair to see what it had to offer.
“Between getting jobs, and being an intern or a temporary job there was a great variety,” said Kara Smith.
Smith expressed her concern that the Career Fair had no booth present that dealt specifically with her interests.
“I didn’t really think there were enough people there,” Smith said. “They could improve by having more counseling and other majors outside of the Bible majors.”
Along with the lack of counseling related organizations, Smith also noted that the time in which the event took place made it somewhat difficult to attend.
“The time slot for the career fair was a little bit constricting considering there was class all day and it ended at two,” said Smith.
The time for which the fair took place was among the several items in which Smith believed that the university should try and improve in the future. This was the first attempt, and it still led to a handful of students getting hired.
The Career Services Center plans on hosting another event within the next year. They want to build, improve and expand upon the foundation they have created. They hope to include more organizations outside the realm of Biblical Studies as well.
It’s no secret that it’s the sick who need a doctor.
Past the call of Mark 2:17, the Academics Department at Johnson University is excited to answer that call in a unique way with the Public Health major, to be launched fall 2015.
This will allow students to educate others internationally and locally on how to stay healthy and prevent diseases.
“It’s a way of reaching a group of individuals that Johnson may have not reached thus far. They can do mission work, but they would be focusing on health education within different countries, which is a great need,” said Cindy Norton, Professor of Health Education at Johnson University.
“Global health and community health is really escalating and the need is definitely there– internationally as well as domestically.”
The Public Health major is under consideration of the accrediting bodies and Norton along with others are highly confident it will gain accreditation soon, and the program will be launched.
Norton, who has had experience with Public Health, including a bachelor’s from the University of Tennessee in Physical Education, a master’s in Safety Education and Services, plus a Ph.D. in Education with a focus in Health offers a wealth of understanding to the creation of this major.
She has also taught 27 years at the University of the Cumberlands, in Williamsburg, Kentucky. During that time, she served 11 years as Department Chair of Health, Exercise and Sport Science.
According to Norton, students with a Public Health degree will act as health advocates, who will be able to work in global and community health programs. They will also have the opportunity to use an Interdisciplinary major with Health and Intercultural Studies from core courses in the Intercultural Studies program.
Kealy Mead, Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the school of Arts and Sciences, shared her excitement for the program. Mead graduated from Milligan’s first Nursing program and has been in practice for over 18 years.
Mead in her office organizing new majors and programs.
“I think its something very different, Johnson has never stepped into that health realm. It will take some time to grow,” Mead said. “I do think it will be a very popular choice because of how global everything has become.”
Classes will be phased in by year so students can begin their specialization early.
Students will take Intro to Public Health which will educate students about the major and possible careers, and they will also take classes such as Nutrition and Study of Disease.
“They will go into the community and assist individuals in gaining access to the resources that they need, they provide health education,” Norton said. “They allow the community to take an active lead in moving and providing this information.”
The Public Health major will allow students to use their specialization to empower those across cultures to aid their own people and continue the cycle of learning and recycling knowledge.
However, the major is not limited to one location. Possible jobs in the United States would be available through Public Health departments on the local or state level. Students could go into schools and offer health education about hygiene, drugs, and even decision making skills, according to Norton.
This degree is foundational in that students may want to go on elsewhere and get a nursing degree.
Academics at Johnson are growing in every avenue and this major caters to a diverse group of potential students. The implementation of courses will begin soon and students will have the chance to respond to worldwide epidemics and educate those who may not have had the resources to prevent illness before.