Faculty Recognition

Harris Named Ransom Bettis Award

Williams Baptist University associate professor of history Dr. Rodney Harris was named the 2021 winner of the Ransom Bettis Award for his work within the Randolph County Heritage Museum.


Harris serves as the volunteer director of the museum and has helped fully renovate all exhibits in the space, which has included adding several new exhibits including a Pocahontas founder’s section, a post office a general mercantile exhibit and an exhibit to honor the county’s older business, the Pocahontas Star Herald.


Since its inception in 2005, the goal of the Five Rivers Historic Preservation Inc. has been to discover, preserve and preserve the history of Randolph County to local as well as state groups. Five Rivers Historic Preservation established and maintains the Randolph County Heritage Museum, endeavors to preserve landmarks and stories of the county’s past, sponsors presentations of local history by both local and state historians and many other things.


The Ransom Bettis Award was created by Five Rivers to recognize persons who have contributed to the Randolph County Story through academic or personal research and/ or who have kept alive the memory of individuals and events important to the history of Randolph County.

WBU’s Williams Presents Workshop on Creating Story Store

Williams Baptist University assistant professor of communications arts Melinda Williams recently presented a workshop at the 73rd annual Southeastern Theatre Conference in Memphis, Tenn., entitled, creating “The Story Store”.


The purpose of the “Story Store” is to take the creative ideas of students from Northeast Arkansas areas and bring these ideas to life on stage. A writing prompt is sent to the Northeast and North Central Arkansas Gifted and Talented teachers, and students are encouraged to write a fairytale with their own unique twist.


Williams has been using the “Story Store” as part of her curriculum at WBU since she began teaching and said it is a good way to have her students connect with the elementary students in the area and introduce them to the idea of production and theatre.


“It is all about using imagination and creativity and then seeing your idea come to life on stage,” Williams said.


The elementary students who submit stories see them acted out as performances by Williams’ students over the course of several productions over a series of days.

Williams’ presentation centered on how she came up with the idea for the “Story Store” and how she uses it in her teachings and how it involves community and theatre.