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7 December 2006

JSU's Dr. Cynthia Harper Teaches Special Education

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Dr. Cynthia Harper is the Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at Jacksonville State University. She earned her doctorate from the University of Alabama with a major in Special Education.

As an educator for the past 35 years, Cynthia takes her work very seriously and often takes it home with her. A significant component of her professional effort is to promote programs offered through the College of Education and Professional Studies at JSU and to educate and inspire as many students as possible. Cynthia’s teaching field expertise is in Special Education.

Cynthia began her teaching career as a special education teacher in the Madison County Schools, near Huntsville, at Farmer’s Capital Junior High School. Later she taught in the Gadsden City School System as an Itinerant Teacher serving children experiencing Emotional Conflict.

In 1975 Cynthia joined the faculty in the College of Education at JSU to coordinate Project Outreach, a federally funded project that provided in-service education for special education teachers employed in the public schools located in the JSU service area. She later became a faculty member in the Department of Special Education.

In 1989 Cynthia was appointed Department Head for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. After serving as Department Head for 10 years, Cynthia was selected as the Associate Dean for the College. Following a national search in 2003, she was named Dean of College and Professional Studies at JSU.

Outside the office Cynthia enjoys spending time with her husband of 36 years, Randy Harper. Randy is employed at JSU as the Vice President for Information Technology. They have one daughter, Julie Harper Houck. Julie is married to Randy Houck and works as the school nurse for the Piedmont School System. Randy is a civil engineer at Anniston Army Depot. They live next door to Cynthia and Randy in White Plains.

Cynthia’s hobbies include collecting crystal, china, Rowe Pottery, and antiques. In addition to various collections, she enjoys reading professional journals related to teacher education. For spiritual reading she enjoys inspirational books written by Beth Moore and Kay Arthur.

Cynthia was born in Etowah County and grew up in Piedmont. She graduated from Piedmont High School where she was a cheerleader. Her parents are the late Odom A. and Willie Jane Hulsey. Her mother and father-in-law are the late Hubert and Evelyn Harper of White Plains.

The Harpers are members of First Baptist Church of Piedmont where Cynthia has taught the Faith Ladies Sunday School Class for the past year. Prior to that, she taught in the church’s Children’s Department for 28 years.

“Teaching children in Sunday School involves pulling together many fun activities so that they are actively involved during the Sunday School hour,” said Cynthia. “Teaching adults, however, is totally different and involves much more in-depth study. I have thoroughly enjoyed my new Sunday School Class. The ladies who attend are my friends, many of whom I knew as a child and young person.”

Cynthia’s undergraduate degree at JSU was in Family and Consumer Science where she learned a lot about foods and nutrition. Even before that though, Cynthia enjoyed cooking, thanks to her mother and mother-in-law.

Cynthia shares some of her favorite recipes

2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. shredded cheddar cheese
½ - 1 whole chopped onion
½ - 1 whole chopped green bell pepper
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
½ small jar pimento
Salt and pepper to taste
Pecan pieces or almond pieces
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, shredded cheese, onion, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and pimento. Mix well. Shape the mixture into a ball and cover with pecan pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

1 egg
1 small can tomato sauce
½ to 1 cup crushed saltine crackers
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
¼ t. salt
Dash pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup ketchup
2 T. brown sugar
In a bowl, beat the egg. Add tomato sauce, cracker crumbs, onion, salt, and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf and place in a shallow baking dish. Combine the ketchup and brown sugar; spoon over meat loaf. Bake at 350-400 degrees for 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees; drain.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white Karo syrup
1/3 t. salt
1/3 cup melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup pecans (or more if desired)
Combine sugar, salt, syrup, butter, and vanilla. Add beaten eggs. Pour into pie crust shell. Sprinkle pecans on top. Cook at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.

1 lb. sweet potatoes (can be fresh cooked or canned)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Mash sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees 55-60 minute, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a soufflé, and then will sink down as it cools. Top with Cool Whip if desired.

5 lbs. potatoes
1 to 2 packets of dry Ranch Dressing Mix
Salt and pepper
Olive oil spray
Peel potatoes. Pour Dry Ranch Dressing Mix in large zip-lock bag. Add potatoes. Shake well to thoroughly coat potatoes. Spray baking dish with spray olive oil. Pour potatoes into baking dish and bake about 30 minutes or until tender at 400 degrees.

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