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A Publication of Connors State College




Who Is Impacted By The State Budget Cuts?


To celebrate Spirit Week at Connors State College faculty, staff and students took to their closets in search of their most whacky and spirited clothing items. Participants dressed as nerds, twins superheroes and in spirit day apparel in support of CSC Homecoming. 2


Inside this issue V O L U M E

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C O N N O R S S TAT E C O L L E G E W A R N E R CA MP U S 700 College Road Warner, OK 74469 T H R E E R I V E R S P O RT C AM P U S 2501 N 41st St E Muskogee, OK 74403


4 COMMUNITY 7 C O W B OY FA M I LY 8 AT H L E T I C S 10 E D U C AT I O N 13 C A M P U S L I F E 14 F E AT U R E

CONNECTION Sta te Bu d g e t C ut s • S out h R anc h S et Abl a ze • Bl a nt on N am ed t o War ner Bo a r d Stu d e n ts Atte nd H igher E duc at i on D ay

M e e t D u va l l , L aw s on, C ook s & Wal lac e Si m m s Pl aye r of t he Year • C ow boy s N o. 1 Se e d for R egion I I Tour nam ent • Ba s e b a l l Ba s h & Auc t i on • R odeo C o m p e te s a t K ans as S t at e • Judgers Pl a c e a t D i x i e N at ional • Fant as y R odeo

LAYOUT & DESIGN Jonathan Dallis CO N T R I B U T O R S Cindy Anderson Dr. Ryan Blanton Wayne Bunch Jonathan Dallis Ami Maddocks Zadie McElhaney DeAnn Warne

Ex p e c ta ti o n s E x c eeded at S eni or D ay

Homecoming & Aggie Coronation Where’s Connors?



#CONNORSSTATE connorsstate connorsstate connorsstatecollege connorsstate

Connors State College, in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid and educational services. The Director of Human Resources, ADA, Affirmative Action and Title IX Coordinator, 700 College Rd., Warner, OK 74469, Gatlin Hall Rm 231; Phone (918) 463-6206; email: has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies. This publication was printed and issued by Connors State College as authorized by the Director of College and Community Relations. The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination or endorsement is intended by Connors State College.




Who is Impacted by the State Budget Cuts?


olleges and Universities throughout Oklahoma are faced with the impact of the state’s budget shortfall; but who really suffers when institutions have to cut services? While administrators struggle with the reality of yet another cut this year, employees face the possibility of job losses, departmental budget cuts, pay cuts, and more; but it is the students who truly suffer. According to Preston Doerflinger, Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology for the state of Oklahoma, low oil prices are to blame for the shortfall. As a result, the General Revenue Fund collections were well below the FY16 budgeted amount, forcing the state to declare a revenue failure and withhold state appropriations to numerous state agencies and organizations. So far this year, Connors has been forced to cut $602,255 from their annual budget, and more cuts are expected in March. “We are running multiple scenarios, from mild to severe, to help us cover the revenue loss that will be cut out of our budget for the remainder of our current budget year,” said CSC President, Dr. Tim Faltyn. “We are looking for ways to be fair and equitable to our faculty and staff while never losing sight of our mission or the forward progress of the college.” Connors has experienced enrollment growth in five out of the last six semesters. The graduation rate has increased 43 percent in the past four years. Fundraising is at an all-time high, and the perceptions and attitudes about CSC within the communities served have consistently improved. This growth could be in danger though, as administrators are forced to increase class sizes, cut student activities, and restructure the hours of important services such as library and tutoring hours. “The budget cuts are requiring all departments to scrutinize the funds available for students,” said CSC Dean of Students, 4


Mike Jackson. “In the residential area we will not be replacing furniture, except for those pieces that are broken or unsafe. In student activities we are closely reviewing events that we have normally held to determine if we can do something different while trying to maintain the same standard of quality our students expect and deserve. In athletics, the coaches are reviewing their schedules to find ways to save fuel and travel costs.” While every effort has been made to hold the academic mission and student experience harmless in these difficult times, there is no doubt that the actions required to meet mid-year budget cuts have impacted students in a negative manner. “Several factors such as unfilled full-time faculty positions, full-time faculty voluntarily increasing their standard teaching load from 15 to 18 credit hours, and increasing class maximums in both face-to-face and online courses have resulted in a reduction in the number of course sections, increased class size, less individual attention, as well as fewer

scheduling options, which is especially problematic for working adults,” said CSC’s Senior VP for Academic and Student Services, Dr. Ron Ramming. “Cutbacks in staff have led to fewer tutors and a reduction in library services, which is detrimental to our student retention and completion initiatives. Budget cuts will also negatively affect institutional scholarship offerings and will create a financial barrier for certain students who desire to attend Connors State College.” While the legislative cuts are forcing Connors to make cuts in student services, President Faltyn is optimistic about the college’s future. “This is frustrating and distressing work, but work that we are able to handle because of who we are and who we serve,” said Faltyn. “Our people are our most valuable asset. These are real people, doing real jobs, and changing real lives for the positive. When I get discouraged, I think about the dozens of examples of why we do what we do. It helps me to focus on the positive and life changing reasons Connors exists.”

Controlled Burn on South Ranch Sets Thousands of Acres Ablaze


hat began as a controlled burn on Thursday, February 17, quickly escalated to a wildfire, burning 2,000 to 3,000 acres of land in McIntosh and Muskogee counties. The fire, which had been extinguished, reignited and was pushed along by the day’s 40 to 50 mile per hour winds. Approximately 500 of the scorched acres are situated on Connors State College’s South Ranch. South Ranch is a 1,600 acre ranch south of Connors’ Warner campus. It is primarily used as a laboratory for agriculture and science programs, as well as the site for the college’s summer academies and shooting range. Other than a charred landscape, South Ranch fared well.

“Initially fire leaves everything looking rough and may have an impact on some habitats right now, but over the long run, into spring, it will be good,” said CSC Biology Instructor, Dr. Stewart Woods. “The fire removed some of the old thatch and dead wood, and opened the ground to sunlight that lets new stuff grow. Fire can actually make places better, after the black goes away. Much of the wildlife is migrating, utilizing other areas or hibernating. The animals are great survivors of fire.” Thanks to emergency personnel and a handful of employees on site, no structures were damaged during the fire. “Thanks to the hard and quick work of our own Roger Morton, Larry McFarland, Todd and Jamie Trennepohl, and students

Brady Womack, Colton Shrum, Justin Burney and Eric Svendsen as well as the Shady Grove, Porum, Porum Landing and Warner fire departments, the Warner Police, the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office, the Muskogee County Emergency Management and County Commissioner Steven Wright, our South Ranch suffered minimal damage” said CSC President, Dr. Tim Faltyn. “There were a few hundred acres burned, but hay loss was marginal and no people, livestock, facilities or equipment were burned or lost. These folks battled the fire on and off for three days. Without them we would have been in a world of hurt.”



Connors VP Blanton Named to Warner Board


onnors State College’s Associate Vice President for External Affairs and Executive Director of the Connors Development Foundation, Dr. Ryan Blanton, was recently named Chair of the Warner Chamber of Commerce. Blanton has served on and chaired numerous committees, making him an ideal candidate for the Chamber seat. As part of a military family, Blanton has traveled extensively. He was born on Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. He has lived in Hawaii, New Mexico, England, Texas, Arizona and Belgium, but considers Oklahoma home. “My father was in the Air Force, but both my parents are from Oklahoma and it has always been home, no matter where my father was stationed.” Blanton earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate of philosophy degrees from the University of Oklahoma, all in anthropology, specifically in medical sociolinguistics. He also served his country in the armed forces. “After my service in the Army, I wanted a career built around service to others,” said Blanton. “Six years of teaching and conducting research at the university level certainly provided that avenue for service, but I wanted my work to have a broader impact. An opportunity arose to go out into Southeast Oklahoma and develop public/ private service networks for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. I found that I had a tremendous talent for providing leadership to promote synergy, efficiency, and to develop community relations and customer service. That experience led me to the leadership side of higher education in my current position at Connors State College, where I have found my calling to provide affordable, quality education to the people of Oklahoma.” Throughout his career, Blanton has worked with communities to develop strategic plans to increase their health 6


care, business and community assets. He currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Economic Development Council, and he just completed a two year term on the Board of Directors of the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce. “I am honored to have served on the Warner Chamber of Commerce Board for the past several years,” said Blanton. “The Warner Chamber of Commerce does a tremendous amount of work that directly benefits the town. As Chair, I want to focus on growing the business and economic base for Warner. There are some exciting developments on the horizon, and I want to leverage those developments and existing assets into a more prosperous Warner community. While community minded, Blanton holds

fast to his commitment to education. “A well rounded education provides life changing opportunities for individuals and families to achieve their goals in life, and accessible and affordable education is vital to ensuring the success and continued growth of a democratic society,” said Blanton. “Education, particularly at rural community colleges, is the single most important service the government can provide for its citizens.” Blanton is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and was recognized by the Journal Record as an “Achiever under 40” in 2013. He and his wife, Julie, have two children.

Community Connors State Students Speak with Legislators at State Capital


ore than 300 students, faculty and representatives from Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities gathered at the state Capitol in February to promote the value and importance of higher education in the state. Among the throng was Connors State College’s President’s Leadership Class and members of the Student Government Association. “It was an amazing opportunity to speak with the senators and learn more about what they are trying to do to improve our higher education,” said CSC student Zadie McElhaney. Speakers included Gov. Mary Fallin; Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb; Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman; Speaker of the House of Representatives Jeff Hickman; Gen. Toney Stricklin, chairman, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; and President Cheryl Evans, chair of the state system Council of Presidents. “Higher Education Day allows students and representatives of our college and university campuses an opportunity to meet with their legislators and make the case that higher education is the best investment that they can make in Oklahoma’s future,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Our state system of higher education remains committed to increasing our college degree and certificate attainment, which strengthens our state’s economy.”

The Connors delegation prepared talking points and set appointments with legislators. “The goal is to visit with legislators and impress upon them the need to allocate funds for higher education,” said Debara Corrado, PLC advisor. ”Observing the President’s Leadership Class students interacting with state legislators in such an informed and professional manner was very impressive and exceedingly rewarding.” The State Regents have requested $963.4 million for FY 2017, which reflects no increase over the FY 2016 appropriation of $963.4 million. The State Regents also approved an addendum acknowledging

CSC Delegation with Senator Earl Garrison.

CSC Delegation with Representative Ed Cannaday.

CSC Delegation with Senator Roger Thompson.

the need for $22 million to meet campus operational fixed costs. CSC President, Dr. Tim Faltyn, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Ron Ramming, Associate VP for External Affairs, Dr. Ryan Blanton, and Director of Grants and Economic Development, Lisa Berry, also attended Higher Ed Day. “I am very proud of our students for taking such an interest in the legislative actions surrounding higher education,” said Faltyn. “This is their future we are discussing and they need to be a part of the conversation.”

CSC Delegation with Representative Jerry McPeak.



Cowboy Family

Megan Duvall, Staff


egan Duvall, Assistant Director of Recruitment, is no stranger to higher education. From an early age she developed a love of the college atmosphere while both of her parents worked at universities. “I began my professional career at Connors State College,” said Duvall. “This institution will always be special to me.” Duvall earned a Bachelors in University Studies from Eastern New Mexico University, in Portales, New Mexico, where she was a member of the basketball and volleyball teams. During her collegiate athletic career, she was named to the Lone Star Conference academic roll. While Duvall primarily focuses on informing prospective students of how Connors State

College can fit their academic needs, she enjoys the family attitude the campus has. For her, the people that work at CSC have had a lasting impact on not only student lives, but her own. Duvall met her husband while working at Connors State College. They recently welcomed their new daughter, Chaney, and purchased their first home in Checotah, Oklahoma. “My Connors State College family has been with me every step of my new journey,” said Duvall. “We care about our students and each other.”

Jake Lawson, Instructor


ake Lawson, Equine Program Director, AG Instructor and Head Rodeo Coach, began his journey at Connors State College as a student, taking nearly the same classes he teaches today. After Connors State he moved on to Northeastern State University to complete his bachelors and earn his master’s in education. “As a student at Connors State I had a few instructors, Mr. Fred Williams and Mr. Gary Harding, who made a drastic impact on my 8


educational experience and career goals,” said Lawson. “These men taught me that our programs can make a positive difference in the success and lives of the students and that is why I am here today.” Lawson believes in Connors State College and knows as an institution for higher education the faculty and staff who come in everyday truly care about the students who fill our campuses. “We care about the success of our students and give them the skills they need to further pursue an education and hopefully be successful in life,” said Lawson. As an instructor and coach Lawson has the opportunity to talk about horses and rodeo all day, which makes this career path his favorite. “As a kid growing up in a small town I wanted to either be a rock star or a cowboy and after years of hard work, I get to be a

cowboy,” said Lawson. “What is great about Connors State is I get to work with good, like-minded people, who are here for a similar reason and believe in the mission and values of the college.” Lawson’s wife Keri is the maintenance director for CW Services at Connors State and together they have two children, Dewey and Lucille. Lawson and his family are active members of the Keefeton Free Will Baptist church, where he is involved in music ministry.

Alumna, Gail Cooks


ail Cooks, who played for the Connors State Cowgirls in 1985 and 1986, was a National Junior College Athletic Association honorable mention All-American. The point guard was a member of the Cowgirls 1985 national championship team. Following her graduation from Connors State, she signed a National Letter of Intent with Oklahoma State University. However,

due to the illness of her mother she had to withdraw from OSU. She was a Bi-State Conference first team selection during her Cowgirl career. A graduate of Macomb High School, she is a paraprofessional with Macomb Public Schools. She has four children, Chelsea, Jamie, De’Neisha, and Nikki, and 6 grandchildren. She is also an active member of the Brooksville Volunteer Fire Department.

Britten Wallace, Student


ritten Wallace is no stranger to the world of agriculture. Growing up in Allen, Oklahoma, she had the opportunity from a young age to raise cattle and go to rodeos. With age, her affinity for agriculture expanded, leading her to start her own livestock operation. This experience served her not only as a Supervised Agricultural Experience, but assisted her in attaining a state FFA degree her senior year. “Connors has forever changed my life for the better,” said Wallace. “Being here and being involved in so many organizations has made me come out of my shell and become the well-rounded young woman I am today.” At CSC she has immersed herself in various organizations. Currently she is a member of the Rodeo Team, Agricultural

Ambassadors, President’s Leadership Class, the Student Government Association and Phi Theta Kappa. Attending Allen High School, Wallace was accustomed to small class sizes and the ability to receive personal attention from her teachers. These factors made CSC stand out when she began searching for the right college. “The college seemed like a perfect fit for me,” said Wallace. “The affordability and being an agriculture school made it an easy choice.” After completing her studies at Connors State College, Wallace plans to attend Oklahoma State University and major in Agribusiness while minoring in Agriculture Communications. “I am thankful every day that I chose Connors State College and I can honestly

say I love this place,” said Wallace. “I thank God every day he brought me to such a great place.”




Simms Voted NJCAA Region II Player of the Year


or the third consecutive year a Connors State Cowboy has been voted the NJCAA Region II and Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Deven Simms, a 6-5 sophomore from St. Louis, Mo., follows in the footsteps of Willie Atwood (Arizona State) and Corlbe Erwin (Kansas State) who were also Region II and OCAC Players of the Year the past two seasons.

Simms averaged 20.7 points an outing to lead the 13th-ranked Cowboys in scoring. He shot 57.2 percent from the field (187327) and 74.8 percent at the free throw line (122-163). He also has 99 assists for 4.1 per game. Arlando Cook was a first team selection while Demari Edwards was a second team All OCAC All-Conference selection. The Cowgirls Philicea Mack was a third team All OCAC All-Conference selection.

Cowboys Number One Seed for NJCAA Region II Tournament


he 13th ranked Connors State Cowboys (25-4) posted their third consecutive Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference championship under head coach Bill Muse. Under Muse’s guidance the Cowboys won the 2015-16 title with a 16-2 record, his 13th conference championship in 24 years with an overall 564- 211 win-loss record. Muse and the Cowboys will enter the NJCAA Region II Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive season beginning March 3-5 at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee. A Region II title would give Connors State an unprecedented 9th appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament in



Hutchinson, Kan., beginning March 14, 2016. The NJCAA Hall of Fame Coach reached the Elite Eight at the NJCAA

National Tournament last season placing fifth in the tournament.

CSC Baseball Bash & Auction Raises Funds For Turf


onnors State College introduced the 2016 Cowboys baseball season with its second Opening Day Bash and Auction on Saturday, January 23, at the new Student Union on the Warner Campus. The fundraiser raised approximately $8,500 towards the addition of turf on Biff Thompson Field. “I am very pleased with the outcome of the event,” said Head Baseball Coach

Perry Keith. “We are blessed to have so many supporters, past players and fans. We are one step closer to being able to make improvements to our field.” The event featured a live and silent auction which included items such as Texas Rangers tickets with hotel room and dinner at Two Rows Restaurant, four St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cub tickets, four Kansas City Royals tickets, Alan

Jackson concert tickets, an Arrowhead Float trip, and much, much more. “I am very proud of Coach Keith and his team,” said CSC President Dr. Tim Faltyn. “Not only is he a great coach, but he truly cares about the overall welfare of his players. He doesn’t just produce great baseball players, he produces great men.”



Cowboys Represent at Kansas State


he CSC Rodeo Team competed at Kansas State University during their annual college rodeo in Manhattan, Kansas. Sam Stamper finished 3rd in the long go and 1st overall in the Team Roping. Rontrey Burkhalter placed 5th in the long go and 5th overall in the tie-down roping. Jeremy Carney finished 8th in the long go and qualified for the short round.

Judgers Place at Dixie National


onnors State was named the 2nd High Team Overall in Jackson, Mississippi, during the Dixie National. Individually: Justin Jensen was the 3rd High Individual Overall. Clark Reuter was the 4th High Individual Overall. Kaylee Casey was the 6th High Individual Overall. Anna Scott, Chris Hart, Zach Studer, and Shannon Tacy also placed in cattle divisions.

Connors State Students Compete in Annual Fantasy Rodeo


n Feb. 11, in the Fred Williams Arena more than 60 Connors State College faculty, staff and students attended the Fantasy Rodeo Competition. Participants were able to build their own team from the roster of the CSC Rodeo Team and accumulated points based on how well their picks placed in their respective competitions. Spectators were entertained



by Women’s Barrel Racing, Tie Down Roping, Women’s Breakaway Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Bull Riding, and faculty and staff stick horse racing. Following the two-hour rodeo, points were tallied to determine the winners of the Fantasy Rodeo. The winners of this year’s events were: Women’s Barrel Racing- Amber Markus;

Women’s Breakaway Roping- Britten Wallace; Tie Down Roping- Mike Tillery; Steer Wrestling- Darius Ford; Team Roping- Brayden Cox and Jeremy Carney; Bull Riding- Zach Brown. Faculty and Staff Stick Horse Barrel Race- Derek Drake; Faculty and Staff Competition- 1st placeMattie English; Student Competition- 1st place Cassandra Robledo.


Connors State Exceeds Expectations With More Than 450 Students on Campus for Senior Day


n February 23, high school seniors from across Oklahoma filled the Connors State College Fine Arts Auditorium. Students learned about Connors State’s offerings, took guided tours, ate a free college lunch, received a free t-shirt and enjoyed a live DJ and photobooth. “We surround students with people who care about their success as much as they do,” said Dr. Tim Faltyn, CSC President. “Because we connect students with their future, Senior Day provides our staff with

the opportunity to introduce students and parents to our campus and allow them to see the vast array of possibilities they have to pursue their future.” More than 450 students and parents listened as representatives from the Connors Development Foundation, financial aid, scholarships and admissions offices spoke about their respective departments. Following the presentations, Senior Day participants dispersed in groups, determined by degree interest, and took student-led campus tours. During

the tours, participants also met with faculty based on their degree interest. After lunch, participants received informational bags and t-shirts. “We want to provide seniors with the opportunity to experience college life on the Connors campus by visiting with our instructors and eating college food,” said CSC Recruitment Director Logan Knapper. “We have a lot to offer students, and Senior Day gives us the ability to talk to prospective students and welcome them to the Connors State family.”



Johnson Crowned During Connors Homecoming


aney Johnson and Reece Harvey were shocked and honored to be crowned King and Queen during Connors State College’s annual Homecoming. The Coronation ceremony took place in the Melvin Self Field House on Thursday, February 4, at the half time of the CSC men’s basketball game against Carl Albert. Applicants were interviewed by the Homecoming committee of which six were chosen to campaign for votes from the students, faculty and staff of Connors State College. The six selected were Raney Johnson, Payton Hill, Ryanne Ransom, Reece Harvey, Brady Womack,

and Brett Kerns. Homecoming attendants included: Raney Johnson and Ronnie Lowry representing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Kylie Phillips and Paul Bright representing Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society; Britten Wallace and Brady Womack representing Student Government Association; Shawnta Lyday and Chris Crawford representing Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams; Ryanne Ransom and Reece Harvey representing Shooting Sports Team; Bailey Hulet and Brett Kerns representing the Softball and Baseball Teams; Baylee Currie and Jarrin Hubbard representing Cheer Team;

Hailey Stottlemyre and Matthew Gillespie representing the Show Team; Payton Hill and Zalin Edwards representing Rodeo Team; Zadie McElhaney and Jake Henson representing the President’s Leadership Class.

Casey Crowned During Aggie Coronation


ustin Jensen escorted Kaylee Casey during the Aggie Coronatation ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 21st during the half time of the men’s basketball game vs NOC-Enid. The Aggie Coronation attendants included: Paige Stevens, Riley Parsons, Jessica Lewis, Amber Wright, Autumn Tibbits, Hannah Tankersley, Taylor Davis, Keela Kemp, Kassidy Reynolds, Cullie Williams, RyAnne Ransom, Hailey Stottlemyre, Anna Scott, Libby Schroeder, Shannon Tacy, Zadie McElhaney, Kaylee Casey and Layna Grue.



Campus Life

Campus Life Events

Connors Student Activities brought DUI Go-Karts to the Warner campus to show students what it is like to drive while intoxicated. Students and staff drove through an obstacle course and performed a sobriety test while wearing vision-impairing goggles.

The American Red Cross set up for a blood drive on both Connors State campuses. Students, faculty and staff gathered for a Karaoke night in the Fine Arts Auditorium on the Warner campus. Participants sang their favorite songs as their friends and classmates cheered them on.



I Connors State Softball took Connors to Galveston, Texas for a road game.

t’s been said your college years are always with you. While this is true, we want to know where you are taking Connors State College! Send a photo of you wearing your CSC gear – we want to see where CSC travels. Wear it on vacation, out to dinner … anywhere you go! Photos will be featured in the next issue of the CONNECTION and uploaded to Facebook. The image with the most votes will win a prize. Send photos to: CONNORS CONNECTION


C O N N O R S S TAT E C O L L E G E 700 College Road | Warner, OK 74469



Connection: Volume 6, Number 2  

A publication of Connors State College in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma -- the Connection: Volume 6, Number 2.

Connection: Volume 6, Number 2  

A publication of Connors State College in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma -- the Connection: Volume 6, Number 2.