Archive for January, 2016

Spotlight on Jonathan Stewart

by   |  01.29.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I earned my undergraduate degree in business at Lubbock Christian University. Next I went to Texas Tech where I completed my M.B.A. in finance and then my Ph.D. in finance.

Dr. Jonathan Stewart

Dr. Jonathan Stewart

 

What is your work background?

I grew up working for my family’s business, Stewart Brothers Drilling Company. Most summers I worked in the shop or on the drilling rigs. Once I started studying business, I spent my summers doing accounting and running payroll for the company.

 

What do you teach at ACU?

I teach Financial Management, International Financial Markets, Entrepreneurial Finance, and Advanced Financial Management.

 

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

I am the director of COBA Global. Also, I serve on a University committee for the CCCU Best Semester program.

 

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

I really enjoy the energy and excitement that college students have. It energizes me. I also love the challenge of communicating complicated ideas in a way that helps make them fun and interesting. I have come to a point where I am willing to take risks if I believe it will enhance the learning environment. Sometimes, those risks pay off. Sometimes, I embarrass myself. Either way, it is exciting to help people learn and grow.

 

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

There are so many things. It is a blessing to work with talented and hard-working people who exceed your expectations. It is also a blessing to work with people who may not be motivated and are struggling to succeed. I enjoy the times when someone makes a breakthrough and achieves more than they believed that they could. I also enjoy building relationships and friendships with my students. I try to treat them as future colleagues. I take a lot of joy from watching my former students grow their families and careers.

 

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I’m very thankful for my family and I love to spend time with them. I enjoy reading and listening to podcasts. I love music. I play electric guitar in the praise band at the Highland Church of Christ. I try to go to the Rec Center almost every day. I enjoy snow skiing, wake boarding, and watching movies.

 

jonathan wakeboarding

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

When I interviewed at ACU, Dr. Jack Griggs took me along to his 8:00 am Investments class. He introduced me to his students and started teaching them about financial ratios. He is writing some liquidity ratios on the overhead projector about 5 minutes into class and he looks over at me. He says “Jonathan! Do you want to do this!?” I was not expecting to teach the class, so I wasn’t really prepared. However, the thought crossed my mind was “he didn’t ask because he wanted you to say ‘No.’” So I said “Sure!” and stood up and taught an impromptu class on financial ratios. I knew my ratios and I think the students felt bad for me, so they were kind to answer my questions and respond to me during the class.

 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

That is a hard question for me to answer. I was honored to be named University Teacher of the Year once upon a time.   I also enjoy recording my podcast, Stewllenium Radio, because it lets me do so many of my favorite things simultaneously.

 

stewllenium

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

Dr. Scott E. Hein was one of my most inspirational professors because he really expected great work from his students. He has a unique ability to hold people to a very high standard while being very professional and kind. He is never arrogant. He’s never a bully. He just expects the best from people and he’s very gifted at helping people reach their highest potential.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I think it would be nice to be impervious to committees. The Dean or the Provost would try to type my name as a member of a certain committee and their keyboard wouldn’t work. They would press J and nothing would happen.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I used to be able to run really fast. I ran the anchor leg of the mile relay my senior year of high school. We won the race and our team won the Class AAA New Mexico State Championship.

 

Jonathan Stewart, the track star

Jonathan Stewart, the track star

 

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

I’m always thankful when students meet my wife and children. Also, I’d like them to know that I’ve grilled more than 2,000 chicken and cheese quesadillas at Grilleniums and other events over the last 7 years.

The famous Grilleniums

The famous Grilleniums

Spotlight on Karen Heflin

by   |  01.22.16  |  Academics, COBA Staff, College Decisions, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Griggs Center, Springboard, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

BS Communication Disorders, (Speech Pathology).

 

Karen Heflin

Karen Heflin

 

What is your work background?

I have been at home with my children for the past 13 years, with small part-time jobs on the side.  Now that they are all in school, I’m enjoying the opportunity to work for the Griggs Center.

 

What do you do at ACU/COBA?

I am the Springboard Program Coordinator for the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy.  I help with fundraising, coordinate our business model competitions for both students and the community, and provide training events for aspiring entrepreneurs.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

I enjoy their energy, creativity and enthusiasm.

 

Outside of ACU, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I love being with my husband and four children.  I love to travel and eat and experience other cultures–this may be because I’m a ‘Third Culture Kid.’  I enjoy reading and singing.  Also, I love to climb things.  Especially trees.

 

The Heflin Family

The Heflin Family

 

What is a good, early story about your first job or when you were in college?

My very first job was scooping ice cream for a family-owned, homemade ice cream shop.  I had a very strong right arm at the end of that summer!

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

My family and I are a mentors for arriving refugee families through the International Rescue Committee. These families have become our real life heroes as well as our dear friends. Their stories are humbling and inspiring. I am very passionate about serving this community of people and would love to tell you more if you’re interested in volunteering!

 

Karen and Houston Heflin

Karen and Houston Heflin

 

Who is your role model and why?

Corrie ten Boom and Rosa Parks- I admire their strength and tenacity and their willingness to take great risks for ideas they believed to be important.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation.  This would allow me to travel anytime to anywhere.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I lived in Iceland in the late 80’s.

Spotlight on Monty Lynn

by   |  01.21.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Poverty and Development, Research, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I studied social work, psychology, business, environmental design, and poverty reduction at Harding, Cornell, Brigham Young, and London.

 

Dr. Monty Lynn

Dr. Monty Lynn

 

What is your work background?

I’ve enjoyed teaching at ACU for more than three decades! Once in a while, I get the chance to delve into a business environment for a few weeks, most recently last summer with World Vision’s food security team in Washington, DC.

 

Dr. Lynn on a trip to Ethiopia with VisionFund

Dr. Lynn on a trip to Ethiopia with VisionFund

 

What do you teach at ACU?

Management is my primary field. For the past several years I’ve taught the Introduction to Business course and an upper-level course called, “International Poverty and Development.”

 

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

I’ve served in a variety of administrative roles, and loved each one. At present I’m teaching full-time.

 

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

We have 14 teachers in my family, nine of whom are university professors, so I guess you could say it’s in my blood. When my wife Libby and I first visited ACU, we immediately fell in love with the opportunity to contribute to a Christian business school. It’s been an amazing ride.

 

Monty and Libby Lynn

Monty and Libby Lynn

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

Although I enjoy teaching class, it’s the one-to-one encounters with students that create relationships and memories which remain for years.

 

Have you ever given up any big opportunities to keep working with students?

I can’t imagine not working with students. Working in a university has been a lifelong blessing.

 

Dr. Lynn working with students on creating lighting for underdeveloped areas

Dr. Lynn working with students on creating lighting for underdeveloped areas

 

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

Several years ago I started keeping bees. It’s a modest hobby but it has some interesting bits—a little science, problem solving, the unbelievable wonder of nature, plus, the bees are always trying to kill you. Somehow it’s all quite relaxing.

 

Monty Lynn, AKA "Buzzy" the beekeeper

Monty Lynn, aka “Buzzy” the beekeeper

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

I overslept the first final exam I gave at ACU. I arrived ten minutes late with hair dried through the open window of my car as I drove to campus. Somehow the students knew.

 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

It’s not career, the deep love we feel for our two children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren, and for students we’ve come to know—it’s hard to think of an accomplishment that approaches these in meaningfulness.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

Currently, I serve in a local church (Highland) and on a board in Peru—both of which deal with missions and humanitarian development. I enjoy delivering Meals on Wheels on Thursdays too, and often go with students.

 

Who is your role model, and why?

My parents and in-laws have been exemplars—they’ve lived creative and faithful lives, loving and serving, in pioneering and sacrificial ways. Friends at St. Benedict’s Farm in Waelder, Texas inspire me with their quiet and steady walk with God.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

So many professors have shaped me, including professor-colleagues. In terms of inspiration: Keith Warner, a sociologist at BYU, inspired me to think deeply; Warner Woodworth, a BYU business professor, inspired me to act justly; and David Moberg, a research colleague in sociology at Marquette, did both. Duane McCampbell and Dwight Ireland, professors at Harding University, forever changed me with literature and learning.

 

Dr. Lynn with students in Oxford

Dr. Lynn with students in Oxford

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I have enough trouble living with normal powers, but to see one’s desire for God, written on the heart, and to expand human flourishing for all—how wonderful.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

It’s a real stretch to locate a claim to fame, but my wife’s uncle sang backup for Elvis. Also, I was shot once (everyone survived), was lost in the Canadian Rockies, and I thought very seriously about taking a small airplane for a spin (literally, likely) after finding its key on an airport sidewalk. Oh, and I survived the ACU rodeo (barely) as a member of the COBA faculty steer riding team.

 

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

That God’s love, often expressed through others, sustains me; and that he loves us all.

Jessup Pope (JP) College Football Rankings: Final Analysis

by   |  01.12.16  |  COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, College Decisions, Current Students, Research, Uncategorized

The dust has settled on yet another college football season and we can finally evaluate the “success” of our ranking system.

As a reminder, our ranking system takes Google’s PageRank algorithm, which ranks webpages based on links, and modifies it to rank teams based on scores; further, we added some additional components to try and improve the rankings. The ultimate goal of our system is to successfully predict bowl game outcomes: who wins and by how much.

So how did we do?

Well, it could have been worse. Our system ended up predicting the correct winner 51.2% of the time over all 41 bowl games, totaling 21 correct and 20 incorrect predictions. By comparison, the college football playoff (CFP) system was correct 56.3% of the time for games involving at least one top 25 team. This only includes 16 games (they were correct 9 and wrong 7 times). In those 16 games, our model got 1 fewer correct prediction (8 right, 8 wrong). Another comparison metric, perhaps the ultimate, is the Las Vegas line. Our model beat Vegas’ line 51.2% of the time, or again, 21 correct out of 41 games. So, we performed at approximately chance. Or, as Don Pope likes to say, “We did about as well as a blind squirrel flipping a coin would have done.”

 

blind squirrel

Fig 1. Alternate and equally effective ranking system: A blind squirrel flipping a coin (image courtesy of ACU Acct & Fin major Caroline Thompson)

 

So what happened?

Let’s blame TCU. Their insanely unlikely comeback caused a 2 game ‘flip’ in all three of our accuracy scores, meaning that we had 1 fewer right and 1 additional wrong prediction when compared to (a) the overall probability correct, (b) the CFP predictions, and (c) the Vegas line. If it weren’t for that comeback, we would have beaten that squirrel.

We did predict the final very accurately (predicting a 5.7 point win for Alabama who won by 5), we missed both the Ohio State win over Notre Dame and the Georgia Southern shellacking of Bowling Green by a country mile.

Fig 2. Regular season histogram of win amount differences

Fig 2. Regular season histogram of win amount differences

 

Interestingly, the favorite covered the Vegas line 61% of the time. That’s actually rather bad for Vegas as one could have merely bet that the favorite would cover the line on every game and they would have cleaned up. The weakness of that approach is that the opposite might have just as likely occurred.

Fig 3. Bowl season histogram of win amount differences

Fig 3. Bowl season histogram of win amount differences

 

Relatedly, another factor that may have affected our success rate was the number of blowout victories during the bowl season. Figure 2 shows the distribution of win amount differences during the regular season, a beautiful half of a normal distribution (mean=17.1, SD=13.3).   However, figure 3, which demonstrates the win amount differences during the bowl season looks markedly different, particularly for everything after the 20 point range (mean=15.61, SD=12). Though we would not expect it to be as perfectly half normal as figure 2, it should look better than it does.

 

Moreover, because bowl game opponents are supposed to be more evenly matched – as teams are intentionally chosen to play each other so as to match quality – we would also expect the latter figure to be far narrower than it is, with very few blowout victories, having both a substantially smaller mean and SD (e.g., we predicted a mean win amount of 6.7 with SD=5.8).

 

Other thoughts and final musings

On the whole we have thoroughly enjoyed running our college football prediction system this season. Although it did not quite work out as well as we had hoped, there is always next year. Plus, this little exercise has helped direct us to some weaknesses in our current system worth addressing this offseason.

 

To close, Don and I would both like to thank MC Jennings for allowing us to make these blog posts and we hope that the readers have found them at least mildly interesting!

 

Previous JP rankings posts

If you are interested in learning more about our rankings, feel free to read some of our previous posts, linked below.

 

Post 1: Week 10: Introduction of JP ranking system and initial rankings

Post 2: Week 11: Rankings and additional information on how the system works

Post 3: Week 12: Rankings

Post 4: Week 12: Addendum – Tears on my slide rule, or, What happened to dear old Texas A&M

Post 5: Week 13: Rankings

Post 6: Week 14: Rankings and a measure of comparative predictive performance

Post 7: Week 15: Rankings and discussion of our system’s flaws

Post 8: Final rankings and bowl predictions

Post 9: Bowl predictions addendum

Post 10: Final analysis

 

Jessup Pope (JP) College Football Playoff Final Bowl Prediction

by   |  01.11.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Events, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Research, Uncategorized

Before we make our final post next week summarizing our bowl prediction results we wanted to let you know that our system predicts Alabama will defeat Clemson by approximately 5.7 points.

 

Previous JP rankings posts

If you are interested in learning more about our rankings, feel free to read some of our previous posts, linked below.

 

Post 1: Week 10: Introduction of JP ranking system and initial rankings

Post 2: Week 11: Rankings and additional information on how the system works

Post 3: Week 12: Rankings

Post 4: Week 12: Addendum – Tears on my slide rule, or, What happened to dear old Texas A&M

Post 5: Week 13: Rankings

Post 6: Week 14: Rankings and a measure of comparative predictive performance

Post 7: Week 15: Rankings and discussion of our system’s flaws

Post 8: Final rankings and bowl predictions

Post 9: Bowl predictions addendum