M. C. Jennings's Archive

COBA is Saying Goodbye to Three Legends in the Classroom

by   |  06.05.19  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Human Resource Management, Internships, School of Information Technology and Computing, Uncategorized

The end of the academic year brings about the season of awards, recognition, and change whether it occurs in elementary school, high school, or college. While we celebrate our graduates and the next chapter of their lives, the College of Business Administration is not immune to transition, either. We are  saying farewell to three inspirational professors: Dr. Rob Byrd (Associate Professor of IT and Computing), Dr. Malcolm Coco (Professor of Human Resource Management), and Dr. Terry Pope (Professor of Finance) as they retire. Students, colleagues, friends and family joined to honor them at receptions on May 6th where tributes and well wishes were shared with each of the retiring professors.

Rob Byrd with SITC students Paula Berggren and Lauren Walker

Rob Byrd came to ACU in 2009 and was known for not only helping students dive deep into the world of Information Technology and Security, but also helping them develop a deeper faith and spiritual walk. Recent SITC graduate, Lauren Walker (’19) described Byrd as a passionate teacher who wanted to maximize students’ learning and push them to be their best selves. She said, “He never missed an opportunity to show us how the knowledge and skills we were gaining can transcend all areas of life. He never settled on just letting us ‘get by’ with our education. He constantly challenged us and pushed for excellence and innovation. As a mentor, he was a person who saw the best in his students. He wasn’t afraid to say the hard things, and encouraged us to go after the things in life we never thought we could achieve. ” Dr. Byrd baptized Lauren last October and she recounted that Byrd was “just simply himself”, never afraid to be transparent, witty, cynical, and show a genuine interest in his students. She said, “If anyone of us needed help with something school related, or even personal, it wasn’t a doubt that he was just one phone call or text away.”

Dr. Byrd

While some students might have been intimidated by a professor like Byrd, Walker said, “The last thing I guess I want to say is that like all of the SITC professors, Dr. Byrd is so special. Dr. Byrd is such a softy, but of course he would never say it. He has such a servant heart, and has touched so many students’ lives over the years, and of course I just happen to be one of them. He’s one of those professors I will end up telling my children stories about!”

Byrd is transitioning into a new career as Staff Technical Project Engineer with Collins Aerospace at their headquarters location in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He said, “This position will be a challenging adventure for me-just what I was hoping for. Working at this level will allow me to be involved and responsible for both the design/development and the budgetary/systems aspects of the assigned projects and programs. The nature of the work will be classified, but will be in support of national defense and will draw from my education, experience and certifications. I thank my colleagues for their support.”

Coco with students Grace Smith and Dayle Hayes

Malcolm Coco arrived at ACU in 1989. Coco was well known for helping students find jobs through his internship class, mentoring students through Human Resource classes and the Student Chapter of the Human Resource Management organization, his love for the outdoors, and playing the Beach Boys loudly during office hours.

Coco said that when he came to ACU, he only intended to teach for 2 or 3 years and then planned to pursue a career as a pilot for an airlines. Thirty years later, he says, “I’m still teaching and enjoying every minute. Associating with great Christian faculty and staff and having the opportunity to shape young lives has been a blessing to me. I’m wondering where the 30 years went to!”

Dr. Coco with his family

When asked what the best advice he would offer to students would be, he encouraged students to be the best you that you can be. Always strive to be your bosses “go to” person, meaning when there is an important project with a short turn around and it needs to be done correctly, you want your boss to always think of  you as the person he or she trusts to get the job done. He said, “Winners make it happen and losers let it happen.”

To his colleagues, Coco said, “It has been a blessing to me to have the fortune of knowing so many God fearing, Christian faculty. Your example and support for me and my family for these past 30 years has been tremendous. Thanks for the memories.”

Retirement for Coco will be a mixed bag. He will continue to teach as an adjunct faculty member and will continue to manage the COBA internship program. Coco has no plans to slow down. He said, “My children and grandchildren all live in Abilene, so I’m planning for some serious grandchild time. Hobbies of hunting and fishing will continue. I have already joined several civic organizations and intend to do volunteer work for several non-profits.”

Pope with daughter Abby Pimentel and wife Gayla

When he wasn’t teaching a finance class like STAR (Student Trading and Research), you could find Terry Pope on the golf course, working on his new baseball podcast with Tim Johnston, or in his shop working on his next furniture project.

Terry Pope answered the call by Jack Griggs to come and teach at ACU in 1992. Pope said that teaching at ACU has been a great experience, “When I came to Abilene, having already worked for twenty-three years in industry and academics, I was thinking that I would teach for about fifteen years. However, teaching at ACU was so rewarding that I just kept showing up, year after year. ACU is a special place to our family, since Gayla and I, all three of our children, and three of our grandchildren have attended.  Our other six grandchildren will likely follow in these steps.” Pope went on to say that it’s been great to be a part of the ACU community.  He said, “I felt that everyone on campus strove for excellence in what they did and sought to be pleasing to God.  Being a part of that environment made me a better person.”

Terry, Gayla, Beth, and Don Pope

When asked if there was anything he’d like students to know, he said, without question that the favorite part of teaching at ACU was getting to know so many students.  Pope estimates that he has taught about four thousand students and tried to get to know each one of them saying, “I have many great friendships today with former students.  Every student was different – different backgrounds, different interests, and different personalities.  That diversity made our community better. I hope that I communicated to my students that being a Jesus follower comes before all else.  While I taught Finance, I said ‘the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing’.  Brilliance in Finance is not the main thing, but only a compliment to following Jesus.”

Pope said that his colleagues at ACU were great and continue to be his close friends.  He recounted, “I remember telling someone early in my career at ACU that I had underestimated the joy of being able to work daily in a Christian environment.  I felt a closeness and shared purpose with colleagues all over campus, even though we might not have been well acquainted. To all of these colleagues, I say ‘keep it going’.  Investment managers must communicate to their clients that ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future results.’  Every day is a new day that requires our best efforts and a continuing renewal of our minds.”

Pope plans on staying in Abilene and continuing to be closely connected to ACU while spending time playing more golf and tennis, doing more woodworking, taking piano, traveling, studying, and volunteering. “There are many more things that I will want to do that time will allow.”

Combined, the three educators have almost 75 years of experience teaching ACU students. Their dedication to students and peers as well as their example of excellence in the classroom and in their faith walks will truly be missed. The words “thank you” seem inadequate for what they have meant to the lives of thousands of students.

Click on the highlighted links below to view pictures and video messages in tribute to each of the retiring professors.

Pics from the retirement reception

Rob Byrd video

Malcolm Coco video

Terry Pope video

Au Revoir to the Class of 2019

by   |  05.28.19  |  Academics, Alumni Spotlight, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, COBA Staff, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Uncategorized

The end of the school year brings about the season of awards, recognition and many changes, whether it occurs in elementary school, high school, or college. We’d love to share a recap of our celebrations over the last month as we honored our graduates and their transition into the next chapter of their lives.

MAcc Class of 2019

The Master of Accountancy program holds an annual luncheon honoring their graduates and recognizing an outstanding student. This year’s luncheon, sponsored by Ernst & Young, featured an inspiring speech from 2008 MAcc alum, Dustin Marshall who works as a Senior Assurance Manager with EY in Fort Worth, Texas. He encouraged the graduates not to make working their sole priority but to get involved with a church and develop a support system there, noting that the support of your spiritual family is invaluable in helping you navigate the difficulties that life will inevitably bring to each of us. Lexi Koon, from Arvada, CO, received the Outstanding MAcc Graduate Award for 2019 for her excellent grades, character, and integrity. Of her time at ACU, Lexi said, “The professors, the faculty, and the students have shown me what it is to look at those who are different from me and want to learn from them, to learn how to love them, and to be surrounded by a circle of people who have your back 100%. As I leave ACU, I feel completely supported and surrounded by an extraordinary amount of love and I am thankful.”

You can view and download or order pics of the MAcc luncheon by clicking here.

Business Graduates from the Class of 2019

The COBA Senior Dinner was held on May 10th, giving faculty, staff, grads and their families time to reflect on their years in the College of Business and to recognize outstanding faculty and staff. It’s COBA tradition to have students speak on behalf of their class and to have a parent speak on behalf of the families of the graduates. This year’s speakers expressed their gratitude for their experience in COBA and challenged their peers to integrate their faith into their vocation and personal life.

Dr. Kathy Crockett

Parent speaker, Dr. Kathy Crockett, mom to Calley (’19) an accounting major and Maddy, a sophomore marketing major, said she was, “Grateful for faculty and staff who strive for excellence and also love the Lord. That my daughter is taught by excellent professors living out their faith is incredibly important to us. My husband, Steve, and I are so confident in the curriculum of what Calley learned. She did well in her internship and was offered a full time position, which is another marker of the excellence of the program. We are grateful for the ways the faculty and staff also served Calley. They knew her name, said hello even off campus, assisted with resume and career advice, and also life advice at times when things may have been hard. We hope the faculty and staff will always remember the good you do – in and out of the classroom. We certainly will.”

Student speakers Hanna Roberts (’19), management/marketing major from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Kevin Pantoja (’19), finance/management/accounting major from Roscoe, Texas spoke on behalf of graduating COBA students. Hanna said, “We are grateful for the leadership and examples of character that have been set for us by professors and faculty who became mentors and friends. Most of all, we are grateful for the presence of Christ on this campus and in the Mabee Business Building that fills those within it. We are forever changed for the faith and life that has been poured into us during our time here.”

Kevin added, “It’s important to be thinking of the path you are currently on and asking yourself if it will truly make you happy.  In other words, asking, ‘Am I happy with where I am right now?’ and understanding that you can always keep learning and keep pushing yourself to higher standards even after college. I am so thankful to everyone at COBA for helping me to believe in myself and helping me find new opportunities that I would enjoy after graduation. COBA is definitely blessed to have some of the best professors in the business and their compassion has reached every student in more than one way.”

At the end of the academic year, students have the opportunity to show their appreciation for their professors by voting for the COBA Teacher of the Year for Management Sciences and for Accounting and Finance. This year’s winners were Dr. Dennis Marquardt (Assistant Professor of Management) and Dr. Jonathan Stewart (Professor of Finance). Dr. Marquardt said, “Every graduation is special and this one was especially so since several of this year’s graduates started at ACU the same time I did in August 2015. Many students at the senior dinner were in my Introduction to Business courses that very first semester and it has been such a unique privilege to walk alongside them each year until now. These graduates not only worked hard learning skills and abilities worthy of a resume, but it was inspiring to also see them grow in virtues worthy of eternity. Thank you for your hard work and for the ways you challenged and inspired me. As you go from here may you seek God and His ways with all of your being, you will not regret it!”

Tim Johnston, Outstanding COBA Staff Person of the Year

Dean Brad Crisp gave the Staff Person of the Year Award for COBA to Assistant Dean, Tim Johnston. Dr. Crisp said, “Tim offers great mentorship to our students, both professionally and personally. His fingerprints can also be seen in our efforts at professional development and external connections.” Johnston added that, “Each year it is a privilege to meet and thank the parents of our graduating seniors.”

Dr. Katie Wick

The Weathers Fellowship for Outstanding Junior Faculty recognizes an untenured faculty member who shows outstanding potential for the classroom and for research. This year’s recipient was Dr. Katie Wick, who Crisp said, “Has in a very short period of time, re-established a strong stream of research and become a valued colleague.”

Dr. Monty Lynn

The Dean’s Award for Research was awarded to Dr. Monty Lynn, who has recent publications in outlets as diverse as the Journal of Business Education, Journal of Biblical Integration in Business, and Journal of Development Studies in his distinguished research career.

Dr. Andy Little

The Dean’s Award for Service and Leadership was given to Dr. Andy Little for leading the charge of COBA’s accreditation efforts as we successfully navigated another re-accreditation process with AACSB International.

Dr. Terry Pope gave a blessing to the students through scripture, encouraging them to stay close to the Lord and lean on Him as they go through life. Dr. Crisp concluded the evening saying, “Students, as you prepare for graduation, know that your relationship with ACU and COBA does not end. We want to continue to be a part of your life, and we want you to be a part of ours. We want to hear from you about your experiences, to encourage you in exploring additional learning opportunities, to provide opportunities for you to financially invest in COBA, to invite you to mentor current students, and most importantly, we want to support you as you discover the places where your faith and business converge.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2019. Go change the world, Wildcats!

Click here to view pics from the dinner.

 

COBA Celebrates December Business and Technology Graduates

by   |  12.14.18  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, COBA Staff, Current Students, Faith Infusion, School of Information Technology and Computing, Uncategorized

It’s graduation day for our December graduates and we wanted to take one more opportunity to celebrate this milestone in their lives. Last week, on December the 4th, COBA hosted a luncheon in their honor celebrating them and all of the hard work that has helped them reach this day. Faculty, staff and students enjoyed fellow-shipping with each other, learning more about students’ favorite experiences at ACU and what advice those that were a little older would give them as they go out into the world.

It’s our tradition for a faculty member to give a blessing over the graduates as we say goodbye to them. Dr. David Perkins, Professor of Accounting, did this in an unusual way this year. Known for his guitar ballads in class, he chose to sing the blessing over them with a David Perkins original song.

We hope you’ll enjoy hearing his message to the students as well as seeing some pictures from the event. To the class of 2018 we say thank you for choosing ACU, for investing of yourself in the process, and for making us all better people during your time here. May God bless you and give you wisdom and direction knowing that He has designed you for His purpose and good works, which he has planned and prepared in advance for you to do.

To view the video, click here.

To view all of the pictures from the luncheon, click here.

 

Tales from Abroad: COBA goes to Australia and New Zealand

by   |  10.02.18  |  Academics, Accounting, COBA Faculty, Current Students, MAcc, Study Abroad, Uncategorized

Our last installment in our COBA Study Abroad series highlights the MAcc (Master in Accountancy) trip to Australia and New Zealand, led by Dr. Curtis Clements and Dr. Kyle Tippens. MAcc students received credit for International Accounting and Financial Reporting and International Financial Markets. We can’t think of a better way to learn about global business than being immersed in it! We asked Dr. Clements to tell us what it’s like to learn in the land down under.

 

What made your destination a unique place to study?

We didn’t really have a home city.  Instead, we traveled to three cities:  Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand.  We chose Australia and New Zealand because we had business contacts there and for their diverse cultures.

 

What businesses were you able to visit? 

We visited a number of companies and organizations.  These include PWC, KPMG, EY, the Sydney Wool Exchange, The Australian Accounting Standards Board, The Australian Auditing Standards Board, ANZ Bank, Australia-New Zealand Chartered Accountants, and Xerox.

 

Did you take the students on any sight seeing tours? 

In Sydney we went to Taronga Zoo.  Taronga is a world-class zoo with many different animals from around the world.  We also took a nighttime harbor cruise during the Vivid Sydney festival, which was outstanding.  In Melbourne, we took a trip outside the city on a train powered by a steam engine.  In New Zealand, we toured Hobbiton where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed as well as the Hobbit movies.  We also went to the Te Puia Maori Village‎ cultural center in Rotorua.  On their own, the students also traveled to the Blue Mountains, Manly Beach, and Bondi Beach in Sydney.  They attended an Aussie Rules football game, went to Brighton Beach, and watched the penguins come ashore in Melbourne.  In New Zealand, the students traveled to several locations outside of Auckland.

 

What is it like to be able to spend so much time with students in another country? How does it differ than being in a classroom setting in Abilene?

The experience was outstanding!  You get to know the students so well and they get to know you beyond what they see in the classroom.  It allows you to speak into their lives on a much deeper level.  We learned so much about the students and, hopefully, they know us and our families better.

 

What were your favorite moments/experiences of the trip?

Two things stood out for me.  First, my wife and I were able to renew friendships with people we haven’t seen in 27 years.  As far as the academic part of the trip, there are so many things that were enjoyable and informative.  I don’t think we had a bad visit and it is really hard to point to one thing.  It was interesting as I was reading the students’ journals as they would say, “This is the best thing on the trip!”  And then just a day or two later, they would say the same thing!  As far as the sightseeing, I would have to say the trip to Hobbiton was the best thing we did.

 

If students could only learn one thing, what do you hope they learned?

That we live in an interconnected world.  This is especially true in business. As an aside, I also hope they learned that what we teach and tell them in class really matters!

 

Anything else I’ve forgotten to mention that you would like to talk about?

We have some outstanding students!

Tales from Abroad: COBA goes to Central America

by   |  09.14.18  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Faith Infusion, Social Entrepreneurship, Student Spotlights, Study Abroad, Uncategorized

COBA professors and students were world travelers this summer, as we have covered in parts 1 and 2 of our blog series on our study abroad trips. This July, professors Laura and Mark Phillips took students to Central America where they received course credit in MGMT 419 (Global Entrepreneurship) and MGMT 340 (Fundamentals of Life Design). We asked Dr. Laura Phillips to tell us about their experience. We hope you enjoy the third installment of our four part blog series on the 2018 travels of the COBA Study Abroad program.

 

 

What made Central America a unique place to study? 

Central America is a unique place to study Global Entrepreneurship because while the culture, laws, and economic environment are different from the United States, Central America is a place with lots of start-up businesses. Also, the people are very hospitable which makes visiting start-ups easier. In addition, Central America is small geographically but the different countries are unique. Some of the challenges of starting a business in Costa Rica are different from the challenges of starting a business in Honduras. Finally, we were able to see first hand how the government can drastically alter the business environment; the recent unrest in Nicaragua is an unfortunate example of the instability inherent in emerging economies.

 

 

What businesses were you able to visit?

I’m not even sure where to start here. I guess I’ll just make a list.

San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Yuxta Energy–solar energy
  • e.e.d.–legal services for social ventures
  • VivaIdea–a think tank for increasing the impact of entrepreneurship in Latin America

Guanacaste region

  • Vida Adventura–adventure camp
  • Hotel Las Tortugas–small private hotel in Playa Grande
  • Taco Star–taco shop on the beach

Sarapiqui region

  • Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat

Turrialba region

  • CATIE University and the Sustainability House
  • butterfly farm
  • dairy/cheese making business
  • beneficial plants business (medicinal, herbs, etc.)
  • pueblo tourism business

Honduras

  • Mission Lazarus–here we also
    • made organic fertilizer
    • conducted a half day training session for the students and teachers at the vocational schools on basic business topics
  • hardware store
  • bootmaker
  • trash collector/recycler
  • restaurant owner
  • coffee farm/barber shop/tienda owner

For the most part we visited with the entrepreneur (or an employee for the larger organizations) to learn about what they do, what the biggest challenges are, how/if they plan to grow, etc.

 

 

Did you take the students on any sight seeing tours?  

  • Walking tour of San Jose
  • Ziplining at Vida Adventura
  • Horseback riding at Vida Adventura
  • Surfing lessons at Playa Grande or
  • Canoeing on the estuary at Playa Grande
  • Birdfinding nature walk
  • Hike to waterfall and swimming
  • Cultural scavenger hunt (milking cows, Latin dancing, making tortillas, etc.
  • Archaeological tour

The students enjoyed the sightseeing activities. They were a lot of fun.

 

 

What is it like to be able to spend so much time with students in another country? How does it differ than being in a classroom setting in Abilene?

This particular study abroad is different from going to Oxford or Leipzig because we really are all together most of the time. There were even a couple of places where we stayed in one big house. It’s very different because in Abilene you are with your students in class and then they do their own thing the rest of the time. On this study abroad we usually eat together, we travel together, we spend much of our free time together, plus we have class together. You really get to know each other and, as the students said, you become more like family.

 

 

What were your favorite moments/experiences of the trip?

Well, I love the fact that we are outside so much and that even when you are “inside” you are usually outside. In many ways life is harder but in many ways it’s simpler. The pace of life is slower and the people put more emphasis on relationships than on to-do lists. Most of our students found the Latin pace therapeutic. There were many great experiences but one of my favorites was going in the butterfly house. The house was full of flowers and the butterflies seemed like flying flowers. It was beautiful.

I also loved watching our students conduct the business training for the people at Mission Lazarus. That activity was a real challenge and stretch for our students, especially since we were having to work through a translator. They students rose to the challenge and did a fantastic job!

 

If students could only learn one thing, what do you hope they learned? 

I would want our students to learn that people are people everywhere; we are more similar than we are different. I would want them to learn that there are business opportunities everywhere but that to be successful you MUST know the culture and context of the place in which you are operating. I would want them to know that the fast-paced, individualistic, climb to the top American business style is not the only way to live. I would want them to know that being happy and being successful are not directly tied to a salary amount or prestige. (So…that’s four things, but they are kind of related.)

Tales from Abroad: COBA goes to Leipzig

by   |  08.20.18  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Study Abroad, Uncategorized

This July, the COBA classroom moved around the world to Leipzig, Germany with professors Don Pope and Dennis Marquardt leading the way. Students received course credit in Cross Cultural Organizational Behavior and Global Operations Management. We asked Dr. Pope to tell us an overview of their trip. We hope you enjoy the second installment of our four part blog series on the 2018 travels of the COBA Study Abroad program.

The group poses in front of their home away from home in Leipzig

 

What made Leipzig a unique place to study?

Leipzig is a mid-sized German city with a long and proud history.  It is not a tourist destination.  You would have to search for a souvenir shop.  It is historically important because it was the home of Bach, among other well known German musicians and writers.  Martin Luther lived in the nearby town of Wittenberg.  Leipzig was the center of the ‘quiet revolution’ uprising that brought down the iron curtain in 1989.  The German language adds a dimension to a study abroad experience that an English-speaking location cannot provide.  But, enough English is spoken to allow one to get around without great difficulty.

 

Were you able to visit any companies or work on projects with companies in other countries?

At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

We toured the BMW assembly plant in Leipzig which is very modern, is automated, and operated with great German efficiency and attention to sustainability.

 

Did you take the students on any sight seeing tours? 

We took the students to visit Wittenberg where Martin Luther nailed his statement of protest to the church door 501 years ago, at great personal risk to his life.  We also did a group tour of Berlin and many of the sites there, including the Berlin wall and memorial museum for Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust.  We traveled to Weimar and the nearby site of the World War II Nazi concentration camp, Buchenwald.  We saw a place of great horrors and felt the weight of the suffering that occurred there.  We saw the ovens that burned the bodies of those killed, the hooks on the walls where people were hung, the shoes of the victims, many of them children.  We saw the memorial to the living – those who survived.  The memorial plaque is simple in design, and heated to a living temperature of 98.6 all through the cold winters.

 

Visiting the Buchenwald Concentration Camp Memorial

What is it like to be able to spend so much time with students in another country? How does it differ than being in a classroom setting in Abilene? 

Spending time in other countries helps to open your mind, eyes and heart to the world and appreciate the lesson that God tried to each Jonah long ago – that He loves and cares for all people everywhere.

 

What were your favorite moments/experiences of the trip? 

The trips mentioned above, and getting to hang out with the students and get to know them better.

 

If students could only learn one thing, what do you hope they learned? 

That the world is a much bigger place than the little bubble that most of us live in, and that we need to learn to live and function in a global community.

Tales from Abroad: COBA Goes to Oxford

by   |  08.14.18  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Study Abroad, Uncategorized

This summer, COBA students and professors traveled the globe learning more about how globally connected we are through business and about the people and cultures on the other side of the world. This is the first of a three part blog series on the 2018 travels of the COBA Study Abroad program. We hope you enjoy living vicariously through these stories as much as we have!

In June, professors Sarah Easter and Mark Phillips led a group of students to Oxford, England offering course credit in International Business and Professional Development and  Life Design. We asked Dr. Easter and Dr. Phillips a few questions to learn more about this fantastic experience and why other students should sign up to go in the future.

 

 

What made Oxford a unique place to study? 

Oxford is a beautiful city, rich with stunning architecture, history and culture. As the home to Oxford University and its many colleges, there are lots of different university buildings, churches and museums to visit as well as numerous green spaces and parks. Plus, it’s very walkable and a short train ride to London and beyond.

 

Were you able to visit any companies or work on projects with companies in other countries?  

In the Oxford area, we took a tour of the MINI Cooper plant and Oxfam International, a leading UK-based charity, to learn about their international operations. We also took a day trip to London to learn about Sodexo’s corporate social responsibility initiatives as a global catering service provider; experience Siemen’s The Crystal, one of the world’s most sustainable buildings; and have lunch with an alum based in London to learn about her experiences living and working abroad.

Our highlight excursion was a four-day trip to Slovenia where we met with the director for environmental protection for the city of Ljubjlana. She shared the city’s many initiatives focused on environmental sustainability including making the main city center largely car free; Ljubljana won the Green City Capital award for 2016 from the European Commission. We also met with professors at the University of Maribor to learn about the Slovenian economy, and with a leader for a faith-based organization focused on youth outreach in Slovenia to learn about enacting faith in a largely secular culture. It was a fantastic trip in a beautiful and friendly country!

 

Did you take the students on any sight seeing tours? 

We wanted students to experience local culture in Oxford as much as possible during our short time there. So, we incorporated some local activities into our agenda, including punting on the River Cherwell (http://cherwellboathouse.co.uk/punting/) and going to an evensong service (a choral-based church service) at Christ Church. While in Slovenia, we took a city walking tour of the capital, Ljubjlana, as well as a day trip to the popular Lake Bled to experience the emerald blue lake and visit the Bled castle.

 

What is it like to be able to spend so much time with students in another country? How does it differ than being in a classroom setting in Abilene?

We really enjoyed getting to know the students in a much more personal manner than is typically possible in a classroom setting in Abilene. Not only did we interact with students in the classroom on a daily basis, but we also had the opportunity to live with and hang out with students as well. The Phillips had the students over to their apartment in smaller groups for dinner and I (Sarah) organized dessert outings around Oxford with them, which really contributed to us building relationships with them in a more relaxed (and hopefully fun) format.

 

What were your favorite moments/experiences of the trip?

Sarah: There are too many to name but a few of my favorite experiences include: getting to know the students via yummy dessert outings around Oxford; going punting as a group on the River Cherwell; and our excursion trip to Slovenia.

Mark: Working with our students on their Life Design plans. They have so many opportunities and it was wonderful to watch as they wrestle with their options.

 

 

 

 

If students could only learn one thing from this experience, what do you hope that would be?

Sarah: My hope for students is that studying abroad will instill a true appreciation for other national cultures (and how complex and varied they are) as well as to spark a desire to seek and serve others throughout the world – wherever God calls them to be in the future.

Mark: Texas and even the United States make up a tiny fraction of the world. As much as we love it here, I hope they began to get a glimmer of the amazing possibilities out there.

We would strongly encourage students even thinking about study abroad to apply (there are scholarship opportunities available!). It is truly a life changing experience that will not only provide students with much more of a global mindset that today’s employers are looking for, but it will also affect them personally and provide them with a more well-rounded view of the world in which they live.

Students can learn about upcoming trips for the summer of 2019 at fall study abroad interest meetings. Check your COBA newsletter for dates!

 

 

 

Social Entrepreneurship Class Encourages Students to Think Outside the Box

by   |  06.28.18  |  Academics, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Social Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

Students often take advantage of summer courses to receive credit in a compressed amount of time and effectively use block tuition. Those summer courses can sometimes be a little more creative in the way they are taught – even in deciding the location for the class. MGMT 320: Social Entrepreneurship is no exception to that rule. Social Entrepreneurship is taught at City Square in downtown Dallas by Dr. Laura Phillips over the course of five days. Business students are not the only students who take the class. Phillips says, “The social entrepreneurship course is appropriate for business majors and non-business majors alike. We’ve had students in the class who are studying art, English, architecture and political science – just to name a few. It’s also relevant for students at different points in their academic career. I’ve had students who just finished their first year of college in the class as well as students who are taking it as their very last class. It may seem overwhelming to squeeze an entire class into a week, but it’s an engaging and inspiring week!” We asked a couple of the students who completed the course to tell us a little about why they chose to take the class and what they took away from the week.

 

 

Ashleigh Price (’18) management major from Sunnyvale, Texas said, “I had one more class I needed to take to complete my degree and was really looking for classes in that last semester that focused on the field I wanted to go in to – poverty and development. It was convenient since I lived in Dallas and I had heard so many great things about it, so I jumped on it!” Jordan Eason, senior accounting major from Keller, Texas said, “I had always wanted to take this class, because I had heard from others that it was a great class. I am also very interested in social entrepreneurship from my time volunteering with various non-profit organizations.”

 

Tell us a little bit about the format of the class. What was a typical day like?

Jordan: “In the class, we had a lot of guest speakers come to us but we also went on field trips to businesses, too.  A typical day included hearing from guests and then engaging in a lot of discussion to process what we were learning.”

Ashleigh: “There is no such thing as a typical day! Every day is special in its own way. The first and last days included a few speakers but we were also taking care of administrative tasks and assignments including group work. On Tuesday through Thursday, however, we had a networking lunch (Tuesday) and breakfasts (Wednesday and Thursday). We were able to sit down with the guest speakers and talk about our passions. We were also able to hear the coolest testimonies of business owners and people who are in prominent positions in large companies like Southwest Airlines and HKS. Every day, we had additional speakers along with the networking.  In those sessions, we heard about real life situations and learned applicable skills to apply to our potential business models.”

 

Cafe Momentum

 

Tell us about some of the speakers and/or experiences that stood out to you?

Jordan: “We visited a restaurant in Dallas called Café Momentum and heard from the entrepreneur that started it, Chad Houser. At his café, he employs and trains teens that have been in juvenile detention. His hope is for them to be placed in a job and leave the café once they finish the program. We actually were able to eat at the restaurant, which was named one of the top restaurants in Dallas. It was great to hear him talk about his mission and the passion he had for what he was doing.”

Ashleigh: “One of my favorite speakers was Todd Spinks who works for Southwest and possessed a love for people, wanting to unite them to work for good. Another was Chad Houser  who runs Cafe Momentum which helps to rehabs kids, get them jobs, and gets them off the streets. There were others that I loved (and honestly all of them were really great) but these two people had a lot of impact on me.”

 

What was your favorite thing about the class?

Jordan: “My favorite thing about the class was getting to have conversations with the guest speakers. On two of the days of class, we were able to have breakfast with them. There was one guest to a table of 3-4 students, so we were able to have great conversations and ask them questions. The guests were all so kind to take that time out of their day to talk with us.”

Ashleigh: “The connections made and the subjects talked about – any and all things having to do with social enterprise.”

 

What surprised you the most about the class or any of your experiences in the class?

Jordan: “I learned a lot in this class, specifically of ways to help people without hurting them. It was surprising that different ways of poverty alleviation were useful in certain areas but not in others. We really learned how there is not a one size fits all solution and that was echoed by speakers through the week.”

Ashleigh: “I was expecting it to be a lot of work but it wasn’t like that at all. It was constructive and thought provoking. It reminded me a lot of Leadership Summit. It was basically a mini LS but it focused on doing good rather than leadership.”

Ashleigh went on to say that the class has, “Changed how I view poverty and what people in those situations need versus what I think they need. They know what they need better than I ever could. It showed me how much more diverse I need to make my friend circle. The class also confirms my love of this career path and it has given me tools to use in the future at either my own business or in a position with a company or organization.”

 

 

Social Entrepreneurship at CitySquare is pushing students to think outside the box and time again, they state how much they love the class. How about the professor? We asked Dr. Phillips a few questions about the course as well.

 

What is your favorite thing about teaching the class? 

Dr. Phillips: “Almost every day one of the students makes a comment to me about how a particular speaker or a field trip has ‘blown their mind’. I think that’s my favorite thing about teaching the class. Some students are blown away by the inequalities that exist around them that they’ve never noticed before. For some students what blows their mind is the variety of creative ways people are using their business to achieve social impact in their community. For other students the most eye-opening aspect of class is the wide variety of backgrounds our speakers come from – the fact that there’s not a prescribed path to social entrepreneurship. I love being able to sit back and watch their eyes open up to a whole new world of possibilities.”

 

I know you have many speakers that come in to talk to the students. Who are some that have made a big impact on the students? 

Dr. Phillips: “This question is hard to answer because the students have different favorite speakers. That’s one of the nice things about bringing in a wide variety. While they may appreciate and learn from all of the speakers, students typically really connect with a handful of our guests and who that is varies from student to student. A couple of speakers who are perennial favorites are John Siburt, President and COO of CitySquare, and Chad Houser, CEO and Executive Chef at Cafe Momentum. Both are charismatic, innovative, and inspiring and they motivate the students to have big dreams.”

 

What do you hope students will take away from the class? 

Dr. Phillips: “I hope that students will leave class with the understanding that they can choose to do good through their business regardless of what that business is. I also hope they leave class with a set of tools and contacts that make them feel empowered and capable of launching a social enterprise – maybe soon, maybe not for 20 years.”

The College of Business seeks to inspire, equip, and connect students to honor God and bless others. We can’t wait to see what these students do to change the world. Any student wanting to learn more about the next offering for MGMT 320: Social Entrepreneurship can contact their academic advisor or Dr. Laura Phillips.

Alumni Spotlight on Phil Garcia

by   |  05.29.18  |  Academics, Alumni Spotlight, College Decisions, Faith Infusion

Phil Garcia graduated from ACU in 1999 with a degree in marketing. We asked Phil to reflect on his time in the College of Business and asked how that shaped his life post-graduation. Phil said, “The most fundamental thing I took away from ACU is my Christian faith.  I did not arrive at ACU with a relationship with Jesus Christ, but I was very quickly influenced by the Christian friends and professors who took time to get to know me.  Being a Christ follower is core to everything that I do. My faith has allowed me the success I have because I am genuine and ethical with all of my business practices. Both clients and co-workers know that I am real and I care about them outside of our work relationship.  I believe many of my professors showed me what humility and authenticity look like by the way they worked with me and lived their lives both on and off campus.”

Phil Garcia

In his work as a Senior Vice President in investments, he provides professional asset management and consulting for client’s investment portfolios.  His clients are business owners, corporate executives, foundations/endowments and retirees and Phil finds great joy in helping clients reach their goals and funding a lifestyle that they’ve grown accustomed to. Phil believes that being a Christian creates positive occasions for him to live out his faith with his work.  He says, “It encourages me to be humble, allows me to give grace and mercy to those around me, and creates authentic relationships. Being real and vulnerable with people has opened many doors and created great business opportunities. My authentic relationships have created clients and friendships that have become like family, and much of my business growth can be attributed to referrals from these clients.”  

 

Phil says that students need to know that business is about relationships. “Students should make all the friends and connections they can. Meet board members, trustees, guest speakers on campus, etc. I made the mistake of limiting my interactions with my social club for most of my time at ACU, and that kept me from making many connections that could have helped me in my career.  People whom you have a relationship with are more likely to make introductions for you in the business world, and this is what leads to success.”

 

When reflecting on his favorite memories while at ACU, Phil said that Welcome Week was an incredibly positive experience for him as he was the first in his family to attend college and had some trepidation after moving 8 hours away from home. He said, “I met people that became lifelong friends and eventually led me to finding the Lord my junior year. Pledging Knights introduced me to a great group of men, and some fun experiences like Sing Song and intramurals.  We still meet once a year for an annual fishing trip and they provide me with a solid foundation for moral support. They are the true meaning of ‘iron sharpening iron’.”

 

Phil also says that one of the most significant memories he has was having a private Bible study with Dr. Rick Lytle.  He goes on to explain, “His simple invite and desire to take an interest in me has impacted my life forever.  We still have an ongoing relationship, and he still plays a significant role in my life. I attribute a large part of my success to that faithful servant of God.”

 

Phil says that the absolute BEST memory he has from his time at ACU is meeting his wife, Brittney Binder (’00).  He says, “She is the backbone of our family, and without her I wouldn’t be who I am today. She wanted to travel the world with her International Business degree, but selflessly gave that up to raise our family, encourage me daily and be there for others.”

 

Phil advises incoming freshmen to “Make friends with everyone!  Do all the activities that you can possibly do….even if they might not sound cool.  Be authentic, volunteer, tryout, put your phones down and do life!”

 

Phil says he didn’t plan on attending ACU. He explains, “ I just want to share about my beginnings…I did not come from a privileged home. No one in my family  had ever gone to college, and I had no help or expectations on what I should do. By the grace of God (and some great family friends) I landed at ACU. I had never heard of ACU until the summer after my senior year.  On a whim, I applied and was accepted and a month later, I was dropped off at my dorm. I was scared and felt alone. I had no way to pay for school, and I ended up taking out loans for all the years I was there. I feel that in order to understand my success, others need to know my background.  Looking back I can see God’s hand in all of this, and I know He had a plan for my life. I am forever grateful for my time at ACU and the path it paved for my life!”

Dr. Katie Wick Named Mentor of the Year

by   |  05.23.18  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Research, Uncategorized

Dr. Katie Wick has a Ph.D. in economics and teaches classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and game theory at ACU. Last semester, Dr. Wick worked on registered replications of two famous social science papers with student Rachael Shudde, whom Dr. Wick has mentored throughout her time at ACU. They were a part of a replication with 24 other universities to test the results of these papers to see if they still held. Dr. Wick and Rachael had just under 400 participants in their section and the meta-analysis of the whole replication had 8,000 participants. Dr. Wick was named Mentor of the Year at ACU’s Undergraduate Research Festival for her work with Rachael.

Dr. Katie Wick

The premise of the first paper was on hostility and how people view actions as hostile or not based on whether they were primed with angry words or regular words. The second paper, which was presented at ACU’s research festivals and others, focused on the effects of moral priming against cheating. Participants were presented with a test that asked them to solve twenty matrix equations and then write down the number of matrices that they solved. Only half of the matrices had solutions and participants were asked to solve each one in four minutes. If participants reported solving more than ten matrices and more than four minutes were used to solve problems, then the participant was cheating. Before taking the test, participants had to complete a priming task. The control prime was to write down ten books the participant read in high school and the moral prime, which was being evaluated to see if it had any effect on cheating, asked participants to write down the Ten Commandments. Dr. Wick was particularly interested in this replication at ACU because students are constantly morally primed. There are bible verses on the walls, chapels, and Christian professors who consistently integrate faith into their classrooms. Dr. Wick hypothesized that the moral priming task would not affect the participants at ACU as they are morally primed every day, which turned out to be true.

 

Beyond guidance through the project, Dr. Wick mentored Rachael through a major life transition. Dr. Wick has known Rachael since she was a freshman at ACU. Rachael approached Dr. Wick wanting to learn more about how to prepare for a Ph.D. in economics. Dr. Wick counseled her to study math, which became Rachael’s first major and has continued to walk with Rachael during her time at ACU. Throughout the project, Dr. Wick wanted to prepare Rachael for graduate school. Rachael had the task of taking all 400 experiments and inputting the test into a database for analysis. “I wanted to prepare her for the grunt work she will encounter,” said Dr. Wick. “The leap between undergraduate and graduate school is even bigger than the leap between high school and undergraduate school. It’s not glamorous and very hard.” Rachael wrote code to analyze the data, expecting the results to point to the original paper’s hypothesis that the moral prime decreased cheating. “I thought I had coded wrong,” said Rachael. “I was surprised to see that the ACU data contradicted the original results. That is my favorite part of data analysis: when you expect something to happen when you find results that are surprising.”

 

Rachael presented their findings on the cheating experiment at ACU’s Undergraduate Research Festival and at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference. Dr. Wick was nominated by Rachael Shudde and won the award for Mentor of the Year at ACU’s Undergraduate Research Festival. “Dr. Wick is awesome and dedicated to research,” said Rachael. “She has a desire to answer questions and is good at designing and interpreting experiments. She is also great at giving feedback and guidance, which was invaluable throughout the research process.” Dr. Wick is grateful for the time she has been able to spend with Rachael and looks forward to seeing what she does during and after school.