Archive for ‘College Decisions’

The Ruth Allen Griggs Scholarship Donor Luncheon Honors Donors and Receipients

by   |  04.07.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Events, COBA Faculty, COBA Staff, College Decisions, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Uncategorized

On Tuesday, March 29th, generous donors and scholarship recipients enjoyed a luncheon in memory of Ruth Allen Griggs. Ruth’s children, Jack Griggs and Ann Griggs Berger, along with their respective spouses Ann Griggs and the late Bob Berger, established an endowment in 2015 to honor their mother and her spirit of generosity by having a yearly luncheon bringing together COBA donors and students. The goal for the endowment is to honor and thank donors for the scholarships given to the College of Business that allow so many students to attend ACU and to participate in many of the experiential learning opportunities that COBA offers.

 

Berger table

 

COBA students Bailey Thomas, senior marketing major from Lubbock, and Jack Oduro, junior accounting major from Garland, spoke to the audience about what receiving COBA scholarships has meant to them and the impact that it has had on their education and experiences at ACU. Jack said, “A relationship with a donor is usually one with some distance; however, it was humbling to be in deeper conversations with the men and women who have sacrificed time, money and energy in making my experience at COBA great. It (the luncheon) was one of the most effective avenues to allow donors to meet who their resources are developing and to give students the opportunity to express our profound appreciation. ”

 

Thomas and Oduro

 

Don Crisp, accounting alumnus (class of 1964) from Dallas, spoke about he and his wife, Carol’s experiences as young college students at then Abilene Christian College. Mr. Crisp encouraged donors to continue to pour into the lives of students at ACU and exhorted current students to give back to students in the future.

 

Cummins table

 

Dr. Brad Crisp, interim Dean for the College of Business, said “COBA’s donors make so many things possible. Their generosity eases the burden of tuition on our students and enables us to constantly innovate in our goal to consistently provide high quality educational experiences. We’re so thankful for their support and giving spirit.”

Spotlight on Karen Viertel

by   |  03.10.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Staff, College Decisions, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I have a B.S. degree from Lubbock Christian College from back in the “dark ages”.

 

Karen Viertel

Karen Viertel

 

What is your work background?

I have been a business manager for a medical clinic, a school nurse/secretary, and an academic advisor. My most important work has been being a mom and now grandmother.

 

What do you do at ACU/COBA?

I am so privileged to serve as an academic advisor in COBA. I have been here for more than 10 years and I.LOVE.MY.JOB.

 

The three Amigos. Karen Viertel, Samantha Matta and Nuria Hall.

The three Amigos. Karen Viertel, Samantha Matta and Nuria Hall.

 

What drew you to work at ACU? Why did you want to work with students?

What drew me here was the opportunity to work with students every day. No two days are the same and it is NEVER boring. I love watching the life metamorphosis that happens between a student’s freshman year and graduation day. It’s truly remarkable to witness and I get to have a front-row seat for the whole show!! Most come to college scared and afraid and not sure at all about what they want to do after college. To watch them grow wings and be ready to fly off to a new job or adventure upon graduation, ready for the world is a pretty incredible feeling.

 

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

My husband Mark and I operate a large family ranch north of Abilene. There we raise cattle and LOVE to build things: fences, houses, good memories. I enjoy “junkin’” and repurposing furniture, etc. I love a good flea market or junk store almost more than anything. My favorite thing to do is to be with my family. We have two grown children, both married and now two grandsons. At ages 3 years and 7 months, they are simply amazing. I can’t get enough of them.

 

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

I remember landing my first job as a business manager for the only obstetrician in the small town we lived in, just prior to college graduation. I had NO IDEA what I was doing but he was patient and I worked hard to soak up everything I could while I was there. In the two years I worked for him, we made tremendous improvements in office efficiency and accuracy. Plus, I learned a lot about teamwork. Without the ability to be a team player, you severely restrict your effectiveness in any organization. Work chemistry is essential.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

Yes. Mark and I are very involved with Global Samaritan, Dry Bones in Denver and our church family. I also really love to help with Meals on Wheels.

 

Mark and Karen Viertel

Mark and Karen Viertel

 

Who is your role model and why?

My grandmother has always been my role model, but now I would also add my mom. Granny was a very strong woman that raised two children, one of which became my equally strong mother. My mom became a widow at 28 and managed to raise myself and two sisters with the help of her widowed mother. I look back now and wonder how they did it. My mom was a rancher/farmer. She drove a tractor, plowed fields and pulled calves – not the type of work any other mothers at the time did. They both showed us that being a strong woman is a good thing. As a result, I’ve always been pretty much of a tomboy and am very at-home with outdoorsy ranching pursuits and I don’t shy away from hard, manual labor. In fact, I like it. It’s good for the soul.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

I would list two teachers: Dr. Gary Evans at LCC. He was my first college Bible teacher and he will never know the impact he had on my life and thinking about being a Christian. Incredible man and mentor. Also, Dr. Christa Dobbs, my accounting teacher. She was an amazing woman and fantastic teacher.

 

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

The ability to fly and also time-travel. I mean, come on…who wouldn’t?

 

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

I LOVE to travel, I know how to use a cutting torch and enjoy ranch work. I am learning how to weld.

Spotlight on Jenni Williams

by   |  02.24.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Staff, Careers In..., College Decisions, Current Students, MBA, School of Information Technology and Computing, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I received my bachelors in Public Relations and Advertising from Hardin-Simmons University and I will complete my masters in Higher Education from ACU in 2016.

 

Jenni Williams

Jenni Williams

What is your work background?
My first job was in PR for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This was an amazing opportunity and had a great impact on my life. I learned so much from the wish kids and will always be grateful for that opportunity.

Following that role, I began working in Higher Education in 2004. I have worked in several areas of Higher Ed at two universities, including campus visits, financial aid, admissions, student life, retention, recruiting, event coordination, and student services.

 

What do you do at ACU?
I manage the recruiting process for SITC and assist in bringing new students to ACU. Additionally, I manage marketing communication to current and prospective students. I also play a role in other areas in SITC, including coordination of special events, SITC news, and staff contact for Women in Tech.

 

What’s the best part of working with students? 
I love working with students! It is so amazing to watch students transition from their first visit to campus through to their graduation. I play a small role in their ACU experience and I love being able to share in this transformational process. I enjoy being able to encourage and cheer on students as they take on new challenges, navigate their demanding schedules, and ultimately, interview for jobs. We are able to witness the process of development from the front row. While it is sometimes painful, there is nothing quite like sharing in the moments when they realize that they are capable of more than they imagined.

 

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

No. I’m right where I want to be.

 

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

So many things. First and foremost, I have an amazing husband and two precious daughters that I love very much. Our girls keep us extremely busy and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I also love baking and have a sugar cookie business. This hobby-turned-business started out by making cookies for my daughters’ class parties. I really love the creative and artistic outlet!

 

IMG_6470

The Williams Family having fun

 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
At this juncture, completing my masters will be a huge accomplishment. I have enjoyed the entire process and love how it has cultivated a passion for learning.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work? 
I am on the parent council at Alliance for Women and Children.

 

Who is your role model, and why?
I have a strong network of men and women in my life, who have taught me a great deal about living life. They have served as spiritual, professional, and personal mentors. They have guided me in times of uncertainty and doubt, as well as times of joy and success. I have learned what it means to love others, how to be a better parent, how to walk through challenges and failures, and how to live a life worthy of the calling placed on my life.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?
Several professors come to mind, but one of the most inspirational was Dr. Susan Piggott. She was one of my Bible profs and I had her for Theological Research and Writing (I was a Bible major at one point).  That course was easily one of the most challenging courses I had in undergrad. Dr. Piggott had a reputation of being a pretty tough teacher. When it came time for me to take her course, I experienced this first hand. However, I learned so much from her about questioning preconceived ideas and learning to think on my own. Some of her ideas conflicted with mine, allowing me to examine why I believed what I believed. This experience strengthened my faith and propelled my spiritual development.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
Power over time, hands down. Primarily to slow down time. Obviously, this would be helpful for accomplishing a lot. However, I think it would be more useful for the ability to slow down and cherish the priceless moments that are over too quickly.

 

The Williams Family

The Williams Family

 

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

I love Christmas and have a sizable collection of Christmas paraphernalia, which nearly fills up our entire storage shed, seven Christmas trees, and over 700 Christmas songs in my iTunes library. It’s absolutely my favorite time of the year.

 

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

I have spent 11 years in higher education working with students in some facet. In this time, I have learned that there is so much more to college than awarding degrees. I view this as a calling. I have the opportunity to impact students in a measurable way, by simply being here. I am committed to the holistic development of students as they explore their identity in relation to others and to God. I will not have all the answers, but I am always available to listen, encourage, and pray for students.

 

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.

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

 

Spotlight on Terry Pope

by   |  12.17.15  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Careers In..., College Decisions, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

B.A. – Mathematics – Abilene Christian University
M.A. – Mathematics – University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. – Statistics – Southern Methodist University

Dr. Terry Pope

Dr. Terry Pope

 

What is your work background?

Cities Service Oil and Gas – 10 years
Conoco – 8.5 years
ACU – 24 years

 

What do you teach at ACU?

Currently teach Finance courses: Financial Theory and Practice, Portfolio Management, and STAR, our student-managed fund. While at ACU, I have taught 16 different courses.
 

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

In the past, I served as Chair of the Management Sciences for 5 years and as Associate Dean for 10 years. Currently, I am on the Academic Committee in COBA and the Disciplinary Review Committee for the university.
 

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

I left a really interesting job in industry to come to ACU. I would not have left that job for a teaching position at any other university. I thought that I could contribute to students by teaching them what they need to know to be successful in industry.
 

What’s the best part of working with students?

I have developed so many great friendships with students over my time at ACU. I enjoy trying to make difficult concepts understandable for all students. I enjoy helping students build self-confidence.
 

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

As I said earlier, I gave up a really interesting job to come be a professor. Financially, that job was much more rewarding, but I would not trade that for all of the great friends that I have made with students.
 

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

I really like to go outside and play: golf, tennis, running, biking. I also enjoy woodworking. We really enjoy travel, having visited over 25 foreign countries.

One of COBA's own golf pros

One of COBA’s own golf pros

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

My first semester at ACU had me scheduled to teach Financial Management and Statistics – courses that I was well-prepared to teach. On the second day of class, I was asked to take a class in Macro Economics, as Professor Brister was asked to serve on a university committee and needed to be released from the teaching assignment. So, I played catch up all semester in that class.
 

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

While in industry, I provided the financial analysis to support investments totaling billions of dollars all over the world. While doing so, I tried to always have Christ as the center of my life and to conduct my business in a manner worthy of a child of God.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

In the past, I have served for long period on the boards of Herald of Truth and Faithworks of Abilene. For most of the past 35 years, I have been an elder in the church.
 

Who is your role model, and why?

My dad. He was the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never met a stranger and treated all people with great respect.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

Sam McReynolds in the Mathematics Department at ACU. He was always very well prepared and expected excellence from his students.
 

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

Bring peace to the world. To replace hatred with love.

 

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

My hair is actually blond.

 

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

That I really love them and want them to make good choices in life.

Spotlight on Andy Little

by   |  12.11.15  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Events, COBA Faculty, COBA Staff, College Decisions, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I graduated from ACU with a BA in Political Science in 1997, then received a JD from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2000. I also earned an MA in History from West Texas A&M in 2014.

 

Dr. Andy Little

Dr. Andy Little

 

What is your work background?

I practiced law from 2000 to 2010, primarily at a regional law firm in Amarillo. My legal practice encompassed employment law and business litigation.

 

What do you teach at ACU?

I teach the business law classes, and occasionally teach a class related to ethics and corporate social responsibility. I also teach Honors College colloquia from time to time.

 

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

In addition to teaching, I also serve as Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration.

 

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

I grew up the son of an ACU professor, and I had a wonderful experience at ACU as an undergrad, so I think I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be back in the university setting at some point.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

Students have a spirited vitality and sense of hope within them that keeps me young. I really enjoy walking alongside them at this transitional phase of their lives. In my better moments, perhaps there is an opportunity for me to share my faith journey with them, and for us to learn from one another.

 

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

This is a hard question to answer. At a very superficial level, yes, I gave up considerable income and positional power as a partner at a regional law firm to work here at ACU. But during the time period in which I made the transition to teaching (around 2010), I was in the process of discovering that money and power weren’t my priorities anyway, so I’m not sure I was giving up something I really wanted in the first place. I guess I would say I gave up something I thought I wanted.

 

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

I like the wilderness—hiking, backpacking, skiing, camping with family and friends, etc. I like music. I read a lot of books about history and religion. I try to be involved with my church family.

 

andy and girls

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

I had a student named Brody Smith who insisted that we listen to part of the Top Gun soundtrack one morning in BLAW 461. I liked Brody. And I liked Top Gun. So I accommodated his request. It was a great class period. I’m sure everyone learned a lot that day.

 

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

I was honored to be ACU’s Teacher of the Year in 2012.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

I’ve been on the boards of directors for several non-profits over the last 15 years, most recently the Christian Village of Abilene.

 

Who is your role model, and why?

He will likely be embarrassed by this mention, but I’ve tried to watch Monty Lynn closely to see how I can better emulate him as he emulates Christ.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

Mel Hailey in the Political Science Department consistently made me think deeper than any other professor. In a series of three courses dealing with political theory, he led us through an extended collection of readings that addressed the central question, “What is justice?,” which has animated much of my professional and intellectual career ever since.

 

Jennifer and Andy Little

Jennifer and Andy Little

 

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

Who’s to say I don’t already have superpowers?

 

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

I’m a big fan of the punk band Social Distortion.

 

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

As before, this is a hard question to answer. The easy, church-y way to answer it would be to say, “I want others to know Jesus when they know me.” And this would be a true statement, so far as it goes. But I’m also realistic enough to know that I am not Jesus, and that the Jesus people get to know when they know me probably looks and feels different than the Jesus they might get to know if they know someone else.

It’s also a hard question to answer because I’m a private person, and I’m not comfortable being known through social media at all. This is not a space in which I want to live, so I choose not to disclose much in these kinds of formats. I prefer unmediated relationships in which to know others and be known by them.

COBA Student Hayley Griffin Receives HR Southwest Conference Scholarship

by   |  11.17.15  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, College Decisions, Current Students, Human Resource Management, Uncategorized

Senior management major, Hayley Griffin, was honored at the HR Southwest Conference (HRSWC) on October 26th, as she was one of four students who received The Excellence in Education Student Scholarship. Recipients of this scholarship are chosen based upon their academic standing, involvement in their community and campus, and by recommendations of their professors, advisors and/or employers.

Hayley Griffin

Hayley Griffin

Dr. Malcolm Coco, professor and SHRM Student Chapter Advisor, nominated Hayley for the scholarship. Dr. Coco said that Hayley has proven to be an outstanding employee, currently working in the ACU HR department and as a student assistant to the COBA marketing and recruiting manager. He touted Hayley’s intelligence, personable demeanor, abilities, accomplishments and work ethic. As the current president of the SHRM student chapter, he said that Hayley has shown initiative and leadership as she attends professional chapter meetings and has supported the chapter’s request for student chapter involvement in joint activities and research. Hayley is also treasurer of the women’s social club Sigma Theta Chi, a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and is on the Dean’s Honor Roll.

Dr. Coco went on to say that, “Whether she is performing volunteer work for Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity or volunteer tutoring for an elementary school, she is always totally engaged. The bottom line is that Hayley continues to excel in every aspect of her life and has demonstrated superb initiative and leadership. She is the epitome of an all-around outstanding person. Whether it is academics, service to the community, involvement in campus activities, she is always leading the way. She is a top drawer person.”

Hayley receiving The Excellence in Education Scholarship

Hayley receiving The Excellence in Education Scholarship

The HRSWC is a regional human resources conference held in Fort Worth every October. The conference is a 3 day event filled with educational sessions, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities. The educational sessions focus on 8 different areas in HR ranging from benefits to HR development to recruiting the best talent. This year the keynote speakers were David Pogue, the founder of Yahoo Tech, and Soledad O’Brien, the founder of Starfish Media Group.

As a student attending HRSWC, Hayley said, “There are so many outstanding networking opportunities to grow your professional network. There is a market place in the convention center that over 200 companies set up booths to tell people about their company and solutions, so it’s almost like networking heaven! There are some educational sessions geared towards students and how to go about the internship/job search, how to network, and how to get the most out of the conference. This year my favorite session was titled ‘Essential Global Recognition and Engagement Insights’. The speaker presented research that was conducted on different companies across the global market and the differences in how incentive pay and culture are linked. For example, in Brazil, employees expect to be recognized differently than here in the US, in India, or in the UK. It was interesting to hear about cultural differences like this and I am looking forward to being able to use what I learned not only from this session, but the entire conference, into my future career.”

The Society for Human Resource Management student chapter is sponsored by the local professional human resources chapter. There are 27 professional and student chapters in the state of Texas. The Big Country SHRM is ACU’s sponsoring chapter and provides all types of support for the student chapter. Student officers are part of the professional chapter’s executive committee and regularly attend monthly meetings. The student chapter members are also invited to attend each month’s chapter meeting to hear the presentation for that month. The Big Country SHRM also supports the students by offering scholarships for attending the state SHRM annual conference and the student leadership conference. The student chapter provides support for the professional chapter by conducting surveys to gather information from its members and provides support for professional chapter activities.

The student chapter is one of 27 in the state of Texas and over 400 nationally. Over 10,000 students belong to SHRM student chapters. Each student must be chartered and sponsored by a professional chapter. ACU’s chapter is sponsored by the Big Country SHRM professional chapter. The Society of Human Resource Management is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. The society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 225,000 members in over 125 countries, and more than 575 affiliated chapters. Visit shrm.org

Spotlight on Phil Vardiman

by   |  10.20.15  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Careers In..., College Decisions, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I received my:

  • Bachelor’s degree from ACU in 1976 (first graduating class of ACU, formerly ACC).
  • MBA from Mary-Hardin Baylor in 1992
  • Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2001

 

Phil Vardiman

Dr. Phil Vardiman

What is your work background?

My work background includes Management and Leadership experiences in “Manufacturing Operations” and “Human Resources”. Companies I worked for include; General Tire & Rubber Co., Avery Dennison, and Cardinal Health. I taught one year in Lubbock ISD – way back in the 70’s. Prior to coming to ACU, I also taught at Texas State University in their graduate HR program.

What do you teach at ACU?

I teach management class (primarily MGMT 330) and I also teach HR classes (MGMT 447 & MGMT 337). Occasionally I teach in the graduate OD program.

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

This year I am the Faculty Senate Chair which means I get the opportunity to participate on many committees.   Some of these include; the Provost’s Cabinet, Faculty Senate, Benefits Committee, Pricing Team, and Debt Reduction Team.

Being the Faculty Senate Chair is a great opportunity to provide service for the university and also work closely with many people across campus.

phil and crew

Phil with colleagues Orneita Burton and Ian Shepherd

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

I was blessed to have excellent teachers in my past that inspired me to love learning and helping others succeed. I have always wanted to teach and being in the business field provided me an excellent opportunity to expand my learning and also the foundation for advancing my education to reach my goal of teaching.

What’s the best part of working with students?

My biggest enjoyment in my job is mentoring and getting to know my students. I love to see them succeed and do great things. I strongly believe that every student can (and should) succeed. I’m amazed at the many things our students accomplish.

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

I did change careers and with that there was a financial impact, but I believe that the most important part of a person’s career is not how much money they make – it is much more about the positive difference they can make in the relationships and lives of those around them. I also feel that I have gained much more as a college professor than I ever gave up.

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

I have been blessed to experience the “Grandparenting” stage of life and it is wonderful. I have 5 grandchildren and they are so much fun.

Phil with two of his five grandchildren

Phil with two of his five grandchildren

I also have to mention Golf – I do enjoy the outdoors and a good round of golf. I also started taking piano lessons at the good age of 55. It has been fun and very challenging. (Playing the Piano: http://www.reporternews.com/news/abilene-music-teachers-hold-recital)

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

Besides the many moments when your students encourage and touch your life in a significant way I would say there have been several funny/interesting moments.

One that I remember well was the time I gave a test and offered the students the opportunity to take the exam in a very different way. I told them they had the option to take the exam and purposefully try and miss every answer and I would give them a “100” on the exam – of course they had to miss every answer – if they even got one right – then they would only get the score of those they got right. You must know there were several True/False and Multiple Choice questions on the exam. There was also some short answer. The outcome of this crazy moment turned out to be a funny memory (at least now it is funny). I was also able to get two published articles from this event.

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

It has to be my Ph.D. later in life and the challenge of completing this goal while still working and raising a family. My wife deserves most of the credit!

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

In 2014 I became an Elder at the Hillcrest church of Christ. I have learned the importance of “service” and “encouragement” at a whole different level. I also currently serve on the Big Country Society for Human Resources executive board (BCSHRM).

Who is your role model, and why?

This is a difficult question and there are several who come to mind.

    • Billie Gill (a Christian lady who encouraged me to stay true to the Word of God and be a strong family man – in many ways she was a mother to me)
    • Claude Burns (an Elder and Christian man who gave me such good advice and the opportunity to grow as a young family man)
    • Bill O’banion (my father-in-law, who gave me a very positive and strong Christian example. Bill is also a father example to me in so many ways)
    • Jerry Drennan (a college professor who inspired me to teach by his example)
    • And the most important role model is my wife, Jackie. She is such a good Christian example in so many ways and it has been wonderful to see her influence in our children and the encouragement she continually gives me.
Phil and Jackie Vardiman

Phil and Jackie Vardiman

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

As noted above, Jerry Drennan. He was always encouraging and also pushed me to do my best. I enjoyed his classes and teaching style. I remember wanting to teach just like he did.

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

This is always an interesting question and my first thought would be to “fly”. Hard to beat this one. If I had a second choice, it would be to speak and read every language (this would be amazing and provide an outstanding learning opportunity).

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

I found my twin sister when I was 50 years old.

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

I love what I do! It is such a wonderful career and the blessings never cease. My first career enjoyment is mentoring students and my second is teaching.

Phil with some of his students

Phil with some of his students

 

Spotlight on Samantha Matta

by   |  10.09.15  |  COBA Alumni, COBA Events, COBA Staff, Careers In..., College Decisions, Current Students, Placement stories, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I attended Hardin Simmons University and majored in Mass Media and minored in Spanish. I am currently finishing my masters in higher education with a certification in Conflict Resolution & Mediation. I will graduate December 2015!

Samantha Matta

Samantha Matta

What is your work background?

I started my career with Hendrick Medical Center as their marketing coordinator. I worked for the physicians that were not employed with the hospital and were an independent branch of Hendrick called Hendrick Provider Network. My main role was to travel to the rural communities outside of Abilene and market our services of internal medicine, endocrinology, sleep therapy, and hand therapy/reconstruction to the physicians that were in our network. I worked with HMC marketing for several years and assisted with the development of the MedSpa at Hendrick where I served as the primary patient consultant as well as their marketing coordinator. I have worked in several departments at Hendrick Medical Center and I still teach classes at Hendrick Health Club that include Body Jam and Attack. Little known fact: I was also certified as a Stott Pilates instructor!

What do you do at COBA?

I currently serve as the Career Development Advisor for COBA and SITC.

What drew you to work at ACU? Why did you want to work with students?

Coming from the field of marketing with an emphasis in health care, I was ready to challenge myself with a change. Originally, I had no ties to ACU but once I went through the interview process I fell in love with the community. My gut told me I had made the right choice. I wanted to work with students because I love the atmosphere of learning and academics.

What’s the best part of working with students?

The best part about working with students is building relationships with them. Student development through a holistic approach is best described as social learning theory and the focus on how the individual acquires new ideas, behaviors, and new cognitive content. James Fowler’s first three stages of Faith Development: conventional stage, individual reflection, and faith developments can adhere to the experience and theory of students questioning their beliefs and values. These steps were integrated into theory to help illustrate the foundation of questioning a student’s transition into individual self-awareness. Working with students as they grow and develop is such a unique experience that I am so blessed to be a part of.

Samantha hosted COBA students at the Hispanic Unidos banquet held at ACU last month.

Samantha hosted COBA students at the Hispanic Unidos banquet held at ACU last month.

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

You can never have enough hobbies! I may not be a master at any of them but I will always try something new. Currently, I have taken up boxing lessons. I have a trainer and we work on sparring and kick boxing. I also enjoy painting when I have the time. I started playing the guitar two years ago….it has been a slow process. I love to cook but I am a healthy eater so Paleo is right up my alley. I love to run and I have completed two half-marathons. I love to be outside; camping, hiking, caving and rock climbing. An annual tradition I have is to attend ACL… here I come Billy Idol! I am passionate about living life with family and great friends; Carpe Diem!

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

I am a member of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Red Coats. I also am a member of the Young Professionals of Abilene through the Chamber of Commerce. I am an annual volunteer for Cancer Service’s Fashions for a Cure style show. I also volunteer at the Abilene Food Bank and Global Samaritan. I occasionally volunteer at the animal shelter.

students at hispanic heritage banquet

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

To know every language in the world; I want to be like Nicholas Cage in the City of Angels.

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

The smell of cucumbers and watermelon make me nauseated.