What is your educational background?
I majored in accounting at ACU, completed an MBA at UT with an emphasis in change management, and received my PhD in Information Systems from UT. Accounting was a great way to learn about business, the MBA broadened that experience and my interest in change management created a springboard into Information Systems.
What is your work background?
My audit experience at Arthur Andersen was a fantastic way to learn about business. I spent a lot of time in nonprofit work. I worked for a brokerage firm, worked in real estate, for a tech start-up – which was actually one of the first internet providers, and on the consolidated financial statements for the U.S. government. It was a great way to learn about a lot of different organizations.
My experience in consulting allowed me to dive deeper into how organizations use both financial aspect and the systems aspect to execute tasks. I witnessed many interesting reactions to how technology is used. This is how I became interested in technology. It is just a piece of software, but people have different reactions to what it should do and how it should be used. This experience raised some interesting questions for me, ultimately leading me to pursue graduate work.
What do you teach at ACU?
I teach Systems Analysis and Design, which is a smaller project-based course focused on an organizational problem, where technology is part of the solution. I also teach Management Information Systems, which focuses on what business students need to know about technology and how information technology is used within the organization.
What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?
I am a sponsor of the ACU chapter of the Association of Information Systems, I am an advisory member of the student-run software company, Wildcat Software, and Director of the School of Information Technology & Computing, which is an academic unit within the College of Business Administration with majors in computer science, digital entertainment technology, information systems, and information technology. Most recently, I have been named Associate Dean for Graduate Business and charged with executing the launch of COBA’s new online MBA program.
What drew you to teaching?
I had a set of mentors that helped me begin thinking about academia not long after I graduated from college. Jack Griggs, former dean of COBA and one of my professors, would call once a year and ask about what I was going to do with my life. He encouraged me to think about being a professor. Also, when I was in Maryland, several of the folks that I met in church were professors. The interactions with them encouraged me to think about the benefits of being a professor, including teaching and research.
What’s the best part of working with students?
I am at ACU because I want to know students. During my first semester at ACU, I spent more time with students than during the five years I spent at Indiana. It wasn’t because I am a different person here, it was because the expectation was different. Students did not expect to to know their faculty and the reverse is true as well. ACU encourages those type of relationships and I enjoy spending time with students. I appreciate the opportunities to be involved in student organizations, go to chapel or lunch with students, have a chance to learn about what is important to them and be able to speak into their life in small ways.
Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?
I spend a lot of time going to sports and other events for my sons. I like to play golf, sing on the praise team at Highland, and I serve on two nonprofit boards.
Do you have a good story from your early career in teaching?
When I was at Indiana, I was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery as part of the treatment. This was right before my third year of teaching. I remember how much that life event changed my perspective. During the process of recovery and going through radiation, being able to teach was a bright spot that provided a lot of joy during that time.
Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant
in your career.
I published some papers in journals and I’m very proud of those accomplishments. I don’t believe that most people understand how much time is involved in that process. There is a paper published a couple of years ago, that I worked on for about 15 years. This was a test of perseverance more than anything else, however, it was a great accomplishment.
I have also enjoyed consulting over the years. I wrote the business plan for one of the nonprofits that I serve and I have enjoyed seeing how far they have come.
I am proud of the recent ABET accreditation of the School of IT & Computing and in my work with curriculum revision, for the business core and now, in the creation of the MBA curriculum.
Who was your most inspirational professor and why?
Dr. Don Jackson, who taught economics, was a charismatic and enjoyable professor. He served as Deputy Director for Administration, Programs, and Resources at the National Security Agency (NSA) in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He often used the phrase, “I could tell you more, but I’d have to kill you.” Also as I mentioned before, Jack Griggs’ influence was definitely pivotal in my college experience and in my life.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I would like to have the ability to slow down time.
What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?
Right out of college, I was on a church planting team in Washington, D.C. and I also proposed to my wife on the summit of a mountain in Salzburg, Austria because her favorite movie is The Sound of Music.
What would you really want students and alums to know about you?
I would actually like for students to know that God creates each of us with purpose. I like to talk to students about how to find meaning in what you’re doing. For some, desire for meaning and faith may mean changing careers or going into ministry. For most of us, it means learning how to honor God in our daily lives. Having been involved in church planting, I believe it is easy to move across the country and say that you want to follow God. However, it is hard to actually live on a day-to-day basis in that way. More of following God, is in the process of making the small choices to serve him daily.