If you go to any ACU home game, you are sure to see Dr. Jonathan Stewart, finance professor, sitting in the stands or standing on the sidelines, cheering on the Wildcats. This year, Dr. Stewart is ACU’s Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR). FARs are chosen to help create a caring and supportive campus environment to grow and advocate for student-athletes. The FAR is involved in helping make sure that student-athletes have the appropriate systems and environments in place so that they can succeed in academics and as a person.
Dr. Jonathan Stewart
Dr. Stewart has taught Financial Management, a required class for all business majors, for the last fifteen years and in doing so, has felt privileged to meet so many students. Being the FAR allows him to get to know students in other majors with whom he would not normally interact and build relationships and friendships with them. Dr. Stewart is in charge of overseeing a committee that checks student-athlete eligibility and making sure they are meeting NCAA and ACU requirements. ACU only allows student-athletes to miss a certain amount of classes, so Dr. Stewart approves travel schedules. A large part of his job is just being available to student-athletes so that they can feel comfortable talking to him about difficulties or just to chat. Dr. Stewart tries to go by practices and travels with each team at least once so they can see his face and become familiar with him. His favorite part of the job is coordinating the guest coaching program. Student-athletes nominate their favorite faculty and staff to be honored as guest coaches. Guest coaches can go to practices, watch film, attend pregame meals, and see what the student-athletes do day-to-day beyond the classroom. Dr. Stewart loves to see how it blesses the faculty and staff that get nominated and meeting those individuals who have such a strong positive influence on ACU’s student-athletes. “I get to meet the faculty and staff that the students love,” said Dr. Stewart. “It is also good for them to see how much time, dedication, and love the student-athletes put into what they do.”
Working as ACU’s FAR certainly aligns with Dr. Stewart’s calling to mentor and teach. It allows him to know and interact with a much bigger group of students, all with different concerns, majors, and backgrounds. “I am still learning and trying to find my way,” said Dr. Stewart. “It is fun to say hi to people while I am walking around campus or checking up on how things are with students in the Bean or in chapel.” Dr. Stewart tries to practice mindful prayer for the student-athletes. For example, there always injuries and physical struggles in athletics, so when Dr. Stewart sees someone in a brace or on crutches, he says that he prays for their healing and peace. “It can be stressful for an injured athlete to not compete and be with the team. I try to be really intentional about praying for them and following up on that,” says Dr. Stewart. Student-athletes also have to be exceptional time managers to succeed in the long run. Dr. Stewart prays for their ability to be well-organized and uncommonly focused and makes sure to be available to help students achieve those goals.
Like the rest of us, Dr. Stewart was very excited about having ACU football back on campus in the brand-new Anthony Stadium. In particular, Dr. Stewart has really enjoyed the opportunities that the stadium has provided for communities at ACU and in Abilene. He enjoys walking through tailgates and seeing students setting up their tents and alumni catching up with each other. In Dr. Stewart’s eyes, the stadium has brought about a great improvement and positive effect upon ACU culture, especially when it comes to athletics. “I hope that the excitement that having a home stadium has created will bleed over into other athletic events,” said Dr. Stewart. “We can use this as a way to support and encourage each other no matter if we are a professor, student, athlete, or alumni and focus on building relationships and improving our community.”
Be sure to come say hi to Dr. Stewart at all of our home games and cheer on our student-athletes. Go Wildcats!
When you walk into Dr. Monty Lynn’s office, you are struck with a sense of peace and quiet and are greeted with a warm handshake and an even warmer smile. Talking with him, you get the sense that you are heard and paid attention to, that everything said in that room is important to him. Recently, Dr. Lynn was honored with the Christian Business Faculty Association’s Teaching Award. Once a year, business faculties in a network of 110 faith-based schools meet to share ideas about teaching and research and to honor outstanding members in the CBFA. The CBFA Teaching Award was established by the Christian Business Faculty Association to perpetuate Christ-like teaching and to recognize Christian business faculty members who emulate the character, engagement, and calling of Christ to the work and ministry of transformational education. These are all certainly descriptors of Monty Lynn and we could not think of a more fitting person to receive this award.
Dr. Lynn is held in very high esteem by his peers and students. Mark Phillips, Professor and Management Sciences Department Chair, describes Dr. Lynn as the ‘face’ of COBA to many generations of new business students, as they begin their academic career in Dr. Lynn’s Intro to Business course. Phillips recalls students describing Dr. Lynn as incredibly, unbelievably nice, which made it all the more shocking when they learned that he gives such hard exams. “Everything he does is accomplished with excellence and grace,” says Phillips. “Monty exemplifies the type of faculty member we try to hire and retain.” Dr. Lynn treats everyone with the utmost respect; you are always given his undivided attention and he is very intentional in the curriculums that he teaches and the advice that he gives. He teaches business in a context that reflects how one can use their skills to benefit others and to be a selfless person in the world. Dr. Lynn invests in his students. He is gifted in his ability to leave a lasting impression on those who encounter his words of wisdom. While teaching students the fundamentals of business, he is also instilling in future generations how to combat the challenges of this world with an empathetic heart and a servant’s mentality. Elisabeth Danelski, a junior finance major, and Dr. Lynn’s student worker, said that Dr. Lynn is one of the biggest blessings she has received in her time here at ACU. “Now he is not only my mentor but someone who I share my daily stories with. I come to him when I’m at my wits end seeking advice and most importantly, someone who I hope to have in my life long after I graduate,” she said. “I am so excited the humblest person I know is receiving recognition for the dedication and passion he brings to his field in such a Christ-like manner.”
It is clear how others see Dr. Lynn – gracious, intentional, and Christ-like. Dr. Lynn says that he always imagines himself as a student when he teaches a class and asks himself what he would want to learn, what he would be curious about, and what he would need to know. Dr. Lynn said that no class of his is ever the same. “I always tweak my classes every semester,” he said. “You have to change because things change in business constantly; there are always new examples, insights, and experiences.” Dr. Lynn’s engagement with his students is evident in this way; he makes every semester better and more relevant to that specific group of students so that they can learn and grow in the specific ways they need. His intentionality with students makes him beloved. Dr. Lynn’s commitment to lifelong learning also contributes to his status as an excellent teacher. It says something when a teacher is more eager to learn than they are to teach and his love for learning shows in the way he carries himself in the classroom. He treats every day as an opportunity to gain a new perspective and to allow the experiences of others to change the way he sees this world. We could not be more proud to call Dr. Lynn one of our own and are excited to see how he continues to teach and impact every student that walks into his classroom.
In 2014, Wildcat Software was started as part of the Griggs Center’s Wildcat Ventures, a program where students create and run their own small business. Wildcat Software provides software development to clients. Employees of Wildcat Software are generally technology students – students with majors such as Computer Science, Information Technology, Digital Entertainment Technology, and Management Information Systems – and are given access to cutting edge technology to produce high quality work at a reasonable rate. Student developers take the requirements they receive from clients and build out the software to meet their demands. They break down tasks step by step and are in charge of meeting with the client throughout the process to ensure that the software is what the client wants. The overall goal of Wildcat Software is to provide custom software solutions to a wide range of clients, which include small local business as well as larger corporations and banks across the nation.
One of Wildcat Software’s most recent projects was developing an app for ACU Theatre. The ACU Theatre Department contacted Wildcat Software through the library’s Innovation Foundry, wanting a mobile platform that would help audiences look for shows as well as allow for mobile ticket sales. They also wanted users to be able to view showtimes for the current season and purchase tickets not just for a single show, but for the entire season. Colin Blanchard and Holly Buff, two senior developers at the company, and Gideon Luck, project manager, were the Wildcat Software employees assigned to this project. The WS team met with the client to get an idea of what they wanted and then began to build mock-ups, outlining the basic form of the app with wireframes so that the client could get a feel for what it would look like. After approval by ACU Theatre, the actual development began. The development team used PhoneGap with cross-platform HTML and Java, which allowed the app to work on both iPhones and Androids. In PhoneGap, developers tested the app, deployed it to a device, wrote the native code, and built the app into devices which were then brought to the client. The app was published to the App Store and Google Play in August. The ACU Theatre app was tested and ready in time to make ACU Theatre’s Homecoming production of Cats easy and accessible for students, alumni, and theatre lovers. You can download ACU Theatre in the App Store or Google Play for free today! (App Store:https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/acu-theatre/id1270835292?mt=8, Google Play:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.acutheatre.app&hl=en)
Working for Wildcat Software gives student employees the skills and experience necessary for their future careers. Additionally, student employees get to see beyond the technical aspects of their job and learn how a business operates. Colin Blanchard, Senior Developer, said “it is very interesting working for a company run by my peers. I get to be more involved in the client and business side.” Blanchard noted that his favorite project with the company was building their own website. “It was fun because it was for us and by us, we got to make it what we wanted.” Virginia Pettit, Senior Developer, has also enjoyed her time as a student employee of Wildcat Software. She explained that the command structure is much more laidback because of the student-run aspect of the company, but thinks that there is a bigger sense of pride and accomplishment when they achieve things since they are students and it feels more like a team than a corporate environment. Pettit says she loves learning new things in her job and being able to teach them to others. “When we worked on making our own website, I got to mentor junior developers and teach them a lot about the job and working with web technologies,” she said. “I have input on big decisions and I know my opinion matters.”
Wildcat Software is constantly growing in numbers of employees and clients. Soon the company will be moving into their own office down the hall from the Griggs Center, which will help to establish the company and give them even more tools they need to continue doing excellent work. If you would like to learn more about Wildcat Software, you can visit their website at http://wildcatsoftware.net. At the moment, they are looking for someone to replace their current CEO, Nik Grau, who will graduate soon. If you are interested, apply today under the ‘Join Our Team’ tab on their website and email a resume and cover letter to Nik Grau at email@example.com. This position is a non-technical position and no technical experience is required. If you have any questions, email Brandon DeLano at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by his office MBB 256.