COBA wants to give a warm welcome to Dr. Trent McNamara, Assistant Professor of Economics. This fall, McNamara will be teaching Principles of Microeconomics and Business Statistics. Trent was born in New Zealand, grew up in Ohio, and moved to Texas in 2007 shortly before starting high school. McNamara double majored in Economics and Pure Mathematics at the University of Texas, graduating in 2015. He then continued with his education, entering into a doctorate program at Texas A&M University where he earned his Ph.D. in Economics in May 2020. Dr. McNamara has been a lecturer for Texas A&M and has also worked in consulting. Trent has been married to his wife, Shelby, for 5 years and together they have a three-year-old son, Haydn.
McNamara said that he was drawn to teaching because it’s a way to contribute to making the world a better place. He shared “I was drawn to this line of work because I enjoy teaching and being able to give back to others. Having been so fortunate to pursue my education and recognizing everyone who helped me get to where I am, I am excited to be able to give back.” He was especially drawn to teach at ACU because of the unique environment, saying noting that the people, the culture, and the relationships that he has developed at ACU have been unique and a special thing to be a part of.
Trent enjoys pushing students beyond their comfort zones to help them grow. “I enjoy helping people push the boundaries of what they thought was possible. Oftentimes, we put a lot of unnecessary constraints or doubt on ourselves – being able to positively encourage people to try something new or to learn something challenging, and to be there for them throughout that process is incredibly rewarding.”
Outside of teaching, McNamara enjoys a variety of hobbies. He said, “I find myself engaged in a lot of things. For days at home, I love to run, read, or cook. I also began woodworking recently and have built all our son’s furniture. For days away from home, you can find us camping and hiking.”
Through this position with COBA, Dr. McNamara told us that his biggest goal is to help others. “If I can make a positive difference in someone’s life each day, I would call that a success.” We pray blessings on Trent and his family as they begin a new milestone. We’re excited to see the ways that Trent will make a positive impact on the lives of COBA students and colleagues. Help us give a warm welcome Dr. McNamara and his family to Abilene and ACU by introducing yourself if you see them on campus or in town. Welcome to ACU, McNamara family!
Matt and Brittany Deeg
COBA is excited to add Dr. Matt Deeg to the faculty this year as Assistant Professor of Management. Deeg will be teaching Organizational Behavior and Compensation & Benefits Management this semester and will teach leadership and other HR/Management-focused courses. Matt earned his B.A. in Social Sciences and Organizational Studies from the University of Oklahoma, M.Ed. in Adult/Higher Education Administration from the University of Oklahoma, and Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior & Human Resource Management from University of Kansas with a research emphasis in meaningful work and why people choose to support one another in times of stress. Deeg also worked in student development for 5 years, mentoring and providing leadership development to students and organizations.
Matt and his wife, Brittany, are originally from Duncan, Oklahoma and Toledo, Ohio respectively. “We met when we were both working on the student development side of university life (separate schools). She excels at thinking deeply about any number of topics (probably why we mesh well!) and making them accessible to almost any audience. Her patience and love for others inspires me constantly.” Matt would like to introduce his pets as well, “Panther (the special one whom I bottle-fed from 1 week), Tippy (his ornery brother), and their dog brother Chase (who inspired all of Paw Patrol).” We asked Dr. Deeg a few questions so we could get to know him a little better.
Deeg was drawn to the work of teaching as he’s always been inquisitive. “I’ve always been curious about how things work and why. Growing up, I was a voracious reader and curious kid who just wanted to know stuff. In my undergraduate studies, I explored a whole lot of different majors (engineering to geology to math, and then some). I finally found my groove in the social sciences, exploring what makes people ‘tick’. The drive to become a teacher came from the influence of several faculty members who demonstrated great curiosity in subjects and exceptional care for their students. I put the Ph.D. on hold for a little while to figure out exactly what I wanted to study, and it was in the intervening time that I realized how much I loved helping students explore and develop skills that they can use throughout their lives (at work and in their communities). About 4 years into my career, I realized how influential someone’s work can be to their whole life; from there, it was easy to make that choice to focus on OB/HRM. This work truly is an incredible gift; I get to wake up each day and continue to learn new things and share what I’ve learned and am learning with others!”
Deeg was drawn to teach at ACU because he felt like it was in alignment with his own priorities. “In OB (Organizational Behavior) we talk about person-organization fit, the match an individual feels between their values and the values of a specific place. I’ve worked at a wide range of universities, from large state schools to very small liberal arts institutions. I was always attracted to places where the students came first and their successes were celebrated. So, ACU was a natural fit in that regard. But, even more so, when I was going through the job search process, ACU stood out so strongly because the values that are talked about here (love for God, for others, and for impacting the world) are the same values that I hold. The way that faith is celebrated, prized, and woven throughout an exceptional academic experience is such a gift. There was such a good match, and I was instantly drawn to the opportunity to bring my whole self to work.”
Matt loves teaching and interacting with students. “My main life purpose is helping people thrive and positively impact others; as a professor, I get the opportunity to teach (and hopefully inspire) students to go out and make a difference in others’ lives. In my college career, I had an incredible mentor named Kevin who helped me grow in my relationship with God and as a student leader. He inspired me to lean into my work with college students, and I’m so grateful for a role that allows me to continue to pay forward the impact so many professors and mentors have had in my life. College is a time when you’re still learning and have a lot of freedom to make mistakes; being a participant in this ‘life lab’ with students as they figure out who they are, who they want to be, and how they want to serve the world feeds my spirit.”
Outside of teaching, you’ll most often find Matt in the kitchen or the workshop. “Brittany and I both enjoy cooking, especially cuisines we’re not super familiar with. We’ve been cooking our way through an Asian cookbook (using my outdoor wok burner ) and recently got a cookbook of recipes from 8 countries in east Africa that we’re excited to try. I really enjoy woodworking – building lamps, desks, and the occasional dog food bowl holder. To relax after work, I also enjoy playing classical music on the piano.”
Deeg is looking forward to making a positive impact in his new position. “I’m excited to help students as they prepare to do good work wherever their life takes them – building relationships with students in class and outside of it so they have resources to draw on as they move through life. I’m looking forward to working more closely with students to do research on stress and support; the research process is such an invigorating experience full of learning opportunities. And, I’m hoping to bring my own research (on support and meaningfulness in life) into classes, either through class sessions on these topics or through honors colloquia. Additionally, I’m hoping to build strong relationships with our local business leaders to find more opportunities for our students to get practical experience.”
We’re looking forward to the ways in which Dr. Deeg will positively impact COBA students and the COBA team. Be sure to introduce yourself to Matt and Brittany as you see them on campus and in our community as we welcome them to ACU.
In this new environment of learning, more and more professors are leaning into the online platform to teach their classes and interact with their students. One such professor is long-time COBA professor, Dr. Don Pope. Dr. Pope teaches undergrad and graduate classes, and within the past year, has transitioned to teaching his classes online. While it might seem intuitive to think online classes would lack much interaction, Pope has expressed that he is seeing “more engagement than ever.” That seemed surprising to us, so we sat down with him to understand how he encourages engagement in a virtual environment.
How have you noticed “more engagement than ever” while teaching your online classes?
Dr. Don Pope
Dr. Pope explains that while the engagement might look different than an in-person class, it is still strong. “The discussion questions in the Canvas online courses provide for a more structured environment for student responses and interactions.” He went on to say that because of the way the students can engage with each other, no student dominates the discussion as they might in a face-to-face environment. He shared that the online environment is also helpful in providing more detailed video explanations for solving problems and assignments, which is “especially helpful to students who struggle to absorb lectures or students who are sick or traveling for sports.”
Specifically, during COVID, how did you work to engage your students?
“When COVID first shut down our face-to-face class delivery in March 2020, I remember looking out my office window and seeing all those Redbud trees in bloom on the east side of our building, symbolic of God’s continued blessings. About that same time, my wife and I were sitting at home on a Sunday morning watching our church service using my computer, taking our own communion using crackers and grape juice. It occurred to me that my newly online students might need encouragement besides just instruction. So, I began sending out a Sunday devotional thought each week and I have continued that.” Dr. Pope has continued to send his Sunday devotional to his online classes since March of 2020.
How have you seen the Lord move through this transition to fully teaching online?
For Dr. Pope, the transition to teaching online was more than just a COVID response. About 5 years ago, he began to lose much of his speaking voice. Unable to regain the volume he needs to speak to an in-person class, he made the decision to teach online at this time. “I really, really enjoyed classroom teaching, so teaching online is something that I had to adjust to. But having said that, I have felt Spirit-led to engage my students more with the Sunday Bible verses and asking them how I can pray for them. My spiritual interactions with my students have been greater online than before in the classroom.”
Can students still stop by and see you in person?
“Yes. Some of my online classes are for Abilene residential students, and I would really like that. I still care about each student on a personal level.”
Dr. Pope’s ability to not only adjust to online teaching but go the extra mile in making this format even more personal for each student is indicative of the intentionality he has shown to all of his students throughout his teaching career. Inspiring, equipping, and connecting with our students is more than a mission statement for Pope. He is living this out daily in the lives of his students.
We’ll admit it, we are biased. We think that we have some of the greatest business and technology faculty and staff in the country. This past year they went above and beyond to pursue excellence and care for students during the challenging school year. We’re excited to announce those faculty and staff who were named as 2020-2021 COBA award winners for the Department of Management Sciences, the Department of Accounting and Finance, and the School of Information Technology and Computing.
Dr. Phil Vardiman
By student vote, the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year for the Department of Management Sciences is Dr. Phil Vardiman. Dr. Vardiman is a beloved professor who is known for his jokes, his enthusiasm, and his care for his students. He is often seen engaging with students in his office, the classroom, or on walks around campus. Presley Davis (’21) shared, “He has continued to be my number one supporter throughout my time with COBA. He cares for his students and wants to share our successes. He’s a lovely professor and friend.”
Skylar Morris (’21) expressed his gratitude for Dr. Vardiman saying, “This man is single-handedly the reason I am happy where I’m at with my choice of major and career. He is so exciting, passionate, and happy to be teaching us. He is also the reason I am pursuing grad school because he has made me feel like I can be better. Every time I have an accomplishment, I want to tell him because he cares so much about his students and gets so genuinely excited. This man is truly the best professor I’ve had.”
Dr. Jody Jones
By student vote, the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year for the Department of Accounting and Finance is Dr. Jody Jones, another widespread student favorite. A newer addition to the COBA faculty, he stands out for his engagement with students and his ability to simplify hard topics. Senior finance major, Jon Bennett, explained, “He makes the topics interesting and applicable to real life. He goes above and beyond for his students. He makes going to class seem fun even at 8:00 AM.” Dr. Jones shared that it is a blessing and honor to know you are appreciated by your students and peers and to know one is valued.
Rebekah Jones, a senior finance and marketing major, expressed the impact Dr. Jones has had on her. “Jody goes above and beyond to ensure his students’ success not only in college but also post-graduation. His class has offered the most real-world applicable information in my COBA experience. Additionally, the level of difficulty is at a perfect point where you are motivated to try hard and learn, but he always offers grace with grades if you show that you are willing to work hard and redo assignments. Jody has a great sense of humor which makes him very approachable and easy to talk to before or after class. I appreciate getting to know him a bit each class and learn from his experiences. So much of why I love ACU is because of the opportunities there are to get to know professors who truly care about you – Jody has exemplified that.”
Dr. Brian Burton
By student vote, the 2020-2021 SITC Teacher of the Year is Dr. Brian Burton. Senior digital entertainment technology major Camila Rodriguez shared, “Dr. Burton is an amazing mentor. He always pushes us to do our best work and encourages us to pursue our goals and ambitions.” Dr. Burton is a valuable member of the SITC team and SITC Director Dr. John Homer shares why. “Dr. Burton has led the DET program for more than a decade, mentoring and working with every student who has gone through. He is dedicated to his work and cares deeply about his students. I think this award shows that his students feel similarly about him.”
Dr. Mindy Welch
Finally, the 2020-2021 Online Teacher of the Year is Dr. Mindy Welch. As a member of the ACU Dallas online team, Mindy has been a valuable asset to her students. Dr. Jennifer Golden explained that Dr. Welch loves her ACU students. “She is patient, encouraging, helpful, and a great professor overall. She receives consistent exceptional feedback in her classes. It is a pure joy to work with her because she is always coming up with new and innovative ideas to make the online classroom engaging, challenging, and spiritually encouraging. I cannot think of a better person for our Online Teacher of the Year.”
Director of the online MBA program, Dr. Vardiman, expressed, “Mindy is a teacher who not only wants her students to learn but also succeed in life. She loves teaching!!! Mindy is willing to go the extra mile for each of her students. She is wonderful to work with and sets the bar very high in her teaching style. She shares the example of Christ in how she cares for her students.” Upon receiving the award, Dr. Welch shared, “Honestly, it means so much to me! I know that Christian higher education is an act of service in God’s Kingdom. It is about preparing the next generation to show passion and leadership. Getting an award like this is just an affirmation from God that I am where he needs me to be.”
The Dean’s Award for Research was given to Dr. Monty Lynn for his outstanding research that resulted in the publication of two books this summer. Dr. Lynn hopes his research results in helping others. “Having these books recognized with the Dean’s Award for Research is an honor and adds to the hope that these works make a contribution to scholars, practitioners, the church, and students.”
Dr. Monty Lynn
Dr. Lynn’s research and the resulting books were born from his own experiences in the classroom and his desire to teach others how to use their vocation to reach out to help a hurting world. “Several years ago, a couple of ACU business students inquired about how they might apply what they had learned in business within developing economies. Because of their inquisitiveness, we created a special topics course in the class, International Poverty and Development. The course was cataloged a couple of years later and we still offer it today. Although my training in this field was limited, I looked for learning and research opportunities. Two observations became clear along the way. One was that while many Christian congregations engaged in relief and development activities, they often did so without the benefit of international development insights. A second observation was that a wonderful history of Christian engagement in relief, development, and advocacy existed but few knew the actors or ideas that flowered through the ages.”
Dr. Lynn went on to explain how the books came to fruition. “I pursued these two questions and two books were published in summer 2021 which are the fruit of that labor. With the help of Rob Gailey (Point Loma Nazarene University) and Derran Reese (ACU), Development in Mission was released by ACU Press. It attempts to surface fresh insights in missions and development that can aid churches and individuals who engage in global poverty alleviation. The second book, Christian Compassion published by Wipf & Stock, recounts in quick procession, the thoughts and actions of Christians endeavoring to extend the love of Christ to others, from the first century to the present.”
The 2020-2021 COBA Staff Person of the Year was awarded to Professional Development Manager Steph Brown. Steph has taken the COBA professional development program to the next level with the implementation of COBA EDGE which helps prepare students for internships and jobs beginning their freshman year. She keeps business and technology students engaged and on track as they learn and grow professionally during their time in the college. Dean Brad Crisp explained why Steph is such a valuable member of the COBA team. “Steph took on two significant challenges for the college over the last year. First, she took over the Internship for Credit courses for each major, both administering the growing program and teaching the academic portion of the students’ internship course experience. Internships make a huge difference in the professional development and career placement of our students. Second, Steph partnered in the pilot of the Suitable platform, which was initially called Accelerate in the spring and will be called Compass this fall. COBA believes strongly in holistic student development, and we appreciate Steph’s contributions to not only help our students grow professionally but in all parts of their lives.”
Steph was humbled by the honor. “The award is, of course, sincerely appreciated. In all transparency, however, I have a difficult time accepting an award for myself when I have witnessed our other staff members have such a positive impact themselves. The past year has shown how every staff person in COBA has risen to the occasion and taken care of business, no pun intended. They have taken more responsibilities on top of their existing initiatives and done it with such a spirit of collegiality. I care for my colleagues and feel cared for by them. That, in itself, is better than receiving a reward.”
Dr. James Prather
The Outstanding Junior Faculty Member Award was given to SITC professor Dr. James Prather. Dr. Prather is known for engaging with students both inside and outside the classroom to help them pursue their goals. He said, “The Weathers Fellowship for Outstanding Junior Faculty is indicative of the excellent support we have here at ACU for teaching and research. I’m excited for what this award will enable me to do with my students over the next year. Many talented faculty have received this award in the past and I’m honored to be counted among their number.”
Dean Crisp added, “Drawing on his education in computer science and biblical studies, Dr. James Prather combines his passion for faith and technology in ways that inform and strengthen his teaching, scholarship, and service. He actively mentors students spiritually, inside and outside of class. James engages students in undergraduate research, supervising students as they present research at international conferences. And, he is a fun and loyal colleague. Dr. Prather shows that the future is bright for the School of Information Technology and Computing.”
Finally, the Dean’s Award for Service and Leadership was given to all of the COBA faculty and staff. Juggling what the year brought forth was not an easy task. Dr. Crisp was proud of the way the faculty and staff members showed students and their colleagues’ dedication and perseverance throughout the challenges of the pandemic.
Dr. Brad Crisp
“As I have watched COBA faculty and staff navigate a pandemic over the last year or more, I have seen our faculty and staff serving and leading in so many ways beyond their normal roles. Faculty learned new skills in online teaching, taught in classrooms scattered all across campus (while also engaging the students on Zoom), engaged in important and difficult conversations about how we can better serve our students, and all the while cared for students dealing with health challenges and other disruptions. And, our staff continued to advance their individual responsibilities while rising to unique challenges related to the pandemic, building renovations, the winter storm, and so much more. I couldn’t give the Dean’s Award for Service and Leadership to just one individual this year because all of our faculty and staff are so deserving.”
As a college, our vision is to inspire, equip and connect Christian business and technology professionals to honor God and bless the world. The past year has taught us that this vision is more than words on a page. This vision came alive in countless classrooms and offices all over this campus and inspires us to be the change we want to see. Let’s go change the world, Wildcats.
When Dustin Marshall (’07) graduated from ACU with an undergraduate degree in accounting and a Master in Accountancy in 2008, he wasn’t sure how the work he was going to do would allow him to put his faith into practice in the workplace. Thirteen years later, the answer is clear.
One of the tenets of the College of Business Administration is encouraging students and alumni to see all work as ministry. Marshall, now a CPA and Assurance partner at Ernst & Young LLP, can see now that the size of the firm along with the flexibility he has at the company allows him to do Kingdom work both inside and outside of the office.
“One of the things I really struggled with right out of college was feeling as if what I was doing for a living did not have a direct or significant impact on the world or even my community, so it was hard to feel like I was honoring God or blessing the world,” Marshall said. “After much prayer and self-reflection, it was revealed to me that God gave me the gifts he did for a reason and that there are numerous ways that I am able to honor him and bless others in my day-to-day activities at work.”
Faith is important to Marshall in his day-to-day interactions.
“So much of my work is building relationships,” he said. “There are multiple opportunities to connect with individuals on both a professional and personal level, and though I cannot openly discuss my faith unless directly asked, it is ever-present in every interaction that I have. One of my values is building relationships based on doing the right thing. My faith is the basis for living out that value.”
Marshall understands that his success in the business world is built on interacting with others, whether it be building professional relationships with co-workers and clients or the apprenticeship-like model that is public accounting. Not only did COBA give Marshall the foundation of knowledge to enter the business world, but his time at ACU and in the college helped shape him.
“COBA gave me the solid business foundation to confidently carry out those interactions and helped develop me as a person to do so with compassion, kindness and caring for those I interact within a business setting,” he said. “It is impossible to build up without having a firm foundation, and ACU provided that foundation.”
Marshall advises current students to get plugged in at ACU and build their support system, saying, “Don’t be shy! There are so many opportunities at ACU to get plugged in and involved. Find your spot and allow yourself to grow. Join a fraternity/sorority. Join other clubs on campus. Play every intramural sport possible. I was lucky enough to make friends at ACU that I have been able to rely on heavily after graduation.”
The friends and mentors Marshall gained at ACU have created lasting memories for him.
“I enjoyed every second spent with my fraternity,” Marshall said. “Sing Song was a great experience – not so much Sing Song practice. The long study sessions that were spent in the COBA atrium while taking numerous breaks to talk to friends walking through. Time spent in the Quiet Place. The most specific memory I have is my last semester in the MAcc program when it was difficult to stay motivated and I felt like I couldn’t wait to graduate, only to spend my very last class at ACU sitting in Dr. Perkins’ class listening to him play his guitar and read Oh, the Places You’ll Go! to us and wishing that class would never end because I did not want to leave.”
Marshall gives special mention of two professors who greatly impacted him.
“I enjoyed all of the accounting professors but I would have to give specific acknowledgment to Mr. (Bill) Fowler and Dr. (John) Neill,” Marshall said. “Fowler was invaluable in helping us keep everything in perspective and always taking the time to discuss topics outside of accounting. Dr. Neill was a great teacher and his jokes always kept me laughing. I still talk to both of them on a fairly regular basis.”
Marshall says he “could not recommend ACU highly enough” and touts the university as being the perfect size where the opportunities are boundless. ACU became the place where he grew his own faith. He encourages current students to be introspective and active in their spiritual journey.
“Growing in your faith-life is hard after school,” he said. “Reflecting back, I was essentially ‘spoon fed’ faith from the day I was born. I grew up in the church, and I was surrounded by like-minded individuals, which only increased when I stepped on ACU’s campus. At ACU, you have daily Chapel, you pray before class and Bible studies are plentiful. It was a huge adjustment after graduation when I became a lot more responsible for my own faith walk.”
While the adjustment outside of the ACU campus might have been hard, Marshall is living out his faith in the workplace as a quiet ambassador for COBA alumni who “honor God and bless the world.”
At a time when society can change as frequently and quickly as the Texas weather, Jozell Brister has been a stalwart presence in the College of Business Administration over the last three decades. Her steady presence, excellent eye for details, knowledge of the subject matter and compassion for her students have established her among alumni and peers as a “vision keeper.”
Brister came to ACU in 1980 to teach microeconomics, macroeconomics, and money and banking and became a trailblazer for female faculty members as she led a number of firsts for the college. In addition to teaching, she served as associate dean and as director of the first advising center for business students. She was instrumental in planning the design of the Mabee Business Building and went on multiple fundraising trips with COBA’s dean at the time, Dr. Bill Petty. Dr. Monty Lynn reflected, “She helped keep things running during a time of growth and with a college that was bursting at the seams.”
She’s helped educate generations of ACU students, seeing the children of parents she once taught occupy the same spot in her classroom. She’s been a mentor and role model for faculty as well. Lynn was grateful for the way Brister not only welcomed him to COBA but showed him how to be a teacher as well. The pair developed a strong friendship and would later collaborate on numerous research projects.
“Jozell’s knowledge of economics is deep and precise,” Lynn said. “When I was a young faculty member, I felt the need to do some catch-up work in microeconomics. I’ve never had the opportunity to take the course in my undergraduate studies. A psychology professor I knew had the same desire. We teamed up and sat side-by-side in MBB 201, sweating it out on all of those challenging exams next to our sophomore colleagues. I’m not sure who was more intimidated by whom.”
We asked Brister to share with us some of her memories and recollections about her time teaching at ACU.
What are some of your favorite memories about your time teaching at ACU?
My favorite memories are from the classroom. There were funny things that happened and some endearing things that I remember so fondly. Let me share what was a funny classroom experience for me.
One time on the first day of class, a student came down after class to talk to me. Typically, students would never ask certain questions in class. For example, after class, they would ask me about a test day scheduled in the syllabus when they had to be in Arkansas to be the best man or maid of honor in a wedding. They would want to know if they could make up a test scheduled on that day. This time a tall, handsome, young man was standing with a group of students waiting to ask me questions.
When it was his turn, he said, “Miss Brister, I’ve heard this rumor about you.” I thought he was going to say, “I’ve heard your tests are impossible,” or something like that. Instead, he said, “Is it true that the reason you always wear long sleeves to class is because you have so many tattoos?” Well, I do not have even one tattoo and have never been inclined to get one. So, I just burst out laughing. I imagine some of this young man’s buddies put him up to asking me that question. As it turned out, this very bright young man graduated with a 4.0 GPA and I had him as a student in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and money and banking. We became good friends over his years at ACU.
Many of my endearing classroom experiences were from my international students. For example, I had this clear plastic bag with samples of international currencies and coins from all over the world. Whenever I started the unit on money and banking, I would pass this bag around the classroom so the students could see what other countries’ currencies and coins looked like. Many other countries have beautiful currencies that are colorful and exquisite with intricate designs. My international students would look through the samples I had collected to see if their countries were represented. If they did not see their country’s currency, they would bring some samples to add to my collection. I was touched by their pride for their countries and their joy in helping me to complete my collection of international currencies.
Who were the people that inspired you?
There are so many people who have inspired me. I cannot list them by name because I would be sure to leave out someone very dear to me. So, I will just describe them in groups:
- My colleagues in COBA. They are such genuinely good, talented and wonderful individuals.
- My former student assistants (teaching assistants). They saved me so many times. They were competent, diligent, loyal and honest; and they knew more about the computer and how to use it for grading, etc., than I did.
- All the former and current deans of COBA. They had the vision and the leadership skills to lead the college into the future. All COBA owes a great debt of gratitude to these outstanding men.
- The staff of COBA. They are the people who made the college work properly each day. They were the internal combustion engine for COBA. Working behind the scenes, they guided students, helped the faculty with all their needs and set the standard for excellence throughout the college.
- The wonderful people who donated to COBA. Their unselfish gifts helped the college with special programs for students, research and travel for the faculty, and current technology for classrooms and faculty offices.
What did you find most helpful in connecting with and inspiring others?
I have found that a big smile goes a long way in this old world. Put humility together with a big smile and things tend to work out for the best.
What did you hope each of your students would learn from you?
I hoped every day that my students would see a spark of Christianity in the things I said and the way I treated my students. My discipline was economics and with respect to my teaching in that area, my goal was for students to have a strong idea of how to make the economy work for everyone and especially for the poor and disadvantaged.
If you could name what your legacy would be, what would you hope others would say about you?
I would hope that others would say that I was a Christian teacher, a helpful colleague and a happy, loyal Wildcat! In addition, I would be so pleased if others said that I was a good friend, someone without deceit or pretention.
COBA is honoring Jozell Brister by naming the second-floor classroom wing after her, a place where she spent so much time and invested so heavily into her students and colleagues. If you’d like to honor Jozell by donating to this campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.