Meet the Dean Tour Launched

Dr. Brad Crisp officially began his tenure as Dean of the College of Business Administration in May and has been building an agenda since then for his new role. One of the items on that agenda has been to reach out to and connect with alumni from COBA. Thus, the idea for the “Meet the Dean Tour” was born and is now in full swing.

Dr. Brad Crisp, Dean of the College of Business Administration

Dr. Brad Crisp, Dean of the College of Business Administration


Starting in Abilene with 56 alumni and friends, Dr. Crisp described ACU’s long standing success in business education and our recent path of progress with our School of Information Technology and Computing, Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy, Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership, and a new online MBA program.


Meeting with COBA alumni in Austin

Meeting with COBA alumni in Austin.


Along with our first event in Abilene, alumni and friends gathered in Austin and San Antonio October 11-12th for a Meet the Dean lunch in each city.  The opportunity to network with business and technology professionals and learn about the growing opportunities with our academic programs was enjoyed by 28 attendees at each event.  Alumni who graduated within the past 10 years joined Dr. Crisp for a “Beat the Dean” event at Top Golf in San Antonio as they attempted to best the new Dean. It was a fun time of networking with about 20 alums, and Dr. Crisp was able to withstand the challenge.


COBA Alum at the Beat the Dean San Antonio event

COBA Alum at the Beat the Dean San Antonio event


The next stops for the tour are Dallas on October 27 and Fort Worth on October 28, followed by a tour stop in the Silicon Valley on November 2.  The tour will finish on November 7 and 8 in Houston.  We want to give a big thank you to our tour sponsor, Steve Green and Anvil II Management. We are also very grateful for sponsorship of the following city stops:


Abilene: David Swearingen and Johnson & Johnson

Austin: Bill & Jan McClellan and Gary Skidmore

Dallas: Heritage Christian College and Partner Source


To our alumni and friends, your support of our work to educate business and technology professionals for Christian service and leadership throughout the world is a great encouragement to us.  We hope that you’ll register to attend one of the remaining dates on the Meet the Dean tour.  For information on the dates and to register, please click this link.

COBA Names Crisp as New Dean

COBA is excited to announce that Dr. Brad Crisp has been named as the new Dean for the College of Business Administration.


Dr. Brad Crisp

Dr. Brad Crisp


In a statement from the Provost’s office, Dr. Robert Rhodes said, “Based on the recommendation of the search committee, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Brad Crisp as the Dean of the College of Business Administration effective May 9, 2016.

During his 10 years on the faculty at ACU, Dr. Crisp has served as director of the School of Information Technology and Computing, which earned ABET accreditation under his leadership; and he launched the online Master of Business Administration as its first director.

I am confident in his ability to lead the College of Business Administration. He is committed to supporting faculty and to preparing students well through his continued commitment to academic excellence and his sharp focus on intentional Christian spiritual formation.

Dr. Crisp is a 1993 COBA graduate and holds an MBA and a Ph.D from the University of Texas. Brad is married to Jennifer, and they have two sons, Jon and Caleb.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Crisp as he begins his tenure as Dean.


Dr. Rick Lytle partners with CEO Forum and Focus on the Family

What has Dr. Rick Lytle, Dean of the College of Business, been up to in the past year?

Abilene Christian University, 2007-05-14

Dr. Rick Lytle, Dean
Photo Credit: Steve Butman Photography

The answer is a lot. Dr. Lytle was given a unique opportunity to do post-doctoral work with the Marketing Insights team at Walmart headquarters, completed a research fellowship with CEO Forum, and was named to the board of directors for Focus on the Family.  We’re proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Lytle and we’re excited for the opportunities that this will bring to our COBA students.   Read more about Dr. Lytle’s professional endeavors in ACU news.


“Let us come before Him with Thanksgiving…”

A note from Dr. Lytle:

In 1789, president George Washington declared that our nation should take time to bow its head and give thanks to almighty God for his sovereignty and provision and “that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions…”  For some 235 years our nation has honored president Washington’s admonition to give thanks.  This week, I invite you to join me in setting aside time to celebrate God’s goodness by gathering with family and friends to share a meal but also to give thanks to the one and only God who has blessed us as a nation.

Washington's prayer at Valley Forge

We had a chance to chat with a few of our students as they were wrapping up their school day yesterday. We asked them to share with us things they were thankful for. Here’s some of the comments they shared: “relationships with professors; the COBA family; professors and the way they care about us and lead us; the way we talk about the balance between faith and money; the study abroad opportunities; our awesome advisors.”

The Oxford study abroad group with Dr. Don Pope (and wife, Beth) and Drs. Mark and Laura Phillips

The faculty and staff in the College of Business are grateful for our incredible students. We know their families are looking forward to this break to be with them and love on them. Please join us in continuing to keep the Reid family in our thoughts and prayers during this time.  We hope you have a blessed time together, safe travels and that you return to us refreshed and renewed, and ready to finish the semester strong.

“Come let us sing with joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our Salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving, and extol him with music and song.” Psalm 95:1-2

Customer service lesson: Can I pump your gas for you?

Dr. Lytle’s Consumer Behavior had an interesting class project: to go see if they could pump gas for Shell station customers. Lytle tasked the students with finding out if customers were interested in having their gas pumped, oil level checked, windshield cleaned and tire pressure checked. There was no cost for this service – students just asked the customers to answer a few questions in exchange for the service. Click on over to the Abilene Reporter-News to read how the project went and what our students learned about consumer behavior by pumping gas.

Dr. Lytle explains to the class how this research project will work

Dr. Lytle shows his Consumer Behavior class how to properly clean a windshield

Learning how to check oil levels

Dean Chronicles: The Pretty Good Student

May you be challenged to stand out from the crowd as we begin a new school year. A message from Dr. Rick Lytle:

After working with undergraduate business students at two universities for nearly twenty years, I’m very proud of the many who stand out from the crowd.

But I can also tell you that many students desire to be average or common. Most freshmen cower regarding greatness. They begin their collegiate experience attending to generic life. Their visions are shallow, myopic, and focused mainly on personal survival. Their benchmarks are set predominantly by their peers and society at large.

Few students have visions of excellence or distinction when they enter college. That is why I have dedicated my life to “higher education” – which is another way to say, “education from above” that is powered by God’s perspective. I seek to create visions of excellence and produce a brand of education that is eternal. I hope and pray someday all my students see their true potential.

Each year, my first attack against the notion of generic comes at the beginning of the semester. I have my students stand in our first class together and read aloud Charles Osgood’s poem entitled “Pretty Good.” I read the poem aloud. Students repeat the refrain, “pretty good.” Imagine the classroom scene the first day of class as a freshman.

There was once a pretty good student who sat in a pretty good class.
And he had a pretty good teacher who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn’t terrific at reading. He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math.
But for him, education was leading straight down a pretty good path.
He didn’t find school too exciting, though he wanted to do pretty well.
He did have some trouble with writing because nobody had taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems, pretty good was regarded as fine.
Five plus five needn’t always add up to ten. A pretty good answer was nine.
The pretty good class that he sat in was there in a pretty good school.
And this student was not an exception. On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to was there in a pretty good town.
And nobody seemed to notice, he couldn’t tell a verb from a noun.
This pretty good student in fact, was part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked, was when he
looked for a pretty good job. It was then, when he sought
a position, he discovered that life could be tough.
And he soon had a sneaking suspicion, pretty good
might not be good enough. The pretty good town in our story
was there in a pretty good state, which had pretty good aspirations,
and prayed for a pretty good fate. There once was a pretty good nation,
proud of the greatness it had, which learned much too late,
if you want to be great, pretty good, is in fact, pretty bad.

All too often, the pretty good student wants opportunities to participate in the best classes, premium internships and high-paying jobs. Unfortunately, on earth and in heaven, pretty good earns few opportunities and rewards. time and again the “good enough” worker wonders why she was released from her job. Too often the “average” business finds itself in decline and financial turmoil. Ordinary church leaders discover, to their surprise, that the body is dying. Run-of-the-mill husbands and wives find their partners solemn and their marriages falling apart. Mediocre parents struggle over the moral and spiritual drift of their children. Please know that lives of distinction never result from ordinary living. Good enough never is!

Once while teaching in the marketplace, Jesus told a great story about true value. An employer gave three workers money according to their abilities. Two workers doubled their money. A third worker buried his money. When the employer asked how they were doing, he was happy that two of his workers doubled his investments. He was furious at the one who had buried the money and returned the same amount. The employer said the third worker could have at least put the money in the bank to draw interest. Then he fired the third worker, calling him a wicked, lazy servant.

Burying your talent is easy. You need no desire to be great, no set of deliberate practices,  and you certainly have no need for a distinctive and compelling set of promises and actions. You won’t stand for anything, and no one will follow.

On the other hand, if you want to do something extraordinary with what you have been given by God, you are moving toward the starting line in the race to build a brand that matters. You can take your talents and multiply them and not only bring your employer but your Creator a great return on the investment in your life.

 Excerpted from Abandon The Ordinary, by Dr. Rick Lytle