Dennis Marquardt Hits an Academic Triple

It’s been quite a summer for Assistant Professor of Management, Dr. Dennis Marquardt. Marquardt was

Dr. Dennis Marquardt

voted as ACU’s 2019 Teacher of the Year in May, a prestigious honor as faculty member nominees are submitted by students, and he was named as the new Director for the Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership, succeeding founding Director, Dr. Rick Lytle. Dennis was also part of an award winning research team whose paper received recognition at the Academy of Management Conference in August in Boston, MA. The annual conference features over 10,000 management scholars from universities across the globe. We asked him to reflect on the awards, his new position, and what his plans are for the year ahead.

ACU’s Teacher of the Year award came as a surprise for Marquardt, who is deeply humbled, grateful and thankful for the honor. “When it was announced in the first graduation service, it took a little while for it to even register that they were talking about me.  Since there are so many teaching giants at ACU that I deeply admire and respect, I really never thought I would get such an award.” When asked what drives his teaching, Marquardt explained, “It’s a sacred trust when a student comes into my classroom; something I try never to take for granted.  Students are often told that the best way for me to show that I care for them is to maintain the highest of expectations for each of them. I want them to wrestle with tough questions, be exposed to new ideas, and be better equipped as a person than they were before coming to class. While learning is always a chief priority, the thing I care most deeply about as a professor is who my students are becoming as people. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, ‘intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.’ I couldn’t agree more.”

Marquardt teaching at Leadership Summit

Marquardt’s passion for teaching students is evident in his classroom on the ACU campus and in his sessions at Leadership Summit, where he has served as a faculty member and mentor for the last four years. He’s also been involved with Lytle Center weekly chapels and a weekly morning men’s Bible Study that was born from Leadership Summit attendees asking Dennis and Tim Johnston to bring more of the lessons from the mountain to Abilene. Moving into the role of Director for the Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership is a natural fit for Marquardt. The Lytle Center is new to many people and Dennis looks forward to spreading the word about the mission of the Center. “Our slogan is: ‘Serving God in the Workplace, Serving the Workplace for God’. As people of faith in Jesus Christ, we believe our calling is to be leaders who influence others for the advancement of the kingdom of God (where hope, peace, and life abound). Because of this, we want the students, alumni, and faculty that we serve to be skilled and capable leaders. This means they can effectively promote a vision, drive change, resolve conflict, build teams, make decisions, and empower others. As highly capable leaders, our students and alumni become effective at the work they do and influential in the environments they operate in. We emphasize in the workplace since work is something we were all designed by God to do. The workplace is also a place of unique community, a unifier of sorts. Nearly everyone at some point in their life will engage in formal work. We work with and for people from all walks of life and backgrounds. While few go to church, nearly all go to work. If the world desires hope, peace, and life then the workplace is a great place to bring it”.

Dr. Marquardt is excited about the opportunity to continue and broaden the work of the Lytle Center. He

Dennis and his wife, Monique

has clear goals and a vision for where he would like to take the Center in the coming years. “The Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership exists to promote hope, peace, and life in the workplace. We do this by introducing individuals to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and equipping them with cutting edge leadership competencies, so that they can be effective servant leaders in the workplace. That’s what coupling faith and leadership means to us.”

Dennis knows that this bold vision will come with some challenges, knowing that the most difficult challenge is in measuring the outcomes of the work done through the Center. “What we are really trying to do is promote spiritual leadership transformation and that requires a consistent commitment to character forming habits and behaviors over time. While we definitely want to inspire, inspiration holds limited power to change. Change requires building authentic relationships, having courageous conversations, and a lot of patience.”

Marquardt is very excited about adding more co-curricular options for students to learn important leadership competencies such as conflict resolution, time management, and ethics.  He’s also looking forward to learning about and partnering with the “many great leaders across campus who are already doing great work in leadership development.”

Along with being a great teacher and mentor, Marquardt is proving that he is a strong researcher. A research project that he was invited to be a part of a several years ago by his doctoral advisor, Dr. Wendy Casper, was recently recognized at the Academy of Management Conference. He says, “This award is really a testament to the leadership and brilliance of my co-authors. I was fortunate enough to be invited onto this project by Dr. Casper. Our first author and tireless leader on the paper was Dr. Sabrina Volpone at the University of Colorado Boulder. Also, Dr. Derek Avery from Wake Forest University, a legend in management and diversity research, was a co-author. I learned so much from each of them and it was a great privilege to be a part of this meaningful work.”

The research team accepts the award at the conference – sans Marquardt who was not able to attend.

The team’s paper received recognition at the conference on August 14th in Boston, MA. The annual conference featured over 10,000 management scholars from universities across the globe. “Our author team is deeply honored that our paper was selected to receive the International HRM Scholarly Research Award, given annually to the most significant article published in international human resource management in the prior year (2018). This is awarded by the Human Resource Division of the Academy of Management. The conference theme this year is, Understanding the Inclusive Organization, which the findings of our paper fit well with.”

We asked Dr. Marquardt to summarize the paper for our readers. “We began our research with the question: Do individuals who grow up as a minority in their home country gain unique skills and abilities that might make them more effective as expatriate workers living in a host country? By analyzing the experiences of international students studying in the United States, we found that the more varied minority experiences people had in their home country positively related to more rapid acculturation as they studied in the U.S. This more rapid acculturation then related to higher levels of psychological well-being and lower intentions to leave the United States. We found that these relationships were influenced by cultural intelligence and the perceived diversity climate of the university. Overall, the paper demonstrates that minorities bring unique strengths to organizations, specifically those working in international assignments. The paper was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and can be found by clicking here.

The topic was intriguing to Marquardt. “The richness of the minority experience has long been of interest to me. While there is a wealth of research on the challenges that minorities face, the unique strengths and abilities that minorities bring to the table because they have had to overcome those challenges are less well understood. It is my hope that our research helps shed some light in this area.”

Dennis hopes that students and those in the workplace can make applications from the team’s findings now. “Our students are entering a workplace that is more globally minded than ever. David Livermore in his book, Leading with Cultural Intelligence, indicates that ‘Ninety percent of leading executives from sixty-eight countries identified cross-cultural leadership as the top management challenge for the next century.’ Our research demonstrates three significant resources worth considering when working and leading cross-culturally. The first is an understanding that having a minority experience provides an individual with vital resources for navigating novel cultural contexts. The second is the value of developing cultural intelligence, a personal capability related to understanding other cultures and behaving appropriately in different cultural environments. The third is the importance of fostering an organizational diversity climate that values unique backgrounds and provides support for people from non-dominant groups. I think students will largely learn about the importance of these resources as they see them modeled in the way that professors engage their classrooms.”

Dr. Dennis Marquardt’s dedication inside and outside of the classroom is evidence of his own personal mission to serve and mentor students to help honor God and bless the world. Congratulations on a much-deserved summer of accolades, Dr. Marquardt!

COBA is Saying Goodbye to Three Legends in the Classroom

The end of the academic year brings about the season of awards, recognition, and change whether it occurs in elementary school, high school, or college. While we celebrate our graduates and the next chapter of their lives, the College of Business Administration is not immune to transition, either. We are  saying farewell to three inspirational professors: Dr. Rob Byrd (Associate Professor of IT and Computing), Dr. Malcolm Coco (Professor of Human Resource Management), and Dr. Terry Pope (Professor of Finance) as they retire. Students, colleagues, friends and family joined to honor them at receptions on May 6th where tributes and well wishes were shared with each of the retiring professors.

Rob Byrd with SITC students Paula Berggren and Lauren Walker

Rob Byrd came to ACU in 2009 and was known for not only helping students dive deep into the world of Information Technology and Security, but also helping them develop a deeper faith and spiritual walk. Recent SITC graduate, Lauren Walker (’19) described Byrd as a passionate teacher who wanted to maximize students’ learning and push them to be their best selves. She said, “He never missed an opportunity to show us how the knowledge and skills we were gaining can transcend all areas of life. He never settled on just letting us ‘get by’ with our education. He constantly challenged us and pushed for excellence and innovation. As a mentor, he was a person who saw the best in his students. He wasn’t afraid to say the hard things, and encouraged us to go after the things in life we never thought we could achieve. ” Dr. Byrd baptized Lauren last October and she recounted that Byrd was “just simply himself”, never afraid to be transparent, witty, cynical, and show a genuine interest in his students. She said, “If anyone of us needed help with something school related, or even personal, it wasn’t a doubt that he was just one phone call or text away.”

Dr. Byrd

While some students might have been intimidated by a professor like Byrd, Walker said, “The last thing I guess I want to say is that like all of the SITC professors, Dr. Byrd is so special. Dr. Byrd is such a softy, but of course he would never say it. He has such a servant heart, and has touched so many students’ lives over the years, and of course I just happen to be one of them. He’s one of those professors I will end up telling my children stories about!”

Byrd is transitioning into a new career as Staff Technical Project Engineer with Collins Aerospace at their headquarters location in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He said, “This position will be a challenging adventure for me-just what I was hoping for. Working at this level will allow me to be involved and responsible for both the design/development and the budgetary/systems aspects of the assigned projects and programs. The nature of the work will be classified, but will be in support of national defense and will draw from my education, experience and certifications. I thank my colleagues for their support.”

Coco with students Grace Smith and Dayle Hayes

Malcolm Coco arrived at ACU in 1989. Coco was well known for helping students find jobs through his internship class, mentoring students through Human Resource classes and the Student Chapter of the Human Resource Management organization, his love for the outdoors, and playing the Beach Boys loudly during office hours.

Coco said that when he came to ACU, he only intended to teach for 2 or 3 years and then planned to pursue a career as a pilot for an airlines. Thirty years later, he says, “I’m still teaching and enjoying every minute. Associating with great Christian faculty and staff and having the opportunity to shape young lives has been a blessing to me. I’m wondering where the 30 years went to!”

Dr. Coco with his family

When asked what the best advice he would offer to students would be, he encouraged students to be the best you that you can be. Always strive to be your bosses “go to” person, meaning when there is an important project with a short turn around and it needs to be done correctly, you want your boss to always think of  you as the person he or she trusts to get the job done. He said, “Winners make it happen and losers let it happen.”

To his colleagues, Coco said, “It has been a blessing to me to have the fortune of knowing so many God fearing, Christian faculty. Your example and support for me and my family for these past 30 years has been tremendous. Thanks for the memories.”

Retirement for Coco will be a mixed bag. He will continue to teach as an adjunct faculty member and will continue to manage the COBA internship program. Coco has no plans to slow down. He said, “My children and grandchildren all live in Abilene, so I’m planning for some serious grandchild time. Hobbies of hunting and fishing will continue. I have already joined several civic organizations and intend to do volunteer work for several non-profits.”

Pope with daughter Abby Pimentel and wife Gayla

When he wasn’t teaching a finance class like STAR (Student Trading and Research), you could find Terry Pope on the golf course, working on his new baseball podcast with Tim Johnston, or in his shop working on his next furniture project.

Terry Pope answered the call by Jack Griggs to come and teach at ACU in 1992. Pope said that teaching at ACU has been a great experience, “When I came to Abilene, having already worked for twenty-three years in industry and academics, I was thinking that I would teach for about fifteen years. However, teaching at ACU was so rewarding that I just kept showing up, year after year. ACU is a special place to our family, since Gayla and I, all three of our children, and three of our grandchildren have attended.  Our other six grandchildren will likely follow in these steps.” Pope went on to say that it’s been great to be a part of the ACU community.  He said, “I felt that everyone on campus strove for excellence in what they did and sought to be pleasing to God.  Being a part of that environment made me a better person.”

Terry, Gayla, Beth, and Don Pope

When asked if there was anything he’d like students to know, he said, without question that the favorite part of teaching at ACU was getting to know so many students.  Pope estimates that he has taught about four thousand students and tried to get to know each one of them saying, “I have many great friendships today with former students.  Every student was different – different backgrounds, different interests, and different personalities.  That diversity made our community better. I hope that I communicated to my students that being a Jesus follower comes before all else.  While I taught Finance, I said ‘the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing’.  Brilliance in Finance is not the main thing, but only a compliment to following Jesus.”

Pope said that his colleagues at ACU were great and continue to be his close friends.  He recounted, “I remember telling someone early in my career at ACU that I had underestimated the joy of being able to work daily in a Christian environment.  I felt a closeness and shared purpose with colleagues all over campus, even though we might not have been well acquainted. To all of these colleagues, I say ‘keep it going’.  Investment managers must communicate to their clients that ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future results.’  Every day is a new day that requires our best efforts and a continuing renewal of our minds.”

Pope plans on staying in Abilene and continuing to be closely connected to ACU while spending time playing more golf and tennis, doing more woodworking, taking piano, traveling, studying, and volunteering. “There are many more things that I will want to do that time will allow.”

Combined, the three educators have almost 75 years of experience teaching ACU students. Their dedication to students and peers as well as their example of excellence in the classroom and in their faith walks will truly be missed. The words “thank you” seem inadequate for what they have meant to the lives of thousands of students.

Click on the highlighted links below to view pictures and video messages in tribute to each of the retiring professors.

Pics from the retirement reception

Rob Byrd video

Malcolm Coco video

Terry Pope video

COBA Students Attend HRSouthwest Conference

Last week, eleven COBA students attended the HRSouthwest Conference (HRSWC) in Fort Worth, TX. The HRSWC is the largest regional educational and networking event for human resource professionals. HRSWC is organized by DallasHR, the Dallas-based SHRM Affiliate Chapter. More than 2,500 HR professionals attended the conference and had the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers Laura Bush and John O’Leary, attend educational sessions, and connect with other professionals as well as experience new ideas and technology in the HRSWC Marketplace.

Dr. Malcom Coco, Dr. Phil Vardiman, and students at the HRSWC.

Society of Human Resource Management Sponsor Dr. Malcom Coco said the conference “was an awesome opportunity for the eleven attending students to meet and network with the conference attendees”. This conference provided an opportunity for the students to learn more about their discipline. It also helped them to determine if they wanted to go into the HR field, what part of the field interested them, and gave them an opportunity to meet hundreds of HR professionals to expand their individual network for possible future jobs.
Tom Harris, a senior management major and full-time manager at The Men’s Wearhouse, was encouraged by Dr. Phil Vardiman to attend the conference so that he could connect with HR professionals. Harris said that his conversation with Linda Swindling was the standout of his conference experience. Swindling is a Certified Speaking Professional, “Recovering Attorney,” the past-president of the National Speaker Association, the current President of Journey On!, her own speaking and consulting company, and the author of more than 20 books. Harris talked with her at length before Swindling’s presentation about her history and experiences and was even called on stage during her presentation to share a few words. Harris said that the most helpful thing he learned at the conference was the importance of being intentional. Their full schedules during the conference required some creativity on his part so that he could connect with people. “If someone I wanted to talk to was in a hurry to get to a speaking session, I would try my best to be in a hurry with them,” he said. “Have your main course at one table, meet everyone that is sitting near you, shake their hands, and go get your dessert and do the same thing at a different table.” Harris believes that it is important to take advantage of every possible networking opportunity and felt that the HRSWC allowed him to do this and to practice his networking skills.

Dr. Phil Vardiman Named Director of COBA’s Online Graduate Business Programs

Dr. Brad Crisp announced last week that Dr. Phil Vardiman, Professor of Management, will begin serving as director of COBA’s online graduate business programs beginning August 1, 2017. Dr. Vardiman will have responsibility for the MBA and MS in Management (MSM) programs offered in collaboration with ACU-Dallas and will interface with other ACU-Dallas programs through their academic and leadership councils.

 Dr. Phil Vardiman

Vardiman earned a Bachelor of Science from ACU in 1976, earned his MBA from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 1992, and holds a Doctor of Philosophy from Texas A&M. Phil has a long history both in education and industry, having served as the Regional Human Resources Director for Cardinal Health from 1997-2000, Human Resources Manager for Avery Dennison Corporation from 1986-1997, and Production Supervisor/Quality Analyst for General Tire & Rubber Company from 1977-1986. He has been heavily involved with human resources and entrepreneurship organizations in both educational and industry settings and has published numerous articles in academic journals as well as presenting papers at 16 academic conferences. Dr. Vardiman also actively consults for businesses, working with them in the areas of human resources, training, quality, safety, and leadership development. Vardiman has taught at ACU since 2002, with special teaching interests in Human Resource Management, Entrepreneurship, Management & Organizational Behavior, Leadership Development, Safety & Health, and Organizational Development. In addition to these teaching interests, he has been active in leading students on COBA Study Abroad trips, traveling to Australia, China, Honduras, and Oxford as well as working with numerous university service activities, advising and club sponsored activities. Known to his students for his “Conceptual Truths” and enthusiasm, to say that Phil Vardiman has a passion for helping others grow and succeed would be an understatement.

When talking about his new appointment, Dr. Vardiman says that he is excited about serving on the COBA and ACU-Dallas Leadership Teams and for the opportunity to understand ACU-Dallas better. While serving as ACU Faculty Senate Chair, one goal of his had been to help ACU faculty become more familiar with ACU-Dallas and to build relationships between the ACU on-campus faculty and the ACU online faculty. When asked what his priorities will be while serving as the Director of the COBA online graduate programs, Vardiman said that he will look at faculty, possible changes or additions to course curriculum, and increasing student enrollment. He anticipates looking at the MBA concentrations to affirm what is working and what can be developed to increase offerings to online graduate students, stating that at this time, there is no intention to add concentrations but there may be additions in the future.

Dr. Vardiman said that he is most excited about the learning opportunity that this new position will require. His desire is to have a rigorous and solid MBA that is well respected and he is excited to play a part in making that happen. Should current undergraduate students fear they won’t have the opportunity to have him as a professor, don’t worry – he will still be teaching his favorite class MGMT 330 in the fall along with International Business while in the spring he will teach his Safety, Health and Security class. Vardiman said that he was adamant that if he accepted this new positon, that he be allowed to continue to keep teaching undergraduates, stating, “If I lost that, it wouldn’t be worth it.” Teaching is his passion and helping ACU grow into the future is the catalyst for deciding to enter into this administrative role.

Dr. Brad Crisp stated his support by saying, “Phil is an excellent teacher and mentor, and he recently completed a term in leadership of ACU’s Faculty Senate. Joey Cope, Stephen Johnson, and I are all excited about what Phil will bring to this role to support the growth and quality of our MBA and MSM program.” Congratulations to Dr. Phil Vardiman on his appointment as Director of COBA’s Online Graduate Business Programs.

 

 

Spotlight on Malcolm Coco

Dr. Malcolm Coco

Dr. Malcolm Coco

 

What is your educational background?

Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Southwestern La.

Personnel Management and Supervision, Central Michigan University

Doctorate of Public Administration, Nova Southeastern University

 

What is your work background?

I was a United States Air Force Pilot for 22 years.

 

What do you teach at ACU?

I teach Human Resource Management courses and am the Director of Internships for COBA.

 

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

Too many to list.  I was Associate Dean from 1993-1997.

 

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

When stationed at Dyess AFB in the 70s, I met a number of ACU faculty/staff/and grads.  I determined then based on those relationships that ACU was special and that after my Air Force career I would like to work for ACU.


What’s the best part of working with students?

Working with young people with fresh ideas, passion, and engagement.

 

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

The offer to be the Director of Human Resources at ACU and several other HR director jobs.

 

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

Anything outdoors: bow hunting, fly fishing, and duck hunting especially.

 

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Enjoying the great outdoors.

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

I’ve always enjoyed inviting local, national and international HR professionals to speak in my class.

 

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

Being the Deputy Director of U.S. air force pilots world wide assignments for 40,000 air force pilots as well as being the Associate Dean during some of the most challenging times for the College of Business.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

I volunteer with Rotary International, Big Country Society for Human Resource Management, Military Officers Association, and Herald of Truth.

 

Who is your role model, and why?

Anyone of a few faculty who can fully engage students.

 

Dr. Coco on a field trip with students.

Dr. Coco on a field trip with students.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

Former Department Chair, Lamar Riench.

 

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

To have a better ability to connect people with Jesus.

 

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

That I was a State Champion pole vaulter and sprinter.

 

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

To know how much I really care about our students  and how much I appreciate our student’s parents giving us their children for an education.

 

 

 

College Field Trips; AKA Networking Opportunities!

Field trips aren’t just for elementary school students. Many professors find taking students on field trips gives them insight on careers and industries they may have never known about, as well as building networking opportunities for students and employers at the sites that they visit. On Wednesday, March 30th, Dr. Malcolm Coco took 7 of COBA’s Human Resources track students on a field trip to the TSTC campus in Sweetwater, Texas. Their guide for the day was Hannah Love, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. Ms. Love has responsibility for the HR function for eleven of the TSTC campuses located across Texas. She presented to the students on the functions of HR and the challenges faced by having so many different campuses located in eleven different geographic locations. She also discussed the challenges TSTC faces in providing training programs for businesses across the state of Texas tailored for their individual company needs.  The group enjoyed a tour of TSTC’s wind turbine and electromagnetic systems technology training facility.

Following the presentation and tour, Dr. Coco and the students were treated to lunch with the TSTC staff.  Dr. Coco said, “This was a very informative trip and the interaction with the students was outstanding. Too many times, students are unable to connect textbook learning with a real world application.  Having the students personally hear from professionals in their field really adds a new and current perspective to the subjects we are studying. I have found that HR professionals are more than willing to share their time and expertise with students and that is greatly appreciated.  TSTC is no exception.  The other added bonus is that field trips help to establish networks that foster job and internship opportunities.”

Judith Morales, senior management major from Fort Worth, Texas, said, “We spoke with the HR manager and she talked to us about the experiences she has had and how they benefited her in her career. One of my favorite parts of the trip was socializing with the other students in my major and getting to know them, as well as getting to know Dr. Coco, a little better.”

We’re grateful to TSTC for their hospitality and to Dr. Coco for getting the students out of the classroom and into the working world. Opportunities like this enable our students to grow and develop as well as connect with potential employers as they pursue their career goals.

 

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Dr. Coco with students: Judith Morales, Abbie Hamilton, Sarah Stone, Allison Barton, and Kee Ana Ward