During the month of May, Dr. Monty Lynn worked as a visiting researcher at World Vision in Washington, DC. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Dr. Monty Lynn, Professor of Management
Working with Dan Norell, a Senior Technical Advisor in Economic Development, and with a team of international professionals from World Vision, CARE, and Save the Children, Dr. Lynn participated in a research project using market-based approaches to enhance food security in developing countries.
While in Washington, Dr. Lynn met with representatives from several organizations including Bread for the World, ACDI/VOCA, USAID, and others. “Working with World Vision opened my eyes to the complexities of development programming. From securing funding to partnering with regional field offices to designing and coordinating sustainable food programs and measuring their impact—this is challenging work.” Dr. Lynn said that “Meeting with dedicated professionals in Washington and in early-morning teleconferences with professionals from Australia to Zimbabwe, I was impressed with the knowledge, passion, and skill of the World Vision staff. It was a blessing to be with them, even for a short period of time.”
The Washington, DC offices of World Vision.
While serving as a visiting researcher, Dr. Lynn was invited to give a staff development presentation for the Washington office of World Vision on workplace spirituality. He hopes to visit at least one of the sites included in the research while on faculty renewal leave in fall 2015. “I’m thankful to the ACU College of Business Administration and to World Vision, and especially to Dan Norell, for an opportunity to learn and work alongside some of the best in the business.”
Join us on this blog as we follow and share Dr. Lynn’s work this fall.
Group at the Cerro Negro Volcano in Nicaragua.
At the end of the the summer, 18 students along with Dr. Andy Little and Dr. Jim Litton, traveled south to study abroad in Central America. Students had the opportunity to earn credit in Global Entrepreneurship as well as MGMT 440, including special topics: Business Practicum in Central America. COBA also co-taught an Honors College colloquium on social entrepreneurship in developing countries. The group spent the first two days in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, stayed at Mission Lazarus for nine days, and ended the trip in Leon, Nicaragua.
The trip challenged the students to evaluate how they want to conduct business in the future. They were able to use their business skills in social entrepreneurship, learning how to apply these skills in a missional context. Because the group was surrounded by widespread poverty, this study abroad trip was unlike other COBA programs. Working in Central America gave students and professors a chance to see the complexity and difficulties of globalization and economic development in third world countries.
Throughout the trip, students were able to tour local businesses, go behind the scenes with ACU alum Jarrod Brown at Mission Lazarus, visit a local Honduran co-operative coffee company, and speak to several different business leaders in Honduras. Unlike the local co-op, Mission Lazarus had a much smaller profit margin; because of their commitment to operating the business in a godly manner, they strive to treat employees fairly and with dignity.
Stephanie Day, a senior accounting major from Oklahoma City, was highly encouraged by the trip. She believes in the power of the business principles she learned this summer, even if in the future she does not work in social entrepreneurship. Stephanie encourages students to get plugged in and study abroad at some point in their college career. She says, “There are so many incredible things we can learn in a classroom setting, but there’s something about seeing those principles applied firsthand in other countries that makes the learning experience so much more valuable.”
The encounters students get to experience while studying abroad are truly one of a kind. In Central America, students were able to see firsthand how businesses function in developing countries. COBA is intentional with providing students unique opportunities to integrate learning key business principles with developing students to reach their potential and find their missional calling.
“Because each culture is so different, God is able to manifest himself in different ways; studying abroad is so remarkable because not only does it expose you to a new way of learning, but it also gives students the opportunity to see God in an entirely new light,” says Stephanie Day, a senior accounting major.
COBA’s culture is built upon the foundational principles of faith infusion and using students’ God-given gifts to impact others in the ACU community and throughout the world. This spring break, several of COBA’s students chose to spend the week serving others in the U.S. as well as abroad. Students put their faith in action by humbly submitting to the work God was calling them to do this spring break.
Six of COBA’s students, including Sarah Puckett, Alec Hartman, Eric Koster, Michael Holeman, Hannah Griffith, and Mandy Stratton, traveled to Honduras to work with Jarrod Brown and Mission Lazarus for the week. Mission Lazarus is a ministry that creates a sustainable lifestyle for local Hondurans. The organization includes a leather shop, a coffee plantation, a carpentry shop, several trade schools, a medical clinic, and an orphanage where children can learn the key skills they need to grow and be successful leaders in their society. Mission Lazarus provides work for the Honduran people, enabling them to create ways to provide for their families.
“Missions are not about bringing God to a foreign country; God is already working there. Mission work is really joining with and helping our brothers and sisters in Christ in order to encourage them, sharing the common bond of love that we have for each other through God,” says Mandy Stratton, a sophomore finance major.
Neely Borger, a senior marketing major, also went to Honduras over the break with a different team. This team consisted of eight members who worked with a dental clinic located in Choluteca. In addition to working with the dental clinic, the team also organized a VBS and a soccer camp for the kids at the local church. In the future, Neely plans on working with nutrition in various medical mission fields. She believes this week was a great opportunity to see and work in a different culture and expand her worldview.
“I loved being the person that made the kids from the church smile. This experience was incredibly humbling, opening my eyes to see the world from God’s perspective and the need for love and affection in such broken homes.” says Neely Borger.
Landon Long, a senior management and political science major, spent the week in New York City working with Graffiti Ministries in Brooklyn as well as a kids’ after school program in Manhattan. Graffiti Ministries is a church that caters to indigent people in the Brooklyn community. Landon and his group aided the church in several ways, including cleaning and hanging dry wall. The group also ministered to kids by helping them with homework, playing games, and sharing a devotional each day. Landon will be attending law school this fall and plans on going into the oil and gas field. After working with Owen, the lawyer for Graffiti Ministries, Landon says he could see himself working for people who cannot afford good representation.
“Working with Graffiti Missions in NYC showed me how I can use my degree in law to help serve the community, representing indigent people who are not able to afford good lawyers. I am excited to use my passion for law to serve others in need,” says Landon Long.
COBA’s mission is not only to equip students with the essential tools to be successful in the business field but also to use their unique skill sets to serve others in the world. COBA thrives on empowering students to find their callings in life, continually seeking God’s guidance and assurance for whichever path He leads them to.
During January, several COBA students as well as non-business majors took a January short course, Social Entrepreneurship, with Dr. Laura Phillips at City Square in Dallas. In the fall of 2012, ACU began to partner with City Square, combining curricular and co-curricular experiences for student leadership development. CitySquare is a faith-based, non-profit, human and community development corporation that promotes learning and formation through engagement, including projects, courses, internships, formative experiences, and degree programs. Courses at City Square offer opportunities for in-context learning, allowing students to be hands-on outside of the traditional classroom.
During the short course, 18 guests came to speak with students about social organizations and the different pieces that make up these organizations. The class offered a series of breakfast lectures where speakers discussed vital parts of nonprofit businesses that must be considered when working for or starting any nonprofit. Guests speakers, including Suzanne Smith, Founder and Managing Director of Social Impacts Architects and Co-Founder of Flywheel: Social Enterprise Hub, spoke about measuring success from a social perspective. Mark Jacobs, Senior Director of Operations for The Medicines Company, started His Chase Foundation in 2010 and is now focusing all efforts in Rwanda, providing 250+ students with educational opportunities. Mark gave students opportunities to engage and brainstorm ideas for his initiatives in Rwanda. Speakers also addressed questions concerning other aspects of a non-profit organization such as raising funds, the grant application process, how to start a board of members, social media, and the basic business principles included in a financial statement.
The majority of the class was comprised of business majors but all students found the information very useful even if they had no intention of starting an enterprise. Shanleigh Clinton, a nutrition major, says that she was worried the material would not be applicable to her. However, she says, “This class actually helped me understand how to balance mission and margin and how to have a greater impact in what I do.” Shanleigh plans on becoming a registered dietician, partnering with a feeding and nutrition education program and potentially working with a social enterprise.
We are so proud of Dr. Monty Lynn’s International Poverty and Development class for the work they recently did researching alternative lighting sources. The project looked at alternative sources of lighting that could be used in the place of kerosene, which is a health hazard. The Optimist did a great write up on this project, which you can read here:
We are incredibly thankful for the way our COBA students demonstrate what it looks like to apply the principles of business to something bigger than themselves!
The project is on display in COBA this week