Honors Symposium Hears From 5 on Service

December 09, 2011 / by / 0 Comment

Five presenters offered a wide range of insights on the topic of service in papers presented orally Thursday at the sixth annual Delta Mu Delta Honors Symposium at the Ken Blanchard College of Business.

“From a business perspective, service is something we sell,” said Dr. Kevin McClean, the symposium’s coordinator and host. “But there are other perspectives on service.”

(l to r) Dr. James Helfers, Bret Ceren, Ted Cross, Dr. Rinyka Belle Allison and Laura Sharp.

Here’s a summary of what was presented, in order, at the 90-minute symposium, held in the Williams Building lecture hall:

Laura Sharp

  • About her: Online adjunct instructor for College of Education who teaches special-education classes. Currently working on doctorate from GCU in organizational leadership/higher education.
  • Paper: “Gamucation to Promote Service in Students”
  • Key points: “Gamucation” can be an effective way to fuse digital gaming and education for “digital natives” (those born after 1980). Recently, Starbucks used gaming to raise customer awareness on the issue of free-trade coffee. “Games can encourage learning and work well with multiple learning styles,” Sharp said.

Bret Ceren

  • About him: Student in applied management who is GCU’s national partnerships manager for faith-based development. Presented at last year’s symposium on “Social Responsibility and the Morality of Profits: Gain as an Ethical Imperative.”
  • Paper: “The Last Will Be First: God’s Economy of Service”
  • Key points: Jesus, a carpenter and itinerant preacher, revolutionized the concept of service. Today, service represents 75 percent of the American economy and is a $63 trillion industry in the world. “In God’s economy, service is exalted in both the temporal and the eternal,” Ceren said.

Ted Cross

  • About him: Manager of full-time online faculty at GCU and also an instructor. Currently a doctoral student at Pepperdine University in organizational leadership.
  • Paper: “Putting God Back Into Work: Calling, Vocation and Service to the Divine”
  • Key points: A Christian view of vocation has three aspects: a calling by God, talents given by God and a feeling of obligation to continue on in the work. When people are “called,” they do work for its own sake and sense they are contributing to something larger than themselves. “The work-life balance is a myth,” Cross said. “When we find meaningful work in our lives, we allow ourselves and others to bring their whole selves to work.”

Dr. Rinyka Belle Allison

  • About her: Has doctorate in education with a specialization in special education from Walden University. Currently serves as instructional specialist for the public schools in Virginia Beach, Va., and is an adjunct faculty member in GCU’s College of Education.
  • Paper: “The Lived Experiences of General and Special Education Teachers in Inclusion Classrooms: A Phenomenological Study”
  • Key points: There has been a 43 percent increase since 1989 in K-12 students with disabilities, yet the average special-education teacher stays in the field for only five years. “There’s a need for supporting educators, monitoring students and including all in the learning process,” Allison said. “Every child can learn.” Students with disabilities “are the kids who will come to interview with you for a job,” she said, addressing the GCU students in the audience.

Dr. James Helfers

  • About him: English professor who has been at GCU since 1992 and is former dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Has doctorate from the University of Michigan and has published and presented on various medieval and Early Modern travel authors.
  • Paper: “Richard Hakluyt’s Secret Service”
  • Key points: Hakluyt, a Christian clergyman in 16th-century England who was William Shakespeare’s contemporary, served his country secretly in matters of exploration and colonization at a time when Spanish-English tensions were high. “He became a foremost authority on geography and travel,” Helfers said, “although ministry was his calling.”


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