Honors Symposium Hears From Three on Topic of Diversity

By Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau

Three speakers presented research on the topic of diversity Tuesday at the sixth Delta Mu Delta Honors Symposium, held at Howerton lecture hall on campus. Delta Mu Delta is the honors society for the Ken Blanchard College of Business at GCU. 

In 90 minutes, a capacity crowd heard from Dr. Brian Smith, director of the Colangelo School of Sports Business; Mary Ponce, an adjunct online instructor; and Dr. Tim Larkin, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

A summary of their presentations:

Dr. Brian Smith

Title: "Factors That Affect the Academic Performance of NCAA Division I African-American Male Basketball Players."

Key points: Ten athletes from seven Division I schools were interviewed. Factors that help academic performance include quality academic advisement, supportive figures and mentors, individual desire, and eligibility rules. When basketball is the top priority of athletes and coaches, academic performance suffers. It's recommended that advisers and faculty members get to know the athletes and that coaches provide more guidance, focusing on personal development.

Quote: "There's no easy answer. Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions on behalf of the student-athlete."

Mary Ponce

Title: "Motivating Learning in a Diverse Student Population: Building Self-Efficacy in Students."

Key points: Self-efficacy is defined as the ability to believe in oneself, in contrast to self-motivation, which is the desire to achieve. Low graduation rates in the Mexican-American population are linked to a lack of self-efficacy. Verbal reinforcement can help build self-efficacy.

Quote: "If we give students a toolbox filled with skills and motivation, they will be successful in life."

Dr. Tim Larkin

Title: "Women and Pastoral Leadership in the Black Church: Hearing From Those Involved."

Key points: Nearly 250 clergy leaders were surveyed. Although women have had a clear impact in ministry in black churches over the past 15 years, unfair practices remain and traditional male leadership feels challenged.

Quote: "There's a cost for women to become pastors in the black church. They're always under a microscope. But the seeds of change exist."

Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].

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Bible Verse

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