Thinking like a CEO
Neeley's Entrepreneurship Program pushes students to run with ideas.
By Mark Wright
Chew on this: At age 19, Justin Avery Anderson is doing something many in the business world only dream about. The freshman from Houston is an entrepreneur, selling his unique brand of soft granola at specialty stores across Texas.
A year ago Anderson was a high school student marketing an original idea. His efforts earned him recognition as a TCU Texas Youth Entrepreneur of the Year. The award led him to enroll in the Neeley Entrepreneurship Program, where’s he learning to grow the business he began cooking up in his kitchen at age 16.
You might call Anderson’s experience at TCU the ultimate work-study program. Though in existence only six years, the Neeley Entrepreneurship Program, which houses the entrepreneurial management major, the Youth Entrepreneur outreach program and much more, is considered one of the elite entrepreneurship training grounds in the nation. It was named a Top 20 undergraduate entrepreneurship program by both U.S. News & World Report and Entrepreneur Magazine.
For every Anderson, there are dozens more students with no immediate plans to start their own business. Both types can benefit. Program Director David Minor ’80 describes entrepreneurship primarily as a way of thinking. Minor, who founded and built a respected landscaping company, asks TCU’s 500 entrepreneurial management majors to think like a CEO.
“Most won’t start businesses right away,” he says. “So what we’re doing is training them to think entrepreneurially in corporate America. That’s what corporate America wants — entrepreneurial thinkers. I encourage my students to wear the hat of an owner — even if you aren’t the owner.”
From the broad-based Introduction to Entrepreneurship course, to specialized offerings such as Entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom and Technology Entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurial management sequence provides the knowledge and strategy needed to turn an idea into a company.
“I think there are some people who are born entrepreneurs. Others are trained,” says Bill Moncrief, senior associate dean of the business school. “Either way, you have to have the training.”
The course in New Venture Planning is one such tool. Students working individually or in groups must develop detailed business plans outlining a potential venture.
One group developed a plan for an upscale lounge in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where businessmen and women on long layovers could get massages, change clothes or work on spacious desktops. But DFW has few long layovers and is located in a bustling metropolitan area. The plan became more viable when the group targeted Denver’s airport, which is more remote, as its hypothetical market.
The chance to rub elbows with successful business owners accentuates the Neeley edge. According to Minor, students are four times more likely to start a business if they have role models who own a business. So the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Club (CEO!) brings executives of major companies to talk and dine with students.
Chris Schaum, a senior entrepreneurial management major, aspires to run a private jet service that rents out space to traveling corporate executives. He has made conference calls to CEOs of major airliners, bouncing his ideas off of them.
“I say I’m doing a class project, and that allows me to get their expert advice,” Schaum
says. “If I were just a guy off the street, I would never be
able to get an audience with them.
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Neeley's Entrepreneurship Program pushes students to run with ideas.
A team of three TCU business students was named 2006 Operation Stimulus National Champions, winning a national supply chain case competition in February sponsored by the Denver Transportation Club.
The team, sponsored by the Neeley School of Business’s Supply and Value Chain Center, included Jeff DeArment, Trey Davis and Carsten Frederikson. The competition asks teams to tackle real-life issues in the transportation and logistics industries. The competition is judged by logistics firms such as Ryder Integrated Logistics and JB Hunt and by companies like IBM and Cintas that depend on logistics services.
TCU’s Neeley Students In Free Enterprise team won first place and a prize of $2,000 at the Rumble by the River consulting case competition last fall at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. Team members were: Nagesh Hatti, Isela Rodriguez, and Xi Zhu, with research support provided by Baronda Bradley, Lindsay Cook, Josue Lopez, Marta Mogollon and Emily Tate.
The Neeley Entrepreneurship Program handed out $10,000 in scholarships to six students at this year’s Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The $5,000 top award went to Jeff Livney, a senior at The Woodlands High School, for his student-run graphic consulting firm Piko Zoom.
Recipients of the $1,000 scholarships were: Lucas Butler, Palmer High School senior; Craig Gagne, Judson High School senior; Austin Hoffman, All Saints Episcopal School senior; Charlie Neff, Grandview High School junior; and Andrew Spiziri, Highland Park High School senior
care transcends traditional counseling.
By Rachel Stowe Master '91
Nine months after she lost her 18-year-old daughter in a 2003 boating accident, Denise Brookman knew she needed help. It had been just three years since her other child — a son — had died, also at age 18. Heartbroken and devastated, Denise needed help working through overwhelming grief.
She found it when a friend suggested she contact Brite Divinity’s Pastoral Care and Training Center.
“It’s by the grace of God that everything has come about,” Brookman said. “Brite Divinity School helped me a lot.”
She met three times with a young pastor from an area Church of Christ who was working on his graduate education at Brite.
“He had such an open heart about it. The level that [Brite counselors] are able to talk to you is different than a psychiatrist, a psychologist, your friends, your wonderful family. I think it’s very good to be able to talk to someone who is not on a level that’s just medical. Because it’s spiritual. And they help you deal with it in a way that really is spiritual.”
Since its founding in 1968, Brite’s Pastoral Care and Training Center has helped train more than 265 student counselors and ministered to about 150 clients a year, including individuals, couples and families. One of the nation’s few seminary-operated counseling centers — staffed entirely by graduate students — the center’s purpose is threefold: provide counseling to the community, on-site training for pastors, and conduct research in pastoral theology, counseling and care.
The center’s staff specializes in short-term care, with most counseling completed within 10 sessions, although longer-term care is provided for those who desire and can benefit from it. And unlike most secular mental health providers, the staff integrates therapeutic skills of psychotherapy with theology and spirituality.
“National surveys demonstrate that many persons who sense the need for mental health care prefer to receive care from a person who will respond to them from a faith-based perspective,” said Nancy J. Ramsay, Brite’s executive vice president and dean.
The extent of the spiritual focus is up to the counselor. “We’re still using a theological lens to understand their situation and to decide how we’re going to intervene or work with them, but we are not going to force people to engage their spirituality unless they want to,” said Duane Bidwell ‘88 (MDiv ’97, PhD ’03), director of the Pastoral Care and Training Center.
The center addresses an array of problems, the most common being depression, followed by couple conflict, stress and work difficulties.
“People come with a wide variety of concerns, ranging from, ‘I need to make sense of my child’s illness and grieve my losses in order to be a more effective parent,’ to, ‘We have to find a way to stop fighting about this in front of the kids,’” Bidwell said.
The center does not treat people struggling with substance abuse, violent behavior, suicide or an impairment that wouldn’t allow them to benefit from psychotherapy. Nor does it treat children under 13 (except as part of family therapy).
The recipient of the 2003 Distinguished Program Leadership Award from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Brite’s center is one of the few such outlets in town that provides counseling on a sliding scale ($20-$70 per session), and it will waive the fee in some cases.
“As pastoral theologians we understand that God is already at work to make things better,” Bidwell said. “We help people identify that work to collaborate with God in ways that make change more successful and more rapid.” — RM
To make an appointment or for more information on Brite’s Pastoral Care and Training Center, call 817-257-7573 or visit www.brite.tcu.edu/pastoralcare.
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Young pianist to present Beethoven concert series.
Award-winning pianist Adam Golka ’05 is tackling an ambitious project in 2006, performing all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas in the order they were composed.
The 18-year-old started the series of free public concerts with a performance of three sonatas March 19 at Ed Landreth Auditorium.
The American-born Golka, son of Polish musicians who fled the country’s Communist regime in the 1980s, came to TCU at age 15 to study under Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winner Jose Feghali.
Golka has 150 concerto performances to his credit, including the Dallas, San Diego and Fort Worth symphonies, the Shanghai Philharmonic and more. At age 16, he won the China Shanghai International Piano Competition.
Golka delights in talking to the audience during a performance, an element he believes is too often missing from classical performances. Classical musicians, he says, can learn from pop musicians how to “really engage and entertain an audience.”
To learn more about the piano sonatas, go to www.adamgolka.com.
Analyze this. Or that.
New DNA analyzer boon to TCU researchers.
By Mark Wright
A new high-tech addition to the university allows TCU professors in several departments and colleges to perform important scientific and biomedical research that formerly had to be sent out to a laboratory for testing.
The device, a DNA sequence analyzer, was purchased through Vision in Action’s Strategic Initiative Fund and a grant from medical equipment manufacturer LI-COR. Biology Professor Phil Hartman, who along with College of Science and Engineering Dean Michael McCracken was instrumental in securing the funds, said the sequence analyzer will be a valuable hands-on teaching tool, as well as a recruiting tool to attract more high-quality researchers to the university.
“Obtaining this new equipment is a real coup for our college and TCU as a whole,” Hartman said. “It will allow current and future professors to more readily accomplish their research objectives. It will also impact us as educators, given that the instrumentation will be used in graduate and advanced undergraduate classes.
“Beyond the specifics of DNA sequencing, I think this represents yet another tangible step in Dean McCracken’s ongoing efforts to provide an infrastructure that nurtures the teacher-scholar model.”
Professors in biology, chemistry, nursing and psychology all have plans to use the equipment to further their research. One of those professors is biology Assistant Professor Giri Akkaraju,
who will use the analyzer to examine the genetic sequence of
the Hepatitis C virus. The research could lead to a way to
prevent Hepatitis C and decrease its link to certain
If 41 high school biology teachers each teach 150 students a year, how many of their students will bring up a recent news story at the dinner table?
If Ray Drenner and Molly Weinburgh have their way, thousands.
By Mark Wright
Erase images of your high school biology class. Forget the lab coat and goggles, the pungent Petri dishes and Latin jargon, the frogs floating in formaldehyde and other unpleasantries that made the course a chore for all but the most dedicated students.
Now imagine learning about HIV, bird flu, stem-cell research and cloning by reading articles in news magazines and doing labs that use a computer instead of a compound microscope.
Students at TCU have enjoyed such biology instruction for six years. Now high school students across the state are translating dry science into their everyday world as two TCU professors share their syllabi with secondary teachers.
Called Contemporary Issues in Biology, the course teaches fundamental concepts of biology by focusing on real-world topics students have heard about. State grants awarded in 2004 spawned new life in many old-school classrooms by allowing biology Professor Ray Drenner, the curriculum’s patriarch, and Molly Weinburgh, education associate professor, to teach 41 high school science teachers how to incorporate contemporary issues into their coursework.
Chris Porter, Advance Placement biology teacher at Haltom High School, adopted TCU’s Contemporary Issues curriculum in 2004 and left his old textbooks to gather dust on the classroom shelves.
“I cover all the information that needs to be covered,” Porter said. “I just cover it in a more interesting way.”
Here’s an example: Explain stem cells through the eyes of Christopher Reeve after he was paralyzed in an equestrian accident. This intersection of biological concepts and pop culture is more likely to make the science relevant.
“There’s context to it. That’s important,” Porter says. “These kids aren’t just looking at mitosis in a vacuum.”
So if each of those 41 teachers teaches 150 students a year, then, yes, at least 6,000 Texas high school students might well mention some unexpected topic over chicken casserole.
In April, word will arrive about a grant from the Howard Hughes Institute that would allow the duo to take their teacher-training program nationwide. Which excites Drenner, who believes such expansion will help more students be better prepared to address biological issues beyond the sterile confines of laboratories.
“If science is taught well, it’s impossible
not to connect with the students, with their lives,” he
Private eye, public service
New initiative determined to save 'hidden' kids from abuse.
By Saedra Pinkerton
When police discovered the body of 9-year-old Devontae Williams in his Arlington home in 2004, the boy weighed 35 pounds and showed signs of severe physical abuse and malnutrition. Tarrant County Child Protective Services (CPS) had kept a thick file on the family from previous incidents but lost track when his parents withdrew Devontae from school and moved to Arlington from Fort Worth.
This case is not unusual. In 2003 more than 400 Tarrant County CPS cases were closed because families couldn’t be located.
But in 2005 nearly 90 of those “lost” families were found, thanks to a collaboration among TCU, CPS and Tarrant County United Way that hired a private eye to track down the missing.
“Hiring a private investigator to find these families is an entirely innovative strategy,” said Alan Dettlaff ’95, a TCU social work professor and former CPS caseworker who wrote the grant and monitors the work of the detective, whom United Way funds.
“When I was with CPS, I had many cases where I couldn’t find a family. There might be serious allegations of abuse, but I had no resources to hunt them down. Meanwhile, I would have 30 to 40 other cases needing my attention.”
The private investigator targets families with children aged 4 and younger because preschoolers are the most difficult to track. Geoffrey Tait, owner of Cat’s-Eye Intelligence Service, has found about 70 percent of the missing children referred to him. Now back in the CPS system, they can be monitored.
Many of the families need help. CPS determined that risk factors existed in 58 of the 89 families that have been located, and 22 families were abusing or neglecting their children. In five cases, the children were placed in foster care. Some of those children were placed in protective custody, and most of the families are now involved in therapy and mandatory parenting skills classes.
In addition to finding and protecting children who are in danger, the program helps other families to be cleared of suspected abuse. For 19 of the families located last year, CPS found no signs of abuse or neglect and removed the stigma of an unresolved CPS case.
“In the first year we’ve really shown that the program has been successful in protecting children in Tarrant County from abuse and neglect,” Dettlaff said. “We have determined that many of these families were in need and that many of these kids were being abused in these homes.”
The United Way shares Dettlaff’s excitement.
“We are very pleased with the results and have authorized funding for another full year,” said Pat Cheong, a grant specialist with United Way who helped get the program underway. “Some of the cases were very serious, and we are so happy that we were able to help protect these children.”
Meanwhile, Dettlaff plans to present the results to his peers around the country, and he’s talking with CPS about implementing the program statewide.
“With the program, we were able to protect these children,” he said. “Without the private investigator, we couldn’t even find these kids.” — SP
Contact Dettlaff at email@example.com
The new Center for Civic Literacy aims to increase participation in the democratic process.
By Mark Wright
Political Science Professor Don Jackson, director of the TCU Center for Civic Literacy, said that if people do not become more civic-minded and begin to address the many ongoing problems central to most urban communities, then the places they live and their democratic institutions will suffer greatly. Jackson recently took time to answer a few questions about the first-ever Civic Literacy Conference at TCU in January and his future goals for the center.
What is civic literacy?
There’s a national movement called civic engagement. As a university we want to educate individuals to be informed, responsible and ethical participants. When you add the educative role to civic engagement you get civic literacy.
How do you become civically literate?
One of the things is you have to be willing to make a commitment to your community because you care for it, but it can’t be the type of loving regard that overlooks the problems and says everything is wonderful.
What are some of the problems facing our local community?
In my view, the most profound problem is dropout rates, which in urban inner-city districts are commonly above 50 percent. That’s a problem not just for the students who drop out, but also for the communities in which they live. How are you going to be gainfully employed if you drop out of school?
Beyond that, air pollution is going to be more problematic and poses an economic development problem. If we do not meet EPA standards eventually there are restrictions that can be placed on growth and development. And we are often in non-compliance in Dallas-Fort Worth.
How did the first Civic Literacy Conference begin to address those issues?
This was an opportunity for us and the TCU community to listen to the broader community of Fort Worth, including the city government, other influential community leaders and the Fort Worth ISD, to identify the problems that we face over the next decade or so.
What kinds of projects will the center be undertaking in the future?
Eventually, through the TCU Center for Civic Literacy, we hope to have a significant community-based research program. It will be problem-solving research. I hope it will involve collaboration of TCU
faculty members with persons from the city or non-profit
organizations. That’s much different from the way academic
research is commonly done.
Speak your mind
Command Spanish offered to school district employees.
When TCU began offering free conversational Spanish instruction to employees of the Fort Worth school district in January, classes were filled two hours after enrollment opened. More than 140 people are on the waiting list for classes that will continue throughout the year.
TCU students are also participating with the classes, which allows them to learn conversational Spanish as they interact with school district personnel.
Known as Command Spanish®, the 13-week program is taught through TCU’s Extended Education office and funded by TCU’s Strategic Initiatives Fund (SIF). The targeted coursework emphasizes job-specific and conversational Spanish rather than grammar, said Julia Lovett, TCU assistant director for Extended Education.
The Command Spanish® courses have been offered to the public through Extended Ed for three years.
For information or to enroll in the Extended Ed course, visit www.lifelong.tcu.edu.
Caring for the elderly
As baby boomers barrel toward retirement and Americans live longer and more active lives, eldercare becomes an increasingly hot topic. But TCU’s Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences is ahead of the curve.
More than two decades ago, at the urging of nursing Professor Mildred Hogstel, Harris was among the first programs in the nation to require a gerontological nursing course in the undergraduate program.
“In about the last decade or so we’ve begun to focus a lot of our [research] efforts in this area,” said Paulette G. Burns, director of TCU Nursing Programs.
The numbers of those who will need care are increasing dramatically, Burns added. “Our needs change as we age, and others often end up having to care for us.” — RM
You are a caregiver if:
*You worry about the safety or welfare of an aging relative.
*You help an older person with grocery shopping, paying bills, house cleaning.
*You provide personal care (bathing, feeding, grooming) to a person who needs assistance in these areas.
Monitoring meds important part of healthy aging
By Rachael Stowe Master '91
Harris professors are involved in a number of significant research initiatives, ranging from distance caregiving for elders to heart disease in women to healthy aging and medication patterns in elders.
Professor Linda C. Curry, associate Professor Charles Walker ’77 and Hogstel, now a professor emeritus, head a project for full-time TCU employees who are or one day may be caregivers. The professors host eldercare information sessions six times in the academic year and monthly support groups year ‘round.
Dennis Cheek, the Abell-Hanger Professor of Gerontological Nursing, is tackling the massive amounts of medications the elderly take.
“Someone living in the United States who reaches 65 will usually live an additional 18 years,” he said. “Adults over the age of 65 — which is about 12 percent of the U.S. population — buy 30 percent of all prescription and 40 percent of all over-the-counter drugs.”
Those who are ambulatory typically take two to four prescription drugs regularly, while others may take up to 10. Cheek notes that drug misuse is the fifth-leading cause of death in older adults. “The problem is you start to have the interaction of all these medications that are on board.”
Cheek advises caregivers to reconcile all the drugs — prescription, over-the-counter, herbal — with the main doctor once or twice a year. Unlike years ago when the whole family saw just one doctor, today’s elderly may see a cardiologist, gastroenterologist, nephrologist and ophthalmologist, in addition to the primary care physician.
“You may have eight or 10 doctors who prescribe different medications for their specialty — but you may be doubling up,” Cheek said.
A general practitioner may prescribe the generic Digoxin for heart failure, and then the heart specialist may require Lanoxin — essentially the same drug. “And Digoxin is one of those very dangerous drugs for older adults to take. They can become very toxic very quickly,” Cheek said. “So somebody should be looking over that list of medications.”
A similar problem can occur when herbs are added to the mix. Someone who’s taking prescription Prozac and then adds in the herbal St. John’s wort is double dosing.
Cheek advises taking a list of meds to doctor appointments and asking if anything can be removed or reduced. And when new medication is prescribed, ask if it is the correct drug and then watch for changes or new symptoms in the patient. The drug information should include information on geriatric use. — RM
Check out these sites to manage medication:
www.drugs.com. Enter all the meds the family member is on and find out what reactions you can expect. Register and then add/delete drugs as you go.
nihseniorhealth.gov. Features information from the National Institutes for Health.
www.aarppharmacy.com. Lots of information, and you can order drugs here.
Caring for the elderly can tax the best of us. Don't forget what's most important.
If you’re part of the sandwich generation — trying to get your kids successfully out of the home while tending to aging and possibly ill parents — you need to take stock of your own health. Here are some tips from Harris College of Nursing and Health Science faculty that will help you through the challenges:
• Take breaks, and allow others to help and share responsibilities.
• Eat well. Exercise. Drink plenty of water. Get enough sleep. (Catnaps may help).
• Seek help from your support network — family, friends, religious leaders and health care professionals.
• Join a caregiver support group, which is a great place to vent feelings and gather information and practical advice.
• Don’t bottle up emotions. A good laugh or cry goes a long way for tension relief.
• Remember that fatigue and guilt are common feelings.
• Eliminate stressful outside commitments but keep interests and relationships that provide positive distractions.
• Learn as much as you can about the aging process and your family member’s condition.
• Continue asking health care providers specific questions until you get complete answers.
• Research the best treatment options and care.
• Realize you are doing a good job or at least the best you can and possibly better than many in such a difficult situation.
• Don’t try to be responsible for providing total care 24 hours a day alone at home.
• Recognize your limitations and that there may be a time when you need to make a change in
care giving arrangements.