All posts by mclemore

Walton College Economics Graduate Student Awarded Humane Studies Fellowship

Nathaniel Burke, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, has been awarded a Humane Studies Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year by the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.

“This is such a prestigious award,” said Raja Kali, economics department chair. “I am proud of Nathaniel’s economic research regarding college mentoring and student behavior. This work has the potential to create successful college experiences for many.”

Nathaniel Burke, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Walton College.
Nathaniel Burke, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Walton College.

Burke will use the award to fund his field experiment which provides free college mentoring within Arkansas. The fellowship will also fund travel and conference attendance.

“The program targets minority, first-generation and underprivileged high school students and tests how information asymmetry and a student’s identity is impacted by different mentoring matches and information framing,” Burke said. “Simply put, I am running an experiment to see how students change their college investment (application) strategies and perceptions based on the identity of a perspective mentor and the relevance of the information to their own identity.”

He will present his findings at a conference presentation or in a peer-reviewed journal by August 31, 2021.

“I am excited that I will have more financial support to expand the college mentoring aspect of my field program and help more students across the state have access to higher education,” Burke said. “This opportunity helps validate that an unbiased third party sees the policy relevance and value in the work I am doing and reaffirms that I am doing desirable research in behavioral economics and the economics of education.”

Burke’s research focuses on behavioral economics and applied microeconomics using experimental methods. He teaches principles of microeconomics and serves as a graduate mentor and graduate assistant. He received a B.A. Economics from Manhattan College, a M.S. Resource and Applied Economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is in progress to complete a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Arkansas.

The Institute for Humane Studies promotes the teaching and research of classical liberal ideas and advances higher education’s core purpose of intellectual discovery and human progress. It is affiliated with George Mason University.

Shepherd Selected as Walton College Employee of the Quarter

Ashlee Shepherd, administrative specialist III, Undergraduate Programs, has been named employee of the second quarter for 2019-2020 by the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Anyone in the college may nominate colleagues for the award, which is given to employees who show superior customer service that enhances the image of the college above and beyond the scope of that employee’s job description.

Along with Shepherd, Drew Stephens, digital design and development manager, External Relations; Teryl Hampton Jebaraj, assistant director of graduate student services, Graduate School of Business; and Debbie Ritter, employer relations assistant, Career Services, were also nominated for their contributions to Walton College.

The winner receives a certificate of appreciation and a cash prize. Winners are chosen by Walton College Dean Matt Waller, the associate deans, the assistant deans and the Walton College Staff Council.

University of Arkansas Represented at AACSB International Diversity and Inclusion Summit

Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, and Elecia Smith, executive director of the U of A’s IDEALS Institute, presented the workshop “In Too Deep: Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout” at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International Diversity and Inclusion Summit on Nov. 13 in New Orleans.

The summit took place as part of the AACSB’s International Associate Deans Conference held Nov. 13-15. The AACSB is the international accrediting organization for collegiate business schools.

At a recent AACSB conference, Barbara Lofton (left) and Elecia Smith (right) presented a workshop on how to alleviate stress.
At a recent AACSB conference, Barbara Lofton (left) and Elecia Smith (right) presented a workshop on how to alleviate stress.

The presentation focused on the causes of stress for diversity professionals and resources and tactics available to lessen the stress.

“Stress and burnout are all too common for diversity professionals,” Lofton said. “I want to support other professionals by providing resources to them and advocating for them. I believe in paying it forward.”

Lofton also presented “To Have or Not to Have an Office of Diversity Within a College” to the Diversity and Inclusion Network Affinity Group meeting held at the conclusion of the summit. She discussed best practices, missions and strategies employed by collegiate diversity programs. Lofton served as the session moderator.

“Diversity helps teams think differently and create smarter products and programs,” Lofton said. “It is the right thing to do, but it is also a smart and profitable thing to implement in business or academia, whether referring to diverse hires, diverse thought, or products and programs that speak to diverse audiences. It all matters.”

Walton College boasts the oldest diversity and inclusion office at any Southeastern Conference business school. It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. Lofton has served as its director for 24 years.

Lofton Receives Diversity Champion Award

Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, received the Tony Walker Diversity Champion Award from the Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation Nov. 20, 2019, to acknowledge her work to support and promote diversity and inclusion in Northwest Arkansas, the U of A and Walton College.

Lofton was recognized at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville during the 40th anniversary tour of Con-Real, a real estate, construction and development company in Arlington, Texas, which is touring the regions in which it serves.

Gerald Alley (left), Tony Walker and Troy Alley (right) present Barbara Lofton with the Tony Walker Diversity Champion Award on Nov. 20, 2019, in Bentonville, Ark., during the 40th anniversary celebration for Con-Real construction and real estate company.
Gerald Alley (left), Tony Walker and Troy Alley (right) present Barbara Lofton with the Tony Walker Diversity Champion Award on Nov. 20, 2019, in Bentonville, Ark., during the 40th anniversary celebration for Con-Real construction and real estate company.

Gerald Alley, president and chief executive officer of Con-Real, presented Lofton with the award.

“I was so surprised and humbled by this recognition. I do things because it’s the right thing to do,” Lofton said. “If I want to leave the world better than I found it, I have to do my part.”

Lofton and her team provide support services for undergraduate and graduate students at the Walton College. In addition, the office hosts summer camps for high school students to attract minorities and women to business programs. Her team also serves as advisers to several registered student organizations that promote diversity in business.

Alley is a member of the Walton College Dean’s Executive Advisory Board. His brother Troy Alley Jr., executive vice president and real estate leader at Con-Real, serves on the University of Arkansas College of Engineering Advisory Council. Both are graduates of the U of A. The Alleys support several outreach programs at Walton College through the Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation and Alley Scholars, a nonprofit organization founded by Troy and his wife Unnice, which promotes and supports education through scholarships, networking events and business competitions.

Lofton has served as the director of diversity and inclusion at Walton College for 24 years. She also teaches diversity classes at Walton College. Previously, Lofton worked as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Grambling State University. She received an Ed.D. in higher education from Grambling State University, M.A. from the University of Iowa and a B.S.E.D. from Jackson State University. She is a member of the American Association for Blacks in Higher Education.

Walton College Seeking Aspirations in Computing Award Applications

Now through Nov. 5, the Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business on the University of Arkansas campus is accepting applications from Arkansan female high school students for the 2018-2019 National Center for Women & Information Technology Aspirations in Computing Award.

The award recognizes high school women who have demonstrated interest and achievements in computing, leadership and academics and who plan to pursue a post-secondary education.

The Information Technology Research Institute will host a dinner to recognize the winners in April 2019 as part of the Women in Information Technology Conference. Winning students will receive an award for themselves and their school and will have the opportunity to receive scholarships, internships and access to a peer network. To apply, students should visit the program’s website.

The program is also accepting applications to recognize high school educators, counselors, mentors and influencers who support high school women’s computing and technology programs. Applications for educators will be accepted at through Nov. 12.

For additional information, visit the Information Technology Research Institute website.