Newsflash

Baylor study indicates cell phone addiction real possibility

Women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, and men college students spend nearly eight — with excessive use posing potential risks for academic performance, according to a Baylor study on cell phone activity published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

“That’s astounding,” said researcher James Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. “As cell phone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable piece of technology become an increasingly realistic possibility.”

Approximately 60 percent of college students admit they may be addicted to their cell phone, the study noted. Some students indicate they get agitated if the phone is not in sight, said Roberts, lead author of the article, “The Invisible Addiction: Cell phone Activities and Addiction among Male and Female College Students.”

The study — based on an online survey of 164 college students — examined 24 cell phone activities and found time spent on 11 of those activities differed significantly across the sexes.  Some functions — among them Pinterest and Instagram — are associated significantly with cell phone addiction. But others that might logically seem to be addictive – Internet use and gaming — were not.

General findings of the study showed that:

Of the top activities, respondents overall reported spending the most time texting (an average of 94.6 minutes a day), followed by sending emails (48.5 minutes), checking Facebook (38.6 minutes), surfing the Internet (34.4 minutes) and listening to their iPods. (26.9 minutes).

Men send about the same number of emails but spend less time on each.

“That may suggest that they’re sending shorter, more utilitarian messages than their female counterparts,” Roberts said.

Women spend more time on their cell phones. While that finding runs somewhat contrary to the traditional view that men are more invested in technology, “women may be more inclined to use cell phones for social reasons, such as texting or emails to build relationships and have deeper conversations.”

The men in the study, while more occupied with using their cell phones for utilitarian or entertainment purposes, “are not immune to the allure of social media,” Roberts said.

They spent time visiting such social networking sites as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Among reasons they used Twitter were to follow sports figures, catch up on the news — “or, as one male student explained it, ‘waste time,’” Roberts said.

Excessive use of cell phones poses a number of possible risks for students, he said.

“Cell phones may wind up being an escape mechanism from their classrooms. For some, cell phones in class may provide a way to cheat,” Roberts said.

Excessive or obsessive cell phone use also can cause conflict inside and outside the classroom: with professors, employers and families. And “some people use a cell phone to dodge an awkward situation. They may pretend to take a call, send a text or check their phones,” Roberts said.

Roberts noted the current survey is more extensive than previous research in measuring the number and types of cell phone activities. It also is the first to investigate which activities are associated significantly with cell phone addictions and which are not.

Study participants were asked to respond to 11 statements, such as “I get agitated when my cell phone is not in sight” and “I find I am spending more and more time on my cell phone” to measure the intensity of their addiction.

The study noted modern cell phone use is a paradox in that it can be “both freeing and enslaving at the same time.”

“We need to identify the activities that push cell phone use from being a helpful tool to   one that undermines our well-being,” Roberts said.

Cell phone activities examined in the study included calling, texting, emailing, surfing the Internet, banking, taking photos, playing games, reading books, using a calendar, using a clock and a number of applications, among them the Bible, iPod, coupons, Google Maps, eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, iTunes, Pandora and “other” (news, weather, sports, lifestyle-related) applications and Snapchat.

Other researchers include Luc Honore Petnji Yaya, professor in the department of economics and business administration at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain; and the late Chris Manolis, Ph.D., professor of marketing in Williams College of Business at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor University is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor University welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Additionally, Baylor University sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams, and it is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by Christian commitment and a global perspective.

Recognized nationally for several programs, including entrepreneurship and accounting, it offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study.

 

 

 

UST and Houston Methodist join forces to develop MCTM degree

The University of St. Thomas Cameron School of Business and the Houston Methodist Research Institute have joined forces to develop a Master in Clinical Translation Management degree program. The MCTM degree will prepare students to reduce the time it takes for new pharmaceuticals and medical devices to move through research, clinical studies, FDA approval and, ultimately, to the bedside.

By integrating the disciplines of science, medicine, ethics and business, clinical translation managers expedite the translation of research discoveries into effective therapies for patients. Despite Houston’s unparalleled medical research opportunities, academic programs that teach these skills are limited. 
 
Although programs are limited, job opportunities exist in many different types of organizations around the world including large pharmaceutical and biomedical firms and research organizations.
 
According to Dr. Beena George, dean of UST’s Cameron School of Business, “We want to offer our students programs that make a difference.”
 
UST’s Cameron School of Business is highly acclaimed for its high-quality, ethically oriented business education, which enables graduates to serve as leaders of faith and character in our global economy. Students are taught that sustainability and an awareness of community needs are business goals every bit as important as profit.
 
By collaborating with organizations like Houston Methodist, the Cameron School of Business offers numerous opportunities for students to enhance their learning outside of the classroom, including internships, a wide variety of leading-edge courses and an active mentoring network that applies lessons learned on the job to the students’ studies.
 
Houston Methodist is widely recognized for providing outpatient care. This reputation was earned through decades of consistent excellence and an enduring commitment to translational medicine and multidisciplinary research and education. 
 
Houston Methodist Research Institute is housed in a 440,000-square-foot building on the Houston Methodist campus, providing a streamlined approach to clinical translation.
  
“The pace of meaningful innovation has grown increasingly slow and increasingly             expensive. We plan to reverse that trend, effecting true change in the status quo,” said Mauro Ferrari, president and CEO of the Houston Methodist                
 
For more information about the UST Cameron School of Business and the MCTM                   degree program, please visit www.stthom.edu/mctm/ or call 713-525-2100.
 
 

A&M, Rice and UT form NSF hub

 

Rice University, The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University have received a three-year, $3.75 million grant from the National Science Foundation to become a regional innovation hub that translates academic research into useful technologies with commercial applications.
 
The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program designated three Texas tier-one research universities as the Southwest Alliance for Entrepreneurial Innovation Node and charged them with empowering teams of university scientists and industry experts to develop life-changing products. The NSF supports all fields of fundamental science and engineering, as well as research into science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
 
“Universities are the birthplace of new ideas and the epicenter of life-changing research,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.
 
“This new NSF I-Corps initiative is a paradigm shift that will facilitate a cultural change in universities and research centers designed to take re- searchers’ creativity and innovation to the commercial level,” he said. “It will be a driver for higher education and university research to become much more entrepreneurial.”
 
The I-Corps program encourages scientists and engineers to consider how their federally funded, fundamental research projects may become commercial ventures.
 
“The I-Corps program is, no doubt, one of the nation’s signature programs for promoting entrepreneurship and startup creation, and we are, of course, honored by the designation,” said Juan Sanchez, vice president for research at UT Austin, which is the lead partner in the node. “Having an I-Corps node established in Texas represents a unique opportunity for researchers and institutions across the state and region to leverage existing research efforts into new business initiatives that will benefit society at large.”
 
The node offers potential partnerships with 33 institutions in the southwest region representing more than $600 million of NSF funding in fields such as bioscience, K-12 education, materials energy research, geosciences, engineering, psychology, oil and gas, water filtration and entrepreneurism.
 
“NSF looks for broader impacts, so involving schools in our system and region is a way to broaden and advance the I-Corps initiative,” said Richard Lester, executive director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. “One of our far-reaching goals is to teach this process to other universities in the region.”
 
To participate, three-person teams comprising an NSF-funded researcher, a business mentor and a graduate student (known as the entrepreneurial lead) apply to the I-Corps Team program. If accepted, the team is entitled to a six-month, $50,000 NSF grant focused on exploring the commercialization of fundamental research ideas. The team will also attend official NSF I-Corps training at one of the national I-Corps nodes.
 
Nodes, such as the one being created with the three Texas universities, then facilitate an innovation-enhancing training program for the teams and offer support during the process of moving valuable ideas beyond the lab.
 
Training begins with a three-day introductory workshop at an I-Corps node and continues for about six weeks with weekly virtual team presentations and updates with national node faculty members. Training ends with an in-person, two-day session to evaluate lessons learned and next steps. UT Austin will host the region’s first national cohort in October. 
 
The NSF I-Corps curriculum is derived from Stanford University’s Lean LaunchPad course that teaches students effective startup methods and technology commercialization.
 
Other regional I-Corps nodes across the country are located in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley, the D.C./Maryland/Virginia region, southern California, New York City, Georgia and Michigan. The Southwest Alliance for Entrepreneurial Innovation Node will be the first node in the southwest/midcontinent region of the country.
 
The application for the node was a multi-university effort involving each of the three Texas schools. 
The NSF I-Corps program will build upon innovation programs already advancing breakthroughs at Rice University, The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M.
 

The Beauty of Transitions: Bringing business smarts and savvy to world of pageants

Running a beauty pageant is very intense. Just ask Cheryl Thompson-Draper, director of the Texas Cinderella Victoria County Pageant. 

Ticking off a list of responsibilities, she said, “The location. The décor. Sometimes you need to have a fundraiser before the pageant to make sure you have money to host it. If it’s part of a national system of pageants, you need to know what the rules are,” she said. 
 
When it comes to rules, Thompson-Draper says that no matter how well you play by them, life has a tendency to throw you curves. 
 
Like so much in life, her involvement just sort of happened, and true to her personality and style — which blends a can-do attitude with Steel-Magnolia-esque grit — she rolled with the punches.
 
As a teenager and after college, she worked with her father at his company, Warren Electric. Then, in serial entrepreneur fashion, she did other things.
 
“Oh, I opened and ran a hobby shop,” she recalled. “Then I sold it, and I went back to work with my dad. Then, I  got a divorce. And, later, when my dad had a stroke, I went back to Warren Electric and stayed there from 1992 until 2002 when we sold the business,” said Thompson-Draper. 
 
In 1998, she was asked to judge the Miss Rodeo Texas Pageant, and while it wasn’t anything she sought out, she thought it sounded like fun. She liked the idea that pageants inspired poise and confidence-building in the contestants, and she looked at it as a way to give back to her community. From that moment on, her ascension into the world of “glitter and tiaras” was swift. She went on to be part of the Miss Rodeo America National Advisory Council, and she was asked to take over the Miss Harris County Fair Pageant. As its director, she built it back up into a major event. Now, she’s doing the same thing with the Cinderella Victoria Pageant. 
 
She readily admits that if you’d asked her years ago if this is what she’d be doing in what she calls “semi-retirement,” she would have laughed. 
 
Turns out, though, she not only likes doing the detail-  driven work of pageants, she also believes they can help empower girls.
“Pageants teach you a lot,” she said, countering the opinion that a beauty pageant is just gowns and vapid smiles. “Our girls have to learn how to present themselves in an interview. Pageants teach them how to lose, and win, with grace. In schools and on teams today, lots of times, everyone gets a trophy. That doesn’t happen in a pageant, and you need to learn how to deal with that, because that happens in life, too.”
 
She should know. When she took over Warren Electric, even though she’d grown up around the company and worked with several of the employees in the past, some people felt she didn’t know what she was doing. So, she had to take the executors of her father’s estate to court to gain both ownership and control of the entity.
 
“I know some folks thought I didn’t have the backbone to run that company, and it took fighting for it every day for months to prove them wrong.”
 
Once in command,  she “did what all the guys did,” joining boards and taking part in civic activities. She was the first woman vice president of the National Association of Electrical Distributors and first woman ever to be named president of the Houston Electric League. Additionally, she was named a Port of Houston Authority Commissioner. And, with that visibility in the community came responsibility, something she tries to instill in what she calls, “her  queens.”
 
“You know, you just keep on keeping on,” she mused. “And you say to yourself, if this is my story, I have to believe in it.
“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent what you do with it,” she said with conviction. “For me, I do what I do with God’s help.
 
“Working on the beauty pageants has been fun, and it’s been an education,” she said. “I call all my girls queens, because they are. I’ve watched them grow and develop…and oh, my goodness, the weddings I’ve been invited to and the babies of my queens I've been blessed to see. That’s a great reward.”
 
Holly Beretto is a staff reporter for Houston Woman Magazine.

Center for Irish Studies brings heritage of Emerald Isle to Houston's UST campus

In one of the most culturally diverse cities in America, home to a strong Irish presence, something was missing. At least that is what Dr. Joseph McFadden, former president of the University of St. Thomas, believed. 

In 2002, when McFadden returned from a sabbatical in Ireland, Houston had an Irish Society, but it was really just an organization for socializing. There were no programs focused on studying and promoting the history, heritage and culture of Ireland and Northern Ireland. McFadden wanted to change that fact.
 
He conceived of an Irish Studies Program that bridged the Atlantic Ocean, serving as a focal point for the study of Irish history, literature, politics, law, language, music, art, drama, culture and society — not just for the university, but for the community, as well.
Irish Studies courses were already being taught in the history, political science, theology and English departments. The new Irish Studies Center, he envisioned, would enhance the university’s academic mission by concentrating on a broad and coherent study of Ireland and Northern Ireland within an integrating framework of many academic departments and community organizations.
 
On January 23, 2003, the Center for Irish Studies opened on the University of St. Thomas campus. A center of excellence, it is still the only Irish Studies academic and cultural program in the Southwest, and it is listed as one of the top 10 Irish Studies Programs in the country by IrishCentral.com.
 
“It was an area of interest that was not covered. There was a need, and it was filled beautifully,” said Michele Malloy, current chair of the university’s board of directors. Malloy was a new board member when McFadden came to the board with the idea for the center, and she became a founding director of the center’s advisory board. 
 
The center, since renamed the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies in honor of a man who played a significant role in the Northern Ireland peace process, represents students enrolled in the interdisciplinary Irish Studies minor, the graduate concentration in the Master’s of Liberal Arts’ programs, and others interested in Irish topics. The center also serves the community through its cultural outreach series of lectures and events.
 
Tapping into its roots
Many of the priests and  bishops with The Congregation of St. Basil, which founded the university in 1947, were Irish or of Irish  descent. So were many of the university’s early presidents, making the center, with a mission to preserve and promote Irish heritage and culture, a natural fit at the university, said Lori Gallagher, the center’s director. 
 
“Learning about Irish culture – including Northern Ireland’s struggles for peace – enriches students’ lives. Whether you go into business or law or communications — whatever you do — everything you learn is going to help you be a better-educated person.
 
“When you experience a range of cultures, history and literature, you learn to read more thoughtfully, analyze better, write and communicate well and be a more well-rounded person. The whole point is to help you learn how to think, to make you a better student and a better person,” Gallagher said.
 
That is why the university’s interdisciplinary track for the Irish Studies minor and graduate concentration is special, she said. Students take courses from different areas of study, so they gain a broad understanding of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
 
Walking through history
Part of the center’s mission is to promote peace and reconciliation. Northern Ireland is a model for conflict resolution.
 
Since 2007, the university has offered a study abroad course every other year, with students traveling to Ireland and Northern Ireland for three to four weeks. They meet with government officials at all levels, grass-root workers striving to keep the peace and religious leaders of all faiths in Northern Ireland, visit museums and Trinity College, (where Gallagher received her postgraduate degree in Irish literature), view the Book of Kells, visit  archeology sites and more. The center provides qualified students with generous scholarships to facilitate their study abroad experience.  
 
The Irish government also helps fund the language program and, each year, a  third-year student is invited from Northern Ireland to study  business at the University of St. Thomas on a full-tuition scholarship. 
 
“Those exchange students take what they learn from living in this country, where                 people from different backgrounds work together, and go back to Northern Ireland and try to spread what they have learned to improve the peace, life and economy there,”         Gallagher said.
 
Resource for the community
Many people are naturally attracted to Ireland, its history, its literature and its culture, Gallagher pointed out. Each year, 75 to 100 students take the courses in the Irish Studies program. A visiting professor from Ireland teaches four Irish language courses and other Irish literature and mythology courses that he develops. 
 
But the center is not just about enrolled students. Each year, the center hosts nine to 12 events and lectures, open to the public. Events in 2014 iinclude a lecture on charitable acts of strangers during the Irish famine that began in 1845, a performance of traditional Irish music, and Legends of the Celtic Harp.
 
“Those events give people in the community a chance to reconnect with the heritage of the area and with Northern Ireland and Ireland,” Gallagher said. “Members of the community can also audit classes.” 
 
Gallagher left a career as a trial and appellate lawyer to build the center. 
 
“I really enjoyed practicing law, but I had reached the point where I had accomplished everything I wanted to do in that career,” she said. 
 
When she left law, she was chair of the civil appellate  section and a partner at Andrews Kurth LLP. 
 
Before going into law, she had been interested in teaching, so she reached out to the University of St. Thomas to see if it needed help teaching Irish Studies. At the time, the university was conceiving the center. When they looked for a director, she fit the bill and came in with an open mind for a center that she could build from scratch. 
 
“The most wonderful human assets the center has are Lori and Dr. McFadden,”  Malloy said. “Lori is just unbelievable. She’s indefatigable — a huge reason it’s so successful.”
 
Gallagher hopes to make the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies stronger and add a few permanent positions in the coming years. She would like to raise the money to fund the positions of a fully endowed chair of Irish Studies, director of Irish Studies, Irish language professor and administrative assistant. 
 
The center is in the midst of a campaign now, with hopes of raising $5 million by 2016.
 
Malloy helped with that fund-raising effort, giving a  $750,000 gift to the center in 2011 in tribute to her father, Gene Malloy, who had been a strong supporter of the University of St. Thomas. 
 
Dave Schafer is a staff reporter for Houston Woman Magazine.
 
 
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