Category Archives: Diversity

Walton Diversity Director Receives Honorary Alumna Award

Barbara Lofton, director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Sam M. Walton College of Business, was named an Honorary Alumna during the Black Alumni Society Awards Gala on April 29 in recognition of her contributions to the University of Arkansas.

“To be recognized as a lifetime alumna made me proud as if I graduated from the university,” said Lofton. “I was humbled that persons felt my work and commitment are worthy of such an honor.

Barbara Lofton, director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Barbara Lofton, director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Lofton manages Walton’s diversity programs, oversees several scholarships, sponsors registered student organizations and teaches diversity classes. She supports student recruitment, retention and increasing graduation rates. Lofton also serves as a mentor, advisor and business competition coach for students.

“Dr. Lofton works tirelessly to recruit and retain minorities through several outreach programs, business competitions and student organizations,” said Anne O’Leary-Kelly, senior associate dean for Walton. “I am proud of her work to advance the university and our college. Barbara is deserving of this prestigious award.”

“In the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, we work on behalf of many students, faculty, staff and sometime communities,” said Lofton.  “For me, when I see a person realize the impossible is possible with persistence, it is like magic.”

Dean Doyle Z. Williams hired Lofton in 1994 to establish Walton’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, creating the oldest diversity office at a Southeastern Conference business school and one of the oldest in the nation.

Lofton holds a doctorate from Grambling State University, a master’s degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University.

Walton College Hosts SEC Diversity Conference

Diversity officers from Southeastern Conference business schools converged on the Fayetteville campus to discuss best practices, new initiatives and professional development, March 8-10, for the 2nd Annual Southeastern Conference Business School Diversity Officers Conference.

“Walton College is proud to host our fellow SEC diversity officers and support recruitment and retainage efforts with academic institutions, faculty, staff and students,” said Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion for the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “Through this conference, we explored many avenues to promote diversity in business.”

Diversity officers from Southeastern Conference business schools met to discuss best practices, new initiatives and professional development, March 8-10. [Photo by Ryan C. Versey]
The conference included speakers addressing diversity assessment and evaluation, demographics, funding and investment, and traditional and non-traditional recruitment strategies for faculty, staff and students. Keynote speakers included Dereck Rovaris, vice provost for diversity and chief diversity officer, Louisiana State University; Florence Holland, lead manager of pipeline initiatives for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Sonel Shropshire, president of The Academic Network; Bernard Milano, president of KPMG Foundation/The Ph.D. Project; and Rodney Parks, senior director, major and planned gifts, University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation. Foundation directors from Tyson Foods, Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., and the Rockefeller Foundation also spoke to attendees about strengthening relationships with funders.

Several of the attendees serve as both administrative staff and associate professors at their respective schools. These conference participants joined forces to create a research team, which will focus on research regarding retaining minority faculty, staff and students.

Walton College boasts the oldest diversity office at an SEC business school and one of the oldest in the nation. Walton’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion was established in 1994 by Dean Doyle Z. Williams.

Bear State Bank Supports Fleischer Spirit Scholars Program

Bear State Bank of Little Rock is making a gift of $50,000 to the Fleischer Spirit Scholars Program at the University of Arkansas. The program fosters commitment and entrepreneurial growth for Arkansas communities. It was established by Morton H. Fleischer, co-founder and chair of STORE Capital Corp., to reach low-income, first-generation college students living in Arkansas who are interested in pursuing degrees in business.

“We are thrilled that Bear State Bank is sponsoring an academic program that gives back to the community, creates local pride and supports individual growth for bright, promising students,” said Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “By investing in our students, Bear State is investing in Arkansas.”

The Fleischer Spirit Scholars Program enables high school juniors and seniors in Arkansas to attend a week-long summer bridge program while living in residence halls on campus. Those who enroll in Walton College also receive tuition support and mentorship for four years. Walton College hosts this program and provides programmatic support during the students’ summer stay and one-on-one partnership with student and faculty mentors during their undergraduate studies.

Read the entire story at Arkansas Newswire.

 

Information Technology Students Receive Insight from Industry Executives

The Information Technology Research Institute, an outreach center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, hosted executive forums on Sept. 14-15 for high school and college students interested in the field of information technology.

Information technology executives from Tyson Foods Inc., the state of Arkansas’ Department of Information Systems, Walmart, Arvest Bank Operations, Acxiom, ConocoPhillips, FedEx, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield, Teradata and Movista were on hand to answer questions about appropriate academic classes, desired skills and information technology trends and to offer career tips.

Rajiv Sabherwal moderates the Executive Forum.
Rajiv Sabherwal, chair of the information systems department, moderated the technology panel while Eric Bradford, managing director of ITRI, managed the event.

More than 250 high school students from across Arkansas attended the forum on Sept. 15. Their questions addressed issues ranging from Windows 10 deployment, data breaches, hiring tips and developing information technology talent. Panelists provided multiple responses, each from their unique perspective. View this event at http://bit.ly/2dtpGAk. The forum was moderated by Rajiv Sabherwal, chair of the Walton College Department of Information Systems.

Some 80 University of Arkansas students attended the forum on Sept. 14.  Susan Bristow, clinical assistant professor of the information systems department, moderated the question and answer session. Students inquired about academic studies, interview preparation and career options. After responding to questions, members of the panel talked to students individually.

The Information Technology Research Institute is committed to promoting student interest in the study of information technology and facilitating the interaction between potential employees and its board of advisers. The executive forums for high school students and college students are just two events the institute hosts to accomplish this goal.

To learn more about the Information Technology Research Institute, visit itri.uark.edu.

Fleischer Scholars Experience Entrepreneurship and College Life

Thirty-three high school juniors and seniors participated in the Fleischer Scholars summer camp program July 10-15 to learn about entrepreneurship at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the camp introduces first generation, low income and underrepresented students to college life, business classes and entrepreneurship.

Program sponsor Mort Fleischer, the co-founder and chair of STORE Capital Corp. (NYSE: STOR), has a long reaching vision for the program. His goal is to assist economically disadvantaged students graduate from college and encourage them to invest their time and talent back into to their hometown communities upon graduation. Fleischer calls this the “multiplier effect” and hopes that these future leaders will serve as role models for their community.

“Walton College is proud to partner with Mort Fleischer on this life-changing program for Arkansas students,” Barbara Lofton, director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Walton College. “We want to give these students the ongoing support they need to stay in college, get jobs and serve their communities. There is no limit on what these young people can do.”

Four Arkansas banks – Signature Bank, Bank of England, Citizens Bank and First Arkansas Bank and Trust – have committed to fund $50,000 scholarships to pay for the summer camp program and four years base tuition. The banks will also provide local internships once students become juniors and seniors at the University of Arkansas.

To qualify for the college scholarship, students must be admitted to the University of Arkansas, enroll full time, demonstrate leadership and commit to back to their local community through service. To quality for the summer camp program, students must be the first in their family to attend college, be economically disadvantaged, hold high college entrance test scores, are able to overcome challenges and have the drive to complete college.

Camp Introduces Retail Careers to Incoming Freshmen

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for Retailing Excellence at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted 17 incoming freshman students from Arkansas, Texas, Illinois and Peru during the Business Leadership Academy held June 5-10. The summer residential program creates an awareness of retail career choices and opportunities that exist for Walton College business majors.

The camp exposed students to business and cultural aspects of Northwest Arkansas. The week kicked off with a tour of a Walmart distribution center in Bentonville. Students also visited Crystal Bridges Museum and participated in a retail scavenger hunt at Pinnacle Promenade shopping center and the Northwest Arkansas Mall. In addition to the tours, students participated in training workshops on social and business etiquette, business presentation skills, the McMillon Family Retail Innovation and Technology Lab and the Jane Gearhart Food Pantry.

This year, the students were challenged to launch a pop-up store in the McMillon Innovation Lab, located on the University of Arkansas campus. Each student team had to create a business plan, a strategic marketing plan and a budget for launching a business. The three teams proposed ideas for a 24-hour school supply concierge, an after-hours food delivery service and a frozen yogurt bar and bakery to a panel of judges from Walmart, S.C. Johnson, Shopper Marketing and the Walton College.

Campers Learn Technology Opportunities at Walton

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Twelve high school students from groups underrepresented in technology fields got the opportunity to learn about career opportunities open to them during the 17th Technology Awareness Program at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

The Information Technology Research Institute, the Walton College Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Department of Information Systems hosted the 12 students for a week-long residential camp June 19-24.

“It is vital that technology fields include minorities and women,” said Eric Bradford, managing director of the institute. “Research shows that diversity helps drive innovation, which in turn shapes the future of technology.”

Campers lived in a dorm, ate at Brough Commons dining hall, and met faculty and staff while on campus. Students participated in an information technology project, researched topics at Mullins Library and presented their findings as part of a closing ceremony. Walton College staff discussed with students the potential salaries of technology professionals and how the students can apply for admission to the University of Arkansas.

Campers toured the information systems department at Walmart headquarters to learn more about technology's role in business.
Campers toured the information systems department at Walmart headquarters to learn more about technology’s role in business.

Campers also heard from professionals representing Dillard’s, Acxiom, Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. and Arvest Bank regarding how those companies use technology daily. Students toured Walmart’s information systems department to see professionals in action.

“These young people came here ready to learn,” said Barbara Lofton, director of Diversity Programs at Walton College. “Based on their research and final presentations, each student would be a welcome addition to any occupation in the field of technology and to the university.”

The camp culminated with three student teams presenting business cases, reflecting how technology could resolve common issues. The lessons learned were summed up by one camper’s parent.

“It was one of the most incredible displays of coaching, mentoring and teaching that I have seen in a long time,” said Denisho Coleman Sr., an alumnus of the University of Arkansas. “To see those students present subject matter in the order and depth in the short period of time afforded was very emotional to me –- in particular the SWOT analysis, which is a mainstay for how we justify corporate capital expenditures as a routine part of how we do our jobs.”

To attend the camp, participants must hold a 3.0 GPA, submit three essays and be a rising high school junior or senior. The camp was made possible by the Information Technology Research Institute board members: ArcBest Technologies, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Arkansas Department of Information Systems, Arvest Bank Group, ConocoPhillips, Dillard’s, Inc., FedEx Services, Hewlett Packard, InContext Solutions, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Movista, Phillips 66, Teradata, Tyson Foods and Walmart.

Walton College Partners with Signature Bank to Provide Three Fleischer Scholarships

The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas is joining forces with the Signature Bank of Arkansas to provide three college scholarships through the Fleischer Scholars program for disadvantaged students.

Signature Bank is funding $30,000 annually for five years to support tuition and educational expenses, as well as for a one-week residential summer camp to introduce students to college. Scholarship recipients must live in Arkansas, be first-generation college students with low-to-medium income, have received admission to the University of Arkansas, have demonstrated the ability to overcome obstacles and be motivated to learn.

“Our commitment to the Fleischer Scholars program is an investment in the future of our state and in the betterment of the communities that we serve,” said Gary Head, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Signature Bank of Arkansas. “My hope is that the Fleischer Scholars, supported by Signature Bank of Arkansas, will stimulate community revitalization and economic growth and that each student will return to their communities as role models, creating what Mr. Fleischer calls the human multiplier effect.”

The Fleischer Scholars program, created by Morton H. Fleischer, co-founder and chair of STORE Capital Corp. (NYSE: STOR), teaches entrepreneurship and innovation to first generation, low income and under-represented students. It also provides college scholarships to under-served youth. Fleischer first started the program at Arizona State University and began a second program at the University of Arkansas.

In July 2015, 39 entrepreneurial teens participated in the program at Walton College. Throughout the week, teens lived on campus, participated in business-focused activities, worked on a business plan case study and presented their team solutions.

“Of the 39 scholars participating in the program, 17 are attending the University of Arkansas this fall,” said Matthew A. Waller, dean, Sam M. Walton College of Business. “Walton College is prepared to mentor these students and provide support throughout their college experience. This innovative program is a transformational opportunity for students, Walton College and the state.”

The summer program prepares students for life on campus. Campers live in dorms and attend seminars and lectures. They hear from local business owners and attend workshops regarding business planning, research, marketing, social responsibility, accounting and finance. The program also includes college preparation classes, which focus on ACT college-readiness assessment testing. Faculty, staff and supporters of Walton College work directly with students during the week facilitating workshops, guest speakers and classes.

Once student scholars begin college classes, each is paired with student and faculty mentors to provide support and guidance. Participating banks in the program will offer summer internships to allow students to obtain professional work experience and earn funds to pay for additional college expenses.

About Signature Bank of Arkansas
Signature Bank of Arkansas was established in 2005 by a team of well-respected and experienced local bankers who had the dream of building a bank where decisions were made locally and in the best interests of not only the bank but customers and team members as well. With locations in Northwest Arkansas and Brinkley, Arkansas, each Signature Bank has a local board made up of individuals involved in their communities. The market boards provide insight and guidance to the bank. Learn more about Signature Bank at sbofa.com.

About Sam M. Walton College of Business
Since being founded at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become a nationally competitive business school. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – AACSB International – first accredited the college in 1931. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Walton College in the top 30 among the nation’s public undergraduate business schools since 2004. The Walton College creates, applies and disseminates business knowledge using a diverse, inclusive and global perspective to encourage innovation in its primary strategic endeavors: Retail, Business Analytics and Entrepreneurship. Learn more about Walton College at walton.uark.edu.

Faculty: Best of the Best

Congratulations to the following faculty selected by the Sam M. Walton College of Business Awards and Elections Committee for the following college awards:

Award Winning Faculty

Gary Peters

Gary Peters
Outstanding All-Around Faculty Award

Soster-Robin

Robin Soster
Excellence in Teaching Award

Jandik_Tomas

Tomas Jandik
MBA Teacher of the Year

Peinkofer_Simone

Simone Peinkofer
Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award

Mullins-Jeff

Jeff Mullins
Outstanding Adjunct Teacher Award

Venkatesh_Viswanath

Viswanath Venkatesh
Excellence in Research Award

Douglas_David

David Douglas
Excellence in Service Award

Farmer_Amy

Amy Farmer
Excellence in Diversity Award