Olympic Athletes Can Get Their Head in the Game, Thanks to Dr. Eggleston!

Dr. EgglestonIn less than one month, the Summer Olympics will begin in Rio de Janerio, spanning from August 5 to August 21. We at McKendree University are excited not only to cheer on our nation’s athletes as they compete, but also because we have our own tie to the Olympics – Dr. Tami Eggleston.

Dr. Eggleston teaches psychology classes on-campus and online at McKendree University, and she is also the Associate Dean for Institutional Effectiveness. Additionally, she is a certified sport psychology consultant and is on the United States Olympic Committee registry of consultants. While she regularly works with athletes at McKendree University and external sport psychology consultants, she may be called upon by Olympic athletes for some assistance for the summer games as well.

“I agreed to work with any Olympic or Olympic-hopeful athlete if they contact the United States Olympic Committee,” she said. “In past years, I have had various athletes who were Olympic hopefuls contact me for some mental training.”

mike and tami wallyWhat does psychology have to do with the Olympics? Quite a lot, actually! “Psychology or mental training is important for athletes, but as the competition gets more challenging, the mental training becomes even more important,” said Dr. Eggleston. “It would be hard to imagine a competition more emotionally challenging than the Olympics. People train their whole lives for these events and travel to unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Being prepared mentally is essential for success.”

For those Olympic athletes or would-be athletes who call upon Dr. Eggleston for help, they will gain an incredible edge over their competitors. “Athletes can learn a variety of skills related to focus, stress management, self-talk, and handling the emotional highs and lows of competition,” Dr. Eggleston noted. “Any sports that take place in a very short amount of time, give you only one chance to do it right, and provide very little room for error have the most psychological influence. Therefore, sports psychology could have a very large influence on sports such as archery, diving, and gymnastics. I would be helping athletes work through their stress, anxiety, burnout, expectations, and self-confidence, to name a few.”

So how can an Olympic athlete get in contact with Dr. Eggleston? It’s easier than you might think. Through Dr. Eggleston’s website, http://www.thinktuff.com, an athlete will learn what she can offer and how the process will occur. “If someone contacts me, I try to meet them as soon as we can find a good time,” Dr. Eggleston explained. “Then we do a quick assessment to see where they are, and then we jump in and try to work on one or two small mental challenges. It’s always up to the athlete if they want to continue to work with me or not. I have worked with some athletes many times for many years; other athletes may only contact me once per year or every few months when they need a ‘mental tune-up.’ Working with athletes of all ages and skill levels is a very rewarding experience.”

JUNE2016LOUIEWhile Dr. Eggleston spends most of her time working with teams or individuals, she has also been known to work with coaches. “Most of the best coaches have a good understanding of sport psychology and understand how to motivate people,” she said. “I am very fortunate that I have good relationships with many McKendree University coaches. I learn from them, and they trust me with their most valuable resource – the minds of their athletes.”

Dr. Eggleston credits her father for instilling a passion for sports in her childhood. “My dad drag raced cars when I was a young girl, so I have been a pit crew all of my life,” she said. “I also played volleyball and was a cheerleader in high school, so I have always enjoyed sports, especially the mental aspects of a game. When I was in graduate school studying social psychology, it was easy to see how psychology could help people in sports. Once I arrived at McKendree University and started teaching so many athletes, I became even more interested. During my sabbatical at McKendree, I took additional classes, attended required meetings, and started the process to become a certified sport psychology consultant.”

Does Dr. Eggleston have a favorite sport to watch or work with in particular? Truth be told, she likes them all! “When I watch the Olympics, I end up enjoying all of the sports,” she said. “I find it very inspirational to learn about the stories of the athletes. I can’t help being in awe of their physical and mental abilities. I usually get ‘Olympic fever’ and just enjoy watching all sports, even sports I know very little about. I also become overwhelmingly patriotic and feel so much pride when our USA athletes compete well. At McKendree, I have worked with almost every team or an individual from all sports. I have particularly enjoyed working with the bowling teams, the women’s basketball team, softball, soccer, and volleyball; however, I enjoy working with any athlete who truly wants to be the best they can be. My husband drag races, so my favorite sport is auto racing, but they don’t have that in the Olympics – yet!”

Want to know more about our amazing faculty and staff? Read all about them at our blog!

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Meet Dr. Beard, Director of the MBA Program!

Roxanne BeardThis month, we are proud to introduce Dr. Roxanne Beard, Director of the MBA Program and Associate Professor of Management! Dr. Beard has been with us since Dr. Frank Spreng retired last year and has been dedicated to helping our students in the MBA program reach their goals through her classes and the classes of her colleagues.

Dr. Beard grew up in a very small village in Ohio and said that she had a typical childhood. “I’m just a plain old farm kid who was active in Junior Fair Board and 4-H,” she mused. “My family raised world champion Belgium draft horses for several generations.” She eventually made her way to the St. Louis area after working with several faculty colleagues in the area in which she had done research and publishing.

“My colleagues’ opinions of McKendree were strongly positive,” Dr. Beard said. “It was during the application process that I began to truly appreciate what a wonderful place this is for students and faculty alike. The digital press, Facebook, Twitter, and other media accounts portrayed a thriving, supportive university. I was ‘all in’ for McKendree even before I arrived.”

Perhaps Dr. Beard’s favorite part about working at McKendree is working with our team of dedicated faculty and staff to help our students achieve their dreams. “It’s true that obtaining an MBA requires dedication and commitment, but in my experience, the personalized attention that McKendree students receive both inside and beyond the classroom is exceptional,” Dr. Beard said. “After graduation, our students often obtain significant promotions, experience accelerated career opportunities, enjoy wonderful networking opportunities with alumni and faculty, and possess the ability to solve some of today’s toughest business challenges. It’s a very gratifying job!”

Dr. Beard also wants those who haven’t yet experienced McKendree to know that students are our #1 focus here. “It’s a community of amazing people who are dedicated to one thing – helping each student achieve their full potential and realize their personal and professional dreams!” she said. “The student-centered approach here is a rare thing. Many schools only talk about being student-centered, but here at McKendree, student success is ‘job #1.’”

Curriculum-wise, Dr. Beard feels that McKendree’s MBA program is unique because it provides students with the tools and skills needed in today’s dynamic business environment. “The curriculum covers economics, accounting, financing, marketing, and management,” she noted. “Importantly, the program also develops the general skills most desired by employers – critical thinking, decision making, written and oral communication, and the ability to optimize interpersonal relationships. In addition, students in the MBA Human Resource Management concentration also cover workforce diversity, change management, employment regulations, and legal issues related to leading and managing human capital.”

When asked what her favorite subject to teach in her program was, Dr. Beard said hands-down that it is Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. “Some would argue that activities such as managing stock investments, minimizing tax liabilities, forecasting economic trends, or analyzing complex data are the most difficult parts of business. In fact, these are not easy, but I love Organizational Behavior because I believe that managing the organization’s human capital is the most challenging aspect,” she said. “For most businesses, their most valuable asset – their employees – walks out the door at 5 p.m. Keeping that workforce highly motivated and engaged on a day-to-day basis is crucial to organizational success.”

Dr. Beard is excited about the future of the MBA program here at McKendree. “Where many in the higher education industry see the current turbulent environment as challenging and restrictive, faculty in the School of Business here are future-focused problem-solvers. We are exploring several exciting opportunities to fit in our mission!” she said.

When Dr. Beard isn’t busy teaching and shaping the lives of our students, she can be found camping at the Marriott Spa, camping in a tent, and geocaching with her Border Collie, Jazz. She also loves discovering new mole recipes (mole is the signature sauce of Mexico) and experimenting with the ingredients, which make up the complex flavors.

What’s Dr. Beard currently reading? Currently, she is rereading one of the books that helped her assist her team of executives in leading a successful turnaround at a failing hospital during her career in healthcare. “The book by John Kotter is called Leading Change, and it is an Organizational Behavior classic,” Dr. Beard said. Other books that I’m reading right now include Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking With People Who Think Differently by Markova and McArthur and Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals by Alinsky. I am exploring the possibility of including material covering a personal code of ethics and the importance of ‘the try’ from the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leaderships in future courses.”

Be sure to read more about our amazing faculty and staff members and what they can do for you and your future by exploring our blog!

Introducing Our Graduate Admissions Counselor, Karen Reyes!

Karen ReyesOur latest spotlight feature this month showcases Karen Reyes, our Graduate Admissions Counselor here at McKendree University! She has been working hard every day, counseling and recruiting students for our graduate school since October 2015.

Karen grew up in Belleville and became acquainted with the McKendree family at an early age when she had taken piano lessons from a McKendree University professor as a child. She found herself returning to McKendree in the hopes of helping students return to school and achieve their dreams.

“I felt I could make a difference at McKendree University, but I found I would also benefit just as much from working with these individuals,” said Karen.

Karen chose McKendree in part because of the caring nature of the faculty and staff. “They have a true sense of community,” she said. “Each person seems genuinely concerned about each other, and they ultimately want to work to help the students succeed.”

Karen believes that no one class is unique in our online program. Rather, she feels that all of the classes come together to create a unique experience for each student. “What is unique is the fact that a student can complete an entire program online and all of the courses maintain interest and relevance,” she added.

When Karen isn’t helping students fulfill their new goals and life directions, she can be found doing activities with her children and enjoying the outdoors when the weather is warm. She is currently reading I Am Malala, a national bestselling memoir about the girl who recently stood up for education, was shot by the Taliban, and lived.

Read more about our dedicated faculty and staff members by exploring our blog! Be on the lookout for more spotlights and exciting news about McKendree soon.

Meet Makenzie Walker, Our Nursing Recruiter!

Makenzie WalkerWe are proud to introduce Makenzie Walker, our Nursing Recruiter here at McKendree University! Makenzie oversees the recruitment efforts for the Division of Nursing programs, including our online programs. She also prepares and facilitates outreach presentations highlighting our nursing programs and helps students who make the decision to further their education.

Growing up in nearby O’Fallon, Illinois, Makenzie first became familiar with McKendree when she performed in dance recitals in the Hett. Her passion for helping students is a big reason why she chose to work at McKendree University. “I did an internship once at a college counseling center, and I found that I really enjoyed working with students, especially nontraditional students,” she said. “I wanted to work at McKendree University because it provided the opportunity to work with this population.”

Perhaps her favorite part about working at McKendree is that her position is very versatile and includes her passions. “I like that this position allows me to work with both the Nursing Division and the Online Programs departments,” she said. “And, of course, I love working with the students! Making the decision to go back to school is such a huge milestone, and I love being able to celebrate that with my students.”

Makenzie believes that the unique classes that McKendree Online offers would benefit any nursing student looking to further his or her education. “We have specific courses in the RN to BSN program that are tailored to fulfill general education requirements for nurses,” she said. “For example, NSG 307, Writing for Nurses, fulfills McKendree’s English requirements. I love that nursing students can take relevant classes even in their general education courses!”

When Makenzie isn’t helping students in the Nursing Department, she can be found running, enjoying the outdoors, or reading (she’s currently reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson). She and her husband have also recently adopted a kitten named Sidney, and they are enjoying spending time with her as well.

Want to know more about our great faculty and staff members and what they can do for you? Read more about them by exploring our blog!

Say Hello to Sandee Powers, Our Transfer Coordinator!

sandee-powersMeet Sandee Powers, McKendree University’s Transfer Coordinator. She has worked for McKendree University as the Transfer Coordinator for two and a half years. Her primary job is to help transfer students by enrolling them in appropriate classes or bringing in classes with the purpose of speeding up graduation.

There is no one who knows transferring better than Sandee. While getting her bachelor’s degree at SIUE, Sandee decided to transfer to SIUC only to find that her credits did not transfer, and she was never given a reason. That experience drove her to do her best to transfer students’ credits, and if she couldn’t she would give them an explanation.

This experience shaped Sandee into a compassionate, hardworking Transfer Coordinator, helping an array of students make the transition to McKendree University much more seamlessly. McKendree University participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiate (IAI), which is a state-wide agreement with over 100 colleges in Illinois that aims to make the transferring process smoother for students.

Sandee is proud of a recent military student to whom she offered transfer guidance. The student had attended seven different schools and had over 150 credits but no degree. She worked with the student to develop a curriculum that enabled her to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business this May. One of Sandee’s memories of this student is from graduation, something she anticipated for this student. She walked across the stage and immediately grabbed Sandee’s arm and thanked her.

When asked what Sandee’s favorite part about working at McKendree was, she was overwhelmed with answers. If she had to choose, it would be helping students make an easy transition, the people she works with, and the culture of the campus. She mentions that once a transfer student tours the campus, they are sold on going to McKendree! The campus has a positive feel to it, and she believes that has been translated into the McKenderee Online community.

Sandee knows how the McKendree Online community feels because she is an online student perusing her master’s degree in education. She has seen a change in the way online classes are portrayed and feels that it has gotten much more personal, feeling as though she has classmates!

Outside of her job and earning her master’s degree, Sandee likes to read, sew, and go on adventures with her two dogs Connor and Joe!

McKendree University’s Director Spotlight: Meet Dr. Spreng!

We at McKendree University pride ourselves in providing outstanding education for excellent students who seek to obtain their undergraduate or graduate degrees. We know that we couldn’t accomplish this without the help of our amazing, dedicated faculty members, who give their time and knowledge over and over to ensure that our students receive the best education possible. For our first spotlight, we’re happy to introduce Dr. Frank Spreng, Director of the MBA Program and professor of economics!

A native of Pennsylvania (the north side of Pittsburgh, to be exact), Dr. Spreng has been with McKendree University since 1987 and has over 46 years of college teaching experience behind him. He has been published several times in various publications and is the recipient of numerous awards including the William Norman Grandy Faculty Award, the Emerson: Excellence in Teaching Award, and several others.

Dr. Spreng enjoys working at McKendree University because it has allowed his career to flourish, and he has been able to do and teach so many different subjects. “It was amazing to watch this once-small college evolve and expand throughout the years,” he said. “I have always been able to do new things here at McKendree, including taking on the MBA program, doing night school programs, and experiencing several other different opportunities.”

Even though Dr. Spreng teaches off and on, he still has his favorite subjects. “I love to teach Economics of the Firm,” he said. “Also, I’m very fond of History of Economic Thought and Money & Banking.”

As for the MBA classes that we offer, Dr. Spreng proudly notes that we offer unique, concise classes to our students. “Our courses are taught very well and offer quite a bit, including a high degree of group work, project work, student participation, and presentations,” said Dr. Spreng. “We bring in a lot of really good speakers for our MBA program, and our professors have had outstanding business careers – they are true professionals in their areas.

“We have a series of courses in our MBA program called Fundamental Courses,” he continued. “Students who lack a background in undergraduate business can do this online and get prepped for regular MBA courses. We strive to give students the maximum amount of quality education with the minimum amount of time required needed to earn their degree.”

When asked about his greatest accomplishment, Dr. Spreng noted that he’s most proud of getting the MBA program off the ground and making it work. “We started with 7 students on June 1, 2005, and it really evolved over the next couple of years,” he noted. “We decided to take the program online about 3 years after it started. I was an early believer that online education was going to be important, and I taught the first course online – Business Law at Flora High School.”

When Dr. Spreng isn’t busy heading the MBA Program, he can be found watching old movies, expanding his large collection of old Lionel trains, and spending time with his three grandchildren. Dr. Spreng is also an avid reader. He’s currently reading three books, The History of Money, The First Stock Exchange, and a detective story called The Tarnished Chalice. “I plan on using parts of The History of Money, which examines how people have conducted transactions since the prehistoric times, in one of my fall courses!” said Dr. Spreng.

Be sure to check back for more of our Director Spotlight blogs and really get to know our amazing professors, directors, and educational leaders!