Business & Government

3 Things I Learned At The ‘Voices Of Impact Speaker Series’

February 27, 2017

Texas A&M University A lineup of distinguished research experts will present at the inaugural Voices of Impact Speaker Series hosted by the College of Education and Human Development. The event, which is open to the public, will now be held February 16 at 6 p.m. at Calvary Court in College Station. A reception with light refreshments will follow. Inspired by the popular TED talks, speakers from the college’s four departments will engage attendees in five-minute presentations. Each presentation will touch upon a variety of education and health related topics including healthy aging, fitness, autism literacy instruction, workplace civility, and more. “The Voices of Impact Speakers Series is a reflection of the college’s commitment to advancing the current and impactful research of our faculty,” said CEHD Dean Dr. Joyce Alexander. “We encourage everyone in the community to learn more from these thought leaders and engage in a meaningful discussion on nationwide topics.”
Jia Wang delivers her “Workplace Incivility: The Silent Epidemic” Voices of Impact talk at Cavalry Court.
By Lesley Henton, Texas A&M Marketing and Communications

Just what is a “frantic banana?” I found out that and much more at Texas A&M University’s inaugural “Voices of Impact Speaker Series,” hosted by the College of Education and Human Development. The program allowed just five minutes each for faculty researchers to discuss their current research and/or issues within their fields of study. I learned a lot; here are three examples:

Jia Wang, associate professor, Educational Administration and Human Resource Development with “Workplace Incivility: The Silent Epidemic”
Workplace incivility is spreading like an epidemic, and when incidents are kept silent, it only adds fuel to the fire. Based on 10 years of research, Wang and her team learned that incivility in the workplace takes various forms such as making demeaning comments, disrupting meetings, not giving others credits, giving public reprimands, insulting or yelling at others. They noted that uncivil behavior, such as not returning phone calls or gossiping, is discourteous and demonstrates a lack of respect for others. Uncivil behavior can also be mundane, such as when a boss publicly shames an employee’s handwriting. “Uncivil behavior is often subtle and therefore has remained silenced,” Wang said. Incivility can be very costly, negatively affecting employees’ physical and psychological well-being, motivation, commitment, job satisfaction, and leading to reduced productivity and increased turnover. Social media has only made it worse, she asserted, by enabling uncivil behavior virtually everywhere. “It’s time for us to break the silence and reverse this epidemic,” Wang concluded. Read more about Wang’s research from the American Journal of Management.

Nicolaas Deutz MD, professor, Health and Kinesiology with “Importance of Nutrition in Aging”
As we age, we need to eat more protein. When people age, they eat less of everything and decrease their physical activity, Deutz said. This can cause health problems, especially in patients who are fighting diseases such as cancer or COPD. Deutz and his team studied patients who were in the hospital for COPD, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia and found if these patients were given a protein-rich supplement while in the hospital and for 90 days after, their survival rate was much higher than patients who did not increase protein intake. Deutz suggested older people increase their protein intake by eating more Greek yogurt and milk. “We recommend 1.0-1.5 grams of protein/kg body weight/day,” he said. More on Deutz’s protein research is available here.

Tim Lightfoot, professor and director, Huffines Institute, Health and Kinesiology with “Couch Potatoes vs. Frantic Bananas”
How much you exercise (or don’t) is in your genes. Are couch potatoes born or made? And what is the opposite of a couch potato? The answers are a.) born and b.) “frantic banana,” or so says Lightfoot who studies the genetics of exercise. Lightfoot and his team of researchers have found there are specific mechanisms in the brain and muscles that control physical activity. But hold on, couch potatoes, you haven’t found the best excuse ever not to exercise. “It is a predisposition, not a predestination,” Lightfoot asserted. “That means you can overcome your genes.” Read more about Lightfoot’s research on the genetics of exercise from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Other presentations included:

  • Kay Wijekumar, professor, Teaching Learning and Culture with Spring Cleaning, “Spruce Up Your Brain”
  • Michael De Miranda, professor and department head, Teaching, Learning and Culture with “Design Thinking”
  • Noboru Matsuda, associate professor of Cyber STEM Education, Teaching, Learning and Culture with “Learning Engineering for Better Learning”
  • Robert Muller, clinical associate professor, Educational Administration and Human Resource Development with “What is the Military Child Identifier?”
  • Daniel Bowen, assistant professor, Educational Administration and Human Resource Development with “The Power of the Arts”
  • Cheryl Craig, professor, Teaching, Learning and Culture with “Experiences in School Reform”
  • Julie Thompson, assistant professor, Educational Psychology with “Engaging Children with Autism in Reading”
  • Khalil Dirani, associate professor, Educational Administration and Human Resource Development with “Beyond Training”
  • Marlene Dixon, professor, Health and Kinesiology with “Girls in Sport: Recapturing a Lost Generation”

For more on the Voices of Impact Speaker Series, visit Transform Lives. View all presentations on the Voices of Impact website.

About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world’s leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey (2015), based on expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit

Media contact: Allison LaRocca, College of Education & Human Development, (979) 845-7917,
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