Category Archives: College of Liberal Arts

Meet Bonita: Alumni, Christian Counselor, Inspiration

Meet Bonita Baldwin. This Christian Studies alumni finds her joy in music, and found her purpose in helping others through Christian Counseling. Her passion for life, for song and for the necessity of education shines through in the many ways she was and continues to be involved with GCU.

“The way the world is goin’, you need an education. Ya know, you need that education. You’re not feeling school…feel it! Start feeling it. Make it the best four years of your life!”

The Value of a Liberal Arts Degree

In today’s job marketplace, it’s no surprise that students carefully choose their degree paths based on the best projected job opportunities post-graduation. Many students choose a highly specialized major with the goal of getting a job in their career field right out of college. However, in the current job climate, specialization may not always be the answer.  Liberal arts degrees offer students a broad learning experience and are a classical education option because they help students to develop a wider skill set, which can be applied to nearly every field imaginable.

Michael Roth, the president of Wesleyan University, wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled, “What’s a Liberal Arts Education Good For?” In it he discussed the benefits of the well-rounded learning experience a liberal arts education provides. “A successful liberal arts education develops the capacity for innovation and for judgment,” Roth says. “Those who can imagine how best to reconfigure existing resources and project future results will be the shapers of our economy and culture.”

Degrees in liberal arts are founded on learning through art, language, mathematics, literature and history. They are a significant piece of the core curriculum many universities require regardless of the degree a student plans to obtain. People who are well-educated in liberal arts might not focus on a single career path, but rather open themselves up to myriad opportunities because of the critical thinking and communication skills mastered,  which are easily applied to a variety of professions.

Many economic, business and political leaders obtained their bachelor’s degrees in a liberal arts field and applied their knowledge and skills in the marketplace or pursued further education in a more specialized area of interest, such as finance, leadership, business administration, healthcare administration, secondary education or another content area. Because of today’s dynamic marketplace, businesses often seek employees with a broad base of skills and knowledge like critical thinking, communications, society and history, which are the primary focus of a liberal arts degree and gives them the training needed for their specific industry.  Others build their career on the skills learned in their bachelor’s program and lessons learned from experience in their profession.

The classical education offered by the liberal arts provides the foundations for lifelong learning, but what kind of careers can you pursue from a broad education? compiled a list of the most common liberal arts degrees and job opportunities available with further training, such as counseling, public relations, teaching, law, advertising, etc.

Liberal arts degrees are of tremendous value to students and provide the knowledge and flexibility that graduate programs and today’s dynamic job market demand.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Arts and Sciences offers a variety of liberal arts degrees. Learn more today.


Mock Trial Team Scores High at First Competition

By Brooke Bellah

During its first year on campus, Grand Canyon’s Mock Trial Team is already turning heads.  The team traveled to Fresno last weekend to compete in its first trial scrimmage – the regional competition, featuring schools such as UCLA, Cal Poly, Weber State University and UC Davis.

Most of the team’s members are freshman with degree programs that vary from the Justice Studies to business and drama. Although they had been working hard and meeting every day for the last month, many of them still did not know what to expect at the regional competition.

At the beginning of the year, each team receives the same case to study and defend.  This year’s case involved a civil lawsuit for the wrongful death of a child.  Judges award points to teams based on overall knowledge of the case and performance during the trial. The team with the highest point total wins, regardless of whether or not they won the case.

GCU’s team held its own and impressed the judges.  The team did not go home empty-handed.  Team member Alma Matrecito impressed the judges with her performance as witness Andy Davis, the mother of the child who died due to negligence.

Each team must have three witnesses, whose job it is to memorize whole testimonies and deliver a convincing performance on the witness stand.  Matrecito, a drama major, put on quite a performance during her testimony, earning her the award for Best Witness, and her new nickname – Hollywood.

Team coach and GCU professor Cornel Stemley was encouraged to see how quickly his team adapted to an unfamiliar situation.

“You could really see how they matured through each round,” says Stemley, “Our goal for next year is just to learn and improve on this year.  We know we can be as good, and even better, than these other schools.”

The Mock Trial Team is just one of many branches of the Lopes Justice Society, also in its first year on campus.  Other teams include the Knowledge Team, Firearms Team, and the Crime Scene Investigation Team, among others.

“Our goal is to promote criminal justice issues and for our members to gain experience, whether it is in law enforcement, the legal field or corrections,” says Lopes Justice Society President Marcus Rodriguez.

Rodriguez expects the club to be able to provide scholarships to the Mock Trial Team by next semester.  He is so confident in the team’s potential that he guarantees the team will qualify for Nationals next year.

Stemley is also confident in the team’s potential, but says that the focus is “taking concepts learned in class and applying them in real world environments.”

Lesson From 2010: A Rock-Solid Foundation Matters

By Gina Breadon

This year we learned how to cinch up belts, pull up bootstraps and tighten wallets. We learned to be resourceful by doing without or doing with less. Hopefully, we used our well-earned Christmas break to consider “what was, what is, and also those things that have not yet come to pass” (Galadriel, “Lord of the Rings”).

For some, this year has been a difficult time not seen since the Depression, and many have done all they can to just stand. For others, it has been a time for starting over. But starting over also can be a time of reflection and renewal. Now is the time to decide what is most important in our lives. Where have we stored up treasures? Are they in houses, cars and iPhones, or are they in God, family and friends?

Material possessions come and go with the seasons and especially with the economy, but relationships should last forever. How much time and effort have we put into ours? Do not let the weight of the world shake our foundations. Instead, let us be in charge of our own destiny and fulfill God’s purpose for our lives through those whom we love and cherish. Building on rock-solid foundations is an investment toward a better future.

In a time when many are seeking encouragement and clinging to hope, we should seek every opportunity to encourage, bless and be there for others. In 2011, take time to offer thanks. Use talents to help others. Hold true to your purpose and mentor those still searching for theirs. Hug parents. Hug children. Stay in faith because “faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Hope defeats despair and love conquers evil. But more importantly, our actions speak louder than words, so let our actions always be more than what we can put into words.

Last year, if we were too busy to be kind, then this year, be less busy. If we were too distracted to listen, then pay attention more often. If we have lost our way, then find the right path, right away. Remember, others may be following our lead. We had better know where we are going, or at least be headed in a positive direction. Be productive and prosperous. When we are prosperous, we can bless others. Love and be loved, and as this new year rolls in, decide to be a blessing by building foundations that last a lifetime and storing treasures in the hearts of others.

Gina Breadon, a former Phoenix resident who now lives in St. Louis, Mo., is pursuing an English Literature degree online at GCU. She has been a martial artist for more than 20 years and operates a not-for-profit martial arts school in addition to working, raising a family, caring for pets, continuing her education and writing in her spare time.

Holiday Break Details for Online Students

Grand Canyon University is pleased to announce we will be observing a two week break for classes in celebration of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.

Classes beginning on Mondays will begin the break on Monday, 12/20/2010 and courses will resume on Monday, 1/3/2011. Classes beginning on Thursdays will begin the break on Thursday, 12/23/2010 and courses will resume on Thursday, 1/6/2011.

Undergraduate Students: Holiday Break (noted in purple)
Calendar for UG Holiday Break
Graduate Students: Holiday Break (noted in purple)
Calendar for GR Holiday Break

If students are scheduled to be in a course that spans over the Holiday Break, it is important to understand how it will operate:

  1. Students will attend their course up until the point the break begins.For example:
      a. A student was scheduled to start Week 3 of his/her course on 12/23/10. The student will begin the Holiday Break, as scheduled on 12/23/10 and will return to Week 3 of his/her course on 1/6/11, after the break has ended.

      b. A student ended his/her course on Sunday, 12/19/10. The student will observe the Holiday Break and return to a scheduled course on Monday, 1/3/11, after the break has ended.

  2. Students are not expected to participate in online discussion, submit assignments, or work with the CLC team during this Holiday Break period. Students can work ahead if they choose, but need to understand other students and instructors are not required to be in the classroom during the Holiday Break.
  3. Any postings made during the break will not count toward attendance or participation for any week of the course.
  4. During the Holiday Break, GCU’s faculty will not be required to participate in online discussions, return feedback, or be responsible for posting final grades for courses that end the day prior to the Holiday Break beginning. Any feedback or final grade that is due, will be completed the first week after the break ends.For example:
      a. A student ended Week 2 of his/her course on Wednesday, 12/22/10. The instructor will not be required to return the feedback for Week 2 to the student until the end of Week 3 (Wednesday, 1/12/11).

      b. A student ended his/her course on Sunday, 12/19/10. The instructor will not be required to return the final feedback or grade until the week after the Holiday Break (due by Sunday, 1/9/11).

  5. Students are not required to take any action to schedule the Holiday Break, as it will be automatically scheduled on the student’s behalf.For example:
      a. 7 week courses that span over the Holiday Break will extend to 9 weeks in duration.

      b. 8 week courses that span over the Holiday Break will extend to 10 weeks in duration, etc.).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Instructor or your Academic Counselor for clarification.

GCU Professor David Hayes a Jack of All Trades

How’s this for a college professor’s resumé?

David Hayes

David Hayes of GCU’s College of Liberal Arts has been:

  • A professional wrestler
  • A stand-up comedian
  • An actor in a music video
  • A bouncer

His Wikipedia page — yes, he has one — mentions that he obtained his B.A. in English from Michigan State University and began his writing/acting/directing career in Chicago. Since then, Hayes has obtained a master’s degree in creative writing, and he’s working toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

There’s much more, however. Hayes is the founder of Abnormal Entertainment, an independent film production company. He has starred in cult classic horror films such as “Back Woods” and “Machined” (a Lionsgate production). His most recent production, “Frankenstein Syndrome,” will premiere on the SciFi channel in a few months.

For the past several years, he has taught a number of courses at GCU, including Persuasive Theory, Visual Media and Storytelling, Principles of Public Relations, Writing for Media, Theories of Mass Communication, History and Criticism of Visual Media, and Screenwriting.

Hayes said he decided to teach because he was concerned about the future of communications.

“Very few industries can change the world, and this is definitely one of them,” he said. “The new generation of practitioners needs to understand the ethics and social responsibility of what we do.”

He said his goal is to help students find their voice. To him, teaching is a process of self-discovery. Although he takes his job very seriously, he is loved by students for his humorous and easygoing manner.

At the end of the current school year, he will move back to Michigan to take care of his parents and niece.

In 2001, Hayes and his wife moved to Phoenix on a whim.

“We had never been to Phoenix before,” he said simply.

His first job in Arizona: a small role in Jimmy Eat World’s music video “The Middle.”

For a time, he was a pro wrestler under the name of Joe Broni.

Joe Broni?

“In the business, a jabroni is someone who always loses their matches,” Hayes explained. “So, my character lost every match. My motivations were innocent enough. I was interested and wanted to try it.”

He also worked for two years as a stand-up comedian, opening for midlevel comics.

He has been an actor in several films, many of which he also produced. He worked as a bouncer, once kicking former pro basketball star Stephon Marbury out of a club. He has managed an eBay store. He has had a play produced off-Broadway.

Hayes said he still needs to complete the “Pre-40” list he started when he was 10 years old. With the recent DVD release of his film “Blood Moon Rising,” he can cross off “having a movie come out on Blu-ray DVD release.”

He’s still working on getting a novel published and on having a theatrical release for one of his films.

As always, there’s more.

“I’d like to run for the state Senate in Michigan someday,” Hayes said.

Considering his eclectic endeavors, you shouldn’t bet against him.

November FYP Now Available!

The November 2010 issue of FYP is now available on campus and online. Click here for the PDF version.

This issue includes:

  • KBCOB Dean and motorcycle nut Dr. Kevin Barksdale.
  • Notes from Campus Pastor Tim Griffin, COLA Professor Dr. James Beggs and Career Services Director Jacqueline Smith.
  • A profile of International online student Louise Tamutebi, written by online student Gina Breadon.
  • Going to the Next Level – the top five features of the new Student Recreation Center and the top five events in Antelope Gym.
  • A profile on freshman pre-med and award-winning songwriter Casey Lee Smith.
  • The GCU Poetry Club collaborated on a Haikai poem based on the theme of “giving.”

For more information on FYP, including ideas for contributions, contact Doug Carroll or 602.639.8011, or Zane Ewton at or 602.639.7086.

Former NASCAR Photographer Leads Discussion at GCU Nov. 23

By Anissa Rowe

Professor Cheryl Christensen encourages anyone to come to the Art Building, Room 107, for a special presentation on Tuesday, November 23, at either 7 a.m. or 1 p.m.

Mike Squire, former photographer for NASCAR racing and the Grand Prix in Europe will discuss action photography, his experience in the industry and give pointers to anyone eager to enhance their own camera skills.

“You know you’ve got the bug when you walk down the street and can’t help but notice all the photo opportunities around you,” Christensen says.

It’s the truth. And many of her students this year are beginning to see the world through this lens as well.

“I look for the best angle of light and also am more aware of simple objects in nature that can become beautiful by just looking closer,” says ART 215 student Jacqueline Sneddon.

As a senior in business marketing, Sneddon believes this course will prove extremely helpful in her future for understanding what attracts the customers’ attention and brings in efficient commerce.

In class, Christensen asked them which element of visual design has the greatest impact on their personal photography. Such elements include, but are never limited to, line, shape, texture, depth of field, saturated color, and so forth.

What they’ve studied, and revealed, is that light is the greatest importance to creating the most unique photos—it’s the foundation that must be mastered before any of the other rudiments can be applied successfully.

“It’s exciting to watch them start to discover their artistic eye,” says Christensen. “The students become conscious of their creative talents they may not have realized they had as they begin to use various photography techniques instructed throughout the semester.”

Beth Gelmstedt, an Education major graduating this spring, admits she has always had an interest in photography, but wanted to comprehend the many complex settings on her SLR camera in order to take superior pictures.

“I really like how light can take a boring picture of a flower or leaf and make it look so much better just by changing how the light shines on it or how it makes the shadows fall,” she says.

Some people are natural with a camera, while others may develop their finesse over time. Remember: the pros only display their best work; but it doesn’t mean all their stuff is the best.

Even if you don’t plan on entering a career that involves photography, this class will still help you consider the various elements around you to structure a decent picture. Even when you’re just hanging out with friends or with family for the holidays, these concepts will prove useful.

Besides, it counts as an elective credit toward general education—so why not? You might be surprised at what you don’t know about photography. Find out how artistic you really are.

Originally from Oregon, Anissa Rowe is a senior English major. Her post-GCU dreams involve editing, creative writing, teaching, traveling and photography. For now, she says she is satisfied with knowing that God has an exciting future prepared for her. Contact Anissa at

Honesty is Best Academic Policy

By Shanna Milonas, GCU Academic Integrity Supervisor

Be honest…

Have you ever been in a bind writing a paper and looked online for inspiration? Many students have, and that’s okay. What is never okay is copying verbatim from a web site or not citing it as a source. Even worse is posting your completed paper to online essay clearinghouses.

Posting your academic papers to essay web sites is a violation of the University’s Code of Conduct.  Providing papers, discussion question answers or other GCU assignments to commercial websites is taboo.

We know you are proud of your work, but, when it comes to academic integrity, posting your assignments to public forums demonstrates an implied willingness to let others use your work.

GCU requires the use of for writing assignments. Turnitin recognizes if a student submitted a paper to its database, and this opens the charge of plagiarism.

If another student submits your work as his or her own, are youon the hook for a Code of Conduct infraction?


You could be hit with “assisting others to cheat” (University Policy Handbook, page 26). The Academic Compliance office defends the academic integrity of the University by investigating these violations. They also conduct large-scale web searches to find GCU papers posted to online websites and then take action. These actions help increase the value of your diploma.

Sanctions for violations include repeating a course, failing grades, suspension, and even expulsion. If you’ve posted a paper to online clearinghouses, it may demonstrate college-level smarts to ask the website to pull that down for you.

The University Policy Handbook is available at –

For more information, contact

First Meeting of the Contemplative Spirituality Club Sept. 2

Submitted by Zane Ewton

The Contemplative Spirituality Club of the College of Liberal Arts will hold its first meeting Thursday, September 2, at 7 p.m. in Fleming classroom 101. Weekly meetings will follow each Thursday at the same time and place. All students are welcome to participate.

The club is part of the Christian Studies Program activities and will serve as a catalytic fellowship for mutual spiritual growth by exploring the depths of contemplative spiritual thought and practice. It will include films, discussions, book reviews, speakers and occasional workshops.

Professor Dennis Richmond will facilitate the group. Contact Dr. Richmond at