7x7: A Celebration of Scholarship at MNU

By Kim (Suderman '05) Campbell

What do you get when you combine seven of MNU’s top professors, interactive voting and a Golden Brain trophy? The 7x7 Challenge, of course!

Hundreds packed the Bell Cultural Events Center’s Mabee Auditorium for the first 7x7 Challenge April 8, 2014. Students, faculty, staff and community members were treated to a rousing academic smack down as professors competed in individual seven-minute talks on innovative topics in their areas of expertise. 

“It’s a fun, creative way to show the community what it’s like to learn at MNU,” says Provost Mary Jones, PhD. 

The 7x7 Challenge was the brainchild of several faculty members including Todd Hiestand, JD. 

The event is presented in a fun and challenging format,” Hiestand says. “Professors are used to speaking, but mostly in classrooms and large blocks of time. The seven-minute time limit also presents an opportunity for professors to challenge themselves in a unique way.”

Hosts Mark Hayse ('88), PhD, and Lisa Wallentine ('94), both professors, were a highlight of the event, providing their own take on each presentation between the lectures. 

Attendees were allowed a single vote submitted via text message at the conclusion of the event. 

After a close competition, Frye claimed the Arvin Oke Golden Brain trophy as well as the title of MNU’s first 7x7 Challenge winner. His talk “Why More is Less” addressed the assumption that with more choices comes more happiness when the inverse is actually true. 

The Golden Brain traveling trophy is named in honor of Arvin Oke, PhD, MNU’s first research professor. Oke has dedicated his life’s work to brain research and has served as a faculty member at MNU for 26 years. Oke’s schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease research has been widely published, and he is a fellow and collaborative research scientist at the Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence located at the University of Kentucky.

The 7x7 Challenge was just one of many events during MNU’s new Week of Scholarship. The week of April 7 also included an exclusive Scholar Visit Day for high-achieving high school students, student and faculty poster sessions, and a networking workshop with expert Alana Muller.

The 7x7 presentations included

  • Busking, Mexican Marimba Style, Terry Baldridge, PhD
  • On Specks & Planks: Why Moral Judgment is Always Impaired, Earl Bland, PhD
  • Tech Neglect and the Wilson Effect, Todd Bowman, PhD
  • Clipping Excellence, Nancy Damron ('95, MEd '98), PhD
  • Why More is Less, Todd Frye, PhD
  • The Molecular Social Network, Jordan Mantha, PhD
  • A Tale of Two Sigmas, Drew Overholt, PhD


Want to see more? 

See the gallery of photos from the Week of Scholarship or watch the individual 7x7 presentations.