UCD is returning to Texas Wesleyan, face-to-face

After two years of virtual presentations, University College Day (UCD) at Texas Wesleyan University will be conducted in person. Students and faculty will present face-to-face in the day-long event on April 20 throughout different locations on campus.

The UCD theme this year is “Rams Rising: Connections and Change” and featuring keynote speakers Bekah Charleston and Dr. Donald Meichenbaum.


TxWes alumni Bekah Charleston returns to campus as a keynote speaker at UCD.

Charleston earned criminal justice and criminology degrees from Texas Wesleyan and also presented at UCD as an undergraduate. She is currently a motivational speaker and a social activist who helps victims of human trafficking. Charleston also conducted a TEDx talk titled “Tragedy to Triumph” encouraging resilience from tragedy.

Meichenbaum, a veteran speaker at Wesleyan, is a published author and retired professor from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is also known as a founder of Cognitive Behavioral Modification. Meichenbaum was voted one of the 10 most influential psychotherapists of the 20th century.


Dr. Donald Meichenbaum will speak at University College Day on April 20.

This year UCD is facilitated by Dr. Eddy Lynton, visiting professor of sociology and criminal justice and a committee of 18 faculty and staff members. Submissions are read and chosen by the faculty committee. In the past, over a hundred submissions were received but time is limited to 20-minute presentations. Lynton said, “We will try and get as many people as we can that day. However, there are some people who will not be able to present.”

Fourth year student and sociology major Kollyn Payne presented for the first time last year and was nervous because UCD was not like presenting an assignment in class with fellow students. “With UCD, I would be presenting to a random group of people who may or may not like what I am talking about,” Payne said. After struggling with her first two slides last year, Payne said her confidence increased and her experience encouraged her to submit again this year.

“As a student, UCD is important to me because it is one of the only times in the school year where we can showcase our work [and] be proud of the time and effort we put into it… UCD allows us to reexamine our intellectual property and acknowledge the importance of educating ourselves and other people,” she said.

In addition to student participation, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate. Over her tenure at Texas Wesleyan, Associate Professor of English Dr. Stacia Campbell has presented her own work and sponsored student presenters.

“UCD is one of our signature experiences here at Texas Wesleyan University; this campuswide conference allows students to build professional skills by presenting and learn interesting content while getting out of the traditional classroom schedule,” Campbell said.

She presented virtually last year over applied leadership skills on a professional, personal and academic level using theories from several authors. She enjoys the different classroom dynamics of UCD but feels that virtual sessions were beneficial. Campbell said, “I much prefer the virtual format that we have used the last two years because it allows me to attend more sessions, and I love the chat box for audience engagement–you end up getting more feedback in less time than you would in person.”

Lynton feels differently. He is excited that the event is face-to-face because he enjoys watching the confidence of the students increase while presenting, much like Payne’s experience. Lynton believes that at UCD there is a special energy when presentations are in person.

UCD is important to Lynton because he feels students with different academic backgrounds introduce new thoughts to other students who are unfamiliar with the subject. “Stuff like that opens people’s eyes. It’s an opportunity to challenge the student’s lives and ideas,” he said.

Submissions for UCD are due on March 4.