AU’s DBA is a dream come true

Wed, 2012-07-25 08:26 -- univcomm

Some dreams take a long time to come to fruition. It takes people sharing that dream, coming together to plan and nurture it, and watch it take shape. For Doyle Lucas, professor of management and director of the DBA program at Anderson University’s Falls School of Business, the dream of a quality doctorate of business administration program has finally become reality in the last two years.

“About ten years ago we noticed there were not a lot of options for people already teaching and wanted to continue teaching but obtain a doctorate of business degree,” said Lucas. “In Indiana, a person would have to quit their job and up and move their family in order to do this full time.”

Thanks to dedicated faculty members, and the approval of the AU Board of Trustees, the DBA program started its first official class of 13 students in May of 2001.

Lucas says a program was developed to be convenient, yet rigorous, with many of the traditional elements of the doctoral study, yet has the technology to allow someone to participate without physically relocating.

Students in the program are in residence four times a year. They take classes on campus for two weeks, starting in May, then one week in August and also one week in January. These weeks are designed to fit around traditional semesters since most of those in the program are teachers and professors at other colleges.

“There’s preparation work where the students receive material the 1st of April so they have around six weeks to prepare for presentations,” said Lucas. In the meantime, they also do follow up work in terms of papers and projects that they will do and complete sometime during the summer while receiving assignments for the August class. Web CT online discussions also take place between classes.

“I think this is one of the neatest things AU has ever done,” said Mike Wiese, professor of Marketing in the Falls School of Business. “We are becoming the teachers of student’s teachers.”

Wiese says the feedback from the students is extraordinary. “It’s a different level of learner, a very intense group of people. These are not just practitioners but competent teachers who work very hard. They are focused on being the best educators they can be.

“It’s been great, challenging and rewarding in what we have learned,” said David Hagenbuch, professor of marketing from Messiah College in Pennsylvania, a present student in the second co-hort of the program.

Ralph Goodwin, professor of finance from Olivet Nazarene University, agrees. “So far I’ve been impressed, and it has been an invigorating experience. I watch how others are giving their presentations to help me better present my own material in class.”

Requirements for the cohort are to have a completed master’s degree from an accredited institution, 30 credit graduate hours in business related subjects, to have taken the GMAT and have an acceptable score, a GPA of 3.5 or better, and at least three years of teaching or professional work experience.

Sixteen of the 23 present students from both co-horts come from different states and two provinces of Canada; Fifteen are currently faculty members at Christian colleges; Two others are teachers at state supported/private colleges or universities and the rest are from industry who have expressed an interest in the program.

“Fifty percent of those who apply (on average 25 applications per co-hort) are chosen to be in the program,” said Lucas. The greatest reward will be to have people who are competent in their abilities and go out and serve primarily in Christian higher education, but we will have some that will not go that route and that’s fine. It’s an interesting thing that AU has touched the lives of business faculty that will be teaching all over the country. There’s that potential."

— Writer Kim Ousley is a student intern in the AU offices of Media and Electronic Communications and Publications