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People and Places: April 6, 2021

LaBrent Chrite is named president of Bentley, Joan Phillips is dean at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and HEC Paris supports women entrepreneurs.


E. LaBrent Chrite has been appointed the ninth president of Bentley University, a business school in Waltham, Massachusetts. Currently, Chrite is the president of Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black university in Daytona Beach, Florida. He previously has served as dean at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and Montclair State University’s Feliciano School of Business in New Jersey. He has worked throughout his career to improve economic conditions and business education opportunities in places as diverse as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Rwanda, the Ukraine, and the Sells Reservation in Arizona.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis has tapped Joan Phillips to become dean of the College of Business Administration. Dean Emeritus Keith Womer continued to serve as interim dean at UMSL until Phillips took her new role on March 15. Phillips, who has nearly 25 years’ experience working in higher education, has been serving as the dean of the Andreas School of Business at Barry University in Miami since 2018. She previously has held faculty appointments at Michigan State, the University of Kentucky, the University of Notre Dame, and Loyola University in Chicago. She also spent a year as a fellow of the American Council on Education with a placement at Purdue University Northwest.

Anicia Jaegler has been appointed associate dean for inclusivity at Kedge Business School in France. Jaegler, a business professor at Kedge who started her new role in March, is now in charge of coordinating the inclusivity dimension in all of the school’s educational and research activities. Among her goals will be to develop a summary inclusivity index, to raise awareness about inclusivity among the school’s entire community, to track action plans aimed at enhancing inclusivity, and to offer training and support to the organization.

The Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University in Atlanta has announced the new holders of two named chairs. Baozhong Yang, an associate professor of finance and director of Robinson’s FinTech Lab, has become the H. Talmadge Dobbs Jr. Chair in Finance. Harold Weston, a clinical associate professor of risk management and insurance, has been appointed inaugural holder of the Wholesale Specialty & Insurance Association (WSIA) Distinguished Chair in Risk Management and Insurance.

Honors and Awards

Eight U.S. institutions recently won Senator Paul Simon Awards for Campus Internationalization. Five schools were recognized with the Comprehensive Award, which honors overall excellence in international efforts. They include the Davidson-Davie Community College in North Carolina, Florida International University, Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Santa Fe College in Florida, and the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, three schools were presented with the Spotlight Award, which highlights innovative programs and initiatives: Indiana University, Miami Dade College, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

New Programs

The University of Connecticut School of Business will launch an online MBA program in the fall. The three-year program will include synchronous classes on Monday evenings and offer concentrations in business analytics, management, digital marketing, and finance. UConn has campuses in Storrs, Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury.

This fall, the University at Buffalo School of Management, part of the State University of New York system, will offer a master of science degree in business analytics. The 30-credit-hour program, which can be completed in two semesters, was designed with input from corporate recruiters, alumni, and industry experts. Students will develop skills in data-driven decision making, data visualization, business intelligence, and data storytelling.

The Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire in Durham has launched a business analytics initiative funded by a 6 million USD gift from alumnus and namesake donor Peter T. Paul. The Paul College currently offers analytics specializations in both undergraduate and graduate programs, and 17 faculty are teaching and conducting research in business analytics across diverse fields. The new investment will enable the college to expand teaching and research capacity, provide funds for scholarships and assistantships, and establish a new Center for Business Analytics.


University of the People (UoPeople), a nonprofit and tuition-free online university based in California, and McGill University in Montreal have partnered to allow UoPeople students to study at McGill. Under the agreement, after two years studying with UoPeople, academically qualified students will be eligible to complete their bachelor’s degrees in person on McGill’s campus. Earlier this year, UoPeople announced similar agreements with Effat University in Saudi Arabia and Long Island University in the United States.

Last month, the HEC Paris Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center launched #WomenEntrepreneurship4Good in partnership with the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society (Women’s Forum) and Procter & Gamble (P&G). The accelerator program will equip women entrepreneurs and minority women’s enterprises across Europe with resources and capabilities to innovate and grow their businesses. It is aligned with the European Commission’s European Green Deal, a commitment to make the continent carbon-neutral by 2050. #WomenEntrepreneurs4Good is an annual program that provides women with business coaching, networking opportunities, technical support, and access to an ecosystem of resources and business opportunities.

The first run of the program will train more than 100 two- and three-person teams, all led by women entrepreneurs from France, Germany, and Italy. In its first phase, each team will work to create and deliver a solution that addresses the climate and environmental crisis; in its second phase, a panel of experts will choose nine teams with the most promising solutions and provide them with a five-month customized incubation business development curriculum. By the end of the five months, the teams should be ready to apply for funding for their ventures from the European Green Deal. Eligible entrepreneurs can now apply.

New Centers and Facilities

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) at the University of Pretoria in South Africa has launched the Responsible Finance Initiative (RFI), with the goal of showing that finance can be a powerful lever to promote radical change across the African continent. The institute will be led by co-founders Anne Cabot-Alletzhauser and Deslin Naidoo. Both previously were part of the Alexander Forbes Research Institute, which explored whether the financial services industry serves any interests other than its own. The mission of the RFI is to empower economic agents to effectively mobilize capital to spur growth in African nations.

The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University plans to welcome students this fall to its new facility in downtown Phoenix. Designed to reflect the “post-pandemic future” of business education, where some people will attend classes in person and others will attend virtually, it allows students and professors to interact seamlessly in real time. The building integrates interactive data visualization tools, mixed-reality learning, and telepresence capabilities designed to connect a network of students and satellite offices. The tech that the school has already installed or is considering includes ultrasonic haptic feedback tools for no-touch interaction; mixed reality, virtual reality, and augmented reality in special classrooms and workspaces; a motion-capture studio for development of AR/VR language-learning and cross-cultural negotiation software; AI tutors; facial tracking in classrooms; and classrooms with multiple HD or 4K cameras, big-screen monitors, speakers, ceiling microphones, and custom Zoom-controlling lecterns.

Other News

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) based in Budapest has launched an initiative dedicated to integrating higher education institutions into efforts to boost Europe’s capacity for entrepreneurship and innovation, as part of its new EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda. Through the HEI Initiative: Innovation for Capacity Building for Higher Education, the EIT invites European higher education institutions to design institutionwide action plans to improve their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity across all levels, so that they can become engines for job creation and sustainable economic growth in their regions.

The EIT will choose 23 pilot projects and award each with up to 1.2 million EUR (approximately 1.42 million USD). Awards will be funded in two phases—up to 400,000 EUR for Phase 1 (July to December 2021) and up to 800,000 EUR for Phase 2 (January 2022 to July 2023). The EIT is most interested in projects that are designed to foster institutional engagement and change; strengthen partnerships between academia, business, and research organizations; develop innovation and business support services; enhance the quality of entrepreneurial education; and create and disseminate knowledge. The deadline to submit proposals is May 25, 2021, and awards will be announced in June 2021. The EIT has created a factsheet with more information.

The American University in Cairo (AUC) has launched a Virtual Career Platform for the University Centers of Career Development Project (UCCD) 2021, in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Together with AUC and USAID, the UCCD has established career centers at ten universities: Alexandria, Ain Shams, Aswan, Beni-Suef, Al Mansoura, Menoufia, Minia, Sadat, Sohag, and Zagazig. The UCCD 2021 Virtual Career Platform is the first venue that connects students and graduates from all ten universities to organizations offering job opportunities. The platform will host recruiting events such as its first event, the Virtual Career Expo 2021, held in late March. The expo attracted about 4,000 participants and featured more than 3,500 job and internship opportunities from more than 55 employers. The UCCD plans to expand the project to include 30 career centers at 22 public universities in Egypt, with the goal of serving 70 percent of the country’s university students.

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