People and Places: January 11, 2022

Article Icon Article
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
By AACSB Staff
The University of Akron names a new dean, three Jesuit institutions help launch a new school, and MIT Press offers more open-access materials.


On January 31, Robert J. (R.J.) Nemer will take up his role as dean of the College of Business at the University of Akron in Ohio. Nemer earned both BBA and law degrees from the University of Akron in the 1990s, then worked as an estate tax attorney before founding a professional sports agency. He most recently served as chief marketing officer for MAI Capital Management in Cleveland. Nemer fills the position following the retirement of Susan Hanlon, longtime faculty member who served as interim dean.

At the end of the spring 2022 semester, Deryck J. van Rensburg will step down as dean of the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School in Malibu, California, a post he has held since 2016. While dean, he oversaw the launch of the school’s Doctor of Business Administration degree and its ASPIRE 2025 strategic vision plan, which articulates a values-centered philosophy. Previously, van Rensburg held positions with the Coca-Cola Company and Unilever. After a yearlong sabbatical, he will return to the classroom as a faculty scholar.

Neeli Bendapudi, president of the University of Louisville in Kentucky for the past three years, will be the next president of Pennsylvania State University in University Park. She will be the first woman and first person of color to serve in that role. She will succeed Eric Barron, who will retire at the end of June. Previously, Bendapudi was a professor and dean of the School of Business at the University of Kansas, where she also served as provost and executive vice chancellor.

Omesh Kini has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Bank of America Distinguished Chair in Finance & Risk Management at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business in Atlanta. The chair will conduct research related to the complex interactions between financial decision making and risk. Kini’s work spans corporate restructuring activities, corporate governance and executive compensation, the interactions between labor and product markets, and equity issuances.

Honors and Awards

The Venture Lab at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt has been recognized as the Best Accelerator/Incubator Program in North Africa by the Global Startup Awards. V-Lab at AUC has supported over 200 graduate startups that have created 8,500 jobs and gained 3 billion EGP (approximately 191 million USD) in investments. The startup award competition, which is based in Copenhagen, reaches 124 countries.

New Programs

The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business in College Park is launching a graduate certificate and a specialty elective track in its tech management MBA. The 10-month graduate certificate program, which begins in August, is a collaboration with the university’s School of Engineering and School of Public Policy. Students will learn how to identify and implement technology across their organizations, how to quantify the lifespan value and risk of investments in new technology, and how to explore legal and ethical implications of new technology. Students who are currently enrolled in the Maryland Smith Flex MBA program may opt to replace their second-year electives with the technology management track courses; this allows them to graduate with both their MBAs and Graduate Certificates in Technology Management. Students who earn just the certificate can choose to apply those 14 credits toward the Maryland Smith Flex MBA program at a later time.

This fall, the University of Tampa in Florida will begin offering an Executive Doctor of Business Administration degree. Courses will cover topics such as contemporary business research issues, global economics, multidisciplinary strategic thinking, and practical corporate financial management. Lonnie Bryant, UT professor of finance and chair of the department of finance, will serve as program director.

In November, the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in Germany will launch an English-language Master in Blockchain and Digital Assets degree program. The hybrid program will be taught over four semesters in a series of one-week blocks. The curriculum not only will cover underlying blockchain principles, it also will discuss the ethical and legal implications of the technology. Students will attend classes, design their own blockchain solutions, and visit crypto-asset and blockchain hubs in Zurich and Zug. The program will be led by Philipp Sandner, head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center.


Three Jesuit institutions—Comillas Pontifical University and Deusto University in Spain and Georgetown University in the U.S.—are part of a strategic academic partnership that is launching the Advantere School of Management in Madrid. The school's goal will be to turn out managers who are both technically competent and humanely driven. The new school will operate with three core objectives: to transform education in management; to create a tangible positive impact on society; and to develop leaders on academic, personal, and spiritual levels. Dean Guillermo Cisneros hopes such an education can produce “resolutionaries” who solve some of the world’s great challenges. The school initially will offer four specialized master’s programs in international management, talent management, marketing, and finance. The first intake of students will arrive in October 2022.

Social impact company GOOD Worldwide, the social media platform Upworthy, and campus membership organization Net Impact have joined together to form the GOOD Institute, a nonprofit think tank through which the partners will scale their social impact initiatives. The institute will partner with companies such as 3M and Starbucks to inspire young people to engage in social impact, offer fellowships that will allow business leaders to implement solutions to global problems, and house accelerators that will provide funding and mentorship to social entrepreneurs. In addition, the institute will be home to, a media platform that features content related to science, technology, and ethics. One of the institute’s first actions included the release of the 2021 GOOD Institute Impact Survey, in which more than 500 current and future business leaders pinpoint what they see as the world’s most pressing social issues and how they believe business and society can address those issues.

Grants and Donations

Entertainment executive David Geffen has pledged 75 million USD to support the new facilities on Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus in New York City. The facilities are scheduled to open in January 2022. In recognition of this gift, one of two new business school buildings will be named David Geffen Hall. The eight-story structure will house dedicated spaces for academic programming, study groups, and meetings. It will face its architectural companion, Henry R. Kravis Hall, from across a central square. Kravis Hall was named in recognition of the support the financier has provided for the business school’s new home and his leadership as co-chair of the school’s board. The two new buildings will double the school’s current square footage.

Michael Elmes, a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Business School in Massachusetts, has received a grant of 338,927 USD to fund research focused on helping New Zealand address the impact of climate change. Of this amount, 163,344 USD was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, and the remainder was contributed by WPI faculty and staff. Elmes will use the funds to support collaboration with schools, businesses, and organizations in Massachusetts and New Zealand to create sustainable solutions. Much of this work will be done through the WPI Project Center, which Elmes founded in New Zealand in 2010. While New Zealand remains closed to international travelers during the pandemic, Elmes will work remotely with technologists, climate change scientists, business leaders, and leaders of the Māori community.

Florida International University (FIU) in Miami has received a 50,000 USD Collaborative Opportunity Grant from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities. Public universities that receive Collaborative Opportunity Grants must use the funding to further a partnership with an external local business, governmental agency, or educational organization. FIU will use the grant to support its partnership with MITRE, a nonprofit focused on federally funded research and development and public-private partnerships. FIU and MITRE will create pathways to provide low-income and first-generation college students with access to experiential education. The partners also plan to create new microcredential programs that allow current students, recent alumni, and members of the community to expand and refresh their skills. Other universities receiving Collaborative Opportunity Grants include the University of California Riverside, San Jose State University in California, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at El Paso.

Other News

Fred VanVleet, a player with the Toronto Raptors basketball team, and Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto, have announced the creation of the Fred VanVleet Scholarship. The new award will provide four years of tuition and books to a Black or Indigenous student; preference will go to a student focused on management. In addition to being a professional athlete, VanVleet is an entrepreneur, whose interests include a shop and a clothing line. He also hosts a podcast aimed at businesspeople who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. In addition to financial support, the scholarship includes regular, one-on-one mentoring with VanVleet.

The MIT Press, the university press affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, has announced its plans to publish all of its spring 2022 monographs and edited collections as open-access materials. According to Amy Brand, director of MIT Press, the move is in response to declining sales of monographs and increasing demand among librarians for digital resources. MIT Press has received commitments from 160 libraries and consortia to participate in its Direct to Open (D2O) initiative, and it expects commitments from additional institutions by the end of June 2022. The publisher plans to release a white paper explaining its open-access model to other university presses.

IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), a global association of accountants and financial professionals, has announced the availability of remote proctoring for its Certified Management Accountant and Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis English-language exams. Beginning January 18, candidates can register for the exams in any testing window to be taken remotely without having to go to a Prometric Test Center. Remote proctoring will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for candidates who register through the organization’s remote assessment platform.

If you have news of interest to share with the business education community, please send press releases, relevant images, or other information to AACSB Insights at [email protected]

Subscribe to LINK, AACSB's weekly newsletter!
AACSB LINK—Leading Insights, News, and Knowledge—is an email newsletter that brings members and subscribers the newest, most relevant information in global business education.