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Business faculty nurture case research in the PhD project network

Professors assist efforts for more underserved PhD graduates to publish case studies.

Janel Shoun-Smith | 615.966.7078  | 

Swang Business Center

As part of a nationwide effort to develop a more racially diverse generation of business school faculty nationwide, a Lipscomb College of Business professor has spearheaded training and development sessions on writing case studies for underserved doctoral graduates.

Andy Borchers

Andy Borchers, professor and associate dean of undergraduate studies, and an active leader of the Society for Case Research (SCR), was tapped by the national nonprofit, the PhD Project, to assist in its efforts to enable research opportunities for recent Ph.D. graduates.

The PhD Project was founded by the KPMG Foundation, Citi, AACSB International and Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) in 1994 to work to increase diversity in the business world. For the past year and a half, it has turned to SCR to prepare more people of color to write case studies, one of the principal ways of engaging business students nationwide, said Borchers, who also serves as editor of SCR’s Journal of Critical Incidents.

The PhD project works to bring more people of color into doctoral business programs and faculty positions where they then serve as role models for students of color on their journey to join the business world.

For relatively new faculty members, getting published is a primary concern, Borchers noted, and the Lipscomb trainings, including an online version in summer 2021 that trained more than 100 people and an in-person version this summer in Rhode Island, prepare them to successfully submit case studies to be published in academic journals.

SCR, which works to improve case research, writing and teaching, has held three of its own conferences at the Lipscomb campus, the latest in July 2021. The SCR conference included participation by PhD Project network members and leaders. The case study educational approach is a legacy of Harvard University’s business school, which has a case-focused curriculum, said Borchers. SCR has a 40-year history of serving as a source of the case study teaching method nationwide, he added.

“Case studies are a high-impact educational method that puts students in a decision-making position in a real-world situation. It requires them to apply theory and practice,” said Borchers. “It’s a place for students to make decisions without the impact of destroying a business.”

SCR editors and longtime officers Ann Hackert of Idaho State University and Dr. George Whaley of San Jose State University facilitated the partnership between Lipscomb’s Borchers and the PhD Project, and Sylvia Maxfield, dean of business at Providence College, organized the training effort.

In addition to Borchers, Jeff Mankin, former assistant professor in the business college, and Julio Rivas, associate professor and director of the MBA program, were officers in the SCR throughout the partnership.