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COB research steps up in last five years

College of Business has significantly advanced its internal goals to ramp-up research.

Shelby Bratcher  | 

Business professor teaching in class

Assistant Professor Lindsay Dillingham is one of many business professors who has incorporated research projects into her class curriculum.

Lipscomb College of Business will take what could be its final step in its pursuit of a higher accreditation standard from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, when the AACSB accreditation committee conducts its site visit on campus this coming October.

The pursuit of this goal has been a collective faculty effort that has been in progress since 2016, said Dean Ray Eldridge.

To achieve accreditation, deployment of qualified faculty must be in alignment with AACSB standards and meet one of the four possible faculty qualification groups that demonstrate significant academic and professional engagement that sustains the intellectual capital necessary to support high-quality outcomes consistent with the school’s mission and strategies. 

Today, the college has well surpassed these benchmarks, said Professor and Associate Dean Andy Borchers. From peer-reviewed academic journals to TV interviews, the 26-person faculty have dedicated themselves to over 335 intellectual contributions during the past five years, he said. In addition, a substantial 61 percent of college credit hours are now being taught by well-published and doctorate-level faculty. 

Apart from the faculty’s growing quality of publications, the college has also been establishing a newfound reputation in the world of business, making a societal impact as a force of good, Borchers said. 

“The college is taking on a position of thought leadership in several areas, most notably the business as mission space,” he said. “We have accomplished this through publications, organizing conferences and academic service.” The College of Business has now led the annual BAM323 conference, focusing on the business as mission concept, for the past two years. The conference brings more than 400 entrepreneurs, business leaders, not-for-profit leaders, impact investors, and church leaders together to see how business can serve the needs of humankind and the Kingdom. 
 
This fall the annual Christian Business Faculty Association conference will be held at Lipscomb immediately following the BAM323 conference, he said, and the College of Business also organizes the business and economics track at Lipscomb’s annual Christian Scholars’ Conference.

Attendees at the 2019 BAM323 Conference

The College of Business is taking on thought leadership in the business as mission concept by hosting the BAM323 annual conference.

Student research has been emphasized through traditional methods and through the requirement that students create their own start-up business, said Eldridge.
 
“Because we are a practitioner’s business school, where most of our graduates go to work, not immediately to graduate school, much of our research is application-based, very practitioner-oriented,” said Eldridge. “So while a lot of people think of research as being new knowledge, we specialize in applied research that often works to advance the art of teaching or to apply theory or best practices to business operations.”
 
“Another area that many people might not immediately connect with research is our annual Kittrell Pitch Competition for student entrepreneurs. Here our students showcase their work, often done in consultation with Lipscomb faculty members, to address societal needs. Not only do our students compete at Lipscomb pitch events, but they travel to compete at regional competitions,” said Borchers.

Students participating in a pitch competition

Students' applied research often feeds into award-winning student presentations in the Kittrell Pitch Competition and other competitions throughout the region.

Many of the Lipscomb’s professors have used their research efforts to benefit students by enhancing their curriculum and often inviting students to help with their research along the way. “All of our research is essential in keeping faculty current and engaged in their disciplines. This is essential in the classroom” explained Borchers. 

For the past several years, marketing Assistant Professor Lindsay Dillingham, has been teaming up with students to involve them in her research through class projects and to shepherd them to making presentations at Lipscomb’s annual Student Scholars Symposium. As a professor who formerly worked at Merrill Lynch, Dillingham focuses her research interests on social influence and crisis communication in contexts such as financial investing, consumer-to-consumer information searches and health communication.

The AACSB will make its initial accreditation site visit in October, an event that is the last hurdle to clear in achieving AACSB accreditation, Eldridge said. 

“I have a copy of a letter dated February 1988 from Axel Swang, the former chair of the Lipscomb business program, inquiring about the AACSB accreditation,” said Eldridge. “Since then the pursuit of the prestigious recognition has ebbed and flowed but we are now in the final stages.” 

“I am so proud of the business faculty and staff working endlessly the past five years to make it to this point. We humbly do not know the future but we are committed to earn this honor. Out of the 16,000 business schools worldwide granting business degrees less than 5% have earned AACSB Accreditation.”