Dr. Rick Franza has been the Dean of the James M. Hull College of Business for six weeks, and he is wasting no time working with faculty, staff, and students in positioning the business school to achieve greater success.
With over 30 years of management and administrative experience in academia and the United States Air Force, Franza brings a unique perspective to the business school. With his authentic yet humble style of leadership, he is driven to making sure Hull College’s influence extends beyond the campus to improve the overall return to the state. View his plan below on how he hopes to make this happen.
Making the dream work with teamwork
Performance equals happiness and this can be achieved when people are placed in roles that fit their strengths. So, my first goal is to build trust and credibility with my faculty by talking with them individually so they can share their concerns, goals, and interests. I will then use their feedback to ensure they are deployed in a way that enhances their individual performance while also supporting the college mission.
Our most valuable asset in higher education is our people and this type of collaborative environment is crucial in ensuring our students and faculty are successful. When you have an atmosphere that encourages critical thinking and innovation, students and faculty will thrive in their work. This is why collaboration is so important, because as Helen Keller once said “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Expanding our footprint in the business community
As we focus our attention externally, Augusta’s business community is looking to Hull College to provide leadership in many areas—talent provision, executive education, and relevant research. Our perspective is that these businesses are our customers and we will engage them to better understand their needs.
For instance, I have already begun visiting our business partners such as ADP to find out what skills and attributes our students need to be successful in their organizations. Additionally, Hull College will act as a consultant to these companies as well as begin offering executive education programs as a way to provide professional development training to the organization.
Increasing collaboration across the institution
As our university continues to advance in cyber and health care, I think it is important to lead increasing collaborations with our colleagues across campus to leverage each other’s expertise and brand. For instance, with several competitive business schools near us, we are in a unique position to one day be known as being one of the best business schools for health care management.
Although my first focus is building up our undergraduate programs, I expect us to begin offering competitive graduate business education programs to medical students, staff, and faculty in the near future. Business schools often have the best opportunities for generating revenues for the institution and developing job opportunities for its students, so bringing other colleges and schools in the institution along with you will help leaders of those units develop a similar mentality.
More facts about Franza
During his time in the U.S. Air Force, Franza served as a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) Project Manager, which he directed research and concept development efforts for President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, known in the media as the “Star Wars” Program.
His research on management has been featured in several publications such as European Journal of Operational Research and the Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, and he is a member of professional organizations including the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science.
When he is not working, Franza enjoys spending time with his family and playing a few rounds of golf. In fact, he enjoys the sport so much that he named his youngest daughter “Augusta” in honor of the Augusta National.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree from Duke University and a doctoral degree from Georgia Institute of Technology.