Isenberg’s PhD Program Celebrates a Half Century of Scholarship
March 22, 2019
When the University of Massachusetts Amherst debuted its doctoral program in the late 1960s, it was the first public school in New England to offer a PhD in business administration. The first class of 10 (all white men, shown in the photo with their spouses and partners) has expanded today to 65 students, 29 of whom are women. It has a vibrant national presence in both teaching and research, with graduate placements at well over a hundred colleges and universities.
“Doctoral studies and research are critical to Isenberg’s national reputation,” observes George Milne, who has directed the program since 2013. (In September of 2018, he added the title of Associate Dean for Research to his resume.)
Milne views the relationship between cutting-edge faculty members and talented students as symbiotic. “During the past decade, we have attracted and invested in increasingly prominent faculty members,” he continues. “They bring out the best in our students. In my roles, I wholeheartedly embrace our reenergized research mission.”
In 2017, the doctoral program generated 18 graduates with 17 tenure track placements—the most in its history. And this year, it welcomed 14 new PhD students (7 men, 7 women) from China, India, Iran, Russia, Vietnam, and the United States. Each student pursues one academic concentration among nine options.
“Our students,” adds Milne,” engage in research earlier while continuing to refine their teaching skills in live and online classes.” It all pays off, he emphasizes: “Without question, we are placing our graduates in stronger institutions.”
On April 5, PhD graduates, students, and their professors will gather for a day-long 50th anniversary celebration of doctoral studies at Isenberg. Highlights will include alumni panel discussions (by discipline) and the presence of three alumni who have excelled as leaders in higher education. They are Dennis Hanno ’90 (president of Wheaton College), Anne Balazs ’91 (dean at the University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation), and Susan Fournier ’80 (dean of Boston University’s Questrom School of Business).
“Given our fifty-year history, we have many impressive accomplishments to brag about,” notes Milne. “But we are celebrating our current program as well. It has never been stronger.”
Read more about three alumni who have reached impressive academic heights: