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Mondays with Rick: Giving Back

Editor’s Note:
Dr. Rick Franza, the Dean of the AU Hull College of Business School just returned from a conference in the Tampa, Florida area.

Hull is accredited through the Association of Advancement of Colleges and Schools of Business (AACSB) and in 2020 the AACSB updated its standards related to the responsibility a member school has to serve their communities.

Dr. Rick Franza, Dean of AU’s Hull College of Business
ABD: Rick, what areas does the AACSB look at for schools like Hull to engage within the community?

Rick: Here are the suggested areas that each school will pick from to focus on:

  • Reduce Poverty
  • Reduce Hunger
  • Good health and well being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water Clean Energy
  • Decent Economic Growth
  • Industry Innovations
  • Reduce Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
ABD: The above is obviously a daunting task that has many layers. How has Hull been intentional about some of these efforts?

Rick: One of the areas is gender equality. For three consecutive years we have run the Woman’s Leadership Academy to better position women students for leadership and in other organizations. Stacy Roberts, one of our faculty members is taking this over at Hull and the ADP foundation continues to fund this cause.

ABD: What other emphasis are you placing on improving the communities you serve?

Rick: A lot our faculty has done research on the delivery of healthcare with an emphasis on healthcare management. They teach workforce development to our students and ways to grow the economy in Augusta.

In a practical sense, we’ve been involved with Gary Dennis, the Executive Director of the Jessye Norman School of the Arts.

ABD: How so?

Rick: Four of us from Hull participated in judging their J-Tank competition (a spin-off of the popular ABD TV show, “Shark Tank”)

A few months back, faculty from Hull judged “pitches” and through a funding source—the Jessye Norman School of the Arts provided scholarships and mentors to the winning teams in the J-TANK.

I am coaching one of the winning teams…a mother and daughter. And Simon is mentoring one of the businesses as well. This is part of a greater good to reduce inequality and poverty and provide economic opportunity.

ABD: What goals do you have in 2022?

Rick: Financial literacy. We’re meeting with Gary Dennis at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts to look at a way to pilot a program to start to work with children at their summer camp—- to include their parents. We hope to expand this more into the community. We are proud of our Financial Services team and curriculum that we offer at Hull.

ABD: What is the intangible or byproduct of spending time in the community?

Rick: Giving back is important. We have certain knowledge as educators and we should contribute to the community through teaching, researching or just engaging.

Dr. Franza believes starting young people on the path to financial freedom will make a difference in their adult lives.

If we can help young people have less debt to save more or invest more we can improve people’s lives and put them in a position to do better. If these students choose to go to a technical school or university or Hull College we’ve done good. It’s a nice by-product.

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