Biz Q&A: Talking with Misericordia’s new business dean, Charles Richardson Jr.

By Roger DuPuis - [email protected]
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Charles Richardson Jr. practices what he preaches and understands what he teaches.

Misericordia University’s new dean of the College of Business comes to the school with a resume rich in business and academic experience.

Richardson comes to Misericordia after serving as dean of the School of Business and associate professor of marketing at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C. During his career in higher education, he also has served as an assistant and associate professor of marketing at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia from 2005-15, and as a visiting professor at William Paterson University’s College of Business in Wayne, N.J., from 2002-03.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y.; a master’s in operations research and statistics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.; and an MBA in marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Prior to his roles in higher education, Richardson worked at AT&T for more than 25 years in various executive roles.

A New York City native, Richardson also has lived in New Jersey and Georgia. He and his wife, June, have been married for 22 years and have two sons, Wesley and Jayden, and reside in Kingston.

Q: Dr. Richardson, much of your working life seems to have been spent in the private sector, at AT&T. What prompted your move to academia?

A: I joined AT&T in 1979, before the divestiture. After the breakup of the Bell system in 1984, it became apparent to me that the company was not well equipped to succeed in a competitive marketplace. I had been doing some adjunct teaching in adult learning programs, and decided that academia was an attractive alternative, providing a more viable long term life plan. I was fortunate enough that the AT&T corporate culture enabled the company financing of both my MBA and my doctoral studies.

Q: What attracted you to Misericordia?

A: I knew President (Thomas J.) Botzman from my participation in the ACE Fellows program, in 2013 and 2014. Although I could not have anticipated it at the time, the opportunity to be a part of his team was compelling.

The other members of the administrative team, Dr. David Rehm, VPAA and Dr. Pat Thatcher, who led the search committee, impressed me immediately and confirmed my positive opinion of the institution.

Finally, the mission of the university resonated with my personal spiritual orientation. The values of Mercy, Service, Justice and Hospitality provide a foundation for a positive and productive workplace, as well as life guidance for the students who have been entrusted to our care by their families.

Q: Do you have any specific courses, programs or business-related majors you would like to see implemented at Misericordia which aren’t already offered?

A: It is both a challenging and exciting time for higher education. We face the circumstance of educating students for jobs and careers that haven’t been invented yet. This conundrum demands innovation in content as well as in pedagogy and delivery platforms. The College of Business expects to be a leader in this effort and will explore areas of study within the college, as well as in partnership with the other colleges at the university. Discussions on entrepreneurship, supply chain management, international business, hospitality management and cybersecurity are already underway, as well as considerations of further depth in existing programs, such as sales, advertising and retail in the marketing discipline.

Q: How important is the relationship between the school of business and employers, both in terms of bringing real-world experience to curriculum and creating job opportunities for graduates?

A: We expect to develop substantial and mutually beneficial relationships and partner with business organizations in the local, regional, national and international arenas. We serve as a supply chain provider of human capital to these organizations, and it just makes good sense to have them be a participant in the formation process, guiding us in the creation of highly productive and sustainable employees. We will establish a Business Advisory Council, and we welcome their input and participation in College strategy, curriculum content and delivery mechanisms. We will welcome them as guest speakers and as instructors in appropriate classes. Finally, we will explore opportunities to develop academic programs to address the specific needs for the employees of each corporate partner.

Q: What wisdom and advice do you personally impart to students?

A: Develop your own spiritual foundation and use it as your compass. Take your education seriously and be an advocate for it. Work hard, it is the great divider. Question everything (respectfully), even your own thinking. Embrace change, it is inevitable

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By Roger DuPuis

[email protected]