Jennifer Troyer, dean of the Belk College of Business, is one of UNC Charlotte’s newest academic leaders. With impressive credentials and fresh perspectives to coincide with the energy generated by the arrival of a new chancellor, she and the other new dynamic academic leaders are eager to apply their expertise to the opportunities facing their colleges and lessons of the current global pandemic to what they view as the bright future of higher education.
Troyer was appointed dean of the Belk College in July 2020 after serving the college since 1999 as senior associate dean and professor of Economics, including the department’s chair and associate dean for research and graduate programs,
What is it about UNC Charlotte that interested you in pursuing a position of leadership?
When I arrived 21 years ago, the University had about 16,000 students. What attracted me then was the promise of growth — in Charlotte, in enrollment, particularly at the graduate level and in the University's research profile. The growth has been greater than I ever imagined. The Belk College of Business’ talented faculty and staff are researching business problems that are directly relevant to industry and policymakers, and our growing alumni base, exceptional teaching faculty and our business partners make great things happen in our community.
Considering the University’s research potential, in what areas do you see research growing? How important are community partners to this endeavor?
The strongest potential for research growth is in interdisciplinary initiatives, where UNC Charlotte possesses considerable strength. As a relatively young institution, the University is more nimble than some others and therefore able to connect across disciplinary silos. A great example is the new School of Data Science, which is already elevating the research of faculty across the University doing work in data science and analytics.
What are the near-term priorities for the Belk College of Business?
This is a milestone year for the Belk College of Business as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of both the college and MBA program. We will deepen our level of activity in diversity, equity and inclusion, as we develop a new, five-year strategic plan.
The circumstances of 2020 have changed the landscape of higher education. What is the value proposition for students?
It is indeed an ideal time to invest in yourself. Regardless of whether they are learning and connecting on Zoom or in person, students in the Belk College of Business have access to high quality peers, outstanding faculty who are working diligently to make the course experience as effective as possible, professional development opportunities and a large network of alumni.
What will higher education look like on the other side of the COVID pandemic; how should the industry prepare?
During the pandemic, faculty have invested in upgrading their skills in the area of online course delivery. Students have learned to learn online and learned about their preferred mode of delivery While I do not see face-to-face instruction going away, I see more opportunities for online program offerings and online components to face-to-face classes that facilitate learning.