Published 12/12/13

Supporting faculty and hubs for teaching

Excerpted from the Fall 2013 issue of Bryant magazine

Nothing is more important to the strength of a Bryant University education than the quality of the faculty.

Endowed positions create a powerful incentive for leading educators and scholars to join the Bryant community, and therefore are vital to our efforts to recruit and retain a highly qualified faculty.

By endowing faculty positions, Bryant can recruit and retain top scholars

Prof. Peter Nigro The tradition of endowed chairs at Bryant began in 1984 with a generous donation from then trustee Norman Sarkisian ’53, ’88H, former president and owner of Beacon Industries.

The Sarkisian Chair enables Bryant to attract prominent scholars in the field of national or regional economics and business studies. Peter J. Nigro, Ph.D. (above) , professor of finance, is the second and current Sarkisian chair.

Nigro, an award-winning professor, came to Bryant with a record of distinguished professional achievement including working for eight years at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Among his many accolades, Nigro was named one of Bloomberg Businessweek ’s top professors in undergraduate education in 2007.

More recently, the Dr. Charles Smiley Chair was established in 2009 and is held by Hong Yang, Ph.D., professor of science and technology, director of the U.S.-China Institute, the Confucius Institute, and vice president for International Affairs. Yang, a mentee of Smiley’s at the University of Idaho, has been instrumental in Bryant’s emergence as a leader in international education, helping enhance our relations around the world in addition to his outstanding professorial and scientific contributions.

Hubs for teaching and collaboration

Bryant partners with global businesses, other institutions of higher education, and the community through its centers and institutes that are hubs for teaching and professional collaboration, as well as strategic resources for organizations.

Generous donations help to support the important scholarship, research, and innovation fostered by the centers and institutes, and provides Bryant students with unique opportunities to enhance their education and advance professionally.

Here are some examples:

Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership: In 2010, the University launched the Bryant Institute for Public Leadership with a mission of equipping civic leaders with leadership skills and the tools to manage effectively and responsibly. Program offerings draw upon the real-world expertise of Bryant’s renowned faculty.

Alan G. Hassenfeld, chairman of the Executive Committee of Hasbro, Inc., was impressed—so much so that he donated $1 million through Hassenfeld Family Initiatives, LLC, to continue the work of the Institute. In recognition of the gift, the University renamed it the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership. “The Institute is a perfect fit for Bryant,” said Hassenfeld, a past Bryant trustee and 1985 honorary degree recipient.

Advanced Applied Analytics Center: Bryant was recently awarded a significant grant from business analytics software provider SAS that will accelerate the University’s distinctive applied analytics curriculum and support the Advanced Applied Analytics Center (AAAC), which opened on campus in March 2013.

Analytics is the rapidly expanding field of extracting usable knowledge from enormous sets of heterogeneous digital information (“big data”). Analytics is a critical 21st century skill and organizational function, said Vice President for Academic Affairs José-Marie Griffiths. The grant "reflects Bryant’s continued partnership with leading corporations and thought-leadership organizations, working collaboratively to deliver programs and services that make our students among the most sought-after employees when they graduate.”