A group of 11 faculty members from across the United States will begin classes this summer in an innovative post-doctoral program developed by Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business to help alleviate the critical national shortage of business-school faculty.

The college was among four U.S. business schools last year that launched “bridge-to-business” programs approved by AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), the accrediting organization for business schools worldwide. The programs are designed to prepare individuals with Ph.D.s in non-business, but related, disciplines for new careers as business faculty members.

The program at Pamplin runs for eight weeks (June 1-July 31) and currently offers two tracks: finance, for those with doctorates in economics, and marketing, for those with doctorates in psychology, sociology, statistics and other related disciplines. The college plans to offer a management track next year, said Frank Smith, Pamplin’s management and professional development director.

Of the 11 students, seven have been admitted in the finance track and four in marketing. They hold doctorates from the following institutions: Auburn, Clemson, Colorado School of Mines, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina State, Ohio, Southern Methodist, Texas A&M, and Utah, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin. They are faculty members at Concordia College, Dallas, Howard, Marshall, Minot State, Penn State, Sam Houston State, Texas A&M, the Virgin Islands, and Western Carolina State.

Pamplin’s bridge program is aimed at individuals who demonstrate the potential to secure a tenure-track faculty position in their new field of choice, Smith said. He noted that eight out of nine of last year’s graduates have secured new full-time or part-time business positions.

In a recent issue of AACSB’s BizEd magazine, Pamplin Dean Richard E. Sorensen noted that solving the doctoral shortage problem is particularly difficult at a time of budget cuts and general economic uncertainty. Sorensen, who chairs AACSB’s doctoral faculty shortage working group, said that at Pamplin, for example, “we had increased the size of our doctoral program by 12 additional students — and we've had to cut six of those positions.”

Sorensen, who chaired AACSB’s working group on the doctoral faculty shortage, said there are about 1,000 job openings for Ph.D.-holding faculty at more than 400 AACSB-member schools in the United States. “The shortage of academically qualified faculty is projected to increase to 2,400 openings by 2012.” The reasons for the faculty shortage, he said, include the 5 percent decrease in business doctorates earned worldwide.

According to AACSB, 5,872 doctorates were earned in the 1995-99 period, compared with 5,611 in the 2000-05 period. Other supply-related reasons are competing employment offers from government agencies and industry; the fact that about half the doctoral graduates from U.S. institutions are foreign students, many of whom subsequently return home; and the retirements of existing faculty members. Meanwhile, on the demand side, demand for faculty has risen, driven by significant increases in business-student enrollments.

To apply to Pamplin’s post-doctoral bridge program, contact Frank Smith at (540) 231-4972.

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