Why these 2 profs are eager to welcome the 1st cohort to UNA’s new EDBA program


Dr. Parnell + Dr. Kutz, professors on UNA's EDBA program
Parnell and Kutz. Photo by Leah T. Johnson. (Sept. 21, 2020). Photo@una.edu

In January 2021, the University of North Alabama will welcome the first cohort to their new Executive Doctor of Business Administration (EDBA) program. We spoke to two professors to find out why they can’t wait to get started. Visit UNA’s website to learn more

After publishing an overview of the EDBA program and speaking with one of the members of the first cohort, we were ready to get an insider’s view of the program. We reached out to two professors—Dr. Diane Kutz and Dr. John Parnell—who are eager to welcome the first cohort to UNA’s EDBA program.

Bham Now: Tell us a bit about yourselves + what you do at UNA.

Dr. Kutz at the University of North Alabama. She's one of the professors on the new EDBA program
Dr. Kutz. Photo by Leah T. Johnson. (Sept. 21, 2020). Photo@una.edu

Dr. Diane Kutz: Born in Connecticut, I was raised an island girl in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Completing my BA degree at the University of South Florida is what pulled me away from the island. Next, I pursued a career in IT Project Management before shifting to academia.  

I earned my MBA at the University of North Alabama (where I now teach) and successfully defended my DBA dissertation at the University of South Florida.   

At UNA, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Project Management. I am also the Coordinator of Project Management Programs.

Dr. Parnell is one of the professors on UNA's new EDBA program
Dr. Parnell. Photo by Leah T. Johnson. (Sept. 21, 2020). Photo@una.edu

Dr. John Parnell: I was born and raised in North Carolina. East Carolina University is where I completed my BSBA, MBA, and MAEd degrees. Before deciding to pursue a career in academia, I ran a small direct-mail consumer electronics company. 

I earned an EdD in public policy analysis from Campbell University, in North Carolina, and a PhD in business from the University of Memphis. 

Currently, I have over 20 years of academic experience. I joined UNA in 2019 as Professor in Management and Eminent Scholar in Business. My primary expertise is in strategic management, nonmarket strategy and crisis management.

Bham Now: What is your role with respect to the EDBA program?

Both Dr. Kutz and Dr. Parnell are looking forward to working with students on their dissertations.

Dr. Kutz: I’m teaching Project Management for Applied Research in the first term.

Dr. Parnell: I’ll teach several research-oriented courses. My courses include Discovering Applied Research, the foundation course for the EDBA, which is taught in the first term.

Bham Now: What are you most excited about with this new program?

People beside a window in a business setting.
UNA’s EDBA program gives people tools to apply to real-world problems. Photo via Unsplash

Dr. Kutz: I am very excited to collaborate with business professionals in applying academic research methods to assist them in addressing current, real-world business problems.

Dr. Parnell: The UNA EDBA program will help business professionals learn the craft of research—with a practical focus. I am excited about working with students who want to engage in research to solve real business problems.Want to learn more? Inquire here.

Bham Now: Dr. Kutz, what was the process of getting a DBA like for you?

People at a graduation ceremony at UNA
Graduation at UNA. Photo via UNA

Dr. Kutz: Challenging and extremely rewarding! 

The courses have challenged me to think about problems differently. 

I’ve learned a lot from my professors, and I have learned from the fellow members of the cohort—we all have very different backgrounds, which really enhanced the depth of our classroom discussions. 

Residency weekends were a treasured time for me to step away from my professional role and enjoy the aspects of being a student again. 

The university where I was studying had to transition to synchronous remote learning in March. Luckily, we still had lively classroom discussions. These took place online during residency weekends.

Students entering this program should take advantage of the opportunities to network during and between residency weekends. Before COVID, I organized informal dinners every residency weekend where students could get together and socialize. 

While everyone didn’t join every month, we always had a great time and became very close. Many of us plan to continue to collaborate on research projects as we move forward.

Bham Now: How did that experience inform your role in helping to design UNA’s EDBA program?

Dr. Kutz: I’ve been a part of the EDBA Leadership team from its inception, and I feel privileged to be working with great colleagues on this exciting program. I believe my experiences as a doctoral student have helped us shape our unique program.

Bham Now: What do you know about the students in the EDBA program?

Sylvia Bowen is a member of UNA's first EDBA cohort.
Sylvia Bowen is a member of UNA’s first EDBA cohort. Photo supplied

Dr. Parnell: We’re very excited about the incoming group. The students, including Sylvia Bowen, are bright and motivated and their backgrounds and interests are diverse—from real estate to the defense industry and from small business owners to members of Fortune 500 companies. 

They will learn a lot in the program, and they will also learn from each other.

Bham Now: Tell me about the rest of the faculty on the program.

UNA Faculty at a graduation ceremony
UNA Faculty. Photo via UNA

Dr. Parnell: The professors have different backgrounds, including strong credentials in research and business practice. EDBA professors come from all functional areas of business, information systems, and economics. 

We are excited about teaching the courses. We’re also looking forward to working together to create a strong, comprehensive learning experience for our students.

Bham Now: Dr. Parnell, what are the top three things you want potential applicants to know about the program?

  1. This isn’t a traditional PhD—it’s been designed to help business professionals learn how to develop rigorous academic research skills so they can address real-world problems.
  2. EDBA faculty understand how academic training can support professional activity and vice versa. The weekend residencies are designed so that active professionals can pursue their academic and professional goals at the same time.
  3. The EDBA faculty is talented and uniquely qualified to provide courses that blend sophisticated approaches to research with current thinking about business problems. You will learn a lot in this program!

Nuts  + bolts for UNA’s EDBA

To learn more about the basics of this program, including requirements for admission, cost and how to apply, check out this piece where we lay it all out for you. 

The University of North Alabama’s EDBA is an applied program that trains and equips people to make a difference in the real world of business. Here are three things that make UNA stand out: 

Cost: At $33,030 per year for 3 years, the program is competitively priced. 

Quality: UNA is among the 5% of business schools in the world to hold the prestigious AACSB accreditation.

Flexibility: Most of the program is online, with monthly in-person weekend sessions on the UNA campus.

If UNA’s EDBA program sounds like your next career step, find out more here or follow UNA on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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