From the Hall

Not Your Average Business School

◆ 6 minute read

Not Your Average Business School

We are not like other business schools. And we don’t want to be.

Higher education has become obsessed with rankings. If rankings were based on things consistent with our values as a business school that takes its land-grant mission seriously, perhaps we would pay closer attention to them. Most rankings, however, are based on data about how selective you are in admissions and what others – nearly all who’ve never stepped foot on our campus – think of your school.

So, while others chase rankings, I believe our motivations are closer to our heart and soul. After all, greatness is internal, not external.

Our motivation is a job well done. Our motivation is mission- and purpose-based. Our motivation is cultivating an atmosphere where our faculty, staff and students thrive.

A key ingredient to fulfilling our mission is to hire excellent people. And not generally excellent, but excellent in a way where the Chambers College and WVU is the best place for them to excel. In doing so, they benefit their colleagues, their students and the state of West Virginia.

Look no further than the two Brads that we have here.

Economics Professor Brad Humphreys, an alumnus of the College, started his academic career researching business inventory during recessions. After a while, however, he followed his passion and began to study an area historically viewed outside the core of economics: sports. While not every institution values sports economics, in 2013, we brought this Golden Horseshoe winner back to his native West Virginia, and he now is a globally renowned expert in the field of sports economics, having published research analyzing the ramifications of publicly-funded stadiums and arenas, sports television broadcast rights and salaries of sports personnel. 

Greatness is internal, not external.

- Josh Hall


His excellence helps us in recruiting top-notch graduate students interested in studying with him. In the last two years he has placed students at other R1 universities. Now we have tapped Brad to be our new associate dean of academic affairs and research, helping other researchers, including graduate students, develop their own definition of scholarly excellence.

Brad Price, a native of Boone County, West Virginia, has also carried a unique set of skills and expertise within the College. A Ph.D. statistician, Brad returned to WVU to build a world-class data analytics program inside a business school. Now an associate professor of business data analytics, Price was on the frontlines with colleagues working hand-in-hand with state government leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the minds behind Data Driven, Price and a team crunched data to determine PPE and vaccine supplies throughout the state of West Virginia.

He continues to spread his wisdom on data science to students, fellow faculty and government and industry partners.

The lesson here is not getting people to “come home,” even though both Brads came home. The lesson is that we were not constrained by labels, or what others do or measure. The individuals who drive us forward as a College are those with a passion and purpose and whose background and skillset may be a little “out-of-sync” for a business school.

We are not like other business schools. And we don’t want to be.

- Josh Hall


Take, for instance, Kayla Follmer, associate professor of management. Her specialty centers on mental health in the workplace – an area traditionally ignored in management and organizational research. With a mental health crisis looming over our nation and among young people, Follmer’s work is ahead-of-the-curve and can help minimize the likelihood of serious consequences associated with mental illness in the work environment.

This is why it’s important for us to not fish for new faculty and staff; but to hunt.

Fishing, more or less, is usually reactive and casually dipping your line in the water to see what bites. “Hunting” is more methodical, strategic and proactive.

As an economist, I recognize why people value rankings. However, my economics training also tells me you can’t beat the market by following the market. You have to look for mispriced assets and then act boldly when you see them. That’s hunting.

A good hunt yields what truly matters within the Chambers College community – establishing a sense of purpose, excelling in our work and elevating everyone around us.

- Joshua Hall, Ph.D.

Milan Puskar Dean