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Taking Flight – June 2021

Message from the Dean

I’m going to use this month’s column to talk about faculty and staff turnover.  Yes, it’s an “inside baseball” topic and some will see it as a bit dull. But, I’d ask you to stick with me on it because the various nuances, along with the way a school approaches and handles the issue, can tell you a lot about the world view, strategy, and culture. 

Let’s start with this; there is, and always has been, a market for talent. Demand for talented, motivated, and hard-working people will always exist. Every organization wants people who are good at what they do and who make others better. I say it often: “be good at what you do and make others better because of how you do it.” But people who do that will also be in demand and so recruited by other schools. Those schools may offer promotions, higher salaries, better teaching loads, or prestigious titles. That sort of poaching occurs in every business, and ours is no different.  So, turnover, especially among the most talented people, is inevitable. The question is, what to do about it? Well, it’s a natural, market force, so it’s hard to stop. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t stop it even if I could. Let’s face it; I’ve changed schools. My last move brought me here to Georgia Southern.  And with each move, I was motivated by a new challenge or a better opportunity. In every case, though, I was grateful to the school I left for preparing me well, for enabling my success, and for giving me a platform on which to build a reputation and a career. I didn’t move because I was unhappy. Quite the contrary, by allowing me to grow and excel and so open doors to the work I would do later, those earlier schools and employers did me a great service. Viewed this way, the poaching of faculty and staff, and the turnover that results from it, can be a good thing for everyone. We hire talented and hard-working people; they do for us the many things they do so well, and, if and when some other opportunity arises, they move on, leaving us better than when we started. But that’s only half the picture. 

Of course we work hard to hire the best and of course we’re happy when they succeed, even if their success draws them away. But the best-case scenario is when they come here, do well, and then choose to stay other options aside.  Now, that’s more complicated than it sounds. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, and people choose to leave or to stay for many reasons. Sometimes, it’s the salary; so we work hard to remain competitive. But we’re a state school, embedded in a large state system. So, our degrees of freedom are limited. People can be motivated by teaching loads, program options, or promotions. Where we can respond to those things we do, but we can’t always respond effectively.  Sometimes, it has nothing to do with work or salary but rather with geography or family obligations. Again, those are things beyond our control. But, in the things we can control, I’ll tell you what I tell virtually every person who joins our team: When all of the variables are calculated—salary, teaching, working conditions, an engaged administration, a collegial environment, and a supportive culture—the Parker College offers the best opportunity, anywhere, period. Even if, at some point, they choose to leave for other pastures, we will still invest in them, encourage them, build them up and enable their successes. And, so, once again, the Parker College offers the best jobs in the world. Viewing it all this way, and then making good on that promise, is fundamental to our strategy and culture. Do it and do it well, and the Parker College will become one of the very best, anywhere in the world.   

Alumni Spotlight: Tiara Brooks

By November 2018, Tiara D. Brooks (LOG & MGMT, 2019) had already obtained a full-time position with Target as an operations manager at a distribution center even though she would not graduate for six more months! She credits the tools the Parker College of Business gave her through LinkedIn workshops, résumé reviewing, and business seminars with helping her to obtain that first position. Tiara says she knew exactly how to prepare for recruiting with business cards and to be confident during interviews. As president of the student chapter of the Eagle Executive Society, Tiara learned to be prepared. She awoke every morning with an agenda filled with opportunities for growth. Tiara often stuffed a pair of heels in her bookbag in anticipation of an event later in the day. She admits she was very busy, but she loved it.

In that first job, Tiara was the sole supervisor and worked night shifts of 15-hours each day three times each week. She managed 40 team members across two teams to consistently exceed cycle time goals. Unfortunately, at one point, Tiara became depressed because she was unsure if the job she was doing was a good fit for her. She began to wonder what other types of jobs she would be good at but had no idea of what other career paths she could choose. After several months, Tiara approached her manager. To her surprise, instead of being upset that she was unhappy, Tiara’s manager responded with warmth and comfort. The manager told her about other careers that would fit Tiara’s personality and even served as a partner with HR to help her to obtain a promotion as executive team leader at a Target store in Peachtree City. Although her manager did not wish to lose Tiara, she was dedicated to being there and helping to find the position that best suited Tiara.

As executive team lead, Tiara now works 10-hour shifts five or six days each week. She is responsible for quickly identifying and resolving negative guest shopping experiences to ensure customer satisfaction before guests leave the store. Tiara focuses most of her time on making sure that Target’s brand is upheld and that the service and engagement her team gives to guests are exceptional. She is also the daily motivator for her team and team leads. Each week, the team must meet daily metrics, and Tiara is proud that she has a team that she is able to understand and lead well. 

Tiara is especially proud of the connections she makes with her teams. Before she left her previous position, Tiara’s team stated, “Let’s go where Tiara goes.” Now, her team says, “I love working here because of my manager” and “I want to be here so that I can work with her.” Making those connections and providing an impact to inspire her team to chase their dreams gives her purpose. Tiara’s favorite quote is “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” (Babe Ruth). This quote encouraged Tiara to follow her dreams and realize it was all right not to have a set plan to follow. She believes that everyone should enjoy life’s journey, including the roadblocks because, if we are striving toward something important to us, then we are striving toward personal success. She implores us to follow our dreams and be true to ourselves.

Currently, Tiara lives in Peachtree City. Inspired by a study abroad experience in South Korea, through which she made lifelong friends and learned to love South Korean dramas, which she still watches, Tiara hopes to one day travel to South Korea and around the world to see all the friends she met while abroad. In her spare time, Tiara continues to enjoy learning different languages and about different cultures. In addition, as a Type-1 Diabetic, Tiara is always striving to manage her own health while working long hours, which is why she has a goal to always remember to put her health first. One of her business-related future goals is to own her own company. She is passionate about skincare and may go in that direction once she strikes out on her own. As Tiara says, “Only time will tell.”

2020-2021 Eagle Accountant Published

The Eagle Accountant is an annual publication made by the Parker College of Business School of Accountancy, highlighting news, events and accomplishments of our accounting students and faculty, including a list of graduates, sponsors, student organization news, faculty research and alumni promotions.

To view or download the latest copy, visit

Jackson Gets into Retirement

A generation of School of Accountancy students consider Bob Jackson, Ph.D., a rock star of accounting (at least those who passed Intermediate III). Now, he has the looks to match. Bob officially retired at the end of 2020 and has assumed a distinctive 1970s rock star vibe. It suits him well. Apparently, he’s keeping pace with the hairstyles of his look-alike grandchildren. Bob has been playing golf and traveling the country to keep up with his progeny. When COVID settles down, he plans to take trips abroad with them and show them the world. The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland is on his bucket list. We’re wishing Bob all the best in a much-deserved retirement.

Graduate Application Deadline Nearing

by Benjamin Tankersley

The fall application deadline for the Georgia Southern MBA, MAcc, and MSAE programs is quickly approaching. The final day to submit applications to enroll in the fall is July 15.

This will be the second cohort in the newly re-envisioned Parker MBA program, which is housed entirely in-person from the Georgia Southern Armstrong campus in Savannah. The new MBA program strikes a balance between hard technical skills and soft people skills. This balance alters the trajectory of professionals who come through the program, giving them the lifelong leadership and communication skills that will continue to benefit them throughout their careers. The program runs for five semesters.

The primary vehicle for teaching these skills is through the Parker Professional Enrichment Plan, or Parker PEP. Every five weeks, students get a break from their classes, and, in place of those classes, Georgia Southern offers a program that focuses on one of four subject areas: career planning, professional development, community service, and self-care. These events can be seminars, workshops, or experiential activities. In the past, students have attended programs such as the “Building a Performance-Based Résumé” workshop, hosted by Glenn Gibney and the Office of Career and Professional Development; an etiquette dinner, hosted by Perfectly Polished; and a panel featuring Scott Gibney, Bob Lee, Michiel Soeting (MBA, 1984) and Don Wiggins (MBA, 1973) titled “Leadership Through a Global Lens,” among several other events. As part of the community service aspect of Parker PEP, we have partnered with United Way of the Coastal Empire. Students are required to log four hours of community service through United Way during their fall and spring semesters.

The Graduate Programs Office will hold an in-person Open House on July 1 from noon to 6:00 p.m. in the Armstrong Center. Interested perspective students should drop by for more information. For perspective students not local to the area, Georgia Southern offers an Online MBA program, which also runs for five semesters. Both versions of the MBA program are accessible to individuals who have received a bachelor’s degree in any field. For individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a non-business field, we have four foundation modules to prepare them for success in the MBA program.

The Georgia Southern MAcc degree allows students to continue their specialized study of the accounting discipline. Although most MAcc graduates seek employment as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), the Georgia Southern MAcc program prepares graduates for a variety of careers in accounting and consulting. The 30-hour program, which is available in person and online, meets the highest accounting education standards and incorporates subject matter from the CPA exam, which most students sit while completing their degrees.

As part of the in-person program, students also have the option to add on the forensic accounting or taxation certificates, which can be integrated into their programs of study. Adding a certificate allows students to set themselves apart from other graduates and increase their versatility in the workplace.

The Georgia Southern Master of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE) program is a 30 credit-hour postgraduate degree with 100 percent of the coursework delivered online. It is designed to allow students to complete the degree in as few as five semesters. The program provides students with the skills and competencies necessary to perform theoretically meaningful empirical analysis of financial care, economic development, and consumer choice. Students learn to evaluate business decisions and policy programs and explain progression of various events and their impacts on the economy in a business or policy context. In addition, Georgia Southern offers a Graduate Certificate in Applied Economics, which requires just 18 credit hours, but is built from the same foundation as the MSAE program.

For more information about these programs, please contact the Parker Graduate Programs Office at 912-478-5767.

From Sales Role Player to Actor

A bit of humor to brighten your day: From sales role player to actor, R. P. Knight stars in a local news ad. Click here ( to see the commercial.

Last updated: 6/29/2021