Braun Aims for Innovation at College of Business

Braun Aims for Innovation  at College of Business
UA Little Rock Reynolds Center for Business & Economic Development (Wil Chandler)

In late summer of 2021, Frank Braun joined UA Little Rock as the dean of the College of Business, Health & Human Services. An Ohio native, he was previously dean of the Baldwin Wallace School of Business and a professor of business informatics at BW, located in Berea, Ohio. He earned a bachelor’s degree in applied science from Miami University, an MBA from Xavier University of Cincinnati and Doctor of Management from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Braun said he was drawn to UA Little Rock because of the engagement of the Central Arkansas business community and the interest many longtime businesses continue to have in the school.

“I’m very interested in furthering those relationships and cultivating new partnerships to support and enhance the social and economic well-being of the region, state and beyond,” Braun said.

Braun was a department chair and director of the Master of Science program at Northern Kentucky University and has held senior leadership positions with United Dairy Farmers, TouchScreen Systems and Klosterman Baking Co.

With transdisciplinary academic and industry experience in fintech, data analytics and cybersecurity, Braun has insight into the application and innovative use of information and technology. He said that as digitization continues to accelerate, it is critical to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the current environment while being able to adapt to industry landscapes in a constant state of evolution.

This century’s employers, Braun said, are searching for employees who are creative and entrepreneurial.

“My goal is for our educational programming to offer learners both conceptual and practical insights to enhance their decision-making, creativity and problem-solving skills,” Braun said. “I am focused on our students and their learning environment. We will teach and inspire our students by showing them how to move from intent to intensity in their careers.

“By elevating the college and promoting innovative partnerships across the university, region and globe, we will cultivate these students to be well-rounded, capable contributors.”

As a former executive and consultant, Braun designed enterprise-wide systems and strategies, leveraging emerging technologies, business analytics and process integration. He hopes to leverage the experience in relationship building and organizational development to benefit UA Little Rock and all stakeholders.

“The college has a long legacy of industry partnerships, from our health care partners like Saline Memorial or CHI St. Vincent, human services partners like the Clinton School of Public Service, Baptist Health and countless nonprofit organizations, to business partners in nearly every industry,” Braun said. “Interdisciplinary teams work closely with industry leaders to understand their needs, adjust our curriculum to address those needs and create a pipeline of incredibly talented and ready-to-work graduates.”

The constant evolution of work and industry pose the biggest challenge to UA Little Rock, Braun said. It is important for the business school to also evolve beyond the traditional structure with dynamic content and delivery models that are more flexible for individual students.

“The virtual classroom technology we have in place has strengthened the flexible methods of teaching and learning,” Braun said. “Students can decide on the day of class how they want to participate.”

Braun said UA Little Rock is in the process of creating programs that will address the evolving needs of business. He touted the school’s leadership training, range of graduate degrees and certification programs and practical and hands-on certifications.

The Master of Business Administration degree, the Master of Science in business information systems and analytics and certificate programs are all particularly good for professionals looking to advance or change direction in their careers, Braun said.

“The college has also expanded its programming and its scholarship opportunities to expand educational access to lifelong learners,” he said.

Additionally, Braun noted the new leadership academy at UA Little Rock that provides customized professional development training for the business industry.

With the digital world advancing at a rapid pace, the workforce skills needed are vastly different than they were 20 years ago, Braun said. It is the goal of the College of Business to help people effectively stay in front of those changes.

Turning out polished, prepared workers will not only benefit the workforce and economy, Braun said, it will benefit UA Little Rock.

“Successful, engaged and impressive graduates remain advocates for UA Little Rock in their communities and workplaces,” he said. “When employers hire and promote our lifelong learners, we want them to know they can expect and will get more from UA Little Rock.”