Wednesday, May 1, 2024

MBA Professor James Moore Interviews Student William Boren About Start-Up AI Bot Worx

The Coffee Shop Lecture at the UAGC Forbes School of Business and Technology® MBA Club provides opportunities for students, faculty, and industry leaders to share their knowledge with our students. Dr. James Moore interviewed entrepreneur MBA student William Boren, who launched his start-up, AI Bot Worx.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Brandy Havens from Forbes School of Business and Technology® at UAGC awarded IACBE's Accounting Faculty of the Year for teaching excellence.

Assistant Professor Brandy Havens of the Forbes School of Business and Technology® at the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) has been awarded the distinguished Accounting Faculty of the Year by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Assistant Professor 
Dr. Brandy Havens
This award shines a spotlight on Havens’ dedication to the field of accounting education, her innovative teaching methodologies, and her significant contributions to student success and the broader academic community. The accolade was presented at the Accreditation and Awards Banquet on April 4, 2024, during the IACBE’s Annual Conference and Assembly Meeting.

Havens stands out as an exemplary figure in the academic world, embodying the highest standards of educational integrity, professionalism, and leadership. Her comprehensive background, including a BS in Accounting, an MBA with a concentration in accounting, and her certifications as a certified public accountant (CPA) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA®), enrich her teaching and mentorship at UAGC.

“Her award is a testament to her commitment to nurturing and developing the next generation of accounting professionals,” said Maya Zelihic, dean of the Forbes School of Business and Technology® at UAGC. “Through hands-on learning experiences, innovative teaching approaches, and active engagement in accounting research, Havens has fostered an environment of excellence and high achievement.”

Moreover, Havens’ role extends beyond traditional academic boundaries. She is a recognized leader in operational excellence and a champion for equity and inclusion, particularly in women’s leadership. Her service on the board of the Center for Women’s Leadership and her involvement in various research initiatives underscore her dedication to making a meaningful impact.

UAGC and the Forbes School of Business and Technology® proudly celebrate Havens for this significant achievement and her dedication to excellence, both in and out of the classroom, which not only elevates the standards of business education but also exemplifies the core values of UAGC.

Brian M. Mullen
The University of Arizona Global Campus
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Monday, April 1, 2024

Faculty Peer Mentoring Study – Each One, Reach One

The importance of diversity in higher education has also heightened the awareness about the importance of supporting faculty of color. Faculty women of color do bring their own unique experiences to the workplace, where they often face specific barriers, such as limited mentoring opportunities, bias, and isolation, which negatively impact their job satisfaction and retention rates (Davis, 2022; Gutiérrez y Muhs, Niemann, González, & Harris, 2012; Settles et al., 2022; Turner et al., 2020). These challenges can undermine faculty diversity efforts and hinder the ability of colleges and universities to provide a supportive environment that fosters students' academic success and sense of belonging.

The Each One, Reach One study seeks to explore the effectiveness of peer mentoring between a female person of color full-time faculty member and associate faculty who identify as female people of color at a virtual university. In addition, this study furthers the work of the “Walk the Talk” University Fellows Program (2022) and will continue to work on strategies to ensure that efforts to support belonging and inclusion are a part of the culture at the University of Arizona Global Campus.

Thirty faculty women of color signed up for the multi-faceted study. First, faculty members completed an intake survey and participated in a focus group. Next, they participated in two professional development sessions (reading two peer-reviewed articles) and one-on-one interviews. Finally, the participants were given a post-survey. There are preliminary findings as the researcher is currently completing one-on-one interviews and is awaiting final survey results. Conference invitations have been received from the Virginia Tech University Faculty Women of Color in Academia Conference and the 35th Annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity.

Motivation for the Study:

In 2022, one of the key findings from the “Walk the Talk” study was that “equity in the educational system for staff is still in need of a transformation to bridge the gap between the equity difference in positions, promotions, and key seats at the table.” What better way to help increase equity than by providing career support in the form of peer mentoring to help traditionally marginalized faculty voices? One of my key understandings from the study was that action is an important step in equity work. I know the important role peer mentoring has played in my own career, and I wanted to find out if this could be duplicated in the online community. Research has consistently shown that diverse faculty contributes to students’ academic success and sense of belonging, particularly for students from marginalized backgrounds (Cuyjet, 2019). However, even with the clear benefits, higher education continues to face challenges in supporting and retaining faculty of color, which has significant implications for student outcomes.


Teresa Leary Handy, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor/ Program Chair in the School of General Studies at the University of Arizona Global Campus. Teresa has been a Turn the Tide Facilitator at UAGC, a Power of One Faculty member and she is a Donna Beegle Certified Poverty Coach. She earned the Ed.D. specializing in Education Leadership and the Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Memphis where she earned the distinction of Outstanding Leadership and Policy Studies Doctoral Student. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Chicago. Her undergraduate work in Sociology and Education was completed at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

She is a published children’s book author of a book that helps preschoolers understand diversity. She is published in peer-reviewed academic journals and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Research on Leadership Education. Dr. Handy was also selected to be a Subject Matter Expert Reviewer for the USDOE Open Textbook Pilot Grant. She serves as a board member of the Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning where she is also the Chair of the Research Committee. She is a member of the University of Arizona Assessment Committee and the Faculty Subcommittee on Student Conduct.

She has presented at national and international conferences on issues related to online education, private school education, and single-gender education. In addition, she is the Board Secretary for the Alumni Association Board of the University of Chicago Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, and she serves as a board member of Promise Academy Schools. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and knitting scarves. You may contact her at



 Davis, T. M., Jones, M. K., Settles, I. H., & Russell, P. G. (2022). Barriers to the successful mentoring of faculty of color. Journal of Career Development, 49(5), 1063-1081. 

Gutiérrez y Muhs, G., Niemann, Y. F., González, C. G., & Harris, A. P. (2012). Presumed incompetent: The intersections of race and class for women in academia. University Press of Colorado. 

Settles, I. H., Jones, M. K., Buchanan, N. T., & Brassel, S. T. (2022). Epistemic exclusion of women faculty and faculty of color: Understanding scholar (ly) devaluation as a predictor of turnover intentions. The Journal of Higher Education, 93(1), 31-55. 

Turner, C. S. V., Myers, S. L., & Creswell, J. W. (2020). Exploring the experiences of faculty of color in higher education: Challenges and opportunities for moving forward. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 13

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Why India’s Rising Hindu Nationalism Is Bad for Its Democracy and The Economy

Author: Dr. Robin Dhakal

January 22, 2024, marked the official inauguration of one of the most expensive religious projects in the world- the Ram temple in Ayodhya, India. This temple sits on a 70-acre land and the temple itself covers 2.7 acres of space. The project took 3.5 years and a whopping $217 million to complete. The inauguration ceremony was attending by some of the most prominent celebrities, cricketers, and politicians including the Prime Minister of India- Narendra Modi and it was broadcasted live by most major Indian TV networks. The temple's construction and inauguration have been a source of celebration for many Hindus, as well as a symbol of Modi's Hindu nationalist agenda. However, the temple's history and location have also been marred by controversy, violence, and legal disputes, as the site was previously occupied by a 16th century mosque that was demolished by a Hindu mob in 1992.

Here's a brief history.

On December 6, 1992, a large crowd of Hindu hardliners, led by the leaders of one of the largest political parties, Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), stormed the Babri Masjid (the mosque) and razed it to the ground. The demolition sparked widespread communal riots across India, killing more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims. The incident also triggered a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993, killing over 250 people, and a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, killing 14 people. The demolition also led to a long and complex legal battle over the ownership and status of the disputed land, involving various parties. In 2010, the Allahabad High Court divided the disputed land into three parts, giving it to different Hindu and Muslim groups. However, in 2019, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous verdict, giving the entire disputed land to the Hindus for the construction of the Ram temple, and allotting a separate five-acre land to the Muslims for the construction of a mosque elsewhere in Ayodhya. This verdict was a big victory for devout Hindus because lord Ram is believed to have been born at the site in the disputed land.

How did Hindu nationalism gain traction in India?

The origins of this ideology can be traced back to the 19th century, when India was under British colonial rule. During this time, a number of Hindu reform movements emerged, seeking to revive and modernize Hinduism in response to the perceived threat of Westernization and Christian missionary activities. Over the course of the 20th century, Hindu nationalism continued to grow in India, fueled in part by the partition of India in 1947 and the subsequent creation of Pakistan as a separate Muslim nation. Today, Hindu nationalism remains a significant force in Indian politics, with the ruling BJP espousing many of its key principles.

The political landscape of India has been undergoing significant changes in recent years, with the rise of Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi. Modi, who was first elected as Prime Minister in 2014, has been credited with ushering in a new era of economic growth and development in India. Modi's rise to power has coincided with a surge in Hindu nationalism, which has led to a number of controversial policies, including the revocation of Kashmir's autonomous status and the introduction of a controversial citizenship law that many argue discriminates against Muslims. Despite these controversies, Modi and the BJP continue to enjoy widespread support in India. Many see him as a strong and decisive leader who has brought much-needed economic and social reforms to the country. Others, however, worry about the erosion of India's secular fabric and the growing divide between Hindus and Muslims.

“Separation of Church and State”

The implication of this rising Hindu nationalism in India is huge and it goes against some of the basic fabrics of a true liberal democracy. Pluralism (and tolerance,) and respect for human rights- which includes civil liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly, and religion, are important components of a democratic society. This basic principle is what led the Founding Fathers in the US to profess the idea of separation of church and state. While the exact phrase "separation of church and state" is not explicitly found in the US Constitution, its principles are derived from various documents and speeches. That phrase is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson because of the letter he wrote in which he said: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Here's what it means and why it is important for India’s democracy.

The term simply represents the idea that there should be a clear distinction and independence between religious institutions and government authorities. It means that citizens are free to practice their religion or hold secular beliefs without interference or coercion from the government. It means that the state should treat all citizens equally, irrespective of their religious affiliations, to foster a society that values diversity and pluralism. It means that policy decisions are made based on rational and secular considerations rather than being influenced by religious dogma which helps in crafting laws and policies that are more inclusive and reflective of the diverse beliefs within a society. It means that laws should be based on legal principles and the common good rather than religious doctrine. These ideals are important because when religion is not intertwined with political power, the potential for religious groups to vie for control or dominance diminishes, promoting social harmony and cohesion. In addition, when religious institutions are separate, they are less likely to wield undue influence over political decisions which helps in holding public officials accountable for their actions and policies without the cloud of religious bias. A secular government encourages individuals of different religious beliefs and non-believers to engage in public discourse, contributing to a more vibrant and inclusive democratic society.

We have seen several incidents of religious violence in India that occurred, in part, because religion plays a big role in politics and government. In 2002, more than 1000 people were killed and thousands more injured in Gujarat. In 2020, more than 53 people were killed and hundred injured in Delhi. More recently in 2023, 6 people were killed and 50 injured in Haryana. And there are countless more. These were all conflicts between Hindus and Muslims.

India is the largest democracy in the world. It is one of the only three Hindu majority countries in the world besides Nepal and Mauritius. It is a country with diverse ethnicity, language, and religion. While 80% of the Indian population are Hindu, close to 286 million people in India practice other religions. By advancing Hindu nationalism, the government is alienating its 286 million citizens. It is important to note that I am not criticizing or singling out Hinduism. I am a Hindu and I have utmost respect for its history and its teachings. But as Thomas Jefferson said, religion lies solely between man and his god. Hindu (or any other religion) nationalism goes directly against the basic tenets of a healthy democracy. India has to make a decision- will it be a Hindu nationalistic state or will it be a democratic state. It cannot be both.

This has a potential implication for India’s economy, too.

I’d argue that India’s push and acceptance of Hindu nationalism has major implication for its economy. There are several different ways that this could hurt or stifle India’s economic progress. First, it has the potential to shape investor perception and confidence. Individuals may be more likely to invest in companies that align with their religious beliefs and values. This could mean investing in companies that only support causes that are important to them from a religious perspective. There is also evidence to suggest that religious identity can influence how investors approach risk. Some research has suggested that individuals who identify strongly with a particular religion may be more risk-averse when it comes to investing, as they may be more concerned with avoiding financial losses than with maximizing gains.

Investors often look for stability and predictability in the political and social environment of a country before committing to long-term investments. The promotion of Hindu nationalism can create an atmosphere of uncertainty and instability, which can lead to a decrease in foreign direct investment, hindering India's economic potential and impeding its ability to compete on the global stage. For instance, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) have sparked controversy, with critics arguing that such policies might exacerbate social divisions and create an unwelcoming environment for investors. Companies may be hesitant to invest in a country where discrimination is prevalent, as it can lead to negative publicity and damage their reputation. Additionally, religious nationalism can lead to policies that favor local businesses over foreign ones, which can further discourage foreign investment.

It can also have a significant impact on the business environment, particularly when it comes to minority-owned businesses. In many cases, religious nationalism can lead to discrimination against certain groups, making it more difficult for businesses owned by members of these groups to succeed. This can include everything from difficulty securing loans and funding to outright harassment or violence. Another way it can impact commerce is through the rise of protectionist policies. These policies are often put in place to protect local businesses and industries, but they can also have unintended consequences. For example, they may lead to increased tariffs on imported goods or restrictions on foreign investment, which can make it more difficult for businesses to operate and succeed in a global economy. Additionally, discriminatory practices within the workplace may discourage a diverse workforce, ultimately hindering the creativity and dynamism needed for a thriving economy. When certain groups are marginalized or discriminated against, it can be challenging to create a work environment that is welcoming and supportive of all employees. This can lead to high turnover rates, difficulty recruiting top talent, and a negative reputation in the broader business community.

Diplomatic relations and international trade are very important for any country trying to compete in a global market. But the influence of Hindu nationalism on India's policies may strain economic ties with its allies and neighboring countries. For instance, strained relations with Pakistan have the potential to disrupt trade routes and hinder the regional economic ecosystem. In addition, India’s diplomatic and economic relation with the United States might take a toll as the US’s stance on religious liberty and democratic values do not align with India’s Hindu nationalism. Furthermore, the prioritization of religious identity in policymaking may lead to isolationist tendencies, affecting trade agreements and alliances, which are crucial for India's economic prosperity in an interconnected global economy. This shift in international dynamics poses a risk to the stability of India's economy and its standing in the global economic community.

Policies are important.

India has an awesome opportunity to be the global economic superpower. It has abundance of labor, capital, natural resources, and technology- all of the ingredients necessary for a long term sustainable economic growth. However, this is only possible if its economic and social policies are inclusive. Hindu nationalism risks it. Supporters of the BJP and other Hindu nationalist groups argue that their policies are aimed at promoting the interests of the Indian people and strengthening the country's economy. While such ideology and policies may cater to a specific voter base, they risk neglecting the broader economic interests of the nation. For example, a focus on religious-based welfare programs might divert resources from more inclusive initiatives that address the economic needs of all citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliations. Decisions driven by religious considerations rather than economic feasibility may lead to inefficient resource allocation, hindering the nation's ability to address pressing economic challenges and seize growth opportunities.

Furthermore, the prioritization of short-term political gains over long-term economic planning may result in unsustainable fiscal practices. This approach poses a risk to India's economic stability, potentially leading to inflation, budgetary deficits, and a weakened currency, all of which can undermine the nation's economic resilience.

Final thoughts

Religion is a contentious issue, and the trajectory of the Indian politics and governance suggests that religious disputes are here to stay. However, if India wants to establish itself as a democratic role model and an economic superpower, it has to pivot away from religious politics and embrace all of the tenets of a liberal democracy. The Spanish Inquisition, the Puritan Commonwealth in England, and more recently the Iranian Revolution and the Taliban regime are all examples of failed religious states. Because of the huge implication on its democracy and its economic well-being, India should stay a secular nation- like its Constitution states.


Discriminatory policies trigger religious violence in India. Human Rights Watch. (2023, August 3).

The Economist Newspaper. (2024, January 18). Narendra Modi’s illiberalism may imperil India’s economic progress. The Economist.

Frayer, L. (2019, April 22). Hindu nationalism, the growing trend in India. NPR.

Joshi, A. (2021, September 27). India has become more religious in recent years. here’s why that matters. The Bulwark.

Krishnan, M. (2023, August 11). India’s religious violence: What’s behind raging clashes? – DW – 08/10/2023.

Sharma, A. (2021, September 17). India: Religious riots surge in 2020 – DW – 09/17/2021.

*Opinions shared are those of the authors and independent of the publication or institution. .

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

GEN 101 Open Education Resources

The University of Arizona Global Campus has championed equity issues that are woven throughout our culture. Many of our open-access students' chances and access to education are limited by many kinds of inequality, including social, income, racial, ethnic, gender, and ability. We know that students and faculty feel a stronger sense of belonging and inclusion when there is diversity present in the materials. In addition, research suggests that students with a greater sense of belonging tend to have higher motivation, more academic self-confidence, higher levels of academic engagement, and higher achievement.

Relative to higher education, open education resources (OER) are fairly new and follow open-source software (OSS) and open access (OA) as vehicles for making higher education more accessible for all students (Hylen, 2020). OERs support the UAGC purpose to “transform the higher education landscape and make it accessible for everyone, no matter their background or circumstance” in that these learning materials provide long-term access to useful educational resources.

In the GEN 101 Open Education Resource (OER) Study, the team has created Open Education Resources for GEN 101 that will allow faculty to update and refresh as needed, allowing the course to stay fresh and modifications to be minimal. The OER is in many forms – podcasts, videos, articles, infographics, worksheets, and more- since resources continue to be developed. The GEN 101 OER is aligned with each week of the GEN 101 course and allows students to review them not only during the course but also once they have finished.

GEN 101 faculty were recruited to participate, and over ten percent signed up to use the resources in their courses from February through March. Each faculty member received an orientation on the resources with strategies demonstrated to use them in the course. In some cases, HTML announcements were created for ease of use.

Conference invitations have been received from the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the Online Learning Consortium Innovate Conference, and the Teaching Colleges and Community Worldwide Online Conference.

The diverse research team, led by Dr. Teresa Leary Handy, GEN 101 Program Chair, consists of Dr. Connie Lower, GEN 101 Faculty Member; Matthew Galloway, Manager of Student Care; Jennifer Dunn, Curriculum Writing Consultant, and Harla Frank, Associate Faculty member have created numerous resources that are public facing on the UAGC Hub.

 Hylén, J. (2020). Open educational resources: Opportunities and challenges. 

OER Equity Blueprint. (n.d.). DOERS3. 

Friday, January 5, 2024

Empowering Faculty Champions: Cultivating and Refining Durable Skills in Higher Education.

In April of 2023, Bill Davis completed Jon Gordon’s Leadership Training and completed Jon Gordon’s Leadership Trainer Certification Program, The Power of Positive Leadership. Throughout Bill’s progressive career, he has valued achieving high-value credentials throughout his career. While working in the PepsiCo system, he completed his undergraduate degree and master’s degree. Bill credits his degree programs, experiential learning, and his high value credentials with his success in the highly competitive soft drink industry, and with his success in higher education.

His business degrees, high value-added credentials, fine-tuned his knowledge and durable skills (leadership, human relations, teamwork, communication, and operations management). Bill continues to learn on and through the job (career and industry experience). Bill believes that we need to embrace lifelong learning to optimize our performance and leadership effectiveness. He believes that we need experience, knowledge, and capacity. High value credentials and degrees, along with on and through the job experience, all combined and provided Bill with the technical, conceptual, and human relations skills and the knowledge he needed to advance his organization, teams, and career forward.