Dr. Uchenna Akpom
Dr. Uchenna Akpom

Story: Lisa Sollie | Photo: Cody Ingram

Longtime UWA business professor Dr. Uchenna Akpom was recently named director of the University’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Rural Business program. The first of its kind degree program was introduced two years ago at UWA and features relevant courses that focus on critical issues as well as strategies and solutions related to rural businesses and designed to offer innovative solutions to global rural business challenges.

According to Dr. Willy Hill, dean of the College of Business (COB), fourteen students are enrolled in the online program.

“UWA’s College of Business is fortunate to have Dr. Akpom as its new DBA Director. His academic and research credentials are outstanding, and his passion for teaching instruction is unmatched. Without question, the DBA program is in great hands under his leadership,” Hill noted.

Akpom joined at the university faculty in 1992 as an assistant professor and left six years later. He returned to UWA in 2013 and was part of the committee led by Dr. Veronica Triplett, assistant professor of business administration, management and marketing, who developed the new DBA program.

According to Hill, the program has experienced significant progress since its inception due to Dr. Triplett’s leadership and countless hours spent on development and implementation. “What a foundation she and the committee have put in place,” he added, “we are indebted to her.”

Before taking over the helm of the program, Akpom spent the last year leading an exploratory committee targeted at publishing a Journal of Rural Business, something he believes would be a repository of research.

“When I started the whole journal process, I didn’t have the doctoral program in mind, but as time passed, the DBA and the journal sort of merged. Rural business is not well-researched, and the few journals that deal with this topic are mostly foreign, not domestic. We want a journal that will bring researchers together worldwide, deal with the deeper problems businesses have in rural areas, and provide practitioners with research information and best practices they can replicate.”

Akpom, who has been interested in the DBA program since its inception, believes it will “enhance the COB and the University, and, since we have students not only from Alabama but other states in the Southeast and beyond,” he noted, “I believe we can do something to improve their regions as well.”

As the director, he also sees his role as an opportunity to impact professional knowledge in rural development.

“Growing up in Nigeria, I didn’t always have a choice where I lived. But when I did, I mainly lived in rural areas, where my interest in rural business developed. In the almost 20 years I’ve lived in Alabama, I have seen things that can be improved and exported, and I want to contribute to the local community where I live,” he added.

Akpom has high aspirations for the DBA program and desires it to be recognized as an elite program in rural business research.

“By research, I mean our graduates’ research,” he noted, “research that I hope will be cited frequently and worldwide. We (UWA) were the first to offer this program; we want others to know why. And maybe someday, when rural business is discussed, UWA will be the first institution to come to mind.”

The Doctor of Business Administration in Rural Business degree program at UWA has two tracks: rural entrepreneurship and innovation and rural and transformational leadership. Learn more at: https://online.uwa.edu/online-degrees/dba-doctor-business-administration-rural-business/