Among the new people welcomed into the Bryant community this academic year are four accomplished scholars and dedicated educators who are tenure-track faculty members.
Bryant continues to attract accomplished faculty who have worked and studied at top institutions around the world, and who are energized by the opportunity to contribute to Bryant’s mission to educate and inspire.
The four faculty members are:
- Sonal Kumar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Finance
- Kristin Scaplen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology
- Melissa Michal Slocum, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English and Cultural Studies
- Jack Vensel, M.B.A., Professor of Practice of Management
“I am excited to greet the newest members of our incredible faculty,” said Provost and Chief Academic Officer Glenn Sulmasy, J.D., LL.M. “Their commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service is exceptional. All share in my vision to raise the national profile of our programs and have extraordinary academic and professional backgrounds.”
“The ability to give back to the next generation is what fuels my passion in front of the classroom."
Each new faculty member possesses a passion for teaching, which they aim to make evident in the classroom. Recently they told us why they’re inspired to teach, as well as what they bring into the classroom that propels their students to success academically and professionally. They also shared why they're proud to teach at Bryant.
“What inspires you to teach?”
A hallmark of a Bryant education are faculty scholars who are dedicated to teaching and provide personal attention. This year's new faculty readily cite a need to connect with students to help them grow, as well as the source of their desire to teach.
For Vensel, an experienced finance industry executive who’s lead global teams for high-profile organizations such as CitiGroup, "the ability to give back to the next generation is what fuels my passion in front of the classroom," adding that "helping my students navigate their careers through education, advice, suggestions, and job referrals is as valuable to me as it is to them.”
"Discovery within the lab and the classroom has led to the most gratifying experiences of my academic career and is one of many reasons I was inspired to teach."
Kumar, an expert in corporate finance, diversity, and social responsibility, noted her past instructors as the inspiration behind her desire to teach and help her students grow their perspectives. “Over my years of learning, I was blessed to be taught by excellent professors whom I admired because they inculcated motivation in me to develop intellectually, professionally and personally,” said Kumar. “I aim to create a learning environment to incubate the seed of knowledge, help students to realize their potential and take pride in their accomplishments.”
The act of discovery started it all for Scaplen. “Discovery within the lab and the classroom has led to the most gratifying experiences of my academic career and is one of many reasons why I was inspired to teach,” said Scaplen, an expert on neural circuitry mechanisms who will be teaching neuroscience courses at Bryant. "As a scientist, the potential of actively contributing to our understanding of the brain is truly exciting. I aim to ignite this same excitement and curiosity in my students."
“I aim to create a learning environment to incubate the seed of knowledge, help students to realize their potential and take pride in their accomplishments.”
"How do you propel your students towards success?”
Just like Bryant’s seasoned faculty, each of the new faculty members' unique experiences, perspectives, and standards of excellence help fulfill Bryant’s mission and ensure their students' growth and achievement. How?
Global perspectives are instrumental, said Kumar, who has learned and taught in culturally distinct environments. “I believe the exposure to two economically, politically and culturally disparate borders has sensitized my diversity in outlook and approach,” Kumar noted. “I look forward to sharing my experiences […] and instilling the attitudes, knowledge and skills in students needed to live and work in today’s global world.”
“Bridging the gap between an academic education and real world experience is at the heart of how and why I teach."
Being able to understand the world around them from a science perspective, too, is key, said Scalpen. “At Bryant I hope to continue to develop scientific literacy in my students, regardless of the career they ultimately choose, to prepare them to be critical consumers of information and science."
Finally, real world application will help everything come together for the students, according to Vensel. “Bridging the gap between an academic education and real world experience is at the heart of how and why I teach,” said Vensel. "I'm passionate about preparing students for their professional careers with applicable knowledge,” supported by authenticity and hands-on experience gained through his global career.
In addition to inspired teaching and excellent credentials, the new faculty members shared one thing more: their appreciation for Bryant’s teaching and learning environment. Here’s what they said when asked, “Why did you choose Bryant?”
- Vensel: “Bryant’s reputation as one of the premiere business schools made it extremely attractive. The opportunity to work with the best and brightest students, faculty and staff was irresistible."
- Kumar: “Bryant is a dynamic and multinational community of learners, teachers, thinkers, doers, players and leaders. The complex yet integrated network at Bryant University provides an excellent platform to fulfill my commitment toward the intellectual, ethical, professional and personal development of students.”
- Scaplen: “I was attracted to Bryant because of its unique educational program that develops competencies in both business and liberal arts and its emphasis of developing innovative leaders in its mission statement. In science, innovative ideas are the foundation of discovery.”