Interview with Dr. Melody Lo, Dean of the Griffin College of Business at Arkansas State University.
This is A-State Connections on KASU. I’m Johnathan Reaves. Dr. Melody Lo is the inaugural Neil Griffin Endowed Dean at the Griffin College of Business at Arkansas State University. She came to Arkansas State from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she was a professor of economics and chair of the department of economics from 2014-2019. This is my interview with Dr. Melody Lo about her plans for the Griffin College of Business.
JONESBORO – Melody Lo becomes the inaugural Neil Griffin Endowed Dean of the Griffin College of Business at Arkansas State University, Provost Alan Utter announced today.
Professor of economics at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Lo’s acceptance begins a new era of leadership for A-State’s only named college. Named for the largest individual personal gift to Arkansas State, the various funds created for Griffin College of Business by alumnus Neil Griffin included endowing the dean of the college as the Griffin Dean of Business.
“Having been a first-generation college student in Taiwan and then pursuing a doctorate as an international student in the United States, this is a very humbling moment for me to be chosen as the next dean to lead the Neil Griffin College of Business,” Lo said. “I deeply appreciate the confidence that Provost Utter, the search committee, and the university leadership team have placed in me, and I’m excited about the future prospects for A-State.
“Along with the opportunity to join Arkansas State, I am honored to be the first Griffin Endowed Dean,” Lo added. “From what I’ve learned about his story, Mr. Griffin is an outstanding legacy for Arkansas State.”
“We are looking forward to Dr. Lo’s skill both within academia and in creating alliances with local and national business and industry,” Utter said. “For our Griffin Dean, we wanted someone who could enhance the existing relationships and pioneer new ones, both on and off campus.”
Lo’s appointment is set to begin, subject to ASU System Board of Trustees approval, on July 1, 2020.
Chair of the department of economics at UTSA from 2014 to 2019, Lo created new multidisciplinary concentrations, in financial economics and business data analysis and forecasting, at the master’s degree level based on industry feedback, and updated the economics undergraduate curriculum to better reflect industry changes. She also collaborated with the chair of computer science to design a joint bachelor's degree that combines the economics and computer science disciplines into a comprehensive course of study.
“As the Neil Griffin College of Business Dean, my vision for the college is to establish and strengthen partnerships with business and industry and encourage corporate engagement through education and research to accelerate innovation and support the mission,” Lo said. “I will bring my experience in advancing the future of a diverse student population in the San Antonio area to A-State’s student body and address students' specific needs and interests to ensure they have a rewarding educational experience."
At UTSA, Lo is known for her commitment to student success and for her ability to cultivate external partnerships, including a dramatic increase in the number of internships participation and a 100% conversion rate from internship to permanent employment. She engaged employers in the San Antonio business community to establish mentorship relationships with the program, which led to increased experiential learning opportunities for students. Notably, the program’s close relationship with the local business community led to student success in career advancement.
Lo is also known for her record in growing program enrollment. Built upon the successful regional recruitment for the graduate program, she systemically increased international student enrollment by developing collaboration programs that link undergraduates from other countries to complete their bachelor’s degree and move directly into graduate programs at UTSA.
“When I read about Dr. Lo’s achievements at UTSA, I was impressed by how closely they track with the new strategic planning goals we have set at Arkansas State,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “When I met with her, I was even more impressed by her enthusiasm and her interest in student success and academic innovation.
“The university would be remiss if we did not thank both Dr. Kathy Loyd and Dr. Jim Washam for serving as interim deans during our extended search period,” Damphousse continued. “Their steady hands on the rudder have kept our Griffin College of Business moving forward these past four years, and I am grateful for them.”
Along with a lengthy list of refereed publications, book chapters and conference proceedings, Lo is co-author of an interdisciplinary forthcoming book, “The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models: Unifying Formal and Empirical Analysis in the Political, Social, and Economic Sciences,” under contract with Cambridge University Press. Her main research interest is identifying economic behavioral patterns through quantitative analysis, and a large portion of her recent work is interdisciplinary. She has published articles in numerous scholarly journals.
Lo began as an assistant professor at UTSA in 2006, earning promotion to associate professor in 2008. She was named a full professor in 2016. She began her career as an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi before joining UTSA. She has been a research associate of the Hobby School of Public Affairs’ Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston since 2007.
Earning her Ph.D. and master’s from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Lo received her undergraduate degree at National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan.
With the announcement of Dr. Mickey Latour as dean of the College of Agriculture earlier this week and the recent selection of Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch as dean of the reinstated Graduate School, Utter completes the selection of a series of dean positions at A-State with Lo.
“I’m thankful for the service on our selection committees for each of these academic leadership positions, and excited as the provost to move into the upcoming academic year with all our deans in place,” Utter said.
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