By Christopher Jay
Lyn Pavel had eclectic careers in both the tourism industry and law enforcement before turning his attention to academia as a community college professor of management. Although he enjoyed teaching community college students, he decided to earn a terminal degree so that he could make a bigger impact. He pursued a doctorate through UD’s DBA program offered through the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business. After completing the program, he immediately returned the favor to his alma mater, teaching courses for UD’s undergraduate and MBA programs and helping students pursue their own career dreams. Now he teaches full time at the University of North Texas. This is his DBA story.
I’m originally from Romania. I emigrated to the United States in 1996, where I earned my first job working in the tourism and hospitality industry. I worked my way up from room service server to division director in the relatively short period of six years. While I was pleased with the job, I had always wanted to be in law enforcement ever since I was a boy in Romania and so decided to switch careers. During the 10 years I served in law enforcement, I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Regis University and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Colorado State University. I eventually started teaching part time at the Police Academy as well as at various community colleges. Eventually I began teaching courses on organizational leadership full time for community colleges.
My wife and I fell in love with Dallas when we first visited in 2012. We knew that if we relocated from Colorado it would be to Texas. I was happy at the community college but wanted to make a bigger impact, which meant I needed a terminal degree. Once I began considering doctoral programs, I decided to look for a doctoral program in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and I came upon UD’s program. Two things caught my attention: The degree itself was the first AACSB-accredited DBA program in Texas. Secondly, having already had my undergraduate experience at a small Catholic school with Regis University, I figured UD would be similar and offer small classes with more interaction between professors and students. So I applied to UD and entered in 2016 as a member of the program’s second cohort.
I really enjoyed the camaraderie of our small cohort and how approachable and how willing to help the faculty members were throughout the program. We could approach any faculty member whenever we wanted, even if we weren’t currently taking one of their classes. The professors were always there to mentor us, and I really treasure those relationships. I can say that all of those relationships made me a better researcher and professor.
The program gave us free reign to research whatever we wanted as long as it fit within the general parameters of our courses, which I really liked. Because of this, I was able to use my law enforcement experience to conduct research on a medium-sized law enforcement agency in the DFW area. My research was selected to be presented at the 2018 Academy of Management Conference in Chicago. My dissertation was on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and marketing, with an emphasis on social media. CSR and marketing remain my research interests today.
Dr. Greg Bell and Dr. Ben Dilla forwarded me open academic positions and encouraged me to apply to them. Dr. Bell has been my mentor for a while now, and I learned not only how to be a better professor and researcher from him but also how to interview for academic positions and to carry myself professionally when it comes to the job market. I learned a lot during his classes as well as throughout my dissertation process since he was my committee chair. I have since learned a lot after graduating from the program and continue to learn from him today. I am blessed to have him as a mentor even now as a full-time lecturer at the University of North Texas.
To comment on the value of UD’s DBA program, my direct supervisor at UNT told me that my role at UNT, based on my performance as a full-time lecturer, could lead to a tenure-track position, which is exciting. It is a testament to the preparation I received at UD. This summer I’m teaching human resources management and international management courses, and in the fall I will be teaching international entrepreneurship and organizational behavioral management courses.
Definitely to go and pursue it. It is rewarding, and the type of research you do in the program is applied research aimed at solving real-world business problems. One of the major differences between a DBA and a Ph.D. is that in a DBA program the students look for discoveries during the research phase that can be applied right away to the business world. During research for a Ph.D. program, often students are conducting research to cover gaps in the academic literature that may not always be directly relevant to the business world. I think the DBA allows students to focus on solving practical business problems while still allowing for research that is just as high quality as that of a Ph.D. program. Plus, DBA graduates can go on to pursue full-time academia, work within the industry or some combination of both.