Instructor of Marketing
Debbie Francis says she has come “full circle” at Henderson State.
Francis earned her B.B.A. from Henderson in 1980. Thirty-four years later, she "followed her heart" back to her alma mater to teach marketing in the School of Business.
After earning her M.B.A. from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Francis took doctoral courses at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
She has taught business classes at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, University of Alabama, Houston Baptist University, University of Shenzhen in Shekou, China, and the University of Houston Downtown.
Francis has held several administrative positions, including: administrative director of the College of Business Graduate Programs at Houston Baptist University; interim director of the College of Business Graduate Programs at the University of Houston Downtown; and the College of Business Coordinator of the distance locations at the University of Houston Downtown.
While she enjoyed the unique challenges of administration, Francis said she finds her passion in the classroom.
“It’s the students who provide the greatest satisfaction for me,” she said. “It is a true privilege to be a part of a student’s educational journey and to have the opportunity to develop personal relationships with them. It is gratifying to watch them gain marketing knowledge and to grow in their confidence.
“Of course, there is a special satisfaction of watching these students receive their diplomas on graduation day and to know that they have the necessary skills to be successful in whatever new adventure awaits them.”
Francis said she enjoys teaching because “this profession allows one to be a lifelong learner. It is exciting to be in a profession where one is constantly challenged with new ideas – challenged from the discipline itself, from colleagues and business professionals – and most importantly, from the students.”
In the classroom, Francis sees herself as a “facilitator” whose primary responsibility is to provide a safe environment conducive to learning and establish a mutual trust between her and the students.
“I provide active learning activities that are application oriented to encourage student engagement,” Francis said. “Hopefully, these activities will energize students to develop and practice their critical thinking and communication skills in marketing.
“I want to give students the chance to find their creative voice. As most students who have taken my marketing classes will tell you, I am constantly looking for the ‘wow’ factor.”
As a college instructor for more than 30 years, Francis said she has learned there is no such thing as a coincidence.
“The time, energy, and space that I share with students in the classroom is for a reason,” she said. “And sometimes that reason may not be truly understood by the student or by the instructor until years down the road.
“As a graduate of Henderson, I am indebted to several individual instructors who invested in me so many years ago. And since it is impossible to pay them back for their efforts, I can, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘…pay it forward’ to the students in my classes.”
Francis is a world traveler when not in the classroom.
“Travel provides me the chance to experience new and different places, to meet new and interesting people, and to eat new and tasty foods,” she said. “I have traveled quite extensively in North America, Europe and Asia. Next on my bucket list is South America, with hopefully a visit to Machu Picchu.”
If she wasn’t living on the river and teaching at Henderson, Francis said she would want to live in the mountains of Montana and “write the next bestselling novel.”
School of Business
Degree and School:
M.B.A., University of Arkansas-Fayetteville
• Collection, analysis, and compilation of the current best practices involved in bringing practitioners into the academic classroom
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