Rosanna Garcia, an expert on business innovation and marketing, has joined the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) faculty as the Paul R. Beswick Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in The Business School. She began her new role July 1.
Garcia, who has a PhD in marketing from the Eli Broad Graduate School of Business at Michigan State University, was most recently the Walter Koch Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at the University of Denver; she previously held associate professor positions at North Carolina State University and Northeastern University. Her research on entrepreneurism, innovation, and consumer behavior has been published in peer-reviewed journals; she is the author of the textbook Creating & Marketing New Products and Services. She co-founded Vijilent Inc., a data science company that serves the legal industry.
“Dr. Garcia is an accomplished leader who brings exceptional academic credentials, a passion for encouraging minority and female student entrepreneurs, and extensive experience mentoring hundreds of student start-up businesses,” said the Rev. Debora Jackson, dean of The Business School. “She shares our collective vision at WPI for transforming business education and furthering our progress toward making societal impact while also engaging diverse constituencies. We are so excited to welcome Dr. Garcia to The Business School and to WPI’s thriving innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
The Beswick Professorship was launched in 2007 with a gift from Paul R. Beswick ’57 and his wife, Siang Kiang. Beswick (who died in 2010) was the founder, president, and chief executive officer of Beswick Engineering Inc. of Greenland, N.H. The Business School integrates the theory and practice of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and business to prepare students to lead in a global business environment.
“I’m thrilled to be working with the talented, innovative, and entrepreneurial students across WPI and to join The Business School at this pivotal moment,” Garcia said. “Like all WPI faculty, my focus will be on helping our students address the world’s great challenges as they transform their own lives. I am confident that for many students, this can also mean having a positive impact on local economies. I look forward to advancing WPI’s project-based learning and the rich and collaborative ecosystem of research, curriculum development, and business partnerships, both locally and globally.”
The Business School and the Beswick Professorship are part of WPI’s larger entrepreneurial environment, which connects students and faculty to numerous opportunities, experiences, and networks through the university’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. Programs include Tinkerbox seed funding and peer-group mentoring, the Curtis and Dudley Carlson Value Creation Initiative, the WPI Sandbox for students pursuing start-up business ideas, and the Tech Advisors Network of alumni who advise students on launching businesses.
“Dr. Garcia is a great match for WPI’s culture of entrepreneurial thinking in curriculum, student pursuits outside the classroom, and research,” said Curtis Abel, WPI’s executive director of innovation and entrepreneurship. “She has guided students through the process of starting businesses with social and global reach, and those are exactly the kinds of ventures we encourage our students to consider.”
Garcia has been a visiting professor at the University of Münster and the University of Groningen, and she is listed as an inventor on three patents related to voice mail technologies. At North Carolina State University, she was faculty director of a business sustainability collaborative involving students, faculty, and industry; she co-founded an initiative to connect students to aspiring benefit corporations; and she founded the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs group. At Northeastern University, she was faculty advisor to Jola Venture, a student-led initiative connecting farmers in Cameroon to innovations at U.S. universities.
Garcia’s research interests include racial minority entrepreneurs, consumer resistance to innovation, the sharing economy, the marketing of future technology, and public benefit corporations, which are businesses created to serve the public interest. She hopes to include students in her research on social entrepreneurs in Cuba.
Garcia earned her MBA in marketing and finance at the University of Rochester, and her BS in chemical engineering and BA in business economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.