Dr. Deb Bickford

Written by Peter Hansen '18

Championing an integrative approach to learning and teaching as the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Learning Initiatives (AALI), Dr. Deb Bickford has had an incredible impact on a number of initiatives, programs, and centers on campus over her 30 year career at the University of Dayton. Dr. Bickford earned her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from State University of New York at Cortland. With a minor in Art History, Dr. Bickfords breadth spans both analytical and creative thought. After deciding to pursue the field of business statistics, Dr. Bickford attended University of Massachusetts where she earned her Master’s in Business Administration and later, her Ph.D. It was while writing her dissertation on the financial stress leveled on cities that she found a love for teaching at the university level.

Dr. Bickford began her teaching career at the University of Akron. She was then recruited by the General Accounting Office of the United States where she had the ability to apply a model she created to predict when and how cities would become insolvent. After, she taught business and strategy in Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration in Boston.

In terms of what drew Dr. Bickford to the University of Dayton, she recalls that she was interested in UD’s business school because of its emphasis on ethics in business. She began as an Assistant Professor in the Management Department where she taught strategy and leadership for eight years before becoming Assistant Provost for Learning and Pedagogy. In this role, Dr. Bickford laid the foundation for creating a hub for innovation in learning and teaching. In January of 2000, the Ryan C. Harris Learning Teaching Center (LTC) opened on the ground floor of Roesch Library. Geared at combining the best elements of pedagogy and learning, the LTC consists of five areas: Office of Learning Resources, Faculty and Leadership Development, Office of Faculty Career Enhancement, Office of E-Learning, and The Blend. Dr. Bickford laid the foundation of The Blend, the first student-run coffee bar at UD where the student management and employees get a real education in applying classroom concepts to real-life situations. The Blend became part of Flyer Enterprises, now the nation’s fourth largest student-run business.

In her current role as Associate Provost of AALI, Dr. Bickford oversees a number of areas in addition to the LTC including the Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation (IACT) at ArtStreet, Career Services, the Common Academic Program (CAP), the Women’s Center, the Honors Program, Experiential Learning initiatives on campus, and the Office for Academic Services for Student Athletes. By overseeing these areas, Dr. Bickford furthers collaborative thought and student success initiatives across campus. Her favorite part of the job?  “Working with terrific people across all areas of campus and seeing them blossom.” Dr. Bickford is an example of a strong, engaging and involved leader and truly represents what it means to be a trailblazer.