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        Faculty Spotlight, information systems

        Harbert’s Renée Pratt builds closer ties among technology and business teams

        October 18, 2022 By Troy Turner

        All News


        Not everyone can tell you what an information systems specialist does, but Auburn University’s Renée Pratt can.

        Renee Pratt

        Renée Pratt

        She focuses on exploring ways to better connect IT personnel to those specializing in areas such as finance, accounting and manufacturing, and Pratt says she likes it that students at Auburn’s Harbert College of Business are learning to become good managers in such a role.

        Pratt serves as the director of master’s degree and certificate programs for Harbert’s Department of Business Analytics and Information Systems and is an associate clinical professor of information systems.

        “As director of the master’s and certificate programs, Renée has done an amazing job of student engagement,” said Pratt’s supervisor, Uzma Raja, department chair.

        The future is now when it comes to understanding work in the field, Pratt said, making Harbert’s graduates in the program a hot commodity.

        “Information systems and technology are within each industry today and is a critical part of our day-to-day lives,” she said. “More jobs than ever today and in the future will require individuals to engage and learn various aspects of technology.

        “This is why information systems is a great field where an individual may either immerse themselves in a specialized topic, have a large general overview, or pair it with other industry expertise to strengthen or develop new topics,” Pratt explained.

        A diverse leadership role

        If some of that sounds like a sales pitch for prospective students, including professionals looking to improve their career track, it is. Pratt travels frequently across the country to represent Auburn and Harbert College of Business by serving in a variety of professional organizations and as an invited speaker or panelist at various conferences.

        Among them is representation on a nationwide effort known as the PhD Project, which is seeking to create a more diverse and inclusive network of PhD candidates. Recently her work included speeches in Denver and Tampa, where she discussed “diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging within the STEM arena among students, specifically first-generation students,” she said, “and the impact we as universities and businesses have to influence.”

        Raja praised Pratt’s efforts.

        “Renée is an active member of the information systems professional community,” Raja said. “She has been affiliated with the PhD Project for a significant period of time. Her work with the program promotes Auburn University, and Harbert College of Business as a leading institution.”

        Pratt is the faculty sponsor for the Minorities in Technology student affinity group, which encourages students to consider information systems and business analytics-related careers, and “also allows our corporate partners to support these student groups through scholarships and professional development events,” Raja said.

        Pratt said the group’s goals echo those of Harbert’s mission statement: To be recognized globally as an elite public business college that celebrates and fosters diverse thought, belonging, community engagement, and equitable and inclusive practices.

        “We want to see Harbert uphold its standards and show continued improvement in recruitment, retention, engagement and inclusion,” Pratt said.

        ‘A joy to work here’

        Pratt, who earned a degree in mathematics from the University of Florida and her management information systems doctorate in 2009 at Florida State University, came to Harbert in 2021. She was a Fulbright research scholar in Germany and remains an active Fulbright alumni member.

        Pratt’s research work addresses issues in healthcare information technology, traditional/clinical enterprise systems, and post-adoption diffusion attitudes and behaviors across the U.S. and Europe.

        Asked what lured her to Auburn, “Harbert College of Business has built a name for itself,” she replied.

        “I am truly enjoying my time here,” she said. “Our faculty, staff and employees make it a joy to work here. The student interactions are special and long-lasting as we continue to create long-term relationships with our alumni.

        “I look forward to continuing to grow our graduate program and building relationships with both our undergraduate and graduate students.”