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October 24, 2014

Global Visiting Scholars-Africa

By: V. Renee Russell and Latianna Harris
Global Education Office
(804) 828-3636 

RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 24, 2014)—Joseph Miemczyk, Ph.D., H.D.R., associate professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management at Audencia Nantes Ecole de Management in Nantes, France has joined the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business as a Global Visiting Scholar.

The Global Visiting Scholar award, offered by the VCU Global Education Office, supports departments or schools in hosting an international scholar for a semester or academic year who will contribute to enriching the learning and scholarship of the unit.

George Zsidisin, Ph.D., C.P.M., professor in the VCU School of Business Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics, is hosting Miemczyk during his time here. Together, they are conducting research in the area of “Sustainable Supply Chains in Africa.”

Zsidisin has been working on sustainability research in sub-Saharan Africa where supply chain management practices are still underdeveloped. “This is one of the huge initiatives that we’re undertaking in the department,” he said. “We want to really understand the drivers that exist and the areas where businesses in sub-Saharan Africa can start managing the inputs, flows and logistic more sustainably.”

Miemczyk is globally-recognized in this area, having developed a significant stream of research in sustainable supply chains, including impacts of responsive automotive logistics, constraints on product stewardship and reverse logistics, and more recently measurement of sustainable purchasing and supply management. He also brings a cultural and systematic understanding of the region.

“If we want to seriously address some of the issues there, it’s important that we have a cultural understanding of the countries in which are going to invest [in Africa] and are influencing practices in that part of the world. France is one of those, because of its common language and long history with many African nations,” Miemczyk said.

As part of the collaboration process between the two universities, Zsidisin and Miemczyk are planning several webinars between students at VCU and those at Audencia Nantes. “[The webinars will] explore some of those sustainability initiatives, particularly with a focus in Africa,” Zsidisin said. “Eventually we would like to see this cross-fertilization of students from France and VCU.”

The two will also serve as track chairs on “Supply Chain Management and Social Sustainability in Emerging Economies” at the European Decision Sciences Institute annual meeting in Taormina, Italy next spring. The aim of this track is to bring together research in the field of social sustainability in supply chains with a specific focus on the challenges faced in emerging economies. 

To help expand their project, Zsidisin and Miemczyk have plans to foster collaboration not only between VCU and Audencia Nantes, but to also develop their efforts at universities in South Africa. “I visited South Africa this past April to start growing my connections with the University of South Africa and a few other institutions to try to grow this program,” Zsidisin said.

Zsidisin and Miemczyk are currently undertaking a two-pronged approach to their research. The first focuses on theory building, literature review and writing two separate research papers. The second component of the project involves recently becoming the second node in the United States and third node in all of North America for the International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association (IPSERA), which according to their website will “offer decentralized regional platforms for academic exchange and diffusion of new ideas and concepts across the world.”

“This will really help to increase our overall global presence at VCU, especially in the field of supply chain management,” Zsidisin said. “I know it exists in many other areas, but our department is only thirteen months old.”

While still in its infancy, Zsidisin and Miemczyk plan to continue developing their project in the years to come. “[Our project is] still in process but we’re absolutely excited to see how this will eventually grow over the next few years, and hopefully for a long period of time to advance VCU’s Quest for Distinction,” Zsidisin said.

Miemczyk arrived at VCU August and will return to France in July 2015. While on his one year sabbatical from Audencia Nantes, Miemczyk has not only committed to project research but also to integrating with the School of Business faculty. “While my main focus is this research, I’m also teaching in the school, and want be part of the normal working activities of the VCU faculty and professors,” he said.

Global Visiting Scholar Joseph MiemczykGeorge Zsidisin, Ph.D., C.P.M. (right), professor in the VCU School of Business is hosting Joseph Miemczyk, Ph.D., H.D.R.(left), associate professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management at Audencia Nantes Ecole de Management in Nantes, France as a Global Visiting Scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University for the 2014-15 academic year.