Faculty Spotlight: Brawley studies “gig economy” as new OMS professor
By Emma Padrick, Contributing Writer
Climb four flights of stairs to the very top floor of Glatfelter Hall and you’ll find the office of Assistant Professor Alice Brawley, a distinguished professional whose name and reputation most students have yet to recognize. A graduate of Louisiana Tech who received her Ph. D in Industrial Organizational Psychology two years ago at Clemson University, Brawley is starting a new adventure here at Gettysburg in order to explore new teaching opportunities and focus her research as a tenure-track member of the Organization and Management Studies Department. Inspired by her time working in two locations of the same fast food restaurant, Brawley brings a unique perspective to the field of management studies and now researches the management processes in small family-run businesses and that of “gig workers” such as Uber drivers.
Her path to Gettysburg is similar to many of her students’ — she visited, fell in love with the campus and community, and could visualize working with the interdisciplinary faculty.
In particular, she says the small town of Gettysburg drew her attention due to its many family businesses that provide perfect examples for her focus. The excitement of Gettysburg’s first-years as they find their way around campus and explore the town are mirrored in Brawley’s words as she talks about the promise of becoming a part of a meaningful community.
“You get really excited when you get to be a part of something, and I think that’s part of the community here,” she said.
This semester, if not in her office or the Browsing Room of Musselman Library, Brawley can be found teaching Statistics and Research Methods to those interested in the OMS field of study. Her goal, she says, is for her students to “really know how to use the information they’ve been taught; if it’s statistics I want them to leave the classroom knowing how to use and interpret statistical tests, so that when they’re reading a news story they can dig up the original source and interpret it for themselves.”
This, paired with her desire to get to know students individually as people, is one of the reasons she is grateful to be at a small college. Previously a visiting professor at Michigan State University giving lectures to students in the hundreds, the personal interactions and small class sizes are a pleasant change on which she wants to capitalize in order to offer the school as much as possible.
Now that she’s found her place here on campus, Professor Brawley is enthusiastic about expanding her work in the department through teaching a spring-semester senior capstone on “Gig Management” and future research as she pursues her tenure position.