As an Immaculata student, Elizabeth Faunce ’90, Ph.D., CFP, chair of the Business, Fashion and Leadership Department, vividly recalls eating lunch in the dining room during her senior year and thinking that she would like to someday return to IU to teach economics.
“I’m coming back to teach. I’ll be back,” Faunce remembers thinking.
Sister Virginia Assumpta, IHM, who taught freshman accounting, helped pave the way back to Faunce’s alma mater. “Sister Virginia is the reason I have a Ph.D. and why I’m teaching full time at Immaculata,” Faunce says with obvious admiration. While Faunce served as an adjunct at Immaculata for over eight years, Sister Virginia told her, “If you want to teach full time, you will need to begin your Ph.D. program.”
During her senior year at Cardinal O’Hara High School, Faunce toured Immaculata’s campus and never wanted to visit another college—she had made her decision! Majoring in economics and business administration, Faunce recalls countless positive experiences while she attended the all-women’s college, including the deep friendships she made. During Faunce’s senior year at Immaculata, a banking recession made job offers sparse. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was in need of federal bank regulators. “They came to campus for interviews…speed hiring,” she recalls. Offered a position, Faunce worked in the Philadelphia office of the FDIC for nine years as a commissioned bank examiner. Her duties included conducting safety and soundness examinations of financial institutions, as well as compliance exams.
Determined to further her education, Faunce studied to become a certified financial planner (CFP). She earned an MBA, with an emphasis in finance, from Allentown College of Saint Francis DeSales in 1998 and, with the encouragement of Sister Virginia, earned a Ph.D. from Capella University in organizational management in 2010. After serving as an adjunct faculty member at Immaculata, she joined the full-time faculty in 2011. Faunce teaches primarily economics and finance classes for undergraduate and graduate students. She also hosts financial planning seminars for the Immaculata community that focus on estate and retirement planning. In 2015, Faunce was the regional recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
With this wealth of experience, Faunce is a favorite among her students.
“I had Dr. Faunce for Microeconomics my freshman year, and she really set the tone for how college courses were going to be,” says Jocelyn Love ’20, an accounting and business management major. “The classwork was rigorous, but she made it interesting. She is a really great professor who always wants to see you succeed.”
To help students succeed, Faunce encourages them to take advantage of the many opportunities available—many of which were not options when she attended college in the late 1980s. She remembers having to choose between studying abroad or taking an internship. She chose the internship at a local financial planning firm. Today, Immaculata students majoring in business, fashion, and leadership are required to have at least one internship. According to Faunce, the students not only gain real-world experience, but also have an opportunity to reflect on what they enjoyed in the workplace or what positions they may not be interested in pursuing in the future. Immaculata students often land high-caliber internships because employers recognize that they understand core liberal arts concepts such as problem-solving and analytical thinking that are essential to the business industry. From surveys completed by internship supervisors, Faunce found that 95 percent would hire an Immaculata student again. She is proud of this statistic!
As a professor and an alumna, Faunce constantly promotes the benefits of getting involved on campus, attending networking events and pursuing leadership opportunities. Overseeing the business programs, she witnesses the added value for students who become members of the Business Club and Enactus, which is the world’s largest experiential learning platform that develops the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. Enactus team members enhance their leadership skills by developing innovative projects that help the local and global community and then present their projects annually at regional and national Enactus competitions.
As a product of Immaculata College, a liberal arts institution, Faunce is dedicated to preserving its mission. Currently, she is working with her peers from member institutions of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE) and the Teagle Foundation to integrate liberal arts into professional programs. This three-year research project is recognized as innovative and critical to the success of future college graduates.
Working tirelessly to help her students get ahead, Faunce serves as a role model for the next generation of Immaculata students. Sister Virginia Assumpta would be proud.