Research Rookies focus on non-profit governance structure

By Lauren Dielman

Freshman accountancy major, Collin Thompson, said being a Research Rookie is all about commitment.

“Being a research rookie means to me that I am a hard worker,” said Thompson, according to the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning website. “It means I made a commitment, and I’m doing my best to honor it.”

Thompson’s mentor is Brad Cripe, Assistant Professor of accountancy. Cripe said he and Thompson, along with two other Accountancy professors, are really focusing on governance structures for non-profit companies.

“We know how for-profit companies are governed and what works and what doesn’t, but we don’t know if those same governance structures work for non-profits,” Cripe said.

Thompson and Cripe’s research will also focus on comparing certain industries and their subsequent results.

Cripe gave the example of comparing Dell Computer or Wal-Mart with the American Red Cross or Goodwill Industries. Part of their research will also focus on the DeKalb area.

“How does the leadership of DeKalb Chamber of Commerce compare to smaller for-profit companies, and what are the best practices of all of these different entities?” Cripe said.

Their research will all come down to whether it can be predicted how well a company will perform based on their governance.

Cripe said he views the process between him and Thompson as “collaborative.”

“The role of mentor in the Research Rookies program is to partner with an exceptional first year undergraduate student and combine our research skills to solve a problem,” Cripe said. “I really view the process as collaborative. That means that the relationship Collin and I have is not a top-down, ‘do what I say’ model, but one where we both provide input and we both agree on a course of action.”

Cripe said he thinks it is important that Thompson has a true-to-life experience within the Research Rookies Program.

“I want to give Collin a view of the research world that he would not see in the classroom…with all its wonder and its disappointments and frustrations…and show him the tools and the methods that it takes to succeed,” Cripe said.

Thompson eventually wants to follow the path of his grandmother by becoming a member of the FBI.