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Q&A: Acting Director of TCU Energy Institute Oversees Energy on the Move

May 5, 2021

The TCU Energy Institute recently transitioned to the Neeley School of Business. Ann Bluntzer, Ph.D., associate professor of professional practice, management and leadership, is serving as acting director, where she oversees the program and its Energy MBA and Energy Certificate.

TCU News spoke with Bluntzer to learn about what the move means for the Energy Institute, TCU, its students and the integration of the changing world of energy.

For our readers who may not be familiar, what is the general purpose/mission of the TCU Energy Institute?

AB: To develop tomorrow’s energy leaders for a sustainable future. I think it is a simple, yet powerful purpose statement.  The energy institute intends to accomplish this through focusing on innovation in the classroom, research and relationships with industry.

The Institute has recently transitioned to the Neeley School. Generally speaking, what does this mean for TCU?

AB: I believe it means we will be able to broaden the reach of the institute’s work. Business touches every part of the energy landscape, from science and engineering to communications and economics. We will be intentional with this responsibility and plan to collaborate with all the talent and expertise we already have right here on our campus. 

How does your expertise come into play in your position as acting director?

AB: I have been working and teaching in the organizational management space for 23 years. As a Management and Leadership faculty member at the Neeley School, I hope that my experiences with transforming organizations (I also teach transformational leadership in our MBA program) will translate to a broader collaborative impact for the Energy Institute and our industry partners. I teach, consult and contribute to research in the global energy space. At Neeley, I have taught Geopolitics of Energy, Energy in the 21st Century, Renewable Energy Viability for the past eight years and manage 13 energy faculty members. I am also responsible for developing all the graduate energy curriculum for our MBA program and have served on the TCU Energy Institute Board since 2013. I have a passion for the energy industry and the people who work within it. They are innovative at their core and have a long history of problem solving with progressive solutions. 

Turning to the energy industry as a whole, what do you see as the biggest challenge being faced?

AB: Without a doubt, the energy industry is facing transformation. There are political, economic and social issues at stake, that are requiring this sector to make some fundamental shifts. I believe we have a responsibility at TCU to innovate for a sustainable future. How we choose to spend our time and resources to help solve this issue is up to us. The earth will migrate to a zero net carbon environment sometime over the next 30 years. It is clear that the management of that transition to a low carbon environment is of the utmost importance, and I want to ensure that our students can play an integral part in leading that transition. This is a real opportunity for our students and and TCU shine. 

Visit the TCU Energy Institute website.