Meet Purdue Global professor Bea Bourne: ‘I was an adult student, too!’ 

Bea Bourne is standing behind a marble counter and wears a tan leather jacket, smiling and hands on the counter in front of her.

Bea Bourne, a professor in graduate-level marketing courses, spent the majority of her professional career with AT&T, where she held a variety of leadership positions in sales, marketing, training and development, and human resources. (Purdue University photo/Kelsey Lefever)

This MBA professor earned all three of her degrees as a mom and working adult, and now she’s here to help others. 

As a professor for the MBA program and senior lead for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging within Purdue Global’s School of Business, Bea Bourne shares the why behind her work.  

I started at AT&T right out of high school and moved up through the ranks. The job I enjoyed most was as a corporate trainer for sales. It’s where I discovered what I’m intended to do: teach. There’s nothing like experiencing a learner’s lightbulb moment and seeing someone connect to a concept. It led me to Purdue Global, where I teach in the MBA program and serve as the senior lead of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for the School of Business and Information Technology. 

I wanted to work with adults from the start. I completed all my degrees — my bachelor’s, my master’s and my doctorate — as a working adult. I know the work; I know what it’s like to balance being a student, parent and working professional. 

I am doing what I was created to do because of that journey. I see myself in my students, and I believe this is where I can make a difference, by helping other working adults advance toward what they are created to do as well.  

I am fortunate to work with a group of fellow faculty and staff members who want to be here as much as I do. We are involved and care about the success of our students. That passion for student success carries over to the other part of my work, too. As senior lead for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the School of Business, I enjoy working with others to create initiatives within our school that foster better engagement, a sense of belonging and more inclusion. In this space, the challenges we address are present everywhere. They are universal.  

I try to celebrate the wins and concentrate on what I can change. We’ve had real successes throughout all the schools. For example, an inaugural chief diversity officer was appointed. We created a curriculum guide for our professors on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging principles. Juneteenth is now a university holiday, and we have a university diversity statement. There have been other wins, and I hang my hat on the fact that I can see the needle being moved.  

That’s what keeps me going. Meaningful change isn’t instant, like flipping a switch. It’s slow and steady. 

I see myself in my students, and I believe this is where I can make a difference.

Bea Bourne  Professor, Purdue Global