Main Content

Lessons from janitor father inspired Joseph Manga to earn doctorate, join ACU faculty


Joseph Manga
Dr. Joseph Manga

Growing up in Cameroon as the oldest child in a family of five, Dr. Joseph Manga never imagined where his life would take him.

Four different universities for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral work, as well as tutoring and teaching experience, have all been part of the experience. And this past summer, it led him to ACU and the College of Business Administration where he is teaching Management Information Systems.

Manga now joins the full-time faculty as a tenure-track assistant professor of information systems and management science. None of this was what Manga expected to be his life’s work while living in Cameroon. But as he would come to learn, God had other plans for his life.

“As we know, many may be the plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord determines the end,” he said. “I began with mathematics, did a little bit of computer science, and then moved on to business. This all worked out because I didn’t just want to be crunching numbers and not know how to interpret them. So, I developed my love for learning from my personal experience. As an introvert, I thought doing something that would keep me from talking to people would be great. That’s why I’m so passionate about research. That was all my plan. But God’s plan was to send me to love and talk to people.”

Knowing all of that, it still took a chance conversation with a friend that pointed him toward teaching and meeting the needs of young people.

“I vividly remember sometime in 1998 a friend walked up to me and said, ‘I see you as a teacher,’ “ Manga said. “I didn’t want to hear that because I never wanted to teach, partly because of my personality. But as I applied myself to learning, I realized there is more to teaching than just transferring knowledge. It involves mentoring and discipleship, which are godly assignments that we are called to fulfill. I believe that teaching brings transformation to many when it is done in a godly way. That’s why I’m excited to be part of a family and community that focus on raising a holistic generation in terms of spiritual academic formation, who will, in turn, move on to serve and transform their world.”

He’s also motivated by the memory of his father, who passed away last January. Manga is the first person in his family to attain a doctorate, and he attributes his decision to reach the highest level of education to his father, who worked as a janitor at the university Manga attended in Cameroon.

“My dad was a strong motivator and proponent for pursuing education, which is a passion for me now – to see young people educated,” Manga said. “As a janitor, my dad would wake up very early to go clean the classrooms before students started classes. I still remember one instance when my dad’s supervisor verbally demeaned him, and I felt bad. But I decided to get to the highest level of education and use it to honor the janitors who keep our work environment clean. It was an awful life experience, but it served as a challenge to the educational experience I have today, which I see as a blessing.”

Manga earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Buea in Cameroon before earning a Master’s of Business Administration from Midwestern State University in 2014, a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of North Texas in 2018, and finally his Ph.D., in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in 2022.

During all of his academic work, Manga has continued his research in several different areas of management information systems, technology, information security policy compliance, business analytics, health information technology, cyber security, and many others.

“Research is a passion,” Manga said. It’s one way to apply my background knowledge in mathematics, which is problem-solving. Identifying problems and looking for ways to provide solutions to these problems is what drives me into research. Finally, I see research as making a little contribution to academia and giving back to the community.”

Manga has also worked as a men’s ministry coordinator at Abundant Grace Community Church in Edinburg and as a tutor while in Wichita Falls. And he’s kept up with a family that includes wife Clarise and four children: Abijoy (9), Solien-Pearl (6), Zoe-Ann (5), and Joe-Praise (4), all of whom he calls “inquisitive disciples.”

And now the family of six has found its way to Abilene and ACU, where Manga is ready and willing to serve as God leads.

“I am passionate to serve, especially in an environment that aligns with one’s beliefs and values,” he said. “When the opportunity opened to be part of a culture and institution that trains godly business leaders in whatever capacity they find themselves, I was glad to jump on it. God opened this door and I love to follow His lead.”

– Lance Fleming 

Sept. 20, 2022

SHARE: [Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]