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Richard Vail, D.Phil., received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis. After serving as a cavalry officer in the US Army and working as both an engineer and as a manager for Westinghouse, Vail earned a Master of Business Administration at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a Master of Science from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford, England. Vail teaches Operations Management and Business Strategy.

According to Vail, "Learning comes from applying knowledge. Attempting to solve a problem, make a recommendation in a situation, or completing a project forces an individual to make use of current understanding; and usually leads to new questions to explore." He challenges students to think for themselves by asking them to solve problems and make decisions.

Before coming to Colorado Mesa University, Vail held a teaching position at Trinity College, Ireland and was director of research for the Department of Business. He was also a visiting professor at Senshu University, Japan. Vail also served on the Board of Directors of a small pharmaceutical company.

At CMU, Vail has served in administrative roles as MBA director and associate dean. His research interests revolve around teaching and learning about management decision making. Vail's scholarly interests include lean systems, crafting and implementing business strategy, complexity, agent-based modeling, the financial services industry and the video streaming industry.