Q: What made you come to John Carroll?
A: It’s just an exciting opportunity. I had been a dean at Duquesne for two terms and I had gone back to the faculty for two years and thought I still had some value to add as a dean. I saw the Carroll opportunity, talked with some of the folks here, and got involved in the search and I was eventually the successful candidate, which is always an honor to be selected. What I saw in terms of opportunities [was the] Carroll legacy and reputation, the commitment to quality. I was looking for the opportunity to do something bold and innovative, something new. I felt that my conversations with the faculty at the Boler school and with the provost and the president indicated that that would be possible. That was the bigger reason was to try to find something that would be new to the world and try to be innovative and grow the Boler school and grow the university.
Q: What are your responsibilities as dean?
A: The primary responsibility is really a people one. [The goal of this responsibility] is to provide the leadership and the support to the faculty and staff to help them do their jobs in an excellent way. So I always think about my responsibility [being] around relationships and people. That’s my primary focus. As an outsider, or someone coming in from another school, in some ways the dean’s role is to bring your experience and look what’s going on in the environment. [Then you] try and then integrate that into the strategic change that has to happen within the school. I spend a lot of time in the external environment trying to understand what we need to be doing in order to stay relevant and competitive in the market. My responsibilities to the institution [are: having] a role in various leadership groups and committees across the university to help the university get stronger and more competitive and be helpful in the overall governance of the institution as a whole.
Q: You’re an Ohio native. What is like to be back working in Ohio after working in many different places?
A: It’s great to be back in Ohio. I was gone somewhere in the range of 25 years. 12 of those were in Canada and ten in Pittsburgh. I’ve always had family ties here. I’m comfortable here. It was easy to get settled in. I understand the region and the people. It’s nice to understand that a career that took me to Western Canada, to Eastern Canada, and to Pittsburgh, [provided me with a] unique experience in each [that was] challenging in its own way. You can always come home, no matter how many years you’ve been away and it’s still home, even though it might be different. I encourage [students] to take some chances and look outside their comfort zone for opportunities and there’s always a path back if you’re looking for it.
Q: You are going to be a professor of marketing as well. What are you most excited for in the classroom setting?
A: I really enjoy teaching. I’ll probably teach in the graduate program first although I also enjoy teaching undergraduates. I’m particularly interested in teaching in our professional MBA program which is our working students. I like teaching experienced students. It is somehow more interesting for me as a professor to work through issues that the students may bring in the context of their workplace, and how that relates to what we might be talking about in a particular case study or lecture. It’s always great to see firsthand exactly what the students are thinking, how they’re performing and what their experiences are good and bad. There are other venues. We have a student advisory council that is an organization that I’ll be interacting with to get a pulse on how things are going in the undergraduate program as well so that we can incorporate their feedback into changing what we’re doing service wise or class wise as appropriate. We all have the same ultimate interest at heart. Our job is to make it as tough as possible and sometimes that’s not exactly what the students have in mind but it’s in their best interest.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish as dean?
A: We’ll do a strategic planning process. Where I hope that we’ll uncover one or two areas to really build on. I’m not bringing all the ideas with me, some of these ideas just need to be discovered. The Boler school’s accountancy program has a very strong reputation in the region and is competitive with the very best schools in Ohio and across the nation. One simple view is we need to get some of our other programs to that same level of recognition and performance. I’m also very interested in how we can better connect our students and academic programs to the careers and professions of the future; the ones that are growing. There are credentialing bodies for virtually every discipline, whether it’s supply chain, human resource management, and marketing. All of these professional bodies have a sort of body of knowledge or content that they get certifications in. We need a closer connection between our majors and the professional credentialing bodies. That’s by extension employment opportunities. We need to be making sure that our programs are properly preparing students to be very competitive in a very tough job market. My focus is quality of academic programs. It’s how you’re measured not only by your graduates being successful in the marketplace but it’s how you’re measured by students applying to programs and campuses. You choose to go because the program at Carroll is an exciting best in class program. That’s what we need to be working on.