The Dean’s Blog: February 11, 2013

Posted: Monday, February 11th 2013 at 10:49 AM

Since my last posting, I’ve been fortunate to attend several interesting and varied outreach efforts. On January 31 FCB and Alumni Relations sponsored a tent at the Phoenix Open. Frankly I was a bit skeptical about the event. How many people would take a day off work to watch golf? A lot, it turns out. The crowd grew throughout the day, both for the event and in our tent. Over 200 individuals signed in at the tent. Most of these were FCB supporters or alumni, or were invited by our supporters. It was a very relaxed, mellow atmosphere that allowed me to get to know some of our alumni and supporters better. We were on 17, which turned out to be a very interesting hole to watch (and I’m not a golfer). I was very impressed by the turnout and by the quality of the event.

Last week I attended three interesting events. The first was the Arizona Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day. Levi Esquerra did a great job of introducing me to many tribal leaders and key service providers. Also, I had a very enjoyable chat with two of our Native American students who attended the legislative session.

The next day I gave the welcome for the 3rd Annual Money & More Tribal Resources Forum. The forum brings together tribal representatives and service providers so that the tribes and nations can better understand available resources. The focus this year was on infrastructure projects. Our Center for Indian Economic Development (CAIED) co-sponsored the event, which was held at NAU’s North Phoenix campus. According to feedback from the forum’s coordinator, the tribal representatives were very glad to hear more about the services we offer and the level of commitment we have for serving native communities. During my remarks I highlighted a financial literacy education project that is being developed by jointly by CAIED, Enactus (formerly Students in Free Enterprise) and the Native American Business Organization. Later this semester we hope to deliver the first seminar to young members of a Phoenix-area tribe. In my opinion, this project not only serves a very real short term need, but will also have long-term impacts. The young people we’re helping educate today will be tomorrow’s tribal leaders.

Last week’s final event was very different. On Saturday, I facilitated a retreat the Citizens Steering Committee held for Sedona’s new development plan. For two years this dedicated group of highly accomplished volunteers solicited input from Sedona’s citizens on the city’s next ten-year development plan. The committee is preparing to draft the actual plan and thought a retreat might be useful. The retreat focused on leadership and conflict management, both very relevant topics for a group taking on such a complex task. I introduced the concept of trust-based leadership, which has the Business Leadership Program’s listen-understand-persuade framework as its foundation. The retreat seemed to go well; I was very happy get in front of an influential group from Sedona.

On a different note, you’ve probably heard me talk about student success being at the core of every decision I make. Basically when facing a decision, my main guide is the impact on student success. It occurred to me that this may come across as me caring ONLY about student success. Student success requires faculty and staff success. In the context of faculty and staff, I view success as individuals being able to lead satisfied, productive, professional lives. The simple fact is that if our faculty and staff don’t feel fulfilled, they are either going to leave FCB or become disenchanted. Neither of these outcomes helps our students. Interestingly, since student success is so much of a shared value at FCB, helping students become successful positively impacts faculty and staff satisfaction. So, there’s a bit of a self-reinforcing cycle. Beyond the impact on student success, I genuinely like our FCB family and want everyone to feel like they are able to accomplish their own goals while helping our students lead successful lives.

Until next time…

Craig Van Slyke, Ph.D.
Dean, W.A. Franke College of Business
Northern Arizona University



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