The Dean’s Blog: February 27, 2013

Posted: Wednesday, February 27th 2013 at 3:23 PM

We received some very good news late Friday afternoon. The Provost informed us that we had two tenure-track faculty lines approved. One position is in Finance and the other is in Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM). Both of these positions are sorely needed. The Provost also approved the regularization of three faculty positions (economics, management and HRM). These were previously one-year instructor positions. Regularization makes these more permanent, moving the funding from special allocations our regular budget. I want to thank all of those who helped craft the arguments for these positions. Eric Yordy, Rich Howey and Allen Atkins were especially important in this process. We also requested an additional staff line for the Career Development Office. No news on that position yet. The Entrepreneur-in-Residence search is progressing nicely. The committee hopes to have campus interviews around Spring Break.

Many of our challenges can be addressed with additional faculty. The close connection between faculty and students is a defining characteristic of FCB (both Business and HRM). It is VERY important that we protect the ability of faculty (and staff) to continue to work closely with students. Growing enrollments and growing class sizes threaten our ability to maintain close student-faculty connections. We’re in the business of changing lives. That’s harder to do in giant classes. I will do everything in my power to ensure that FCB stays FCB.

Hiring faculty and staff takes money. Sometimes that money comes from budget requests (such as our new faculty lines), but we can’t rely on new budget money alone. We need to take control of our circumstances. So, we’re aggressively seeking new revenue sources. For example, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence is funded through a private grant. Summer courses are another significant source of discretionary funds. Connie and I are actively seeking funds for additional executives-in-residence. My plan is to strategically seek new revenue sources and to apply those funds to increase our faculty and staff.

Speaking of new revenue, the Provost and President approved the HRM MBA program. This limited residency program will, if successful, produce significant revenue for FCB. The next step in the process is to gain ABOR approval for the program fee. We should get word about the program fee in April. Thanks again to Kathy Savage and her team for making this program possible.

Several other groups are working diligently on important projects. The HRM curriculum committee is very close to recommending exciting enhancements to the HRM curriculum. Galen Collins is doing an excellent job chairing this committee. The Business Strategic Planning Committee started their work on a revised strategic plan this week. Their first tasks are to examine our mission statement and draft vision and values statements. I’ll report their progress in future blogs. The Research Committee is drafting recommendations for tweaks to our journal tiering system. I met with them yesterday and was very pleased with their recommendations. The changes will benefit faculty while incenting higher-level research. March 29 there will be a brownbag session to go over the changes. Unfortunately, I’ll be in China that day. Eric will lead the session in my place.

Last week I attended two notable events in Phoenix. The first was a lunch sponsored by Scottsdale Community College. I dined with several representatives of the SCC hospitality program. I want to build closer relationships with our community college partners. These programs offer significant opportunities to boost our enrollments through 2+2 programs. Later that day I attended the CFA Society Market Forecast dinner. The event was well attended. Several FCB students attended as did key alumni and friends. Our students took second place in a very competitive CFA Research Challenge, finishing ahead of our in-state rivals. FCB supporter Kurt Lefteroff kindly financed the FCB table.

We have a new member of our FCB family. Pamela Ramos recently joined us as Assistant Development Director. Pam joins us from NAU Marketing. Keith Ballou is moving to a new role as systems administrator. Formerly Keith ran FCB-IT’s help desk.

This is an exciting week for our students. Today’s HRM career fair welcomes approximately forty employers to campus. Tomorrow Business holds its career fair, which includes over fifty employers. Suzanne Siler, Michael Goldman and Ron Smith worked hard on bringing so many employers to campus. I absolutely LOVE the buzz in the halls during our career events!! 

In closing, I want to tell you about a very special event from last week. Twenty of our students, along with faculty members Nita Paden and Matt Heartzen, traveled to Omaha to meet Warren Buffett. This is the sixth year FCB has had the honor of participating. We were in a group with students from Vanderbilt, Wharton and other prestigious schools. This is always a special experience for the students, but this year was a bit different. Weather forecasts indicated significant challenges with getting to Phoenix. In fact, I woke up at 3:30AM to make a “go, no-go” decision. Fortunately, I17 was safe and our group arrived at the airport without difficulty. To make things even more interesting, Omaha had awful weather as well. But, our group was able to make it to Omaha. Apparently, Mr. Buffett was so impressed with our students and their effort to get to Omaha, that he invited them to dinner after the regular program. To my knowledge, this was a one-time event. Of course, the students and faculty were beside themselves with joy. The dinner went very well. Mr. Buffett, as always, was a kind, gracious host. We are, of course, grateful for his generosity.

Until next time…

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

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