After 28 years at Purdue, I am pleased to be serving as interim dean until a national search finds the next dean of the Krannert School. Although my term may be short, my intention is to engage in the activities that will keep the Krannert School moving forward in the ranks of the very best business schools in the country.
For those of you who do not know me, in addition to time spent in both the undergraduate and master’s classroom, I served as associate dean of GISMA when that program was beginning, from 1999 until the end of 2000. I was then associate dean for programs and student services at Krannert in 2001-06, and during that time was also dean of GISMA for a year in the transition between Dan Schendel and the current dean, David Schoorman. After a sabbatical I returned as academic director of master’s and executive education programs on June 1, 2006, until beginning this assignment on July 1.
In my time in the dean’s chair I would like to focus on the quality of teaching, especially in the undergraduate classroom. Through the generosity of our benefactors, we now have world-class facilities for our advisors and administrators of the undergraduate program. We would like to round that out by enhancing our teaching efforts.
We ran an in-house seminar for our graduate student instructors before the start of the school year, and will monitor them throughout the course of the semester and at the end of the semester before they return to teach again. Our Ph.D. students are bright and enthusiastic about their disciplines, and with some assistance they can be great instructors — not only here, but also as they go through their professional lives. Training them for that future is part of our job. We also will increase our oversight of younger professors in their classroom endeavors.
When Rick Cosier started as dean, we were in need of expanded and remodeled facilities, and his fundraising has brought about those changes. We were also behind other Big Ten schools in the number of named and distinguished professors, and we have now increased funding in that area.
Our next frontier is to increase the number and the value of the scholarships that we give out each year to both undergraduates and master’s students. We are behind many of our peer and aspirant schools in that area, yet have still been able to maintain well-respected and highly ranked programs. With some additional funding (depending once again on our loyal alumni base), we believe we can rise even higher in the ranks of outstanding undergraduate and master’s programs.
There are a number of interesting changes in how we are delivering learning to our students. One example I would like to focus on, started last year, is the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) for master’s students. We have offered project courses in the past where teams of master’s students essentially served as consultants to businesses. But the ELI has formalized that process by having someone oversee the projects and extending the breadth of faculty members working with small teams of four to six students.
The ELI benefits are many. It helps our students apply their learning in a real-world setting, it increases interaction between faculty and students, and it lets potential future employers see the quality of the work our students can perform. A number of students have received job offers through the work they have done on the projects.
Even though I have been a part of Krannert for a long time, this new position has allowed me to be impressed anew by our faculty, staff, students and alumni. I inherited a great program from Rick Cosier, and my final goal for the time I am dean is to leave the school in even better shape for my successor.
I look forward to the opportunity.
Interim Dean and Professor of Economics