Jerry Lynch Answers the Call
For Jerry Lynch, winning his fifth Salgo-Noren Award would have been enough to crown 2010 another good year in a long distinguished academic career. Recognition as the Krannert School’s outstanding instructor in master’s pro
For Jerry Lynch, winning his fifth Salgo-Noren Award would have been enough to crown 2010 another good year in a long distinguished academic career.
Recognition as the Krannert School’s outstanding instructor in master’s programs seemed a satisfying and symbolic segue from sharing duties as academic director of the master’s and executive education programs to returning as a full-time economics professor at the end of the year. That was the plan. Then came the call.
So much for simple symmetry when you supply what the market demands.
Fortunately for Krannert, the popular professor’s 28 years of leadership, loyalty, and love of education led Purdue Provost Tim Sands to select Lynch to serve as interim dean while the search continues for a successor to Rick Cosier, Krannert’s dean since 1999. The provost plans to announce a new dean no later than spring 2011.
Cosier’s tenure ended July 1. After a six-month sabbatical, he will return to Purdue as the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and will remain as the Leeds Professor of Management in the School of Management. Lynch, on the other hand, will have to wait until 2011 to return to full-time teaching.
"I love teaching," acknowledges Lynch, whose specialties include monetary theory and policy, macroeconomics, and international trade and finance. "I have a real curiosity about a broad range of topics and interests, and I enjoy seeing students learn. And this has been my time! Teaching economics in the past few years is like being an epidemiologist during an outbreak of the bubonic plague."
Lynch is still teaching this fall, but he will rely on doctoral students for help. Said Lynch with a smile, days after his selection in June: "I have a feeling my new responsibilities will be a little time-consuming."
Indeed. And he has no intentions of merely biding his time. There is too much at stake.
In addition to seeking a new dean, Krannert also has been intensively reviewing its programs. While Krannert’s new era is taking shape, Lynch is compelled to keep the school moving forward. As the economic recovery gains traction, Lynch wants to make sure Krannert doesn’t lose any ground — especially given today’s competitive, constantly changing educational marketplace.
"The market is always evolving — even the market for higher education," says Lynch. "We responded. We’ve built a better product. Now we have to market it."
As the provost noted, Lynch’s leadership skills, vision and experience will be valuable and vital in maintaining Krannert’s momentum. In addition to his other administrative roles, Lynch has served as Krannert’s associate dean for programs and student services. He also was the associate dean of GISMA Business School, Krannert’s international outreach MBA program in Hannover, Germany.
The GISMA experience gives Lynch insight into global and multicultural issues facing business and management — a key strategic priority for Krannert students and their future employers. Ensuring more overseas opportunities will remain a priority for the school in the months and years ahead, he says.
"In a global economy, it is imperative to provide opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to have international learning experiences," says Lynch.
"Students are telling us they want more on their resumes than grades," adds Tim Newton, Krannert’s director of external relations and communications. "Jerry is uniquely qualified to champion the importance of global learning opportunities and hands-on, real-world learning experiences."
As is usually the case, innovation and improvement requires steady investment.
"We are running a business, and we need to become more self-reliant," Lynch says. "We want to be poised to take advantage of opportunities to improve as the economy recovers. This means we need to increase scholarships and endowed professorships in order to remain competitive.
"We are competing for top graduate students around the world with good programs that have swept through Europe and now Asia. Budgets are tight and with continued decreases in state funding, we need our already very generous alumni to continue to step up. Developing and cultivating a strong alumni network as a source of funding is paramount."
Lynch applauds Krannert’s successful alumni and friends for the active role they play in Krannert’s advisory councils, speakers’ forums, financial assistance and mentoring programs, alumni-in-residence sessions, and other supporting activities. And it needs to grow. Alumni relations director Jon Ferency is raising awareness and building relationships with current Krannert students and alumni toward this end.
"Successful business schools rely upon alumni support in a variety of ways. We need our alumni to steer companies to Krannert and to hire our students, and we want to build on that," Lynch adds.
Lynch cites several other priorities and opportunities for his months ahead as interim dean. A redesign of Krannert’s Web site is under way, aimed at appealing to tech-savvy students through dynamic multimedia content and intuitive navigation.
The introduction of a Master of Science degree with a concentration in finance and the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) illustrate Krannert’s commitment to growth and innovation, Lynch says. ELI gives master’s candidates hands-on exposure to actual business situations in semester-long field projects.
"Firms want skilled professionals who can come in and make a contribution from day one," Lynch says.
And so did Krannert. If good fortune is the merging of preparation and opportunity, the students can look to the example of Krannert’s interim dean.
"I’m here for a year, and we will continue to work on initiatives under way to make Krannert a better place," Lynch says. "Yes, we face challenges, but you are constantly facing challenges to stay at the top."
By Grant Flora