When I recently visited a College of Business classroom one student asked, "What does a Dean do?" I imagine every Dean would answer this differently. For me, the job means looking forward while influencing and facilitating achievement of our mission today - equipping students to build success in a global context. That requires connection and influence in a few key ways.
My primary influence on students flows through the heart of our College of Business – great faculty and staff. As Jim Collins says in the book Good to Great, we need to get the right people on the bus and in the right seats. It also means fostering a positive work climate for everyone on the bus. So careful hiring, support, resourcing, encouragement and feedback help nurture the heart of our college, and in turn, successful students.
The second focus is connection across the university. In practice, this means serving on the Student and Academic Affairs Leadership Team, where a group of people serve both as advocates for their own areas and as team members working together on behalf of our St Ambrose students overall.
The third focus is outward. This means working with our College of Business Advisory Council, serving as a presenter in the community, seeking out opportunities to network through our Chamber of Commerce and occasionally - communicating through newsletters. It also requires serious attention to the accreditation agency, the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) that provides guidelines and holds us accountable to run a well-performing organization.
While the job is sometimes complex, it seems to involve those three focal points: the business world beyond our doors; integration with the university as a whole; and careful attention to our staff and faculty as they equip our students to build success.