Monday, July 19, 2010

A new chapter in business

We welcomed a new face to campus this month when Michael Tidwell began his duties as the dean of the College of Business. Dr. Tidwell comes to Bloomsburg from Clayton State University’s School of Business, near Atlanta, Ga., where he was assistant dean and associate professor of management.

Dr. Tidwell brings a wealth of experience from across the country and around the globe. He taught at the University of Kentucky, Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., and Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. His also served as a visiting professor at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya, and CHM College and Birla College in India and led study abroad trips in South Africa. Outside of academics, Dr. Tidwell worked in the marketing department of Epson America. His research interests include employee intelligence, organizational socialization within multinational corporations and organizational identity.

As we welcome Dr. Tidwell, we also thank Dr. Dennis Gehris who has been leading the College of Business as its interim dean and directed the steps needed for our College of Business to maintain its prestigious accreditation by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Initially accredited in December 2004, our College of Business is one of just 593 schools of business, or less than 5 percent worldwide, to earn AACSB accreditation.

Dr. Tidwell also begins his new position amidst an important renovation to Sutliff Hall, which houses our business program. The project, which should be completed by next fall, will include a new third floor and an addition facing the Academic Quad. The renovation will give much-needed room to a growing program that has proven to be among the best internationally.

And it’s not the only thing growing on campus. We expect to see more than 2,600 new students arrive for the fall to begin their Bloomsburg University experience. As you see, it will be a very busy and exciting year in the College of Business and for all of us across campus.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Meeting a growing family

After a month off from blogging, I’m catching up on my activities and important events for Bloomsburg University. So, I will pick up where we left off in May.

Shortly after our graduation my third granddaughter, Caoimhe Gallagher, was born to my daughter Laura in Long Beach, Cal. I could not be there but my wife, Grandma Robbie, assisted in the birth. We are delighted to welcome another little red-headed girl into our family, who I will be visiting her for the first time in mid-July.

In another important milestone for our family our youngest son, Andrew, graduated with a bachelor’s in anthropology from Central Washington University, where I served as provost for six years before coming to BU. It was great to celebrate his achievement and for a change to be in the audience rather than on the platform during a graduation. Andrew is working for a large environmental consulting firm in central Washington and getting married in August.

In late May, I had the privilege of traveling with about 10 BU faculty and emeriti to participate in the 19th annual meeting of the Global Awareness Society International at Jagiellonian University in Krakaw, Poland. Two BU students presented their undergraduate research projects to a group of scholars from 15 countries thanks to BU Foundation scholarships for international education. The multidisciplinary conference was enlightening and timely, and it was a privilege for me to deliver the opening keynote address, “The Increasing Importance of Global Awareness,” at the university where Copernicus studied in the 1490s.

Over the past two weeks, we welcomed almost 1,600 new fall freshman and their parents to campus during eight fact and fun packed one-day orientations. Each year the incoming freshman class continues to grow and once again, BU will have the largest class of well prepared freshman in our history. My thanks to orientation coordinator, Kristin Austin, the other dedicated staff in admissions, and the dozens of students who serve as OWLs (Orientation Workshop Leaders).

We are waiting for details on the allocations for higher education and BU from the state budget agreed to by the legislature and recently sent to the governor. As a sign of the current economic climate and reminder of the ever-changing landscape of higher education, PASSHE concluded a year-long process that led to discontinuation of several dozen degree programs across the state university system due to low enrollments.

Thankfully, Bloomsburg University was not among the eight schools that needed to make program cuts. Although our initial response is to feel relieved, the appropriate reaction is for us to continue to work harder in making sure our programs – large and small – remain strong, vibrant and relevant to our students, as well as meeting the needs of a competitive global workforce.

This commitment falls in line with our current strategic planning process, adding more emphasis on ensuring this long-range strategic plan is focused, concise and reflective of our mission to educate future leaders.