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Intellectual CapitalIt has indeed been my privilege to serve on the Dean’s Search Committee for the past several months. During that time I have learned a tremendous amount about the characteristics of an outstanding business school.  Each Dean candidate has provided us with unique perspectives on what it will require for our business school to achieve its strategic vision.

Based upon our face-to-face meetings with eleven different candidates and multiple discussions with colleagues in both the academic and business communities, I make the following observations:

  1. The collective intellectual capital of a business school’s faculty is, for better or worse, the defining factor of an outstanding business school.
  2. Our business school must aggressively recognize and reward scholarship and the development of intellectual capital as a foundation of its success. The currency of the academic marketplace is the development of intellectual capital.
  3. I believe faculty in our business school have a unique opportunity to broaden the traditional definition of ‘outstanding scholarship’ and to find ways to reward faculty for the development of intellectual capital that is highly relevant to members of the business community and that furthers the ideal of ‘service to others’.

In order to take our school to the ‘next level’, the immediate challenge for the new Dean will be to work with vested constituencies (with perhaps an emphasis on our alumni) to create a broad vision that bridges the gap between the research strengths of the faculty and the greater business community.  In my estimation, the entire business school community must build on this new vision to develop our resource base, to build and expand our academic programs, and to energize our classroom teaching (particularly at the graduate level).

The result of not aggressively emphasizing academic scholarship (i.e. not emphasizing the development of intellectual capital, research) is:

  • Inability to effectively attract and retain faculty talent (the marketplace says that the intellectual capital of a faculty member is what most directly determines their value). This will take place in a world with a looming shortage of business PhD’s.
  • MBA Program: forced to compete at the low end of the market. Why? Faculty will continue to be viewed by students merely as instructors (reactive presenters of others’ concepts) rather than being viewed as sages (proactive developers and presenters of original, peer-reviewed concepts).
  • Inability to grow PhD program and attract chaired professors. There is a direct correlation between ‘top flight’ faculty, their PhD students and the academic reputation of the university. This reputation is built largely on academic scholarship.

Please do not take this memo to suggest that teaching and ‘service to others’ should be relegated to a lower status than research. Rather outstanding classroom teaching and service should be the expectation for all faculty members at our university.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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NCCPEIn the United Kingdom there is a movement for research universities to better engage the public. The “Manifesto for Public Engagement”, as defined by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement [NCCPE], is listed below:

We believe that universities and research institutes have a major responsibility to contribute to society through their public engagement, and that they have much to gain in return.

We are committed to sharing our knowledge, resources and skills with the public, and to listening to and learning from the expertise and insight of the different communities with which we engage.

We are committed to developing our approach to managing, supporting and delivering public engagement for the benefit of staff, students and the public, and to sharing what we learn about effective practice.

A study by the UK Innovation Research Centre defines Four Modes of Interactions between Academics and External Organizations. (See: ‘Knowledge Exchange between Academics and Business, Public and Third Sectors,’Maria Abreu, Vadim Grinevich, Alan Hughes and Michael Kitson, uk-irc, (PDF))

People Based Activities

  1. attend conference
  2. participate in networks
  3. give invited lecture
  4. sit on advisory board
  5. assist with student placements
  6. employee training
  7. standard setting forums
  8. curriculum development

Community Based Activities

  1. give lecture for community
  2. school projects
  3. community exhibitions
  4. community-based supports

Problem Solving Activities

  1. informal advice
  2. joint research
  3. joint publication
  4. consultancy
  5. contract research
  6. research consortia
  7. hosting of personnel
  8. protyping and testing

Commercialization Activities

  1. formed consultancy
  2. patent
  3. licensed research
  4. company startup

Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.  (See: http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/what)

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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dean_cain_2b (1)What questions may a dean candidate be asked on a site visit?

  1. Why are you interested in the Dean’s position at our university?
  2. In 3-5 years if you are the Dean, what will our college be known for?
  3. What things can be done to revive the scholarship of the senior faculty?
  4. What is your day-to-day management style?
  5. How would you address the communication challenges that we face?  Internal?  External?
  6. What role would the development officer play in your deanship?
  7. How would you make the transition from your current school to our school?
  8. What are your thoughts about international education?  Students?  Faculty?
  9. What are your thoughts about class size?
  10. We are resource poor – what would you do about this?
  11. How would you manage our relationship with the rest of the university?

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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Like many institutions of higher learning, the past five years have not been kind to faculty salaries.  For example, a recent AAUP study states:

An annual survey of faculty salaries being released today by the American Association of University Professors paints a dismal picture, suggesting that a historic low period for compensation increases continues.

More of this report can be found here.   http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/04/09/aaup-releases-faculty-salary-data#ixzz28eCWykr9

At our public institution, the president of the faculty senate stated that that there are four sources for increasing faculty salaries:

  1. increased state funding (direct appropriations)
  2. increased private giving
  3. increased tuition and student fees
  4. re-slice the pie of the current resources

This seems like a complete list to me.   What are your thoughts?   Where should the funding for increased faculty salaries originate?

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Teresa Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia, has had a tumultuous past few weeks.  First, she was asked to resign from her presidency by the Board of Visitors and then, more recently, was reinstated by an apologetic board.   During this time there were many articles published concerning the debacle.  To me, the most interesting article was one written by Daniel de Vise, Jenna Johnson and Donna St. George in the Washington Post on June 25, 2012. (“Teresa Sullivan: The ousted U-Va. leader who may regain the post“)   It is an insightful profile of a thoughtful and dynamic leader – Teresa Sullivan.

I particularly liked a description of the “rules” used by Dr. Sullivan to conduct business at the University of Virginia. Following is a list of “Sullivan’s Rules”:

  1. Never surprise an administrator.
  2. Never punish the messenger.
  3. Don’t hide bad news; meet it head-on.
  4. People and time are our greatest resources; don’t waste them.
  5. When dealing with a difficult matter, don’t leave anyone out, or else be prepared for fallout.

What do you think of these rules?  Effective or delusional?

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QuestionHere are the questions that the department heads are asking the associate dean candidates.  I will answer each of these questions in the next several weeks.

  1. What should the role of scholarship be at our institution?
  2. What role should assessment play?  How is this related to curriculum review and development?
  3. If you and the dean disagreed on an issue, how would you handle this?
  4. How would you promote better teaching in the college?
  5. What is your view of the graduate programs in the college?
  6. What experience do you have with working with institutional data in the decision making process for issues such as enrollment management and determining faculty lines?
  7. What is your view of the college’s “brand”?
  8. For the issues that you are not familiar, how would you ‘get up to speed’?

Others that could/should be asked:

  1. Do you have experience with setting an academic budget?
  2. What would be your primary mechanisms for acquiring resources for the program?

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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