Business College to Select New Dean
March 17, 2005 1:01 PM
SF State's largest college is choosing a new dean and defying their traditional process by picking nominees without backgrounds in education.
“This is the appropriate time to have a dean that’s strong in strategic management and has resources in the business community,” said Victor Cordell, director of the College of Business Graduate Studies Program. He added that SF State has never had a dean “that I know of” who lacked experience in education - “they’ve all been academics.”
According to Sanjit Sengupta, chair of the marketing department and a member of the search committee, the next dean will also be the business school’s first without a Ph.D. The decision to make such a hire was agreed on by faculty and staff at a town hall style meeting last fall.
Sengupta, said that the "experience with deans in the past was that they were not effective in getting visibility for the college in the business community."
SF State President Robert Corrigan assisted efforts to locate an outside dean by enlisting the services of executive search firm Korn Ferry. Officials in the business school credit the firm with helping to locate some of the initial six candidates - a field that was trimmed to four earlier this semester.
On-campus visits have been arranged for the four remaining candidates, all of whom have ties to Bay Area businesses. The visits offer faculty, staff and students the chance to pose questions to the candidates before one is selected to replace acting Dean Bill Perttula, who has signaled that he is not interested in the job. Perttula has held the position for one year, filling in after Jerry Platt left to take a job at the private University of Redlands.
He added that the school was asking candidates for the permanent position to commit to serving a minimum of five years, an commitment that will factor heavily into the college’s choice.
The College of Business has more than 4,700 undergraduate students, 700 graduate students and over 100 faculty members. It is the largest accredited business school in California and, according to Perttula, it is still growing.
The college is in the process of privatizing the graduate business programs. This will alleviate the reliance on state university monies, but will also require the College of Business to recruit more graduate students and obtain other funding to support its programs.
“There are two ways to bring in money - (through) specialized MBAs or from straight donations from corporations,” said Perttula. Hiring a dean from the business world may help attract more graduate students, and getting those students to enroll at SF State will be “a big issue for the new dean,” he said.
Having a dean without educational experience "doesn't bother me at all," said 24-year-old business finance major Lev Malanin. "Most of the successful businessmen I've seen haven't even gone to college at all."
Another finance major, Steve Schlegel, called hiring a businessperson "a great idea." "Normally deans get in because they can't do anything else,” he said. They also "don't know where a lot of the students are really trying to get."
“A successful dean in the business school today should be spending 75 to 80 percent of his time externally - dealing with development programs and public relations,” said Cordell. He said that a dean from outside the academia realm would probably be the best fit.
Ads for the graduate program are being placed in national magazines such as Newsweek and Business Week. The Accelerated MBA (AMBA) program has placed an SF State College of Business satellite campus in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District and has enrolled 185 graduate students.
There are also campuses in Redwood City and at Canada College.
“Now we need somebody who can sell our programs to businesses and get them to pay high tuitions,” said Sengupta.
"This may be harder on the college as a whole,” said dean's assistant Janet Remolona. “But it’s a necessary decision we all made as a department.”
The Selection Process:
The selection process began last December, when six candidates were selected and brought to campus for preliminary visits. After that visit, the selection committee - comprised of six business college faculty members, one staff member and four members from other areas of campus - eliminated two candidates from the running.
During the past two weeks, the four finalists have made individual trips to SF State and met with the committee and other faculty. The committee will then “make out (a) report to the provost (John Gemello) after spring break, and then candidates are called back for a meeting with Corrigan,” said Sengupta.
Corrigan and Germello will then decide on the new dean based on their personal meetings and the reports supplied by the selection committee.
“We’re not selecting the person, we’re just ruling out ones that aren’t acceptable,” Sengupta said of the committee’s role in the hiring process. He added that the committee “hopes an offer will be made before the end of the spring semester,” and have the new dean in place by this summer.
Roger Gray has served for 18 years as Chief Information Officer at PG&E. He guided the company through California’s power crisis of 2000, and has had to deal with several cutbacks.
Dennis Wu is a UC Berkeley graduate and recently retired as National Director for Deloitte and Touche LLP’s Chinese Service Group. Raised in the Philippines by Chinese parents, Wu could bring a command of several Asian cultures and dialects to the campus that has awarded the most business degrees to Asian Americans in the United States.
Peter Giles is president and CEO of the San Jose-based Tech Museum of Innovation, and he is scheduled to retire from that post on March 31. Through the museum, Giles has created several community partnerships and led teacher training classes and field trips.
Nancy Hayes worked as a general manager at IBM in San Francisco in the mid-90s. Hayes then worked in New York before ending up in Los Angeles and is now CEO and President of WISE Senior Services.
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