I think that’s going to be exciting for an undergrad to get to learn from the dean. So, what are some of your own accomplishments that you’re particularly proud of?
First, we’ve been reaccredited twice, and that’s a big deal because that’s in both business and accounting. We’re one of less than 2% of schools in the world that are accredited in both business and accounting, and those are very, very extensive processes.
Also our hiring. I feel a lot of pride in that we have recruited and that we have retained very talented people. We’ve brought in a lot of women and more faculty from diverse backgrounds. Same with our students. I created an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion a number of years ago, and I feel really good about our accomplishments. We have a long way to go there as well. When you do that, and when you then say to all the faculty who are on searches that they need to go through inclusive hiring training, they really learn how to hire in an inclusive way, and that is what translates into getting more women and non-white faculty. It’s because they were able to broaden their search and just really found the best candidates.
We also created a five-year strategic plan that is very participative with all of our stakeholders, including external stakeholders. What I feel good about is that one of the big tenants was diversity, equity inclusion; and another is enhancing students skills in a lot of those competencies we talked about. We’ve redesigned some of our programs to really build in more cutting edge curriculum as it relates to data technology and analytics. And the other big tenant is around our research focus, just really trying to support our faculty to provide the kind of support they need to be really strong scholars.
My goal has always been to be able authentically say to every parent and prospective student that they will have an outstanding experience. That’s what I care about. How do we make that happen? You have to have the right faculty and staff to make that happen. We already have the best alumni in the world, and we are a premier school for a number of really great firms.
All of that folds into our Augustian values. We are a faith based institution. I tell people, we’re not just another business school. We don’t need more business schools, we need business schools that actually produce people that have values, are ethical, and who are going to make a positive impact on society.
I understand that you refashioned VSB’s part time MBA program?
Yes, we’re very excited about that; We just kicked it off last week. It’s an MBA Your Way kind of a program. We had a professional or part time MBA that was your usual weekends and weeknights. Now students can come in, they can do it wholly online; they can do it hybrid with some online, some in person; or they can do it all in person. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes. We feel like that will be really great for the students.
We also redesigned what’s in the MBA, and this was just a really good collaborative effort. You have your usual core of an MBA, but then we’ve got these buckets on the future of work where we can put in real cutting-edge things. We’ve already done some work in AI and machine learning, analytics, and that will constantly be rotating in the future of work buckets. We’ve got this whole other piece on all the leadership skills, more on Power and Politics, negotiation, and the workplaces of the future.
It is consistent with our strategy as it relates to really ensuring students have really strong technical skills as well as those soft skills.
We’re really excited about this program that just gives much more flexibility in a time when candidates really want more flexibility. We are also providing a lot more professional development for them, so that we can help the career advancers or the switchers or the entrepreneurs.
What’s the next big thing for VSB?
We are looking at some really interesting interdisciplinary things. For example, we have partnered with the nursing school to create the business of healthcare certificate program. That should launch in January. We really spent probably two years interviewing all of these alums in healthcare and in business about what they would want to know. We’re also partnering with engineering on sustainability programming, and we want to do more in ESG. I have a faculty director who is looking at business ethics, ESG, and all these different facets to first figure out things like, what are we doing, and then how do we ensure that every student has exposure and knows what the employers want?
I guess I would say one of the big things is looking at the future in terms of other types of interdisciplinary programming, doing more in the entrepreneurship space and consulting space.
Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
When we think about the core, as I said, we’re focusing on creating an outstanding student experience to ensure great career outcomes. We do have really strong career outcomes in terms of job placement for undergraduates. And, of course, for our students in masters programs, we are committed to enabling them to move up faster in organizations.
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