Before being named director of Marylhurst University’s School of Business, you taught here for four years. What’s your impression of the Marylhurst business student? Are they different from students you have taught at other universities?
I’ve always considered my teaching role at Marylhurst more of an avocation than a job. I taught at Marylhurst for the experience and richness that comes from classroom discussion. I have learned as much from the students in my classes as they have from me. The opportunity to immerse myself in this world full time was too good to pass up.
Students who attend Marylhurst bring a natural curiosity into the classroom that feeds discussions and presentations. Each student’s experience is enriched by the experiences of those students around them. In my classrooms, I’ve had machinists, vice presidents, entrepreneurs, employees at big corporations looking for promotions, stay-at-home parents looking to get back into the workforce, and international students, sitting side-by-side and building from one another’s ideas. These students have made a significant commitment to themselves and their communities – to reach their fullest potential and make a difference in the world through leadership. They see a degree in business administration as an accelerator for their success. It is our responsibility to deliver on that promise for each student – to provide a program that will help them meet their goals and succeed as leaders in their chosen fields.
My role as an adjunct faculty member at Marylhurst always came second to my role in the industry, which informed my teaching. The world is changing so quickly that having instructors who are connected as practitioners in industry helps to keep the conversations relevant in a different way than at a traditional business school.
What, in your opinion, is the role of business schools in today’s world? How do they serve the community?
Business has the ability to transform societies, and in educating future leaders, business schools are uniquely positioned to shape the direction of that transformation. As the pressures of our world grow exponentially, the need for ethical, thoughtful leaders who consider the full impact of their decisions is critical.
Business schools not only develop community leaders but also have the ability to support the community in a broader way, as partners to help develop a robust economy and support economic growth in a region. The way a business school responds to the needs of its community – for-profit, nonprofit and community organizations – can accelerate the impact of investments and help make our world a better place. Our business school is small, and therefore can be nimble and responsive to student, employer and community needs. I’m excited to get started down this path.
Speaking of meeting community needs, Marylhurst’s School of Business just added a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. How do you see this educational offering meeting the needs of your business students – and the needs of local employers?
This new bachelor’s degree program, the only one in our region, is an excellent example of how Marylhurst University identifies community needs and steps up to fill the gap. John Erickson, director of the hospitality management program, built an advisory council with representatives of diverse businesses, associations and organizations across our region. These individuals, from organizations such as Provenance Hotel Management and Oregon Tourism Commission, provide industry expertise to guide not only the development of our new program, but they also continue to serve in an advisory capacity to ensure our educational model keeps up with the latest developments in the hospitality industry.
One reason I wanted to take on the director role at Marylhurst’s business school is because this university truly is an active partner in the community. Working closely and collaboratively with the business community in developing and delivering programs such as the hospitality management bachelor’s degree – and our soon-to-be-launched web and mobile development certificate program – is exactly how we will approach future program development. Ultimately, the purpose of our School of Business is to meet employer’s needs for a talented workforce and simultaneously give students the tools they can use in successful and rewarding careers.
What role do you play, as director of a business school? Are you an academic? A business person? Do you see yourself as a conduit between industry and higher education?
I see my role as connecting the needs of our community to the capabilities of our students, faculty and staff, to make something bigger and richer than we have had in the past. I’m a change agent, and have worked to bring significant change and growth in past roles. I’m here to develop a learning organization, driven by the needs of our community and stakeholders, that brings a higher level of leadership and collaboration into our community and world.
How do you foresee utilizing your past experience – in lifecycle marketing and as a business consultant – in your new role at Marylhurst University?
The proudest moments of my career have come when I have helped an organization or individual see an opportunity to do better, or reach their goals more effectively. Helping organizations become nimble, able to continuously learn and grow, and be laser focused on the goal in front of them has led to growth and opportunity, both at an individual and organizational level. My background of helping to introduce and leverage data and information to create stronger organizations will come in handy at Marylhurst, an organization that’s nimble and able to quickly adjust to the changing world. In order for the Marylhurst School of Business to realize its fullest potential, and in turn, help our students leverage the power of their degrees, we must institutionalize learning, growth and change, in order to be the best business school for our students, alumni and employers. With support from the community, I can facilitate this transition.
About the School of Business
The School of Business at Marylhurst University offers several master’s degrees in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in business management. Most classes in Marylhurst’s business programs are offered online – or online with a mix of campus classes – scheduled evenings or weekends, to accommodate the working professional.
Marylhurst University is regionally accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.