The Dean's Digest - November 2012
One day last week I think I officially logged my first 100 days on the job. Politicians, corporate leaders and (yes) deans are often judged on what they have accomplished in the magical "first 100 days."
If you would permit me however, I would prefer to postpone that discussion until the end of my first year. Though there are many new things in motion - finalizing the vision and strategic plan, shepherding a new undergraduate degree designation through channels, coffee klatches, the new Dean's Digest column, the Dean's Blog, etc. - it may be a bit premature to call these activities accomplishments. The jury is still out on how effective or how successful they may be, plus initiatives like these involve lots of help from faculty, staff, students, friends and alumni.
Instead, I would like to share some of my observations from meeting members of the Queens family, including alumni, advisory board members, freshmen, and parents.
Starting with alumni, I have heard over and over again about the positive impact of our faculty. Professors Anderson, Bamford, Bennett, Berry, Eason, Finley, Geiger, Hudson, Sparks, and many others are repeatedly mentioned as preeminent faculty who are credited with forever transforming our graduates' thinking and their careers. (Our alumni refer to faculty by their first name, but I guess I am still a bit old-fashioned and have referred to them more formally.) I am so proud to know that our faculty are held in such high regard by alumni.
Interacting with members of various advisory boards also has provided me with a unique perspective. Advisory board volunteers are totally invested in the McColl School and in Queens. They know what is going on, they ask great questions, and most of all, they sincerely want to help us succeed. Knowing how committed our advisory board members are makes me believe we have a huge advantage over all our peer business schools. McColl School Rules!
And then there are the freshmen. To be 18 or 19 again and to be so poised, worldly and accomplished. Heck, when I was that age I was bagging groceries at Winn Dixie and saving for a weekend trip to Myrtle Beach. These young folks have multiple stamps on their passports, have led mission trips, been presidents of high school organizations, played sports and musical instruments, know several languages, and - best of all - want to major in business! Our future alums are going to be great ambassadors for Queens.
Finally, I also hear from their parents:
"Thank you for taking the trouble to write to us and for taking an interest in our daughter. (She) is our only daughter and her being far away from home is always a source of concern and an extra pair of eyes watching out for her is most welcome and appreciated."
From another parent:
"Thank you for your kind words. Parents are always pleased that others see good their children. (He) is thrilled to be at Queens and my wife and I hope that he will acquit himself well in the first year.... We will rest easier knowing that he has someone to turn to should he lose his way."
To summarize: I have the best job in the world! Outstanding faculty (and staff!), appreciative alumni, active advisory board members, fantastic freshmen and loving parents. It's is all about serving others, isn't it? Isn't that the Queens motto? "Not to be served, but to serve." After 100 days, I understand that motto a whole lot better, and I am pleased to be a part of the Queens family.
As always, we'd love to hear from you, we'd love to meet you for coffee some morning, and we would love for you to subscribe to the blog. It's your move.
Dean Ron Shiffler
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