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Former CBE dean Nemecek will make return to classroom

September 18, 2008

Barbara Nemecek, the former dean of the College of Business and Economics, stepped down from her position as dean and is currently on sabbatical as she prepares to teach a marketing class for the spring semester.

Nemecek was the founding dean of the CBE, which replaced the School of Business in 2001, and drew faculty from three departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her tenure was noted for the achievement of accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in April 2007.

AACSB accreditation is described as the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide in an official pamphlet. Only 15 percent of business schools worldwide meet the rigorous standards of AACSB accreditation.

“I think she had the experience, the knowledge and expertise to move us forward to that initial accreditation,” Interim Dean Brian Schultz said.

AACSB accreditation involved a candidacy period of six years and the maintenance of high standards, which included what Schultz called a solid base of faculty – or faculty that regularly publishes in journals, make professional presentations and stay up-to-date in their specific disciplines. A self-evaluation report also had to be prepared from 2001-2005 and then reviewed by a three-member team from the AACSB that visited UWRF.

“She provided that guidance that we needed along with the determination to build up the faculty, not just in numbers, but in professional qualifications of the faculty,” Schultz said.
The search for a new dean begins in the fall.

The Provost Office is working with the CBE to form a search and screen committee that will include faculty, students and community members. Once the committee is formed, they will create an ad for the position that will appear in prominent publications and then they will whittle down the applicants, eventually making a recommendation to the provost. 

“Our goal is to have somebody assume the responsibilities on July 1, 2009,” Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Terry Brown said.  “Hopefully an appointment announcement will be made in the spring.”

One of the questions that will have to be addressed by the committee is whether to take a business professional or academic as dean.

“Now some schools are going more towards the actual business professional being the dean,” Schultz said. “I don’t know that we’re at that, but some of the bigger schools will go out and hire an executive that’s good at running a business as opposed to having a background in academia.”

Schultz said he thinks it is more likely that we will do the latter, and take somebody that has been an associate dean at a larger university and has around five years experience in a dean’s office.  However, the decision is ultimately in the hands of the provost and the currently forming search and screen committee.

“That is one thing that the provost and the committee will have quite a bit of conversation about, what will be the best fit,” Interim Chancellor Connie Foster said. 

According to the timetable set down by the provost, Schultz is interim dean for the entire 2008-09 academic year.

“Brian Schultz is stepping in as interim dean and he is associate dean for about 5 years now, so that’s pretty seamless and he worked a lot with Dean Nemecek,” Foster said. 

Schultz said he plans first and foremost to maintain standards for accreditation, but he said he also has plans to work on the curriculum to keep it up-to-date, work with the UWRF Office of University Advancement and reach out to alumni.

“We could always use funds for scholarships,” Schultz said. “We have some very nice scholarships in our college, but not nearly enough for the need that is out there.”

Scholarships are harder to come by, Schultz said, because the CBE saw its largest influx of new freshmen this fall semester at about 200. The high for a semester in previous years was 160 students.

While increased enrollment is a campus-wide trend, Foster said that the CBE has seen a huge growth in students over the last seven years. Schultz attributes the growth in part to the ongoing commitment of the CBE to bring in faculty of the highest standard and the achievement of AACSB accreditation.

While Nemecek has stepped down as dean, she leaves her print as the founding dean of the CBE and as a major contributor to the achievement of the college’s first AACSB accreditation. Furthermore, able administrators, faculty and policies remain in place and the transition to a new dean should be a smooth one.

“There should not be any drop off in the activities of the college and the emphasis of good quality education for our students,” Schultz said. “We have a solid faculty that are well prepared and I think on the same track to provide a good solid education for our majors.”