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New CBE dean builds plans for improvement

September 19, 2014

On July 1, 2014, a new dean in the College of Business and Economics (CBE) took over at UW-River Falls with plans to build on success the college has already seen.

Michael Fronmueller was chosen to replace former Dean Glenn Potts. Potts retired at the end of June after 38 years of employment at UWRF, and after holding the position of dean for five years.

Fronmueller takes on the position with plenty of prior experience. He has served as dean of the Hasan School of Business at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

He has also held academic leadership positions at Le Moyne College, California State University-Northridge, the University of Louisiana- Lafayette and Boise State University.

He admitted to not being too familiar with UWRF before getting hired but that he knew of the UW system and the great reputation it has built over the years. Since starting his position as dean he has only positives to say about the campus.

“It is a very beautiful campus in a beautiful part of the country,” said Fronmueller. “The quality of the faculty and their interest in the students is what most caught my attention about River Falls. When you come here as a student you are not going to fall through the cracks, people care.”

Fronmueller said he has met all the faculty and many CBE students. Matthew Ahlfs, a student worker for the CBE, said Fronmueller has a lot of respect for his faculty and makes sure to get to know everybody around him.

“I think he is very professional,” said Ahlfs. “I am a student worker and he always says good morning to me. He likes to interact with his faculty and student workers.”

In his role as dean, Fronmueller will provide leadership to a college accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

CBE consists of programs in accounting, business administration, computer science and information systems, economics, finance, management and marketing.

CBE also offers two Master of Business Administration programs (full-time and evening) and an adult degree completion program. CBE is also home to several centers of excellence, including the recently created Center for Innovation and Business Development, according to University Communications.

Fronmueller has been asked to build on the success of the CBE program and to help improve it by starting a student advisory council that he will meet regularly with so he can work with students to see what needs improvement. He will also focus on regional business growth and will attempt to partner with other entities on campus, which Fronmueller said he could not emphasize enough the importance of.

The Center for Innovation and Business Development is one resource that will be heavily utilized.

“We are already utilizing it,” said Fronmueller. “We are working in regional business growth and we are involved in initial conversations about setting up a business incubator.”

A business incubator is a location graduated students could rent and use when initially starting up an entrepreneurship.

Fronmueller said this is not his “first rodeo,” and that he is excited to continue to get to know the campus and use his experience to help CBE.

“Anytime you start something there is learning involved,” said Fronmueller.

“But to me that is not a challenge, it is an opportunity.”