Chris Clements to say goodbye to CoBE

June 21, 2014

By Rumasa Noor

After serving UW-Whitewater for 24 years and being the dean of the College of Business and Economics (CoBE) for 12 years, Chris Clements has decided to step down.

The new interim dean will be Lois Smith, who currently serves as an associate dean for CoBE.

Clements has decided to take on a new position with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – (AACSB) as the senior vice president for Accreditation and Management Services. Clements said she has volunteered with the agency in the past, while she was a dean, as the chair of Initial Accreditation Committee.

“They are expanding positions particularly looking for individuals who have had a significant experience already as a dean of a business school, so I will be working for them,” Clements said.

Clements joined UW-W in 1990 as an assistant professor in the Department of Management and after five years of being a professor, she was promoted as a department chair in 1995. She also worked as a provost fellow during her last year of being the department chair.

She said she then decided to step down as the department chair because she wanted to work more on her research. Later, she was approached by former Provost David Prior to take on the job of an interim dean.

“I really didn’t have any interest in being the dean, once I got into the dean’s office as an interim, I just discovered that I just absolutely loved it,” Clements said.

She spent one year as an interim and then was selected as a permanent dean where she has served for 12 years.

Clements said one thing that she loved the most about her job was to be able to apply everything she taught in the classroom into the real world.

“I was trying to tell them [students] how I think things should be done relative to the theory and all of a sudden it’s like okay now it’s your opportunity to apply it,” Clements said. “I think that has been just so much fun for me to have that kind of chance and I discovered that the stuff really works.”

“Dean Clements truly has a special way of bringing out the best in people,” UW-W alumna Sydney Nelson said. “Being in her presence just made me want to work twice as hard than I already did. She inspired greatness.”

Nelson worked in variety of different positions with Clements for four years, including working as a representative of National Association of Black Accountants for CoBE Dean’s Advisory Council.

Nelson said Clements has the ability to balance her personal and professional life in a great way. Nelson also said she strives to “find a happy medium” and recognizes Clements for being a wonderful example for students.

“I remember meeting Dean Clements when she served as Interim Provost during my freshmen year. From that moment on, she made it a point to actively reach out and to touch base with me, every so often,” Nelson said. “Through our impromptu conversations in the hallways of Hyland Hall to our semester one-on-one meetings, Dean Clements had become one of my campus role models.”

Smith, the interim dean-to-be, has been a part of CoBE for almost 30 years. She served as the interim dean for the college for two years and currently, she is serving as Associate Dean for Accreditation and Special Projects.

“I want to congratulate Dean Clements on her new position with our international accreditor, AACSB. She has volunteered many years for this organization and will be a strong leader on the international level,” Smith said. “It’s a testament to the quality of our college that our dean was asked to move to this position on a global stage.”

Smith said many new programs will be offered during approaching fall, including the launch of UW-Whitewater’s first doctoral degree, the Doctor of Business Administration.

“We had a great deal going on in the college even before these curricular innovations, and I’m excited to be part of the growth process,” Smith said.

Clements said Smith is prepared for the challenge of becoming the new dean, as she has prior experience in this position.

“Lois has not just the credentials and skills but she has experience that aligns perfectly, so things will continue to go along the lines and you know a fresh perspective in the dean’s office can be a good thing,” Clements said.

She also admired students saying that they are very hard working and have a tremendous work ethic.

“They work really hard, they ask a lot of questions, they push you to be relevant all the time, I mean they don’t just take whatever you give them, they challenge you. I am going to miss the students so much,” Clements said. “I hope they continue to go out there and change the world in a good way.”

Clements will retire on July 31.

 

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