Smith takes COBE lead

Sep 4, 2014

By Rumasa Noor

This summer UW-Whitewater said goodbye to the dean of College of Business and Economics (COBE) Chris Clements as she retired to take on a new role at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Lois Smith, former associate dean, was chosen to take on the position of the interim dean for the year 2014-15. Royal Purple sat down with Smith to ask her about her new position.

Royal Purple: Where do you see COBE in 5 years?

Lois Smith: I see College of Business with even wider reputation, positive reputation than we currently have. I see our DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program as being very important, well-known program, and we are just starting that this fall. I see our Master of Science and Economics as thriving and growing and gaining recognition as well, and also I see the profile of our Master of Science in Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health as growing and increasing its positive reputation as well.

RP: What is the biggest weakness of COBE and how do you plan on fixing it?

LS: I am not going to call it a weakness, I am going to call it a challenge; I think one of the biggest challenges we face is in hiring accounting doctoral-level faculty. The reason why this is a challenge is because there are very few doctoral accounting faculty who are available, so there is a shortage of supply, and because of the shortage of supply the budget limitations in terms of being able to meet salary demands are challenging.

RP: What is the one thing you would like to tell an aspiring COBE freshman?

LS: I would tell that student that going to class and working hard and getting good grades is one part of your responsibility but in order to distinguish yourself, you will need to become involved outside of the classroom, especially in student organizations taking on leadership roles and responsibilities, doing community service and becoming involved in internships as well.

RP: What do you think would be the future of entrepreneurial program at UW-Whitewater?

LS: Entrepreneurial program already has a very well-known student organization called Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization or CEO, but there is also a new organization Enactus that is also now becoming important. CEO has a very strong competitive experience so far and Enactus I am sure will follow in those footsteps. Also the Whitewater University Innovation Center gives students an opportunity to get mentoring from professionals and faculty so that students can be successful in creating their own businesses as they have in the past and in competing in the Governor’s Business Plan competition successfully as they have most recently this year.

RP: Do you plan on introducing any new changes during your tenure?

LS: Since I will be serving for only one year, I think my major responsibility at this point will be 1) to do whatever I can to be sure that we have wide recognition of our openings for new dean and 2) that we get the best available candidates to apply for that position, and also that we get our DBA strongly started and our new MS in economics strongly started because that’s quite a bit for just one year.

RP: What are some of the challenges that you expect?

LS: Ok, now I am going to change the word challenge to responsibilities. One of our most important responsibilities for the fall semester will be to do a successful search for a new dean and that will require commitment from many different areas of campus and it will be a process that I hope will be successful and result in a really positive experience for candidates in a choice of a good dean going forward. I think that’s our biggest responsibility at this point. You know another thing that we are working on in the fleet teams is the further recruitment of women into our undergraduate program for the College of Business and Economics. Our enrollments of women are not what we would hope they would be, and so we are working with ideas in the fleet team to bring more high school students, women especially, on to campus and to try to show them that business can do good in the world.

RP: Other than donating money, what can a graduating senior do to give back to the university?

LS: A number of things, one is that the graduating senior could become involved as a speaker for student organizations. The student organizations in business typically have regular meetings where they bring speakers in, so that would be one opportunity to give back. Another opportunity would be to serve as an alumni mentor; there is an alumni mentor program that students or new graduates can access from the alumni web site, on the uww.edu website, and they can sign up to be mentors for students. I would encourage them to say good things in the world about UW-Whitewater and their experience here to enhance our reputation, and I would encourage them also if they have the opportunity in their organization to create internships for existing students.

RP: Any final thoughts on how you are going to approach your new role?

LS: I want to be energetic, I want to do good work and I want to be encouraging all the new initiatives that are going on in the college.

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