From the Dean: On a Mission
This article was originally published in the Fall 2021 edition of the Poole Business Magazine.
If success can be measured by one’s ability to change, Poole College can confidently celebrate a very successful year. As we enter into a new semester, I can’t help but reflect with pride on the resiliency and resourcefulness of our faculty, staff and students during a difficult season of life. COVID, while presenting its share of challenges, also unearthed opportunities for us to grow, adapt and adjust our proverbial sails to best meet the needs of our students, staff, faculty and industry partners moving forward.
The pandemic accelerated the pace of change we were already witnessing across industries – and higher education is certainly no exception. Instead of returning to “business as usual,” Poole College needs to change the way we do business in order to keep in step with a changing world. We’ve had time to reflect on the changes COVID forced upon us and determine what systems and processes served us well and are worth embracing as we move forward.
However, change wasn’t the only thing COVID brought us. It also reminded us that as a college, we must stay mission-focused. We must continue to actively engage with industry and academia to create an innovative and collaborative intellectual environment that fosters learning, scholarship and service. It’s who we are. It’s what sets us apart. And it’s a mission that allows us to attract and retain the best and brightest students and faculty from around the world.
Beyond our traditional awards for outstanding teaching and research, we hope to go further by recognizing our faculty who are true innovators within the classroom and researchers whose work extends beyond academia to create meaningful impact on industry.
To meet the demands of the time, we need to be creative and agile. And while we’re proud of the leadership team we’ve assembled at Poole, we recognize that the bottom-up innovation that comes from our talented faculty and staff will be critical in our ongoing success. We need to reward and provide incentive structures to encourage innovation and ideas. Beyond our traditional awards for outstanding teaching and research, we hope to go further by recognizing our faculty who are true innovators within the classroom and researchers whose work extends beyond academia to create meaningful impact on industry. We also need to recognize the innovation and impact of our staff.
As students begin their fall 2021 semester, we can see some of the lasting impacts of COVID. Our students and faculty have embraced the challenge of online and hybrid learning opportunities. Our teams discovered and created new ways of collaborating in a virtual environment and found ways to lean into technology to improve efficiency and increase access. We see many of our current students choosing to take advantage of both in-person and online courses – a trend we expect to continue.
During the pandemic, academic advising and career services saw an increase in individuals utilizing those resources due to the ease of scheduling Zoom meetings. While we’ll still offer face-to-face options for students who prefer it, we were thankful that the challenge of providing these services online showed us that we could successfully serve our student population remotely.
By shifting to a more flexible approach to teaching and learning, we can graduate students faster and give them more opportunities to create a personalized learning experience that works within their personal and professional obligations.
Providing options for our students will be critical in embracing this post-COVID era. By shifting to a more flexible approach to teaching and learning, we can graduate students faster and give them more opportunities to create a personalized learning experience that works within their personal and professional obligations. Moreover, we recognize the need to become more holistic in our evaluation of student success. Term papers and end-of-semester exams are no longer the most effective ways of measuring gained knowledge and skills. Our hope is that faculty continue to find ways to evaluate students’ problem-solving skills, ability to function within a team and demonstrated leadership. After all, these are the skills employers are seeking.
And as we scan the horizon, there is yet another reality that beckons our attention. You may not realize it, but experts predict that by 2025, the number of college-bound high school students will be declining across the country. The competition is going to be fierce. In the past, we competed for students through our facilities and amenities. That was and continues to be important, but we must look beyond that. We need to rethink our spaces in light of what provides our students with opportunities to gather and collaborate. We need to provide them the tools and flexibility they need to succeed. And most of all, we need to reach them with our mission. We want students, faculty and staff who are bought into what we are building here at Poole College. We want them to see our dynamic teaching, industry engagement and cross-campus collaboration and know that there is no better place to learn and grow.
And I truly believe there is no place that does it better than Poole College of Management.
Always looking forward,
Dean Frank Buckless