Message from the Dean

Bob WoodWelcome to the first issue of the Mitchell Report.  I’m Bob Wood, Dean of the Mitchell College of Business; I joined the College in July of 2014.   I’d like to use this first column to introduce you to Mobile, the University of South Alabama, and the Mitchell College of Business.

Mobile has a long and storied history.  Although the area was first explored by the Spanish in the early 1500’s, the city was founded in 1702 by brothers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and, wasting no time, held its first Mardi Gras in 1703.  During the first 150 years, Mobile was under French, British, and Spanish rule and served as a major exporting port for cotton and other products.  The Civil War brought an end to the prosperity; the Battle of Mobile Bay is the origin of Farragut’s “Damn the torpedoes” quote.  Today Mobile is home to a diversified manufacturing economy centered in maritime, chemical, steel, and aerospace industries.  The Airbus 320 assembly plant began operations earlier this year. 

The University of South Alabama was founded in 1963 and is currently home to over 16,000 students.  Majors include undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, the liberal arts, education, engineering, computing, the sciences and healthcare.  The University also encompasses a comprehensive health system with two hospitals, the Mitchell Cancer Institute, and the USA’s Physicians Group.  Dr. Tony Waldrop became the University’s third president in early 2015 with a focus on five priorities:  undergraduate student access and success, graduate education, international education, excellence in healthcare, and community engagement.

USA awarded its first undergraduate degrees in business in 1967.  The College was endowed by the Mitchell family of Mobile in 1999 and named the Mitchell College of Business.  The College received initial AACSB accreditation in 1976; the accounting program received its initial accreditation in 2013.  The Mitchell College offers a bachelor of science in business administration with majors in accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing.  At the graduate level, we offer an MBA and MACC.  We recently admitted the third cohort to our DBA (management) program; a program designed to allow business professionals and instructor-level faculty to pursue full-time academic positions. 

During my tenure, we have focused our efforts on impact, innovation, and engagement.  A committee of faculty, students, and external constituents have completed a new strategic plan embracing the University’s priorities.  We’ve redesigned our MBA program to better meet the needs of our constituents.  A comprehensive review of our undergraduate curriculum will begin this fall; departments have added discipline-specific advisory councils that will be an integral part of the process.  We’ve also begun a systematic process to expand our student engagement, increase our international footprint, and more closely incorporate our external constituents into our efforts.    

Thanks for your interest.  More to follow next month.