Message from the Dean: September 2019

Bob Wood

As with most of my monthly letters, this one will start with a weather update. Simply put, it is HOT. High temperatures over the past three weeks have been near 100 degrees every day; add in the humidity and heat indices have run 110-115 degrees. Coupled with very little rain (unusual for Mobile), it has been miserable. At least we have avoided a hurricane or tropical storm but the season is still young.

A major issue faced by the Mitchell College and the University (and many other universities) is the decline in the number of high school graduates. This decline will continue for the next eight to ten years; it is forcing schools to rethink their mission and approach toward recruiting. The “we are here, join us” philosophy no longer works. The College faculty and staff are actively exploring new opportunities to connect with high school students from across the region.
A long-standing recruiting success has been our Mitchell Scholar program. In addition to providing the best financial funding for business students in the state, the program also provides leadership and mentorship opportunities for the students. I am pleased to announce that this fall’s entering class is the best academically credentialed of all cohorts admitted in the program’s history.

Our MBA concentration in Healthcare Leadership is underway. We are excited about working with healthcare professionals to share contemporary management concepts. The program also involves extensive experiential learning assignments from the healthcare industry. Dr. Gwen Pennywell and the MBA staff are to be congratulated for their efforts in making the concentration a reality; their efforts have also resulted in increased enrollment in our MBA program.

I would also be amiss if I did not thank Dr. Joe Hair and the other PhD program faculty and staff for their efforts in recruiting students for the program. The current cohort of 20 students completes our target enrollment and includes professionals from across the country. We are working to add a third discipline (joining management and marketing) within the next two years.

In addition, we are working with leaders in the supply chain industry as we develop a new supply chain and logistics management major for our undergraduates. Supply chain and logistics are major costs in the industry, and we want to ensure that our graduates are prepared for the challenges facing these firms. We will also add two new faculty members to ensure coverage in the industry.

This fall semester also marks the retirement of two long-time faculty members. We thank Dr. Greg Prescott for his many years of service on the accounting faculty. Consistently recognized throughout his career by students and colleagues for outstanding teaching, he will be missed. We also thank Mr. Clinton King for his excellence in teaching and service to the College. In addition to teaching, Clint served as the technology expert for the College. He also worked with Dr. Al Chow to make our football tailgates the envy of the other colleges and offices on campus. They leave large shoes to fill. I want to personally thank them and let them know how much their efforts were appreciated.

As always, I have exceeded my word count limit. I look forward to seeing you next month.




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