New finance chair developing new college of business programs

Josh Yager

Steven Dennis, the new chair of the finance department for the College of Business Administration, has two big proposals he plans to work on over the next year.

Dennis, who is also the Firestone Chair in Corporate Finance, said he is developing proposals for a new masters program in risk management and insurance, and a new advisory board for the finance department. He will be doing this while assuming all duties as the finance department chair.

“We are on the rise in not only enrollment but in a lot of areas,” Dennis said. “I took over a department that looks to be in great shape, but we will make some changes here and there.” 

Deborah Spake, dean of the College of Business Administration, said she was very fortunate she was able to recruit Dennis. She said his leadership experience would be good for the department.

“He was scheduled to speak at an international finance conference in Europe when we hired him,” Spake said. “We were fortunate he was able to represent Kent State when he made his presentation. It’s good for the college that we have faculty that do research at the level that they’re invited to speak at international meetings.”

Spake said having an advisory board is a wonderful way to connect the college to the many successful finance graduates.

“They are able to share with the faculty and the department chair current best practices in their industry,” Spake said. “They are able to provide us feedback on the students they hire to let us know if the curriculum is on target.”

Spake said another thing he is doing is the proposal for the risk management master’s degree.  The masters is proposed and not yet approved and if it is approved this year he hopes that the college can begin offering it in fall of 2015.

“Risk management is an area of finance where there is a lot of growth,” Spake said. “There are demands for those jobs in the region.  We want to be sensitive to the needs of the community and provide an opportunity for students to not only gain that education but then also fill the needs in the market.”

John Thornton, previous finance department chair, was on the search committee for Dennis and said he is the best choice. 

Thornton said he and his search committee were in charge of finding the person best fit for this job and recommend them to the dean. The committee saw Dennis exceed in every aspect they searched for. 

Contact Josh Yager at [email protected].