Business dean to return to classroom

Arielle Williams

Credit: DKS Editors

George Stevens will soon make a transition from dean to professor.

Stevens, the dean of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management, announced last week that he will be resigning as dean on June 30, 2009 to return to teaching.

Stevens became dean in 1995, and he has held other administrative positions for almost 20 years.

“That’s rare,” Stevens said, referring to his 13 years as dean. “Most deans only last three to four years.”

Stevens said while he could retire, he has decided to follow another one of his passions and return to the classroom.

“Being dean requires a lot of late nights and traveling,” Stevens said. “My wife never sees me.”

He said it was important to him that he remain in the Kent area and continue to contribute to his alma mater.

“At the personal level Dean Stevens keeps in touch with the range of activities in the College. He knows the people and their activities,” said William Acar, professor of management and information systems. “He loves the place and the people. To implement his vision of continuous improvement, his style is to continuously dwell on the positive. The enthusiasm he often generates increases pride and thus motivates people to curtail their less praiseworthy aspects. It has been a good and productive time.”

Stevens said he decided to return to teaching because he loves doing it.

Teaching will allow Stevens to help students and deal with them on a more personal level. He will begin teaching management and information systems, but he said he hopes to teach other subjects as well.

“I want to do basic principle level material, such as international business,” Stevens said. “I am interested in international competition.”

Over his years as dean, he has traveled to Hong Kong, Mexico, Taiwan, Russia and a number of other countries, observing the differences between these countries and the United States.

“He spends many long hours promoting our college both in the United States and abroad,” said Terry Leland, secretary for the dean’s office at the College of Business Administration.

Stevens said he has enjoyed his job, but it hasn’t always been easy.

“It’s a tough job,” Stevens said. “It’s political. People don’t like when you say no, but it’s inevitable.”

It also requires leadership and management of people.

“You have to have leadership and respect for people, or you won’t last long,” Stevens said. “You have to be able to ask for help.”

Louise Ditchey, director of the master’s program for the Graduate School of Management, described Stevens as fair and tough when he needs to be.

“(He) will collect information from all sides before making a decision.” Ditchey said. “He has done much to nationally and internationally promote the College of Business and Graduate School of Management through his leadership roles with Beta Gamma Sigma and AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, our accrediting agency).”

Stevens said there will be a lot of interviews for his replacement, beginning with a national search.

“I’ve been around a long time and in both the corporate world and the academic world I’ve never seen a person with better interviewing skills,” said Frederick Schroath, associate dean of the Graduate School of Management. “George has a way of probing for details in a job candidate that really gets them to open up. He’s really a master of the interview.”

Stevens said academic searches take a little longer because one has to examine what the job is and what credentials, abilities and skills a candidate needs.

Provost Robert Frank will have say in the decision, and the candidate will meet with him and President Lester Lefton.

Stevens said he doesn’t think his former position as dean will be an issue when he returns to the classroom next year.

“Many of the students don’t know who I am,” Stevens said, “and I don’t tell them who I am.”

Contact College of Business Administration reporter Arielle Williams at [email protected].