Business leaders seek professorships

by Kelly Quinn

GW School of Business Vice Dean for Faculty and Research Sok-Hyon Kang wants to refine the business school's hiring practices to accommodate industry leaders who might be discouraged from applying due to an intensive interview process.
Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
GW School of Business Vice Dean for Faculty and Research Sok-Hyon Kang wants to refine the business school's hiring practices to accommodate industry leaders who might be discouraged from applying due to an intensive interview process.

The GW School of Business is fielding a high number of requests from top business leaders for teaching slots – interest an administrator said has reached a peak this year.

Inquiries from individuals outside academia and inside Fortune 500 companies, like Delta Air Lines and Johnson & Johnson, and government arms, like the Commerce and Treasury departments, have poured into the business school, Vice Dean for Faculty and Research Sok-Hyon Kang said.

Kang said the school has to establish the right hiring practices for a “different class of people with a different class of skills nobody has.”

A net increase of five tenure-track professors will be added to the business school’s faculty core next year, but the school could also look to carve out teaching-only faculty positions for candidates with real-world business experience, he said. The school may hire some of these professors as non-tenure track faculty – a notch above adjunct professors – for the first time next year, once administrators have smoothed out the hiring process.

The swell has come from experts in real estate finance, international business, strategic management and environmental economics – a strong and diverse pool Kang attributed to GW's D.C. location and growing reputation.

“The University apparently has not had many of them hired, especially in the business school,” Kang said. “This is a completely new thing, and as a result we don’t have a set process for that and we are trying to refine that. Then we will be able to hire more of them.”

The hiring process for faculty goes through chains of interviews and reviews by departments, dean’s offices and the Office of the Provost, after administrators advertise positions and visit other universities. Some candidates who are high-level officials have not been receptive to going through the University's rounds of applications and interviews for each hire, Kang said.

The new hires would also help the school shore up faculty positions in areas that will become focuses of an upcoming curriculum overhaul, set to start in fall 2013 and emphasize ethics, strategy and sustainability.

Denis Cioffi, an associate professor of decision sciences and associate provost and director of the University-wide Teaching and Learning Collaborative, said the business school will need to strike a balance between its pursuit of practically experienced faculty and preparing students academically.

“The difference is these people didn’t grow up directly in academe, and they move into a school and start teaching,” Cioffi said. “In general, this is a great thing. But we have to be careful to remember that we are an academic institution.”

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