The School of Business is looking for new ways to get down to business.
Officials will release a new strategic plan for the business school this fall, outlining goals to improve the school’s international presence, build the University’s global connections and create more opportunities for the school’s students to take classes involving fields outside of business, Linda Livingstone, the dean of the school, said.
Livingstone said after meeting with faculty, staff, students and alumni when she arrived at GW last fall, she realized the school would benefit from the plan.
“It was the first time I believe in the school that staff had been involved in those kinds of task forces, so I think it was a really good and helpful process, just at building dialogue across faculty and staff and building community in the school,” she said.
The strategic plan covers three areas: strengthening the school’s international presence, taking advantage of the D.C. area and using multidisciplinary programs. Livingstone said the third pillar is the most “underdeveloped” and she hopes to create more collaborative programs in areas like international affairs.
“It was a really good process. We had really good discussions with our committees, with our faculty and staff. Our board of advisers was very involved in providing feedback in the process,” she said. “So even beyond the content that comes out of it, the process itself is really good for bringing people together and giving them the opportunity to talk about who we are as a school and where we’re going.”
Livingstone assigned task forces to tackle each angle of the strategic plan. The school’s last strategic plan was created through GW’s University-wide strategic plan and was led by the school’s previous dean, Doug Guthrie, who was fired in 2013 after overspending by $13 million.
Faculty have also debated the best way to utilize resources in the school after learning the debt left by Guthrie will have to be paid back, including having conversations about what to prioritize within the school. The school will pay half of that amount over the course of six years starting in 2017 while the Office of the Provost handles the other half of the debt burden.
She said the school’s faculty and board of advisers will review and revise the plan before releasing it later this year.
The first task force, led by William Handorf, a finance professor, looks at how to maximize GW’s location. He said the task force emphasized that location is crucial because it opens students up to opportunities at organizations like the World Bank and the Federal Reserve.
“When GW faculty put together conferences, it is so easy to get senior-level people from the government agencies because they don’t have to spend a half a day or a day travelling,” he said.
Handorf added that his task force also hopes to help students better access defense companies, consulting companies and accounting firms in future years – companies that are likely to hire GW students.
Jennifer Griffin, a professor of strategic management and public policy, chaired the task force that looked for ways to combine different courses of study into students’ academic pursuits. She declined to comment for this story.
Liesl Riddle, an associate professor of international business and international affairs, leads the task force focused on GW’s international presence. Riddle declined to comment on her work for the task force.
Livingstone said the school’s international presence has been a cornerstone of its success. For example, the school started a management institute with South Korea last year. The school’s former dean led GW’s initiatives in China, including potentially starting a campus there.
“We do quite well in the rankings in anything related to international business and global business,” Livingstone said. “So how do we leverage that better? How do we think about what we do here for our students from a global perspective? But also, what are we doing outside the U.S., and how might we think of different regions of the world in different ways?”
Ryan Lasker contributed reporting.