by Barbara Black
The two shortlisted candidates for dean of the John Molson School of Business
presented their platforms to members of the Faculty and others on March
5 including a reporter from the business pages of The Gazette,
who was sufficiently intrigued to write an article praising Concordias
relatively transparent system for choosing senior academic administrators.
As Provost Jack Lightstone told reporter Sheila McGovern, the open process
of presenting shortlisting candidates ensures that the victor is a known
commodity, making it easier to carry out his or her promises, but the
losers fate is known, too, so it takes courage and commitment to
Both candidates are from the School of Business. They are Finance Professor
Lorne Switzer and Interim Dean Jerry Tomberlin, who took over when Mohsen
Anvari left for a U.S. university last spring.
Both men emphasized the need for a new building to replace the aging and
inadequate Guy Metro building, where faculty-student interaction is severely
limited. A new building, for which financing is still being sought, would
go a long way to help in recruiting top-notch young faculty members, another
Both candidates were critical of some current programs, particularly the
Masters of Business Administration, which, despite excellent support
staff, has lacked strong leadership in recent years. Indeed, Tomberlin
said that the proliferation of specialized programs in the Faculty has
made it difficult to find administrators without offering financial incentives.
Switzer made an oblique reference to the universitys reputation
in the light of recent controversies. Our basic integrity is being
questioned in the community, he said, and our ties with business
are becoming frayed. He pledged to repair this relationship, and
he emphasized the working-class, second-chance mission of the university.
For his part, Tomberlin emphasized the need to upgrade the Schools
research component, particularly in terms of external grants. This would
have the effect of freeing up resources for PhD candidates, who now have
to scramble to make a living, often extending their studies unreasonably.
Tomberlin was open about his closeness to the Anvari administration. He
played a pivotal role in achieving accreditation from the Association
to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a prestigious
U.S.-based organization of business schools, and rebranding the Faculty
of Commerce and Administration as the John Molson School of Business.
However, both candidates were asked how far the School intended to go
in emphasizing its own name at the expense of the university itself. This
led to jokes about how faculty members have been handing out their business
cards, only to be addressed as John Molson, and a general
admission that perhaps the pendulum has swung a little too far toward
decentralization at least in terms of business cards.
The search committee invited written, signed comments on the candidates,
for which the deadline of March 11 has passed. The term of the new dean
runs from June 1, 2002, for five years.