Last spring, while students focused on studying for finals, University of Dallas hired Dr. Bob Scherer as the new dean of the College of Business. Relieving Dr. Brian Murray of his duties as interim dean, Scherer was hired to take over a program that has had five deans over the past decade, and has struggled with continuity as it works to gain accreditation from the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Gaining AACSB accreditation – which fewer than one in five business schools in the United States have – was very much a consideration in the hiring decision.
According to the AACSB’s website, this distinction “ensures students and parents that the business school is providing a top-quality education.” UD’s efforts to become accredited began years ago. The process is an extensive one, involving the development of a Standards Alignment Plan, the appointment of a business school administrator to serve as a mentor, and a Self-Evaluation Report.
One of the final steps toward accreditation is a visit by a Peer-Review Team; this team will visit UD just a few weeks. In mid-September, a group will tour campus and talk to students, faculty and staff. “We will work directly with members of our Peer Review Team and listen to feedback,” Scherer says, adding that the assessment will allow the administration to “fine-tune” any areas that are not up to par. However, he anticipates a positive review.
“I feel very confident that the business school has prepared itself well with unwavering support from the university,” he declared.
In addition to a much-needed push toward accreditation, Dr. Scherer also brings a wide range of experiences to the table, professional as well as personal.
A visit to Dr. Scherer’s office in the corner of the first floor of Braniff Graduate Building shows nothing remarkable. A standard desk and a few small tables occupy their usual positions; a handful of teal rolling chairs and several potted plants are scattered about the room.
But on second glance, one notices a series of picturesque photographs and decorations with what seem to be Chinese characters on the walls; mementos, Scherer explains, from his time spent traveling the globe. He took the photographs in places like the Andes and the Amazon; the exotic decorations are gifts from friends at a university in India and among the aboriginal people of Chile. As his décor suggests, the new dean of the College of Business brings a varied experience to UD’s graduate school.
Relying on his extensive experience, Scherer plans to improve the College of Business in other ways in addition to obtaining AACSB accreditation. During his years as dean and professor at the Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University, the school became the largest graduate business school in Ohio. He intends to build up UD’s business school as well. “The GSM [Graduate School of Management] has played a prominent role for the University of Dallas,” he explains. Enrollment growth is a priority for him, as is “continuing to enhance the positive and productive image of the University of Dallas.”
Scherer looks forward to having more direct contact with students than he has had in previous jobs. The unique atmosphere at UD drew him to the school. “The undergraduate program is heavily rooted in the humanities and liberal arts. I wanted to be a part of that.”