The business of growth
Dean Margaret Williams leaves her College positioned for continued success
Curriculum, quality and commitment: The College of Business and Public Administration is well-positioned for continued success, said Dean Margaret Williams.
“The College was ready for change,” said Williams, who has led it since 2014. “We were interested in changing direction and raising our sights, and establishing a base to accomplish even more in the future.”
The College, which is celebrating 100 years of business education, was already in a strong position with high rankings and highly regarded faculty and programs when Williams took the helm.
She wanted to advance the school even further.
“The future I see is that the College of Business and Public Administration is more nimble, offers a wider variety of programs for traditional and non-traditional business students, and continues to attract outstanding faculty,” Williams said. She is leaving the College this month to become dean of the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University.
Benefiting students is at the core of the changes, Williams said.
It was difficult for non-majors to take classes at the College, and many degree programs required additional credits, making it tough to graduate in four years.
“We are reshaping credit hour requirements to allow students to complete their degrees more efficiently,” said Williams. “That streamlined the degree programs.” She also increased the number of advisors, staffed the Pancratz Career Development Center, and created a graduate student advising office.
Building bridges across the campus was a priority, said Williams, who noted it will be easier for non-majors to take classes in the College.
“We want to welcome students as majors, minors, and those who want to earn certificates,” Williams said.
They changed the curriculum to combine the economics and finance departments, taking advantage of synergies in the fields and better integrating the majors for students.
And they found money to help students attend national and international competitions.
That paid off: Just this spring, an MPA student was on the team that took first place at a worldwide public policy simulation competition, two students placed first in a business ethics competition, and students placed 37th of 595 teams in an international stock trading challenge. Other students and groups have also made a mark in competitions.
Foundation for future
Rankings are another accomplishment. The College is ranked in the top 5 percent of business schools in the world by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). US News & World Report ranked the MBA program 29th, and the Master of Science in applied economics is 43rd in the nation for best online programs.
Another priority for Williams was to launch a marketing campaign to increase enrollment in online graduate programs, especially those with national rankings.
She and the College never lost sight of the need for scholarships, awarding more than $415,000 in scholarships for 2016-17. They also added to the endowment and continued planning for a new building necessary to prepare students for their future roles in business, government and the non-profit sector.
Beacon for business
Williams sees a bright future for the College of Business and Public Administration.
“The changes we made to focus on quality in teaching, research, and service, and to create a college-level culture made everyone’s work here much harder,” Williams said. “I challenged faculty and staff, and they embraced that challenge. It has been rewarding to see their pride and sense of accomplishment in what we’ve been able to do.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with committed, professional people who care deeply about the University and the state,” Williams continued. “There’s such a great team here. People are humble and really want to work for the good of the University. UND will always hold a special place in my heart.”
A farewell reception is set for Williams on Thursday, April 13, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Gorecki Alumni Center. Everyone is welcome.