Message to all Business School Deans from Dean Carolyn Woo
Despite the many challenges and burdens deans carry, I hope that we never lose the sparkle and spirit animated by the purpose of education and, in particular, business education. If the conversations that emerged during regional meetings and workshops reflect what is foremost in our minds, then our days are dominated by resource shortages, faculty who resist change, rankings that mislabel and bias resource allocation, competition from old and new sources, political tugs with sister schools that move into a management curriculum, or provosts who under-invest in business schools. These factors are indeed our reality and, in fact, have occupied much program time, committee reports and Web space.
I hope, however, we never lose a sense of the extraordinary privilege we have to be educators. Our students, from all walks of life and with different talents, look to us to expand their horizons, their sense of self, their dreams, and thus their lives. We hold hands, we hold challenges, and we hold up mirrors to ourselves.
Through learning, discipline, mastery, and self-assessment, our students come to formulate their professional and personal identities. They will come to answer important questions: What can I trust? How does the world work? What is my place in it? These are “Big Questions” using the parlance of noted author Sharon Daloz-Parks.
It seems to me that of all the topics we raised in our time together, we have not asked enough: How can we be worthy of these questions, the implicit placement of trust, and this privilege of engaging the young leaders of our future? Have we in turn raised big enough questions for them: How does business shape lives? How can it contribute to a future with hope? How does it serve as an agent of peace? Do they really understand the fragility of a world where everyone is only for themselves? Where the gain of one comes at the misery or deprivation of others? Where no one is willing to trust?
For all the challenges and headaches we face, I hope that we return constantly, in every meeting, to the touchstone that defines our purpose in education. When we do our job well, we honor our profession, we honor society, and we honor our students.
—Excerpted from Newsline, AACSB International’s online newsletter.