The new dean of UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management may only be serving in a one-year interim capacity until a permanent dean is found, but he sees his role as far more than that of a caretaker.
John Mamer, replacing Dean William Pierskalla who resigned after four years to spend more time with his family outlined the goals he intends to pursue.
"Making a significant mark on the university in a year is a doubtful prospect," Mamer conceded, "but I have three definitive areas I'm planning to focus on."
First, he wants to "establish a resource base that will see us into the next decade." Primarily, that means funding, but it also entails developing new initiatives with other universities around the world and enhancing the university's information infrastructure.
Mamer also plans to maintain and enhance the school's faculty and research efforts, and strengthen the bridges between the university and the local business community.
"The curriculum should better reflect real-world problems," he said. "A so-called 'marketing' problem in industry might involve elements of accounting and other things that an MBA marketing graduate hasn't experienced."
Mamer also wants to bring more multimedia technology into the curriculum. This includes expanding use of the Internet in research and teaching.
Mamer stressed that one of his jobs will be to prevent the Anderson School from drifting during its interim period, and possibly slipping in the national rankings.
"We may have changed deans, but we haven't changed faculty," he said. "And it's the faculty and students who are the engine that drives the education, and our reputation. Most of the surveys (to establish national business school rankings) are based on tangible elements of our program how well our graduates are thought of, GMAT scores of our students, graduates' starting salaries, quality of our curriculum and faculty. I don't think the nature of our product has changed a lot in the last 24 days (since I became dean)."
Although Pierskalla announced his intention last May to resign, a search committee is just now being formed to find a permanent dean, said Kathryn Van Ness, an Anderson School associate dean.
"It typically takes nine to 12 months to replace a top-tier position," she said. "Dean Pierskalla announced in May that he would leave at the end of August, so we'll have an interim dean for a while."
An Anderson faculty member since 1981, Mamer was associate dean and chair of the department of management before his July appointment as interim dean.
Mamer repeatedly declined to state whether he is interested in being considered for the permanent position.
"It's too early to say; I'm just going to have to beg off for now," he said when asked. "I don't think the school deserves grudging leadership. I really look forward to being interim dean."
Established in 1935, the Anderson School was ranked No. 12 last year in Business Week magazine's biennial ranking of the nation's top business schools.
The school has 120 faculty members and more than 1,200 students in excess of 600 full-time MBA students, about 400 fully employed students who attend MBA classes at night and on weekends, about 140 executive MBA students, and 80 Ph.D. students.
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