New Sprott dean aims to boost business school’s reputation

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Aug. 14 2006

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Dr. Bill Keep will become the first dean at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University this January.Dr. Bill Keep will become the first dean at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University this January (Image supplied)

As Dr. Bill Keep prepares to step into his new role as the inaugural dean of the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University, he says he is looking forward to picking the brains of the business school’s faculty and putting it in the same league as the heavy-hitters.

“I want students to know that (Sprott) is not just an option, but a very attractive option,” he said in a phone interview from Connecticut, where he is currently serving as a marketing professor at Quinnipiac University.

Dr. Keep’s appointment was announced Aug. 4, but he will be joining the Sprott School of Business full-time in January. The appointment is the latest move by Carleton University after it made the decision last December to raise Sprott to full faculty status.

“Sprott has got a really good core faculty, and raising the school to faculty status looks like the beginning point, but it is really the result of years of work,” Dr. Keep said, adding that he believes the school will be able to develop more of a name for itself in its new position.

“I don’t know yet what that reputation will be for, but the kernels are within the faculty,” he said. The incoming dean says he’s eager to meet with the acting dean of the school, Professor David Cray, as well as with associate deans and staff, to discuss the future of the school.

Professor Cray said Sprott already has several interesting programs – such as its research programs in international business, and its Centre for Social Marketing, which deals with marketing for non-profit organizations.

However, he agreed with Dr. Keep that the school’s new faculty status will help bring awareness to these programs and allow for the growth of more research.

“Instead of simply churning out students, we’ll be focusing on research and becoming tightly integrated with the business community,” Professor Cray said.

Jeffrey Dale, president and CEO of the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) said the key to building a strong faculty is finding the right dean for the job, adding that Dr. Keep “certainly sounds like an incredible find.”

Mr Dale is enthusiastic about Sprott’s new status, and said it will be a great asset to the Ottawa business community.

“Ottawa has a reputation for being strong technically, but there’s not enough good management talent,” he said. “(Sprott’s achievement) bodes well for companies looking for graduates (to hire).”

Mr. Dale said this new chapter for the business school also heralds a new era of both competition and collaboration with other schools.

“There’s going to be a lot of room for each school to specialize,” he explained. “But with the growth in research at the postgraduate level (as a result of becoming a faculty), there are going to be opportunities for schools to combine resources and go after the big grants.”

On the competitive front, Professor Cray said the school will hopefully now be able to offer more specialized MBA programs, as well as raise awareness about the fact that Sprott has one of the top five PhD business programs in the country.

“Most business schools do not have a monolithic MBA program, and we may perhaps be able now to offer speciality MBAs such as an MBA in international business, or in the medical administration field,” he said.

Dr. Keep said some of his plans for the school include obtaining an AACSB accreditation and forming an advisory panel of business leaders who are interested in higher education.

The incoming dean said he hopes to fly up once a month from his hometown in Michigan to sit down with the teaching staff and faculty of the Sprott School of Business, until December when he and his wife will be moving to Ottawa for his six-year term at Carleton.

“I’m very excited, professionally,” he said. “I have worked with deans before, but I haven’t been a dean myself, so it will be very good to establish and develop processes (for the school).”

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