Raising the profile of ‘one of Canada’s well-kept secrets’

By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
April 14, 2008 (April 16 on OttawaBusinessJournal.com)

Click here to view this article on OttawaBusinessJournal.com.

Jerry Tomberlin will take office in July as the new dean of the Sprott School of Business.
Jerry Tomberlin will take office in July as the new dean of the Sprott School of Business.
Photo by CHRISTIAN FLEURY

Carleton University’s new business school dean and president will be starting their jobs on the same day this summer, and both say they are excited to strengthen what they see as a school with great potential.

The university recently announced that it has selected its first female president, Dr. Roseann Runte, and picked Dr. Jerry Tomberlin as the second dean for the Sprott School of Business since the business school was awarded full faculty status in 2006. Both start on July 1.

The new president will be taking over from interim head Dr. Samy Mahmoud and the incoming business school dean is succeeding acting dean Roland Thomas.

Mr. Tomberlin is the former dean of the John Molson School of Business at Montreal’s Concordia University, while Ms. Runte is currently serving as president of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

“It’s a very exciting school that’s very strong and one of Canada’s well-kept secrets. I plan on making it stronger,” said Mr. Tomberlin in an interview with the OBJ.

Ms. Runte, who has spoken with Mr. Tomberlin on the phone, added, “We’re fortunate to have such an excellent new dean and I am pleased that we’ll begin together … I’m impressed by his qualifications and expertise and his ability to come to Carleton University to make a difference.”

The two posts have been fraught with tension: previous president David Atkinson, who is currently heading Kwantlen University College in suburban Vancouver, suddenly resigned just 15 months into a six-year contract at Carleton University, while Sprott’s first dean, Bill Keep, quit just three months after joining the school, in part over a dispute with management about starting up a sports management program.


Roseann Runte will be Carleton University’s first female president.
(Photo supplied by
Carleton University)

Nonetheless, both new heads said they’re looking forward to consulting with faculty and students to build up the university’s image.

One thing Mr. Tomberlin wants to do is continue with Mr. Keep’s efforts to gain accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), something which he said will really help in raising the school’s public profile.

“For too long, (Sprott’s) been kept under shadow as part of the well-known public administration faculty,” he said. “There’s an opportunity here to take the steps necessary to become a top-of-mind business school in Canada and internationally.”

Mr. Tomberlin also has big plans to expand Sprott’s bachelor of international business program, which he said is one of the things that attracted him to Carleton in the first place. As well, he said he wants to introduce more interdisciplinary studies between the business school and Carleton’s other strong programs, with one example being a partnership between Sprott’s technology management program and the university’s engineering school.

Clear plans such as Mr. Tomberlin’s are a great starting point for Ms. Runte, who said she has no specific goals for the university because she would like to talk with the school’s faculty, staff and students before shaping the school’s future.

“I want to consult everybody and listen to people, because this is something we’ll all do together,” she said. “We’ll work together to come forward in the future.”

Ms. Runte said she plans to meet with the deans of the various faculties sometime in May, after which she’ll be able to set more concrete plans in place.

Mr. Tomberlin added that he and Ms. Runte have talked about the role of the university in the community, and that he is excited about getting the school involved and reaching out to various groups in the city.

“We need to be conscious of the needs of the business and high-tech community. Ottawa’s a city that is clearly based on technology and innovation and we need to have a clear vision of the necessity of keeping that role in mind and engaging the community,” he said.

“It’s an absolutely excellent, outstanding university with a lot of potential,” added Ms. Runte.

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