Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Academic Departmental Divorce

You may be expecting me to be writing about math models, algorithms, and love since tomorrow is Valentine's Day but, given Professor Laura McLay's post on such a topic, I am writing on another one -- that of the breakup of my department into two separate departments.

This divorce did not need a judge or court or lawyers, but it needed the Faculty Senate and, on January 31, 2013, the separation of my department at the Isenberg School of Management was made official according to this document.  So, now we have not a single department housing what I always liked to think of as the real techies in our business school but two separate departments: the Department of Finance and the Department of Operations and Information Management. The day to day rhythms should not change much and we still will have the same wonderful secretary.

So, now it will be time for new business cards, new stationery, new updates to the cv's, and various websites, as well as new signs around the school, etc.

I am very pleased that our undergraduates will now have separate majors upon graduation with their degrees (having a major in Finance and Operations Management was confusing to some employers). The doctoral track remains Management Science for "our" department.

Nevertheless, I will miss having stronger ties with the Finance faculty but the friendships remain as well as the collaborations, whether through grants, research, and/or even serving on students' doctoral dissertation committees. And I will continue to work on Financial Networks, which is the theme even of a special issue of the journal, Computational Management Science, that I am guest editing.

This department was originally called General Business and Finance. Then it was changed to Finance and Operations Management, which evolved to Finance and Operations and Information Management (the latter only for a very short period) and now to two separate departments.I served on the search committee with some truly terrific colleagues for our new Dean, who was hired over 3 years ago, Dr. Mark Fuller, who is in the MIS area

Then, with colleagues from Computer Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as a few other, I wrote a proposal for new faculty in the area of cybersecurity and our department got a new faculty slot, and we ended up also getting a spousal hire, as well, so the non-Finance part grew.  It made sense to then add "Information Management."

Amazingly, the proposal that we wrote for a cybersecurity cluster hire is still online.

Change happens in academia, albeit slowly, but change is good.

We are now in the midst of interviewing faculty candidates so these are exciting times.

Happy Valentine's Day!