Dean steps down

Justin Runquist

Dr. Thomas Monahan will resign as dean of the College of Commerce and Finance this summer after leading the school for the past seven years.

Monahan plans to resume research, engage in more business consulting projects and take time to relax. His main focus, however, is returning to the classroom in 2004.

“I’m looking forward to working directly with the students again,” Monahan said.

“I’ve sincerely missed having the opportunity to motivate students and learn together, things that I couldn’t do from my office in Bartley Hall.”

As dean, Monahan spearheaded many of the initiatives that will continue to benefit students after his departure. Among these projects were the laptop initiative, three new graduate business programs and the Bartley Hall renovation.

As Monahan returns to the faculty ranks, Dr. John Johannes, vice president of Academic Affairs, and the members of the Commerce and Finance dean search committee must select someone to fill his shoes.

“We are looking for someone who is beyond good,” Johannes said.

“I trust that our search committee will do the right thing. We’re doing a very thorough search … we want the new dean to keep pushing the initiatives that Monahan did.”

The University has so far received 54 applications for the position to-date, and the dean search committee has met with eight candidates thus far.

Of the candidates who have interviewed for the dean position, Johannes said that six have held academic leadership positions before.

The search committee is considering two candidates who are currently acting business school deans, as well as a former dean, an associate dean, a divisional dean and a department chairman.

Additionally, two candidates come from industry: one from the technology sector and one with a biotechnology background.

According to Johannes, the search committee faces a crucial decision in coming weeks. The group will likely provide University President Rev. Edmund Dobbin, O.S.A., with two or three of the best candidates or will extend the search for another year.

Johannes and Monahan both acknowledged there is a strong possibility that an interim dean will be named to start the fall semester. “The search process for any college dean usually takes anywhere from a year to two years,” Johannes said.

Interim deans are nothing new to the University.

Monahan filled in as interim dean when Dr. John Pearce stepped down from the deanship in 1996.

More recently, Dr. Robert Lynch and Dr. Edward McAssey served as interim deans for the college of engineering until Dr. Barry Johnson began last year.

The dean search committee is composed of 11 people, including Johannes, engineering Dean Barry Johnson, Arts and Sciences Dean Kail Ellis, two elected commerce and finance chairs, four elected commerce and finance faculty members, graduate student Thomas Bingenheimer, junior MIS major and commerce and finance senator Garrett Bastable and Terrence O’Toole, ’80, who recently donated a $2 million deanship endowment.

“As I reflect on my term as dean, I am sincerely impressed at what we – faculty, administration and staff – have accomplished during the last seven years,” Monahan said

“Dr. Monahan provided a strong vision as to what a modern, acclaimed business school should be,” said Dr. David Stout, an accounting professor.

“In terms of leadership, I believe his biggest contribution to the college was an attempt to restructure administrative functions to run the organization more like a business.

“Such a perspective and philosophy, while eminently logical, is not widely held in academia,” he continued.

Dr. James Borden, chair of the accounting department, echoed Stout’s statements.

“The first word that comes to mind when I think of Monahan is passion. He has always approached his work, whether as a teacher or as dean, with a high level of energy, a great deal of enthusiasm and a commitment to excellence,” he said.

“While his departure as dean is a significant loss for the University, students will benefit by having the opportunity to experience what a gifted and inspiring teacher he is,” Borden said.

“Just compare the Bartley of today with the Bartley of four or five years ago, both the building itself and the community inside,” Christopher McGlinn, a senior finance major, said.

“Dean Monahan’s vision of a community of young, soon-to-be professionals interacting with each other, faculty, business professionals and alumni in a changing business environment has certainly come to fruition.”

Dr. Bob Nydick, chair of the DIT department, added, “Monahan inspires, he has charisma and he’s genuine.

“What you see with him is what you get.”