Dean of Zicklin gets down to business
Published: Monday, September 13, 2010
Updated: Monday, March 7, 2011 11:03
The Zicklin School of Business and its professors have seen continuous improvement in academic rankings, and with Dean John Elliott leading the way, there seems to be no end in sight.
Elliott joined Baruch after receiving a bachelor's degree in economics at the University of Maryland and then his MBA while teaching there. This was when Elliott decided to pursue a career in education.
Realizing that he needed more to fully pursue his career in education, Elliott went on to Cornell and earned his doctorate in Accountancy in 1985.
"I earned my Ph.D. at Cornell and stayed there on the faculty. I was there for 25 years, ultimately became head of the Ph.D. program and became the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and it was then that the phone rang from Baruch saying they had an opening for a dean," said Elliott, describing his path to Zicklin.
In 2002, when Elliott accepted the position, he said he had a vision for Zicklin. He wanted "to raise significant money, to increase the endowment, to increase resources available to the college, to hire more full time faculty to support the ambitions that we have, and to increase quality and visibility."
Elliott said that when he came to the school, he liked that the faculty was ambitious and wanted to change the culture at Baruch.
But he felt there were too many visiting professors and substitutes, and that the school needed more professors who were full-time faculty members and were committed to the future of the college. He also saw a need for more professors who were involved in research in the college.
Another goal Elliott set for himself was to raise money via donations. He said ten percent of Baruch's budget is generated from philanthropy and cited Larry Zicklin, Bill Newman, and Lawrence Field as prime examples of "serial philanthropists" that make it possible.
"They have given often and a lot," said Elliot. "They exemplify the total package that represents fund raising."
Since he was named dean, several other changes have occurred at the school, including the addition of a BBA in Real Estate, and more recently, a BBA in International Business, which started this fall, and a series of Tier III minors.
As a testament to the collective efforts of the dean, faculty and student body, Zicklin has seen improved academic rankings among business schools in the nation by publications such as Forbes and the Princeton Review over the last several years. The faculty has also been gaining attention.
As a result of the dean's commitment to recruiting a more full-time and research-oriented teaching staff, Zicklin professors have been gaining recognition for their commitment to education from various institutions.
The faculty at Baruch is competitively ranked among business schools in the United States and holds the 25th spot on the Social Science Research Network list.
The SSRM allows faculty can upload their articles, and students, academics and all interested can download them. The SSRN tracks who has uploaded papers and how many times an article is downloaded. The information is then evaluated and rankings are made based on the data.
"I often think of this as an early warning indicator about what the long-term impact these articles will have. You may have heard that in the academic environment, it's publish or perish," said Elliott.
Other institutions, such as Arizona State University and the University of Texas at Dallas, perform their own rankings based on research and publications done by faculty at each school. Their rating systems are unique and based on different factors, but Zicklin has achieved 45th and 43rd on their lists, respectively, among leading business schools in the nation.
"There are a lot of places where doors are open today where they were not open five and ten years ago, and its partly because of a concentrated effort by everyone," said Elliott. "It's not what I'm doing, it's what we're doing as a collective."
While the effort of the administration and faculty is a major factor in Zicklin's standings, students are the determining factor.
"You really need to invest yourself in a really proactive way," said Elliott.
It's easy to get totally focused on the academic aspect, he said, and not realize the importance of everything else; such as extracurricular activities, student organizations and volunteer work.
"Nowhere is it more true than in an education, that you only get out of it what you put into it," said Elliott.