Vibrant organizations are always in tension between stability and change. One of the responsibilities of leadership is knowing when change is needed while also being able to adapt to changes that emerge from new circumstances.
There are poor ways to handle new circumstances, of course. Some organizations resist change, insisting that their way was right yesterday, so it’s right today. For other organizations, instead of looking at the market or at societal shifts, they look at their competitors and parrot their changes, usually unwisely. But change can be done well.
“Change starts with clear intent, deeply rooted in a clear point of view regarding the necessity of changing,” says business leadership expert Lisa Kay Solomon. “Leaders need to build alignment and understanding across the organization, on both the senior level of management and throughout all parts of the organization, so that everyone understands not only what the change is but, equally important, why the change needs to happen.” Otherwise, says Solomon, there is often confusion, inconsistency and resistance.
Crowell is no exception when it comes to the reality of change. When professional accountancy underwent a major update, including a new CPA exam, Associate Professor Phil Woodward spearheaded a completely revamped MPAcc program. In response to rapidly-changing conditions in the economy, Crowell launched new programs such as a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, a Master of Arts in Leadership and Innovation, a graduate program in Certified Financial Planning, and offered important new career tools for our students.
One thing that has not changed is the vision of Crowell School of Business to be a leading Christ-centered business school. We do this by aspiring to leadership in the areas of teaching, service and business scholarship, and to bless our students and the local, regional, national and global business communities.
To live into this aspiration, we are grateful for a new team of faculty leaders who are taking on several key positions.
This fall we have new leadership in our undergraduate and graduate chair positions. Faculty chairs bring academic leadership to the degree programs by leading faculty meetings, interpreting and implementing policies, guiding program innovation, and addressing academic issues as they arise. They are an important element of faculty governance in any university and school. I am pleased to announce that Associate Professor Laureen Mgrdichian will serve this fall as the interim chair of the undergraduate program during a much-deserved sabbatical for Dr. David Bourgeois.
I am also pleased that Dr. Jeff McHugh has agreed to serve as chair of graduate programs (MBA, MA in Leadership and Innovation, MM Non-Profit Organizations). I want to thank Associate Professor Lari Mobley for her nearly ten years of service as chair. Professor Mobley concluded her career at Biola in order to pursue additional corporate consulting.
There has been change in our faculty team as well. Phil Woodward returns from his recent sabbatical and will continue providing leadership to our accounting program along with leading the Master of Professional Accountancy Program.
With the retirement of Dr. Nick Sherwin this summer, Helen Mitchell, assistant professor of leadership and ethics, will be leading the Management Strategy course, which will continue as a team-based, strategic project-based course culminating in student presentations to senior business professionals who are friends of the Crowell School.
Some of you may know that Andrea Marrero, assistant professor of accounting, has stepped back from full-time teaching to be a stay-at-home mother to her two young children. We are very pleased that Associate Professor Danielle Becker is joining our accounting faculty — we will have more to say about her soon.
So as a new academic year begins with change, excitement, momentum, and fresh energy, please be praying for these wonderful academic leaders, that Crowell will not just maintain but will continue innovating in congruence with our vision of being a leading Christ-centered business school that impacts the world for Jesus Christ.
Dr. Gary Lindblad
Dean, Crowell School of Business, Biola University
From left to right: Danielle Becker, Laureen Mgrdichian, Jeff McHugh, Phil Woodward, Helen Mitchell.