Jennifer Robin has only been dean of the School of Business for little more than two months and wants to continue her “listening tour” involving faculty, staff, students and the business community before announcing specific goals. But you can already see the excitement in her eyes as she talks about the future for the business school.
“It really is going to be our vision – not just my vision,” said Robin, who succeeded Ellen Durnin as dean this summer. Robin previously served as associate dean of the Foster College of Business at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.
“Our faculty and staff are excited about the school’s potential,” Robin said. “And we have a strong relationship with the business community. Together, we’ll work to build upon the accomplishments made in recent years.”
The 1-2 punch of a new building and the potential for accreditation from the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) – should be a springboard for the School of Business to thrive in the years ahead, according to the dean.
“The new building will give us a sense of place for our students, rather than being spread out throughout the campus,” Robin said. “It will foster better communication and create better opportunities for experiential learning.”
The new building — a four-story, 60,000-square-foot structure — will be located at the corner of Wintergreen and Farnham avenues and is expected to be completed in early 2023. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on September 17.
The building will provide more than double the space currently allotted for the School of Business and will include nine general classrooms, as well as several specialized classrooms and lecture halls. It also will feature a behavioral lab area with an observation room; a community room that could seat 100 people; a large classroom and administrative suite for the MBA program; and an area designated for financial market and data analytics.
A stock market ticker will be observable outside the first floor, near the corner of Wintergreen and Farnham avenues. And the school’s new Business Success Center will have locations for employers to meet with and interview Southern students, and programs to assist students with their job searches and career planning.
Robin is impressed that the building will be the first constructed by the state to be net-zero in terms of carbon footprint – powered by energy from geothermal wells and solar panels. “It will help us to ‘do well by doing good,’” she said.
Robin, who oversaw the AACSB accreditation process at her previous institution, says achieving this designation will further bolster the image of Southern’s business school.
“It is the gold standard in terms of signaling the high quality of business education at the collegiate level,” she said. “And the accreditation would provide us with an engine for continuous improvement.”
The business school received a timely boost earlier this year, with a $500,000 gift made through the Amour Propre Fund to establish the School of Business Endowment for Leadership Development at Southern. It is the largest contribution ever made in support of business students at the university.
Lindy Gold, who is president of Amour Propre and serves on both the SCSU Foundation Board of Directors and the school’s Business Advisory Council, made the gift to enhance and expand programs offered through the school’s Leadership Center. These include the Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Program and IMPACT Greater New Haven, which places Southern business majors as interns at nonprofit organizations, with the university covering the cost of students’ stipends. Looking forward, the fund will support other leadership initiatives, such as a Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program; a Student Leadership Council, uniting business majors with community and business leaders; and global experience programming.
In recognition of this visionary donation, Southern will establish the Lindy Lee Gold Business Leadership Suite, within the new home for the business school. Southern hopes to inspire others to contribute to the fund, ultimately raising an endowment of up to $2.5 million to support future leadership programs.