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Matt Cory, Herald Staff Writer

Business students often are taught about preparing for change. Now,  UND professors are putting what they teach into practice . The UND College of Business and Public Administration recently reorganized, making changes that administrators hope will keep the college at the forefront of business education.

We feel that we can be and need to be very educationally entrepreneurial in terms of the change here, Dennis Elbert, dean of the college, said. Administratively, we have been the same way for 20 to 25 years. For many years, the college had eight departments - industrial technology; business and vocational education; political science; finance; economics; accounting and business law; management, and marketing. Each department had a chair reporting to the dean.

As of July 1, those eight departments have been combined into three divisions - accounting and finance; organizational systems and technology; and economics and public affairs. Instead of eight department chairs, there are now two associate deans and three division directors. Jacob Chacko, associate professor of marketing, has assumed duties as associate dean for academic affairs and will coordinate curriculum issues, accreditation compliance and faculty assignments and utilization. Phil Harmeson, an associate professor of accounting and business law, has been named associate dean for administration and will assist Elbert with external relations, personnel and student recruitment and technology issues. Steve Moser, associate professor of management, has been named director the organizational systems and technology division. Dave Ramsett, professor of economics, has been named director of the economic and public affairs division. Harold Wilde, an associate professor of accounting and business law, has been named director of the accounting and finance division.

In addition, the Center for Innovation and the Small Business Development Center, both separate entities that have ties to the college of business, will report directly to Elbert.

Elbert said the department-to-division shift is the first step in the reorganization, he said. The next step, which will be done next year, is a total curriculum review.


Because reorganization efforts were well under way before Gov. Ed Schafer's request that state universities tighten their belts, Elbert said the school was able to take proposed budget cuts in stride.

It gave us a leg up, Elbert said. We had already been looking at how we could be more efficient and effective.

Elbert, who was named dean last summer, replacing the retiring Fred Lawrence, said that one of his first challenges from UND President Kendall Baker was to take a look at the organization of the business college.

But, Elbert said, it wasn't as if drastic changes were needed. In spring 1997, the college was reaffirmed for accreditation for 10 years by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, Elbert said.

Fred Lawrence left a tremendous legacy for us, he said.

Still, as with any organization, remaining complacent only leaves you behind, Elbert said.

We want to be flexible in how we respond to students' needs, he said.

Elbert said the reorganization was not a top-down matter. The faculty, he said, played the key role in creating the new organizational structure.

I can't say enough about the work they put into this, he said.


Grand Forks Herald, July 25, 1998