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Mudd Monthly: February ’23

by Örn Bodvarsson, February 2, 2023

Dear Members of the Atkinson Community,

Since I last wrote to you, Spring Semester is in full swing. It is great to have our students, staff, and faculty back in our Salem and Portland campuses. This semester we welcomed 16 new students in the January cohort of our MBA for Professionals program – 13 in Portland and 3 in Salem. The three new students in the Salem cohort are “guinea pigs” because we’ve never before admitted Salem students into a January cohort. These three will jump into classes that the Fall 2022 cohort students are taking. We will see if this experiment is successful. Speaking of MBA-P a few Saturdays ago we graduated over 45 students in a lovely ceremony in Hudson Hall. Andrew Hoan, President of the Portland Business Alliance, was our guest speaker.

Change is definitely in the air in Atkinson. Management schools around the country are facing challenges, as is higher education in general, and Atkinson is not immune to those challenges. But I’m truly excited about the direction our school is headed. That direction has now been set by our 2023-27 strategic plan, which was ratified by Atkinson faculty and staff at our Spring Semester retreat on January 13. Thanks to the hard work of our school’s strategic planning steering team — led by Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Andrew Kach and which included colleagues from other parts of campus — we completed the plan last month. Once President Thorsett approves the plan, we are “off to the races” with implementation. I will share a link to the document as well as share plans for implementation soon. For now, I want to thank the steering team for their hard work in delivering to the school a highly innovative and actionable plan. The plan is distinctive for Atkinson and in strong alignment with the new campus strategic plan.

Next month we will welcome to campus three members of the Site Visit Team assigned to us by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). They will be here to learn about our programs, students, faculty, institution, and community, so they can make a recommendation to NASPAA on our re-accreditation, which takes place every 7 years. If everything works out according to plan, we will be re-accredited for another 7 years on July 1, 2023. We have been busy preparing for this visit for the past year, including submitting our self-study report to NASPAA last summer. It is the dual accreditation — NASPAA and AACSB — of our EC/CC program that helps make the Willamette MBA strong and distinctive internationally. We are only one of two MBA programs in the country that has both accreditations. I want to thank Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Romana Autrey, Fiscal and Accreditation Manager Susan Chiapella, Program Coordinator Marisa Walker, and other members of the staff and faculty teams who have helped get us ready for next month’s site team visit. Naturally, we’ll all be happy when that process is over, but these folks’ hard work has helped ensure a smooth remainder of the re-accreditation process.

Next month, I have more exciting news to share on our school’s plans to develop programming on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the role CSR will play in Atkinson’s strategic direction for the next 5 years. Until then, stay warm!

Best Wishes,

Örn Bodvarsson Signature

Örn Bodvarsson
Dean & Professor of Economics

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.