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Mudd Monthly: March ’23

by Örn Bodvarsson, March 1, 2023

Dear Members of the Atkinson Community,

Thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, this letter is written up at 35,000 feet, between Houston and PDX. I’m en route from Tampa, Florida returning from the annual conference of the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD). I and two other Deans –Toni Doolen, Dean of the Honors College at Oregon State, and Richard Badenhausen, Dean of the Honors College at Westminster University (my previous employer) – gave a workshop on external advisory boards. All three of us have a diversity of experiences with external advisory boards and we used the workshop to share our experiences and provide guidance to colleagues who want to set up boards for the first time. It was an excellent conference and, in addition to our workshop being a success, I attended lots of different enlightening sessions and other workshops. Even though I’ve been doing decanal work for 12 years now, I always benefit from further professional development and the ACAD conference was a truly valuable experience for me. I look forward to applying what I learned at ACAD to my work moving Atkinson forward.

February has been a busy month. In addition to the ACAD conference, I was in the Los Angeles area in early February and participated in an AACSB site team visit to the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. This was my first AACSB site team experience and I learned a lot. It was a great opportunity to learn every nook and cranny of the AACSB standards, collaborate with other deans to evaluate the Drucker School’s compliance with those standards, and then reflect afterwards upon what all this means for Atkinson as we get ready for our next site team visit, scheduled for Spring Semester, 2025. I also participated in a two-day retreat for the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) Board, which was held at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington. The PBA is a great organization and it’s a privilege to serve on its Board, along with business leaders in the Portland metro area and a few other people who serve in leadership positions in higher education. The retreat gave me an opportunity to thoroughly network, hear a lot about challenges local business leaders are facing and talk with many about how the higher education ecosystem in the state can serve employers and the labor force optimally.

The Willamette Board of Trustees (BOT) met February 16-18 on the Salem campus. I interacted with the BOT in various ways during their on-campus meetings: I had coffee with BOT Chair Kevin Smith to update him on our work in Atkinson; I had dinner with a small group of Trustees downtown; presented this year’s AGSM tenure and promotion cases to the BOT’s Academic Affairs and Enrollment (AAE) Committee; and attended the general BOT sessions. I was reminded again during my interactions with the Trustees that our school continues to be highly respected and regarded by the BOT for the work it does, the goals it is working to fulfill, and the challenges we are trying to overcome. A number of our Trustees are Atkinson alumni and have been generous to us financially and with their time and expertise.

I conclude this month’s issue with mixed emotions, as we say goodbye to two members of the staff team who are leaving on March 3. Kristen Iseri, Director of the Executive Development Center (EDC), is resigning from Willamette to start a new position as a project manager at Pacific Seafood. Kristen has been working in EDC since 2014 and prior to that held a number of other positions at Willamette. She started her career at Willamette as an undergraduate student and completed the MBA for Professionals program in 2013. Kristen leaves behind an EDC much stronger than when she arrived – the EDC now offers five high-quality certificate programs for adult learners. The EDC is completely financially self-sustaining and runs large budget surpluses each year. It has ongoing major contracts with the State of Oregon and other clients, and has a sterling reputation regionally. I’m personally grateful to Kristen for everything she’s done for the EDC these past 9 years. Congratulations to her on her career change and a big thank you for everything she has done for EDC!

Beth Swanson, Assistant Director of Recruitment in the MBA-P program, has decided to leave Willamette to pursue other professional opportunities. Beth has had a very successful career with us helping to bring in excellent students. Beth is a natural recruiter. She has represented our school admirably and has been a wonderful resource for our students. Thank you, Beth!

Be sure to drive safely in this weather, as we are projected to continue with wintry weather conditions through this weekend and possibly early next week. Please exercise your best judgment about traveling to the Portland and Salem campuses and be sure to let your supervisor know if you have to work remotely.

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.