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Mudd Monthly: May ’23

by Örn Bodvarsson, May 3, 2023

Dear Members of the Atkinson Community,

Soon this school year will “bite the dust” and the great Oregon summer will be upon us. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we look forward to a quiet campus this summer along with pursuing opportunities for relaxation, travel, and different forms of recreation. I for one will be enjoying time this summer at the piano, reading a few good books, and enjoying the great outdoors with my family. But, there’s still lots to do in the Dean’s Office this summer, including work on some exciting ongoing projects. And, I’ve talked with many faculty members who are looking forward to focusing on scholarship this summer. With the arrival of summer comes the arrival of our four new faculty – Drs. Foong Cheung, Jane Machin, and Pritta Dutta, and Mr. (soon to be Dr.) Shelter Teyi. In fact, Foong Soon will be here in days to start teaching this summer.

We end the school year with some great news involving several of our faculty colleagues. Please join me in congratulating Drs. Jake Hoskins and Kieran O’Connor for achieving tenure and promotion to Associate Professor starting in the new school year. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Atkinson community when I say how proud we are of both these colleagues and their achievements as teachers, scholars and campus citizens. We look forward to working with them in all the years ahead.

Looking ahead to the summer and next year, there will be a big focus on our AY 2023-27 strategic plan, which President Thorsett approved earlier this semester. To start the implementation phase in our strategic planning work, I have formed a Strategic Implementation Steering Team and asked Senior Associate Dean Alex Subert to lead it. Alex will be joined by a mix of faculty and staff colleagues, including Dave Sundby (AGSM’s Assistant Dean of Students), Jennifer Bush (Director of Marketing Communication), Jon Thompson (Associate Professor of Economics), Kieran O’Connor (soon to be Associate Professor of Management), Romana Autrey (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs), Tim Johnson (Grace and Elmer Goudy Professor of Public Management and Policy Analysis), and Mandy Devereux (Executive Director of Career Initiatives). I look forward to attending all of the team’s meetings and joining the team in its work. The team met for the first time on May 5. We have a great group of colleagues on the team and I’m excited about the strides that will be made in implementing our strategic plan.

There are two staff searches underway – Director of the Executive Development Center and Office Manager and Events Coordinator. This week the search committee for Director of EDC, which I chair, will decide on the candidates we’d like to invite for the first round of interviews. The interviews will start soon and we plan to bring in a couple of finalists for campus visits later this month. The search for the Office Manager and Events Coordinator position, chaired by Alex Subert, is reviewing applications. We are hoping to have both positions filled by June.

Our school has done a lot this year and I want to give kudos to everyone for their hard work and dedication. The committees that managed the four faculty searches did an excellent job. Dr. Foong Soon Cheung will arrive in just a few days to start summer teaching. We produced a strong and very forward-looking strategic plan. The Atkinson of the future will have many elements from the young Atkinson – a world-class generic management education model, great faculty and staff, highly-ranked programs, and a very strong internship and job placement record for our graduates, to name a few. But there will be new things too: innovative curricular offshoots that complement the generic management education model, highly impactful cross-school programs including, for example, healthcare leadership, corporate social responsibility, arts management; greater levels of enrollment, fundraising, and societal impact; an improved communication infrastructure and greater visibility of our programs in the region and world. And, fingers crossed, a substantially renovated Mudd Building too. Our strategic plan is our blueprint for what Atkinson will look like programmatically and operationally. I’m excited to be part of all this and I’m so glad you’re all along for the ride.

Our school meets for the last time this year on May 12 followed by various Commencement activities, culminating in our Commencement Ceremony on May 21. Last week I met most of our new full-time MBA graduates, as well as a few MBA-P graduates, at a reception for new Atkinson alumni. What an impressive group! Most of them have very nice positions lined up, a few are staying on to complete an MSDS degree, and a few have interviews lined up with leading organizations in the region. I’m very hopeful for this newest crop of graduates, who are among the finest students to graduate from Willamette this year. I hope to see many of you at Commencement. Our guest speaker this year is Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear. It will be a first class Commencement Ceremony all the way!

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.