School of business has a new dean


Madeline S. ScharfNews Editor

The school of business has officially welcomed its new dean, Dr. Jennifer Robin, to the board.  

Dr. Jennifer Robin has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and HR management from the University of Iowa, as well as a PhD in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Tennessee. 

Following former dean Ellen Durnin’s retirement after a decade at the University, Robin has taken over the position. She plans to continue the work of her predecessor to grow and further improve the school of business.  

According to Durnin’s retirement announcement, the former dean “brought the school to the verge of AACSB accreditation.” 

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB, is the highest standard for schools of business.  

Robin is planning to continue the work of the former dean and bring the program to accreditation. “We are pursuing AACSB accreditation. It is a fairly extensive process,” said Robin. “It is the gold standard for business schools.” 

Formerly the Associate Dean at Bradley University in Illinois, Robin is hoping to bring accreditation to the table. “Bradley has been accredited since the 1970’s,” said Robin, “so I have been through the re-accreditation process but never the initial process.” Because of her previous experience with accreditation, Robin believes AACSB accreditation is on the horizon. Once achieving accreditation, the school of business must be re-accredited each year.  

Being at Bradley also prepared Robin for an upcoming challenge for the school of business, moving. “We also just opened a new business building at Bradley,” said Robin. From this previous move at her old school, she is more prepared than most for what difficulties may lie ahead during the future move to the new school of business. 

Bradley University is a very different setting from Southern, something Robin was excited for. “Southern is a public school, while Bradley is a private school. Southern is more urban while Bradley was not necessarily a commuter school,” said Robin. “I am looking forward to getting a different experience.” 

Getting started at the University has not been a walk-in-the-park, however. “One thing I would say about the School of Business,” said Robin, “is they did not slow down when waiting for a new dean. Most schools of business do. Southern kept moving.”  

This did not hinder Robin. “I started the process before I formally began in June,” said Robin, “to make sure I knew what was going on with the school so I could help facilitate the success of our faculty, staff, and students.” 

The first few weeks on campus have been good for the new dean. “It has been great, everyone is very welcoming, so I appreciate that,” said Robin. “It is also nice to see students back on campus. That is one thing I am really excited about is getting to know the students a little bit more.” 

With the school year having only just begun, there is still plenty of time to see where Dr. Robin takes the school of business, but for now, there is just excitement about her arrival. “I am excited to be here, and I look forward to meeting more students and celebrating their success,” said Robin. 

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