One word that describes the benefits of the university’s college reorganization, including the creation of the new B-school, is focus.
This new direction was designed to put the university on a path to optimally grow scholarship and education at Clemson and give our students and researchers the focus they need to reach their mission.
The restructuring is designed to create collegial relationships that will foster one mind and mission for each university unit working toward a common goal.
The College of Business, its students, faculty and staff will benefit from all of the above, and then some. For more than 30 years, a separate business school has been discussed but that’s as far as it got. Credit the university leadership and Board of Trustees for making a commitment to business education excellence by making this a reality.
We are the biggest and fastest growing of any college on campus with an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent, 1 percent ahead of the university average. As such, we are Clemson’s door to the nation, drawing from the top students across the country, like no one else at Clemson. As an identifiable business entity, we are in a better position than anyone else to give Clemson the national stature it seeks and deserves.
With the new structure, Clemson’s College of Business will have the focus it needs to provide a world class business education better than ever before.
Q. When will the reorganization officially occur and what changes can College of Business students, faculty and staff expect at that time?
The Board of Trustees approved the university’s reorganization at its quarterly meeting Oct. 9. We anticipate the vast majority of adjustment will take place at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.
For the most part, students, faculty and staff will see no immediate change at all. It will be business as usual. Most of the changes are back office, in the areas of legal, financial and human resources. By and large, there should be no impact on teaching or research by students.
Q. What is the university leadership’s vision for the College of Business’ growth and stature as a result of this reorganization?
The reorganization is a clear message of commitment to business education being critical to the university’s future by senior leadership and our trustees. Our ability to draw students from beyond South Carolina’s borders paints a brilliant future, not just for business education at Clemson but for the university’s stature at a national level. We are in a position of strength because of these changes and our growth is expected to continue in numbers and quality of education.
Q. How does a new building to house the College of Business figure into the future state of business education at Clemson?
The fact that the university’s leadership is endorsing a 161,000-square-foot building devoted to business shows a commitment to providing a world class business education for our students. This is the first administration to pull the trigger on a discussion that’s been lingering for 30 years.
When you add to that the quality and location of the facility, this state-of-the-art building will open the doors even further for Clemson to draw the best and brightest students, those who dare, from across the country to our College of Business.
Not only will it offer best-in-class amenities, it will be located in the heart of campus, built on the highest point of university land. We will be teaching business education in a 21st century facility at a gateway to the Clemson campus.
This will be one of the most defining structures constructed on campus in the past 100 years. Its glass facade, high ceilings and openness will create a modern learning experience and resemble a corporate-headquarter-type feel. It will also offer amenities that modern businesses provide today that allows for team production, creativity and 24-7 innovation. Space will be conducive to collaboration, team work and allow for unplanned collisions of people and ideas.
The building will look and feel like a beehive of activity from the inside and out. Its light and liveliness will bring out the energy and creativity necessary to learn in and to fulfill one’s personal dreams.
It will provide all the amenities one needs to come and stay all day, including an exercise area; food facility; and outdoor, relaxing, collaborative and private study spaces. It will be a home that our business students will be proud of and one that future students will want to experience. As important as anything, it will house all of our classes, not just 75 percent of them like today.
Our new facility will redefine the center of campus and identify Clemson as a university providing a world-class business education experience.
Each department chair has been asked to engage with faculty and staff to get their best ideas of room arrangement, size, structure, shape, and other insights that you all have from your many diverse learning environments so we leave no stone unturned in building this structure to provide for the best research and learning experiences. Again, I plead with you to engage with us on this. You know more than we do.
Q. What do all of these changes mean for the Clemson University family, past, present and future?
Clemson means business now more than ever before. The reorganization and construction of a building designed for 21st century learning will only strengthen our ability to engage and prepare business students for life after college.
We are in a great position to fulfill Mr. Thomas Clemson’s dream of becoming a higher seminary of learning, not just for South Carolina but for the nation, and beyond.
Clemson is among the smallest of the Top 25 public universities in enrollment, but our stature within that group isn’t. Our alumni network is rated the best in the country and our engagement with students is considered second to none.
The trustees and administration have made a statement in committing to business education excellence for years to come. It is now our responsibility to execute on that commitment. And we will do that with a renewed sense of focus and our own commitment to providing students with the best quality business education they can find anywhere.