Most business and marketing experts likely will agree that conducting a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats) analysis is critical to developing a solid business plan. H. Joseph Wen, the new dean of the College of Business Administration and Public Policy at California State University, Dominguez Hills, has done just that and it has helped to shape his goals for the college.
“High academic quality and positive university experience, that’s my vision,” Wen said. “My goal is to grow our program into an elite program.”
How does that happen? Firstly, Wen stressed that accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), while maintaining its accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) will increase CBAPP’s competitiveness. He estimates that only 25 percent of universities nationally, and five percent internationally, are AACSB accredited.
“This is a prestigious accreditation. They don’t just come to visit once. They need to evaluate you for several years. They make sure they are comfortable that you doing what you say you are doing,” Wen said of peer review deans who visit campuses to talk to faculty and students as well as review documentation.
With experience in leading Emporia State University’s School of Business through the AACSB reaccreditation process while he was dean there, and mentoring Taiwan’s National Cheng-Kung University and National Cheng-Cheng University through accreditation as an AACSB mentor, Wen is confident he can lead CSU Dominguez Hills to become AACSB accredited.
As part of the accreditation process, which will take three to five years to complete, the AACSB will review Wen’s accreditation assurance of learning plan for CBAPP as well as periodic national norm tests, which measure students’ fundamental business knowledge. And he plans to exceed these norms, in one way, by teaching students critical thinking and analytical skills, so that when they graduate they can keep learning new skills and will be competent in their jobs.
“We’d like to help our students reach their highest potential. That is the key component in my vision,” he said. “As a traditional value in the university, we need to create new knowledge, disseminate applied theory and so on. Of course, most importantly we need to produce competent graduates.”
To produce market ready graduates, Wen wants to offer students the opportunity to earn not only traditional business degrees, but specialized degrees with concentrations that provide them with professional knowledge that takes full advantage of the university’s proximity to one of the world’s largest ports—the Port of Los Angeles, global logistics companies, and world-class sports centers and hospitality facilities.
“I’m very happy that what we are doing right now matches Interim President Hagan’s vision for the university’s future, about the port’s transportation logistics, about the sports [and] hospitality, and the business community outreach.”
With this in mind, Wen would like to add six specialized Master of Business Administration (MBA) and two specialized Master of Public Administration (MPA) concentrations within the next three years.
To support a bulk of these additions, he plans to establish the Institute of Entrepreneurship, Micro Enterprises, Small Business Development, and Global Logistics to house the proposed concentrations and has recently appointed as its director Tayyeb Shabbir, professor of finance, accounting, finance and law.
Another area where Wen sees opportunity is in the university’s partnership with the Home Depot Center and its location near other major venues and hospitality facilities. He pointed out that MBA concentrations in sports management and hospitality management also make sense. To accommodate these programs, he is establishing the Hospitality Technology Research Institute and has appointed as its director Natasa Christodoulidou, associate professor of management.
Wen also said there is a high demand for workforce-ready graduates in the criminal justice field. CSU Dominguez Hills offers a criminal justice undergraduate degree, which has grown from 237 students when it was first offered in 2007 to more than 956 students this year. Wen said there is clearly a growing demand for a specialized MPA degree in that area.
“If you look at this speed, it could grow to more than a thousand students next year,” he said.
To accommodate his curriculum expansion, Wen envisions hiring two public administration, one human resources, and two business administration faculty members by fall 2013.
Another important element of Wen’s vision is creating a positive overall university experience for students. Earning his doctorate in information systems from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia as a first-generation, foreign-born minority college student motivates him to provide students with outstanding programs not only in the classroom, but through club activities and leadership training.
“That’s the reason I stress not only quality education, but quality university experience,” the Taiwan native said.
Wen plans to engage local businesses to provide them with opportunities to attract top students through on-campus marketing efforts including classroom endowments. Companies that participate would have their corporate branding featured in the classroom and would be invited to lead workshops to discuss with students information about their company and possibly conduct on-the-spot interviews. Wen said that such funding would go toward improvements in classroom and technology support.
“When a student comes to study day-in and day-out, they see the logo and they come to recognize the brand. Most likely students are willing to apply for jobs with companies who support higher education. They can see it’s a good brand for them,” said Wen, who implemented something similar as dean at Emporia State University’s School of Business. “It’s a win-win situation. The company gets brand recognition and the students benefit.”
Wen also has a number of clearly defined fundraising ideas that include endowed professorships and new centers, to name two, all with the aim of supporting his top priority of achieving student success.
“We are not in the knowledge business teaching people, which is like the traditional concept,” he said. “Students are the center of our business. We are in the people business teaching knowledge.”
Prior to becoming a dean, Wen had been department chair of accounting and management information systems, and the endowed business alumni professor at Southeast Missouri State; served on the faculty at Illinois State University, Rutgers University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology; and was a visiting professor at National Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan. A scholar in the area of e-commerce strategy and e-learning effectiveness, he has received more than $6 million in research grants and is widely published.
In addition to earning his Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, he earned a master’s in management from Chinese Cultural University in Taiwan, and a bachelor’s in navigation from the National Taiwan Ocean University.