I am writing to you today as I am days away from retiring as the dean of the Merrick School of Business, and this will be my last Merrick Exchange “Dean's Message.” I am grateful for the contributions of the faculty, students, alumni, and business partners who have shaped my experience as dean, and the last nine years at the helm have been remarkable. Here are my parting thoughts:
I am in awe of our faculty. One thing I do every year is to read the student-generated comments about the teaching of our full professors. Those insights provide a platform to discuss yearly successes and ways to continuously improve what we deliver to our students. I have come away from those meetings with a deep appreciation of how they care about their approach to teaching and students' learning.
I also appreciate the work that they do to create knowledge. This is why we are a university and not a training company. We teach, and we generate knowledge, and for most of our faculty, they bring what they learn in their research to the classroom. But as a school of business, we create knowledge not just for the sake of knowledge but to make a difference in the practice of management, teaching business, or developing policy. So, this summer, for example, we are funding seven projects that give you an idea of the range of interests we have:
- How can we make ethics “count” in accounting education so that students understand concrete ways of making ethical decisions and getting them to be implemented?
- How demographic changes affect trading patterns and supply chain dynamics.
- What can we learn from COVID-19 pandemic disruptions about creating resilient supply chains?
- How encouraging entrepreneurial orientation and some related attributes in service workers contributes to customer growth.
- A new way of looking at the factors that contribute to new venture success.
- Are there increasing differences in where remote and on-site workers choose to live, and what are the implications for different industries?
- Does national office experience in large accounting firms affect partners’ careers, client assignments, audit quality, pricing, and efficiency?
- Can meeting effectiveness be improved - the relationship between meeting start time, lateness, and meeting effectiveness?
- How to defeat an oligarch!
These are just a sample of the knowledge our faculty are creating. In addition, we have active projects in various other areas, such as how users make decisions after consulting ChatGPT, how healthcare organizations use customer satisfaction data, and how managers integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk into financial projections.
Of course, we want to influence our students most. In May, we held our last graduation ceremony of the academic year. I do not know every student personally, but I do know that for many of our students to graduate, it takes enormous grit and resilience. I know that most of our students (undergraduate and graduate) work. They also have diverse experiences before they come to UBalt. Many are breadwinners for their families. Unlike many full-time students on conventional campuses, our students typically balance academics with real-life priorities. We recognize they want to be engaged with the university and their fellow students, so we develop programming to accommodate them. Our students show grit and resilience like no other campus I know of, and their diversity in terms of life and work experience, race, gender, and national origin, make them especially valuable to employers. I love getting emails from business leaders telling me how they hired one of our graduates and how well they were prepared from day one.
I also very much appreciate working with and learning from our business partners. As well as my Deans' Council of Business Advisors, we have dedicated boards for essential industry and professional groups such as Real Estate, Insurance, Cybersecurity, and Accounting. These are vital groups to influence what we teach and help obtain internships and positions for our students. Our volunteers have made such a difference over the years.
An exceptional group that I particularly appreciate is our funders. They are tremendously generous. Through them, we have developed several seed funding options for the research I mentioned earlier that have supported our faculty in their endeavors. This is important to attract quality talent to instruct our students. In addition, these funders also have enabled us to offer scholarships for our students and small grants that our students need to overcome some educational cost barriers like technological like Internet routers or conventional items like textbooks.
Impact on Baltimore
I am particularly proud of the Merrick School's impact on Baltimore. Many of our entrepreneurship students take their businesses out into the community. Some of them become employers. Others help start-ups grow and contribute to the community. Our Real Estate Fellows program, which will enter its fourth year next Fall, impacts turning around specific neighborhoods in Baltimore. The Baltimore Neighborhoods Indicators Alliance, which the school supports, is a crucial data source for many community organizations and banks. UBalt President Kurt Schmoke often reminds us that we are not only the University of Baltimore but the University for Baltimore. That is a pillar of excellence that I know my colleagues at the Merrick School of Business are pleased to support and tout.
I appreciate your support for me. And one final word—the Merrick School has a fine and successful future ahead—please stay in touch with the school. We need your support.
Murray M. Dalziel, Ph.D.
Dean, Merrick School of Business
A preview of what's next for Dr. Dalziel. Spending time his wife and grandchildren, and continue to be involved in his various enterprises.