Monday, September 29, 2014 at 12pm

Faculty Overhaul Planned at GW School of Business: MBA News

GW School of Business tries to clear way for new hiring drive

The quality of research and teaching found among a business school’s faculty are integral to the esteem in which its MBA programs are held. So, what can a school do when it wants to boost its profile and climb the rankings? Bring in new faculty, of the caliber capable of effecting this desired outcome.

Of course, in order to hire new professors, sometimes you have to free up space and finances taken up by the existing faculty – which is why GW School of Business, George Washington University has offered a number of long-standing faculty members ‘buy-out’ deals, according to the university’s student newspaper, The GW Hatchet. 

The report says that GW School of Business is targeting faculty members earning over US$100,000 who have been with the school since 1990, with four deals designed to induce them to step aside, from an academic year’s paid research to a one-off payment. One unnamed professor at GW School of Business said that roughly 30 faculty members had been offered deals. 

This would make GW School of Business the fourth school at the university in five years to employ such tactics – a similar move at the engineering school is said to have resulted in 15% of faculty taking up a deal, something that has since allowed it to bring in younger recruits with a high potential for future quality of research.   

“This type of program enables a school to develop new faculty recruiting plans and provides the flexibility to hire new faculty in areas of strategic value to the school and the university, and to do so in an orderly fashion,” Maralee Csellar, a university spokeswoman, told The Hatchet.

Former dean criticized school’s quality of research as holding back its MBA programs

Last year, GW School of Business sacked its dean – allegedly for overspending on his budget. Yet, it was the former dean, Doug Guthrie, who had identified a need to improve the school’s quality of research and the level of teaching on its MBA programs when he was first appointed.

In a budget proposal drawn up in 2010, Guthrie wrote: “GW School of Business has failed to push itself on quality. Some departments publish in inferior-quality academic journals and maintain a lower tenure standard. This neither advances the school’s aspiration to rank among the top business schools nor supports the central administration’s goal to excel as a research university.”

Indeed, the current buy-out directive to allow for new hires to its MBA programs is not thought to have come from the school’s incumbent dean, Linda Livingstone, but from its board of governors – although Livingstone will get to decide who comes in to replace any professors taking a deal.

The effectiveness of these methods has been questioned, however, by suggestions that only professors who were looking to move on or retire would take a deal. Plus, there is the possibility of alienating faculty a school wishes to keep by employing such methods in driving out colleagues.

But, hiring a fresh crop of professors is high on GW School of Business’ agenda, as it seeks to build its MBA programs’ reputation and the quality of research that is associated with them.

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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