After weeding through 90 applications and conducting four on-campus interviews, UCF's new dean search committee appointed Dr. Paul Jarley, dean of the Lee Business School at University of Nevada-Las Vegas, as dean of UCF's College of Business Administration.
On July 1, Jarley will conclude his five years at the Lee Business School, which accommodates 100 faculty members and 4,000 students, to direct a college that is double its size with 140 faculty members and 8,680 students.
Jarley, who was a first-generation college student, said he was attracted to UCF because of its high aspirations. He said that the opportunity to be part of such a building effort is exciting.
"I am drawn to schools with a significant number of first-generation college students. It gives you an enormous opportunity to transform the lives of students as well as their families," Jarley said in an email. "I am a first-generation college student who benefited from such a transformation, and the opportunity to shape this type of experience for others is very appealing."
During the hiring process, College of Business students met with all candidates to address the issues most pertinent to them. College of Education Dean Dr. Sandra Robinson, who served as chair of the 15-party search committee, oversaw the meetings and provided students with evaluation forms, which allowed students to provide opinions on each candidate.
In Jarley's question-and-answer session with undergraduate students on Dec. 1, 2011, he discussed the value of adapting to change and, more specifically, the role that social media plays in today's world.
Aside from utilizing Facebook and Twitter, which Jarley described as a great way to communicate with students, he also blogs about pertinent issues, informing students of changes that may affect them. Jarley said he blogs in a way Generation Y can relate – through witty Snooki references.
"I love to write. I especially like to write pieces which challenges people's view of the world and encourages them to think and act differently," Jarley said. "The blog is about how students can get the most out of their college experience and the challenges higher education faces in providing students with the knowledge, skills and experiences to compete in today's world."
UCF hired Academic Search, an executive recruitment service specializing in higher education institutes, in early October to find a replacement for Interim Dean Dr. Foard Jones. Jones assumed the temporary position when Dr. Thomas Keon was appointed chancellor of Purdue University in July 2011.
Interested in how students differentiate themselves from their competition, Jarley said that students need more than good grades. He made an example of Adler Dehner, president of UCF's professional business fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. Jarley said that Dehner's choice to combine North American Indian Studies with his business management major helps him stand out.
Dehner asked each candidate about their role with student organizations and said he wants to see more involvement among business students, their dean and the office administration.
"All of them bring unique characteristics," Dehner said prior to the selection of Jarley. "They were all adamant about getting involved with student organizations, and I think whoever is picked will be great."
While undergraduates seek involvement, graduates want more Ph.D. funding. Jarley's meeting with undergraduates was preceded by a question-and-answer session with graduate students.
Alex Lyubimov, Ph.D. accounting major, said he wants a dean who boosts UCF's reputation and increases funding for the Ph.D. program.
"I preferred Jarley and [David] Klock [dean of the University of Alabama-Birmingham's School of Business] because I felt like [the first candidate] did not really talk about anything," Lyubimov said. "Maybe he saved all the specific details for the people who were making the decisions. The candidate who was picked gave more details and more examples. I felt like he was more interested in explaining what he was trying to accomplish even though the group I was in, with the Ph.D. students, were not the decision makers. He was still interested in showing us what he was trying to do."
UCF Provost and Executive Vice President Tony Waldrop made the final decision in the hiring process. In December, Waldrop said he considered several factors when selecting the next dean, including leadership, approachability and fundraising skills.
"I think we have an excellent pool of candidates, and I think the College of Business will get an outstanding dean," Waldrop said before he made his final decision in January.
College of Business Administration students interested in learning more about their new leader can check out Dr. Paul Jarley's blog at http://business.unlv.edu/dean/.