UB business school seeks to develop its focus

One on one

November 05, 1990

One on One is a weekly feature offering excerpts of interviews conducted by The Evening Sun with newsworthy business leaders. Daniel E. Costello became the new dean of the Robert E. Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore last June.

Q. With more than 600 Master of Business Administration programs in the United States, how do you plan to market the University of Baltimore's program?

A. Actually there are probably 1,200 to 1,500 business school programs in the U.S. Some 270 of those are accredited. Part of our marketing is to obviously to look at the distinction between credited and non-credited programs. The key thing is the recognition of the differences between the programs. Going beyond that, we are going to develop a very clear focus that will distinguish us from other accredited schools in this area. We will be heavy in the international and information systems area . . . It is very evident that most universities, let alone schools within a university, do not have the capability of being able to cover the waterfront. Now, for us to be able to do that in other areas, we have to do it in a more collaborative sort of way. We will look to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and College Park to do collaborative work in areas like engineering or in some other areas where we think they have some strengths that we do not have. From a marketing perspective one of the things that we need to recognize is that University of Maryland as a system has some strengths and some power to it that it didn't have before, and that is the ability to be able to pool across the university system. We have, for instance, put together an international faculty and administrative association which consists of all 11 schools. Again the idea is to create a database of everything going on in the international arena within the schools . . . .

Q. With nationally know schools such as Loyola College, Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University offering business programs as well, is it your goal to boost the University of Baltimore to such a status?

A. Well, Johns Hopkins has a national reputation, but not in business. Loyola does not have a national reputation so I'm not particularly worried about them. We are not going to see ourselves competing. We are offering programs that are different. This is a very large market and we ought to be able to offer programs in a way that will be appealing to a certain constituency here. They will have their own constituency. So there really is a need for more to be offered because of the demand in the Baltimore area and I don't see it as that much competitiveness.

Q. But even so those schools draw a number of your student from the region. Do you see marketing your program outside the Baltimore region?

A. In terms of our degree program, we already draw from outside the region. We will look to primarily focus on Baltimore and the greater Baltimore area as the area we serve . . .

Q. When was UB accredited and what does it mean for the school?

A. It was accredited in the early 1980s in the undergraduate level and the graduate level in 1989. For what it means to the school, you have to go back and look at what accreditation means. It means several different things. One, you got certain standards that you must reach. What it does is help differentiate your program from other programs. There are a lot of people offering different programs. The notion of providing full-time faculty -- not part-time faculty but full-time faculty who have dedicated their lives to knowing something about how to teach and also being a model in terms how they acquire research in their own discipline -- that aspect they bring back to the classroom. You read about the Nobel Prize in economics finally being given for [research in] the corporate finance area? Well, that indicates there is a lot of basic research going on in the area of corporate finance, for instance. Our faculty is doing similar kinds of research in that area. A non-accredited program probably will not have faculty doing that. Their faculty is working full-time on the job some place else. So that's a big difference right there. The other aspects are kinds of resources you have such as the library support, computer support, the kinds of money available for faculty to do research and travel. They review the syllabi of all your courses and look very carefully at what you have included to make sure you are up-to-date and on the cutting edge of what is being taught in a certain field. We encourage our faculty to consult . . . because they bring that richness back to the classroom. We have faculty that consult on an international basis. So it's a difference in breath. There are obviously some part-time faculty that do an excellent job and give real insight in terms of what is happening in their own corporation . But you also have to realize that is not their full-time job and so they can only put so much time and effort into teaching.

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