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A legacy of leadership

July 9, 2007
By Mary Reed

College of Business Dean Glenn Corlett retired June 30 after 10 years at the helm of the college from which he graduated in 1965. He participated in an interview with Outlook writer Mary Reed from Leipzig, Germany, where he is serving as a faculty member with the Global Competitiveness Program. Before coming to the college, Corlett worked for N.W. Ayers & Partners, an international advertising agency, and Price Waterhouse, an international accounting and consulting firm. In addition to his bachelor of business administration degree from Ohio University, Corlett holds a law degree from Ohio State University. 

Glenn Corlett photo by Rick FaticaWhat's it like to lead a college from which you graduated?

I think that it was a great advantage to be back at my alma mater. A dean's job is externally focused - recruiting students and faculty, selling our students to recruiters and interacting with alumni and donors. I never met an Ohio University alum who hadn't enjoyed his or her Bobcat experience.

How is the College of Business different today than it was in 1997 when you took over as dean?

With the support of loyal alumni and friends, we have been able to create more named professorships. Our faculty were underpaid and under-recognized in 1997, and we set out to do something about it. We have added 10 named professorships to reward the efforts of our best and brightest faculty. 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as dean?

I have pushed the importance of oral and written communication. My business experience convinced me that these skills were weak in new entrants to the workforce. I was determined to give our students a competitive advantage by preparing them in these important areas. The programs that differentiate the College of Business from its competitors include our emphasis on project-based learning with the requisite team-building and presentation skills development. Our integrated core business clusters are unique in undergraduate business education. (The cluster program combines traditionally independent classes into one integrated class taught by a team of professors. Student teams solve authentic business problems, often with real clients.)

Why are international programs important?

In the careers of today's graduates, no other skill will be more valuable than the ability to work effectively with international colleagues on international business problems. Our Global Competitiveness Program is a very powerful and realistic learning experience. Conventional study abroad programs have personal development aspects and contribute to the cultural awareness of the students who participate. The GCP combines these important attributes with a meaningful business experience ? an authentic multinational consulting experience. After completing the GCP, our students are ready to accept international assignments with the knowledge that they can do a credible job in any circumstance. 

Looking to the future

Hugh Sherman, a former Ohio University faculty member and associate dean, will return to the university Aug. 1 as Corlett's successor.

"I'm really excited about coming back to Ohio University," Sherman said. "Glenn Corlett - and before him (deans) Bill Day and John Stinson - have built an outstanding business college (that was ranked 62nd in the nation by BusinessWeek magazine.) There's a real opportunity to build on that."

What are the biggest challenges facing business education today?

I am very concerned about the escalating cost of higher education in the United States. There can be no doubt that we will continue to lose low-wage, low-skill manufacturing jobs in this country. Consequently, our economy must be transformed to a knowledge worker model. This transformation requires more college graduates, not fewer. I fear that we are pricing a college education out of the reach of the average family in America and that something radical must be done to make education more affordable.

You have been credited with helping to nurture the relationship between alumni and the College of Business.

Our alumni have returned to Athens to lecture, teach, mentor, advise and interact with our faculty and students. In addition, our alumni have provided financial support for scholarships, professorships and programs. Our alumni have enriched the College of Business in many ways. 

Where would you like to see the College of Business in 10 years?

The College of Business is much better than the ranking agencies recognize. The distinctive characteristics of an education at the College of Business at Ohio University will prepare our students to compete in the marketplace. Within a reasonable period of time, I expect that the success of our graduates will turn the tide of public perception, and the College of Business will achieve the recognition it deserves. 

What's next for Glenn Corlett?

The rocking chair will have to wait a while for me. I am currently serving on six corporate boards, which will keep me challenged and busy. My wife, Bonny, and I plan to spend more time with our grandchildren and I hope to be able to teach in our executive education programs, the Global Competitiveness Program and our international programs.

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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