School of Business Newsletter
Faculty and Staff Highlights
Welcome New Staff
Where are you from?
I am from the Salt Lake Valley, born and raised. Never lived anywhere else.
Where did you attend college?
Believe it or not, I originally attended SLCC, where I earned a certificate in Refrigeration and HVAC Mechanics. (I’m not kidding. That is 100% true.) I don’t tell anyone, nor do I list it on my resume, because who would ever care to know that?
For my bachelor’s degrees (I have 2) and master’s degree (I have 1), I attended the University of Utah. My first bachelor's degree is a BA in History; my second is a BA in Political Science. My master's degree is in Public Administration.
What drew you to working at Westminster and to your job?
Truthfully, I really love working in higher education, and Westminster College has such a great reputation. My friends who attended Westminster College all praised what a great school it was, and I have always admired the school. I felt that obtaining a position at Westminster College would be a huge achievement for me professionally, so you can only imagine how excited I was to be invited back for a second interview.
The qualities that really drew my attention (and excitement) to Westminster College are the faculty, the school’s reputation, and the opportunity to work for a world-class business school. I am really excited to be a part of Westminster College and very proud to tell people where I work.
What do you like about Westminster so far?
The people I work with. I am not exaggerating when I say this is the best place I have ever worked. The people at Westminster College are amazing. I also like the opportunities that are presented to me every single day. With the new people on staff (including myself), I feel that there are so many possibilities at Westminster College and Gore. The school is transitioning to a new direction, and I am so excited to be on board for the next chapter that is now being written.
What do you hope to accomplish in your work in 2019?
To learn all of the systems, processes, and nuances of my job. The position I have was held by an extremely competent and talented person for 8 years. His shoes are really big and very difficult to fill. My goal is to learn all that I need to be as successful as Baptiste was. I also want to expand our reach into our local business community. My ultimate goal is to make our programs recognized as the best in the country. I want to reach a point where we are turning down more students than we are admitting. That all starts with what I accomplish this year.
How do you envision your role relating to Gore faculty, as well as other academic units across campus?
I feel I am a liaison between the students and faculty. I am here to ensure classrooms are filled and students have their needs met. I am a strategic partner for the faculty and a strategic partner for the students. Basically, I get to have the best job on campus—working directly with our faculty and students every day.
Tell us something unique about you.
I used to think it was my career path, and then I met Mike Keene and Chelsea Dye. I would guess the most unique thing I have to share is an ability to fix a car that no one else has been able to, and I have no training in mechanics.
Favorite book and/or movie?
One of my favorite books of all time is A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo. Not surprisingly, one of my favorite movies of all time is Apocalypse Now. (The focus of my history major was the Vietnam War from 1955–1975.)
Favorite quote or phrase that is motivating/meaningful to you?
“I have little patience with scientists who take a board of wood, look for its thinnest part, and drill a great number of holes where drilling is easy.” —Albert Einstein
Tinkering on my Land Rover and working on older cars.
Care to share about your family, pets, etc.?
My wife Tamme (pronounced Tammy) and I live in Sandy with our sons (2 at home and 1 married to a wonderful woman) and our not so little dog Teddy (a brindle colored shih tzu).
New Associate Dean Announced
Dean Bodvarsson has announced that Dax Jacobson will step into the role of Associate Dean of the BVGSB effective Spring Semester 2019. The Associate Dean serves essentially as the Chief Operating Officer of the School, managing work across 6 broad categories:
- Oversight of Curriculum Management Process
- Support of AACSB accreditation work
- Admissions and advising
- Management of adjunct faculty
- Management of master scheduling, faculty workload, and professional development
- Support of BVGSB Strategic initiatives and projects
Dax joined BVGSB in the fall of 2015. He is an associate professor of the Management program and for the past year served as chair of Competency-Based programs. Prior to joining Westminster College, Dax taught at California State University Channel Islands. He earned his PhD and MBA from Bentley University in Waltham, MA, and graduated with a dual BA in history and finance from Utah State.
Dax has significant experience developing and teaching traditional, online, and project-based strategy, management, and leadership courses for undergraduate, graduate, and executive education programs. In addition, Dax’s academic experience across multiple institutions has included assisting with ACBSP, AACSB, and EQUIS accreditation efforts; recruiting and advising students, interviewing, training, and scheduling faculty and staff; serving on key college and school-level committees, and setting strategic direction and creating policy (particularly around online education).
Dax’s research interests broadly cover the historical relationships among business, information technology (IT), and education. He regularly publishes and reviews leading conferences and journals in management, information systems, and education. Dax consults with for- and non-profit organizations on leadership, strategy, and business process improvement. Prior to joining academia, he worked in acquisitions for the U.S. Air Force, and before that for a small Internet start-up in Utah doing a bit of everything. He’s from Idaho—and proud of it.
Since the fall of 2018, Dean Bodvarsson has connected with alumni in various cities around the country to get acquainted with them, hear about their accomplishments and activities since graduation, and update them on what's been happening in the Gore School and Westminster. One of the dean's highest priorities is recognizing the college's alumni as extremely important stakeholders.
His alumni tour began with a luncheon visit to alumni in and around Portland on December 8, followed on December 17, by a dinner for the Phoenix-area alumni. Other scheduled trips include visits to Atlanta-area alumni in late January and Seattle-area alumni in February. There are also plans to visit alums in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Women in Aviation Chapter
To support our female students, we have an active student club, a local chapter of the Women in Aviation, an international organization. The chapter hosted a very successful “Girls in Aviation” Day event at the South Valley Regional Airport this past October. The event brought together numerous aviation businesses, schools, and nearly 200 girls from our local community who wanted to learn more about aviation and flying careers. The student chapter meets regularly and plans a variety of social events throughout the year, but they also attend the WAI conference every spring. Several students will attend the WAI conference in Long Beach, CA, in March.
For the first time since its inception, the Westminster Tax Clinic has been named a recipient of the IRS VITA Grant. This award of $97,000 ($48,500 each for the 2019 and 2020 tax filing seasons) will allow the Clinic to Increase VITA services to the under-served; increase the number of returns filed electronically; enhance volunteer training, and significantly improve the accuracy of returns prepared at volunteer sites.
Prior to taking the Westminster Tax Clinic to an off-campus location in the spring of 2015, the Clinic was held on campus and served only a couple hundred clients in its best year. Over the last few years, the Clinic has expanded so much that there will be another site opening in West Valley this year. During the spring of 2018, the Tax Clinic served 1,921 taxpayers and brought approximately $2.5M to the community.
The Thriving Organization highlights the underlying dynamics that drive high-performing organizational cultures and is now available in print through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. We are excited that this 2-year endeavor has now come to fruition.
Please be sure to join us at our next Innovative Cultures Guest Lecture in the Gore Auditorium on January 30. Tom King will be presenting “Building the Culture for a Team to Take Risks.” The lecture begins at 6:00 p.m., with a 21+ reception beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Gore Atrium. Please register if you plan to attend on this link. If you are a faculty member and would like your students to attend, please send a list of student names to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to know more about who we are and what we do?
Stop by and talk to us anytime in Gore 217
Opportunity Quest (OQ) is an annual business innovation competition open to all students at Westminster College. Directed and led by Westminster students, the competition fosters and promotes business growth at the college level by giving students a chance to organize, direct, and present a business idea to a panel of judges. This year, 17 people competed in the Opportunity Quest General Business Category, and 5 people competed in the Social Category. This is the largest number of young, rising entrepreneurs to compete in OQ in the last 4 years!
The 2019 Lecture Series in Entrepreneurship: A college-level class open to the public, the lecture series invites successful entrepreneurs to discuss critical issues relevant to their success. By bridging the gap between formal education and real-world experience, we can better help students master the entrepreneurial skills critical to successful careers in business, corporate, or social entrepreneurship.
From the Dean
Dear Friends of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business,
Happy 2019! It’s a pleasure to introduce myself as the new Dean of the Gore School and to introduce you to our new Newsletter, which will be a regular publication of the Dean’s Office. In an effort to spread the word to everyone in the Gore School’s community of alumni, donors, and other friends, this newsletter will keep you updated on our faculty, staff, students, alumni, ongoing initiatives, and anything else going on in the School that we think you should know about.
I have been serving as the dean since last July 1. Prior to working at Westminster College, I served as dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies and professor of economics at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). At CSUS, I started a number of initiatives, the biggest involving the establishment of a downtown presence for the college I led, which now has culminated in a satellite campus for the university called “Sacramento State Downtown.” Prior to that, I worked for 22 years at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where I was a professor of economics, chaired the Department of Management, directed the Center for Economic Education, and served as the founding dean of the School of Public Affairs.
At St. Cloud State, I led work to establish the first public policy school in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and then served as the school’s first dean. I love starting up new things and helping them grow. I also love being out in the community, nurturing relationships with organizations and people that benefit our students and who we can help too. I’m excited to bring these skills and experiences to the Gore School.
It is truly an honor and privilege to serve as the dean of the Gore School. When I interviewed for this job last spring, I was so taken with the warm and welcoming student-centric environment of Westminster. I’ve met already a lot of highly accomplished graduates of Westminster, and I think I know why so many of our alums have been wildly successful; our faculty and staff truly care about our students' lives and futures. As I’ve traveled to different cities over the past few months to meet alumni, a resounding theme I hear from them is how they treasure the relationships they built with their professors and fellow students while at Westminster, in addition to the great training they got. The Gore School is truly a gem; never before have I worked with a faculty and staff so dedicated to helping transform students’ lives. I believe the Gore School can become the best business school at a private liberal arts college on the West Coast.
I have set 5 goals for my work over the next few years. First, I want to see the process of securing initial accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) completed. To that end, I am very excited to announce that in November, AACSB cleared us into the last stage for securing initial accreditation, which will involve the preparation of a self-evaluation report and a site team visit. Second, like most colleges and universities around the country, we are facing enrollment challenges. In an effort to build up our enrollments, I have d a “700 by 300” enrollment plan—700 undergraduate majors and 300 graduate students by the fall of 2021. Third, I want to see successful implementation of a diversity and inclusion plan. The plan was written by a school task force last semester, and we will start implementation in the new year. Fourth, all the good work we want to do for our students and the community will re-quire external support, so it’s a very high priority of mine to bring in more external funding for the Gore School through donations, grants, and other kinds of revenue streams. Since starting this job, I’ve been spending a good chunk of time out in the community, making new friends of the Gore School, and getting to know friends who have supported us in the past. Finally, I feel very strongly that the high-quality, practical training our students get in the Gore School’s programs should be complemented as much as possible by learning from other disciplines and perspectives. One of the reasons so many of our graduates have done so well is that they’ve received business training in a liberal arts environment, where the value of their business education was enhanced by learning in such fields as psychology, communications, history, political science, the arts, etc. Business students should be given as many opportunities as possible to learn how to solve problems using knowledge from and working with people from other fields. This is the essence of my fifth goal, which is to integrate the Gore School’s programs more deeply with the rest of the college.
I am excited to introduce some new members of the dean's team. Dr. Dax Jacobson, associate professor and director of our Project-Based MBA program, has joined us as our new associate dean starting this month. We’re very excited to bring the associate dean position back and to fill it with Dax, who brings a lot of program development and administration experience, as well as energy and creativity. William Shiflett joined us in November as our new Graduate Business program's operations director. William brings a variety of experiences in higher education, most recently as director of the Office of Student Affairs in the University of Utah’s School of Medicine. Deborah Marzano joined us last month as our new Graduate Business program's coordinator. Deborah also brings a variety of higher education experiences, most recently as Academic Program manager in the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah. I am thrilled to be working with these 3 outstanding professionals.
I want to take the opportunity to thank my predecessor, Dr. Melissa Koerner, for her hard work, dedication, and good cheer during her three years as interim dean. Melissa did an enormous amount of work moving us along the trajectory towards initial AACSB accreditation, making my job of getting us across the accreditation finish line easier. Melissa was also immensely helpful to me during my transition into the dean’s position, and I’m most grateful for that. I wish Melissa well in her retirement.
Please let us hear from you, so send us your news and suggestions. We welcome material for this newsletter from our readers, so please don’t hesitate to send material to Emily Mosdell, office manager here in the Gore School, at email@example.com. Please don’t hesitate to contact me too—I love to hear from our alumni and friends in the community. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 801.832.3601, or just stop by Gore 225. You’re always welcome. Finally, I am always grateful for any financial support for the Gore School. These are challenging times in U.S. higher education, and budgets are tight. We always need help with scholarships, professional development of our faculty and staff, development of new programs, our centers, and our facilities. I’m always happy to discuss ways you can support our work to train future leaders in business in Utah and beyond. Best wishes for the new year!
Dean and Professor of Economics