June 7: Message from the Dean | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

June 7: Message from the Dean

Posted on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Spring 2011 - With the winter term now well behind us, I'd like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank CME students, staff and faculty who have contributed so much to the considerable successes we have collectively achieved over the fall and winter semesters. It truly has been a remarkable year. We continue to develop innovative new learning opportunities; grow our research activity; forge meaningful community-based partnerships; and attract top faculty, staff and students who are committed to our core activities: Transformational Learning, Research that Counts, and Community Engagement.

One glance at CME news shows just how productive and successful we have been! It has been five years since the founding of the college and there is no question that we have made considerable progress towards our vision – Leaders for a Sustainable World.

While it is difficult to choose which accomplishments to highlight, I want to mention just a few of our successes:

Our BComm program is thriving, with over 3,000 students now enrolled across nine majors. We have made great progress at refining the core, developing new courses, and initiating the development of new certificates.

Our newest major - Accounting + – which launched this past fall, has proven to be very popular with over 300 students now enrolled. It promises to continue to grow, having received over 900 applications for fall 2011. 

Our graduate programs are also attracting considerable interest, with growing enrolments in our research focused Masters and PhD programs, as well as in our executive programs.

In particular, our MA (Leadership) program is seeing record enrollments with over 60 new students who joined us this spring.  Many of our leadership students were present when we honoured globally acclaimed former war crimes prosecutor, human rights crusader, and former Canadian Supreme Court justice, Louise Arbour with the prestigious Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award. Ms. Arbour inspired our leadership students with a thought-provoking presentation about her experiences and the skills required of a global leader.

Recently we also welcomed 25 new MBA students, who just completed a very successful residential week. I am excited by plans to expand our MBA program internationally and to potentially add several new streams over the next few years. One such initiative that we plan to launch next year will be targeted at those who want to make a contribution to food security. Known as our MBA “for a Better Planet” this program will combine face-to-face instruction, in situ learning in locations around the world, and interactive on-line learning. The focus of a major group project will be on advancing sustainable and equitable business solutions to an issue associated with the global food crisis.

CME’s undergraduate students have also made great strides over the past year, with many participating in competitions and community projects, benefitting from the opportunity to apply theory and develop new skills. I am very proud of what our students have achieved. Examples include our human resource management students who reached the finals in the Excalibur Canadian University Tournament in Human Resources, our accounting students who won at the University of Ottawa’s Accounting Case Competition, and our hospitality and tourism students who participated in the Young Hoteliers Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland and won a creativity challenge.  In April, economics students also hosted a national Trading Simulation Competition, in which 150 students competed. CME students were included in both the 2nd and 3rd place teams. Most recently, a Guelph team of three placed first in an OCE new product competition for their development of a no sodium added, low sugar chocolate milk. The project was chosen amongst 350 others in the university category. I would also like to extend my congratulations to our HTM student team whose Garden2Table exhibit won best overall exhibit at College Royal for the second year in a row and to the teams who competed in our 4th Annual University of Guelph Nicol Entrepreneurial Competition. Well done all!

CME students were also involved in many community-based outreach projects. A team of third-year marketing students, for example, developed a market analysis for the Royal City Ambassadors, a local non-profit choral group, so that they could better understand their competition, customers, and market trends. Similarly, real estate students examined the feasibility of opening a second ReStore for non-profit Habitat for Humanity Wellington County, including identifying and ranking possible new sites. HTM students were also active in the community. The HTM Student Association organized "Green Thumb", a fundraising dinner that raised $1,800 in support of Everdale, an organization that promotes organic farming. 

CME student groups and associations were also hard at work organizing various functions throughout the year, including the CMESA who organized several successful orientation, networking and fundraising events. One undertaking through which CME students demonstrated their commitment to making a difference was the 5 Days for the Homeless campaign. This past March, five CME students lived outside for five days and raised more than $5,500 for Wyndham House, a local organization that provides housing for homeless youth.

CME faculty received many awards and honours over the past year for their commitment to providing students with transformational learning experiences as well as for their contributions to management and economics research. This past year, for example, seven CME faculty were nominated for excellence in teaching awards. Prof. Michael Hoy won a Distinguished Professor Award and Professor Jane Londerville was awarded the 2011 Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising Medallion.We also had an incredibly successful year in terms of publications and research grants awarded. Many of our faculty published books or papers in prestigious journals and were recognized for their contributions to their disciplines, invited to give keynote addresses at national and international gatherings, and interviewed by the media. In the past year, CME faculty attracted more than $2 million in external research funding. 

Illustrating our commitment to doing research that will make a difference in the world:

  • MCS Prof. Sunghwan Yi is researching an app that makes finding recipes and preparing vegetables easier for consumers.
  • Prof. Towhidul Islam was awarded a grant from the Australian Research Council to examine how best to relay complex financial information to consumers to allow them to save effectively for their retirement.
  • Professor Miana Plesca and former PhD student Burc Kayahan's paper, "The Impact of Aggregate and Sectoral Fluctuations on Training Decisions" was selected as one of two finalists for the 2010 Kenneth J Arrow Prize for Junior Economists.  
  • Economics PhD graduate Mehmet Pinar will work on a Sustainability Index at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, the prestigious research institute in Venice.
  • Tourism researchers led by Dr. Marion Joppe received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to study innovative best practices to foster place-based tourism development in Ontario's rural communities.
  • HTM professor Dr. Statia Elliot is researching the commercialization of value-added reservation analytics.
  • Business professor Sean Lyons' study of how the salary expectations of female university students continue to contribute to the perpetuation of a gendered salary gap, is making headlines around the globe.
  • Prof. Sara Mann's research on high performance HR for low-wage workers was recently featured as the cover story of the HR Professional Magazine.

In closing, I want to thank all of you - CME students, staff and faculty - for your commitment, dedication and contributions to the College. Best wishes for a wonderful, safe and productive summer.

 Julia Christensen Hughes


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