Dean’s Blog

Installation Ceremony

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on November 23, 2014 at 4:11 PM PST

On November 14th, we installed two new endowed chairholders in the Albers School -- Bridget Hiedemann as the fifteenth holder of the Robert O'Brien Endowed Chair in Business and Suzanne de Jannaez as the eleventh holder of the Thomas Gleed Endowed Chair in Business Administration.

The O'Brien Chair is named after a former PACCAR executive who was a strong supporter of Seattle University in the 1960's and 1970's.  It rotates among our current faculty and is held for a two year term.  The chair is awarded to support faculty scholarship and activities that enrich the intellectual life of the campus and raise the reputation of the Albers School.  Bridget received the chair because of her strong record in teaching, scholarship, and service, in addition to her proposal to organize a family policy seminar series that will bring to campus scholars working on issues related to gender, family, and sexual orientation.  Bridget teaches courses in statistics, econometrics, and the economics of gender and family.  Her scholarship focuses on labor and demographic economics, and she has published in such journals as The International Economic Review and the American Journal of Public Health.  She previously served as the Patricia Wismer Professor of Gender and Diversity Studies at SU.

The Gleed Chair is named after Seattle banker Thomas Gleed, and the chair is a two year visiting position designed to attract an imminent scholar from another institution who will work with Albers faculty members on scholarly projects as well as organize activities that will enhance the reputation of the Albers School.  Suzanne was previously on the faculty of the Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.  She teaches in the areas of leadership, negotiation, and organizational development.  Her scholarship has appeared in the HarvardBusiness Review, Academy of Management Executive, and Journal of Organizational Behavior, and she has published two textbooks.  Her activities will include an initiative to support victims of female trafficking and research on mentoring received by CEOs.

Bonnie Buchanan was installed as the fourth holder of the George Albers Professorship in Business.  The professorships rotate among our current faculty and are held for three year terms.  The Albers Professorships honor the Albers family, which supported Seattle University for many years and in 2001 left a generous endowment to support the activities of the Albers School.  The family fortune was made in the food processing business, and the Albers brand is now held by Continental Mills, which uses it for its cornmeal and grits products.  Bonnie received the professorship for her strong work in teaching, research, and service.  She teaches in the areas of financial markets and institutions, international finance, and history of finance.  Her research interests include securitization, law and finance, and shareholder activism.  She has published in such journals as the American Business Law Journal, Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, and International Review of Financial Analysis, and she is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Risk Finance.

Endowed chairs and professorships are important tools for attracting and retaining outstanding faculty.  In the Albers School, we are fortunate to have five endowed chairs and five professorships that support our faculty.  We are also fortunate to have Bridget, Suzanne, and Bonnie as the three new chairholders!  Congratulations to Bonnie, Suzanne, and Bridget!

Leadership Panel

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on November 14, 2014 at 1:11 PM PST

On November 13th the Albers Executive Speaker Series hosted a panel discussion on, "Leadership: Building Agile and Adaptive Teams in a Complex Environment."  The panel included Melanie Dressel, President and CEO of Columbia Bank, Harvey Kanter, Chairman, CEO, and President of Blue Nile, and Lieutenant General Stephen Lanza, Commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis McCord.  These three bring an impressive amount of successful leadership experience from three very different sectors.  The panel was moderated by Dr. Marilyn Gist, our Associate Dean for Graduate Business Programs and Director of the Center for Leadership Formation.


Our three panelists illustrated three different leadership styles, all of which have been successful in their sector or industry - General Lanza in the military, Harvey Kanter in retail, and Melanie Dressel in financial services.  At the same time, it was noteworthy how they continually mentioned common themes in building successful organizations.  Competence among employees is expected but not sufficient.  They emphasized the importance of  trust, both in them gaining trust from their colleagues but them also trusting colleagues to make the right decisions and learn from experience.  They also noted the importance of finding people of  character  who would embrace the values of the organization.  They each noted the importance of establishing a culture of  teamwork, who understand it is about the mission of the organization and what the team can accomplish.  It is not about what is in it for the individual employee.  Finally, each panelist emphasized the importance of leading by example.  All of their colleagues watch what they do, and they must always remember to be consistent and faithful to the values and culture of the organization in their own actions.


The panel discussion was a great opportunity for our students and it was great to see how the panelists reinforced values and lessons that the Albers School conveys to students!  Thank you panelists!

Stein Kruse

Posted by Liz Wick on October 22, 2014 at 4:10 PM PDT

On October 21st, Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group (HAG), kicked off the Albers Executive Speaker Series for 2014-15. As CEO of HAG he heads up Princess, Holland America Line, Seabourn, MANCO, and P&O Cruises Australia. Altogether, Kruse oversees 41 ships and more than 36,000 employees who provide 25 million passenger cruise days annually.

Kruse has a career in the cruise industry that stretches back to the early 1980’s. At that time the industry served one million passengers. Today, it serves 21 million passengers, so it is an industry that has seen very strong growth. Kruse believes there is now tremendous potential in the Asian market, especially in China where he predicts the number of passengers will grow over the next five years from 200,000 to five million!

In his remarks, Kruse stressed that there are certain core values that are important to HAG and him as its leader – safety for passengers, environmental stewardship, and acting with honesty and integrity. He also passed on the eight essentials he sees as needed for effective leadership:

  1. Maintain your integrity at all times.
  2. Be well informed about what is happening in the organization.
  3. Declare the vision for the organization.
  4. Show uncommon commitment to the mission and lead by example.
  5. Expect positive results.
  6. Look after your people.
  7. Remember that the organization is bigger than any one person and do not let your ego get in the way.
  8. Stand front and center and be ready to stand on the stage to communicate with all stakeholders.

Kruse also spoke about the difference between management and leadership. Management is task oriented; leadership is guiding.

In the Q&A, he talked about the complexity of serving customers from different countries and cultural backgrounds. There are many changes that have to be made on a boat as you move from one group of customers to another. HAG has much experience doing that, and he was confident they would be successful with a new group of guests from new markets such as China.

Kruse also spoke to the rise of Big Data in the industry. They collect a tremendous amount of information on passengers, and the industry is becoming better and better at using it.

When asked if leaders are born that way or can they learn it, he thought it was mostly the latter and it is hard work. There may be a few people who are born leaders, and there may be some of us who will never be effective leaders, but most of us are capable of learning how to lead, and you have to make an effort at it if you are to be successful.

Dean Karlan

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on October 19, 2014 at 9:10 AM PDT

The Second Annual Howard Bosanko Lecture on October 14th featured Professor Dean Karlan, Professor of Economics at Yale University and President of Innovations for Poverty Action.  The title of his talk was, "Pragmatic Optimism in the Fight Against Poverty: Lessons from Behavioral Economics."

The Bosanko Lecture was organized by Professor Meena Rishi, who is the holder of the Bosanko Professorship in International Economics and Finance.

Karlan's talked about the use of controlled experiments to develop remedies to market failures in developing nations that often impede economic development.  One example he gave was a situation where farmers refused to use fertilizer in crop production.  The two impediments to fertilizer use are the expense (do farmers have the capital to buy the fertilizer?) and the risk (other factors such as weather undercut fertilizer effectiveness and earnings).  Karlan's team ran an experiment to provide the capital as well as to provide weather insurance.  As a result of the experiment, they found that weather insurance had a much more significant impact on fertilizer use.

Karlan's point was that there are many small interventions that can be made to improve the lives of people in emerging nations.  Of course, that does not mean there are not more macro impediments to development, it simply means that small changes can have an impact.  These small changes are easier to pull off because they are less of a threat to the status quo.  Making more macro changes such as improved education, macroeconomic stability, or trade liberalization typically threaten vested interests and are resisted. 

Years ago development economics was one of my areas for research and teaching.  The field was dominated by economists who focused on the market mechanism and who did not really want to acknowledge or deal with market imperfections.  Only people on the fringes did that and they did not get much attention from the mainstream.  Today, those focusing on market imperfections are dominating the field.  Behavioral economics and randomized trials are carrying the day.  Just this year, all SU freshmen were asked to read Poor Economics, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, which also focused on randomized trials and fighting global poverty.  It is interesting to see how the dominant view in a field can change in a relatively short period of time.

In any event, the Bosanko Lecture was a wonderful opportunity for students and faculty to hear about cutting edge work in the global development field.  Congratulations to Professor Rishi for creating the opportunity!



Mentor Program 25th Anniversary

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on October 6, 2014 at 10:10 PM PDT

The 2014-15 Albers Mentor Fair took place on October 2nd.  This is the 25th year of our Mentor Program, and during that time over 4500 students have benefitted from the wisdom and guidance of over 1000 mentors.

The event started in the PACCAR Atrium, with some 300 students, mentors, faculty, and staff in attendance.  The atrium was full of energy as students and mentors networked, in anticipation of the "speed dating" meetings between mentors and students in Pigott Building classrooms.  The high energy level illustrates the high level of engagement of our students, faculty, staff, and mentors.

This year we expect over 150 mentors and over 300 students to participate in the program.  Our thanks go out to mentors past and present for their support of our students.  We especially thank Jesse Tam, who has been a mentor for all 25 years of the program, and Willie Aikens, who has been a mentor for 24 years.

We also want to thank our program sponsor, PACCAR, and the staff of the Albers Placement Center, who oversee the program.  Thank you Mary Lou, Hannah, Bethany, Megan, and Paula!

Here is to another great year for the Albers Mentor Program!


Chauncey Burke

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on June 23, 2014 at 11:06 AM PDT

Professor Chauncey Burke is retiring from SU after 37 years of service.  While most of us know Chauncey as a marketing professor, he actually started at SU as a staff member, serving as MBA Program Director for four years beginning in 1977.  He went on to earn his Ph.D at the University of Washington and then joined our marketing faculty.  Chauncey has taught many SU students over the years, and a number of them have told me how influential he was in their SU education and professional careers.

Among the many highlights in Chauncey's time at SU is his involvement with the Pacioli Society and the famous study tour to Sansepolcro, Italy that took place annually for more than two decades.  Along with Bill Weis and Dave Tinius and others, Chauncey produced the much acclaimed film, Luca Pacioli: Unsung Hero of the Renaissance.  These three colleagues used the film to promote to the world the important role of Pacioli in developing modern day accounting!  Chauncey was a CPA and thus imminently qualified for this endeavor!

In the 1990's, Chauncey was important in representing Albers to the external community, serving on the local boards of the American Marketing Association and the Seattle Advertising Federation.  Later in his career, he developed an interest in sustainability and how firms could use it for competitive advantage.

Congratulations to Chauncey on his 37 years of service to SU and the guidance he has provided to his students over nearly four decades!

Fiona Robertson

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on June 23, 2014 at 10:06 AM PDT

Dr. Fiona Robertson is retiring from Seattle University this year after 27 years of service. She has always been known as a high energy and demanding professor and has been a favorite instructor of many students over the years.  She frequently taught the courses in financial markets and institutions and risk management.  As a teacher, Fiona was one of the first in Albers to incorporate service learning into her classes since she could see how it aligned with the SU mission.

Since 2006, Fiona has served as Chair of the Department of Finance and presided over several US News and World Report Top 25 rankings and the establishment of distinctive programs such as the Redhawk Fund, in which students manage over $450,000 of university endowment funds. The position of department chair is not an easy one, as the chair has to represent the department to the dean and the dean to the department, and Fiona has done a fine job of striking a good balance between the two.  I really appreciate her willingness to take on this role for the past eight and half years!  Her service has not just been limited to her role as department chair, but over the years she has been very active in the Colleagues program and in representing Albers in the NAEF Scholarship process.

Fiona is known among our faculty and staff as a very supportive colleague, one always willing to pitch in where needed.  She's also known as someone who is very unselfish and focused on what is best for the school and university, not what is best for her.  As a result, Fiona has had a lot of influence on the school -- when Fiona speaks, people listen to it very seriously, including the dean! :}

Congratulations to Fiona on her 27 years of dedicated service to SU and Albers.  Through the many students she has taught, she has created an impressive legacy to take pride in. She will be dearly missed by her colleagues in Albers and around the SU campus.

Harriet Stephenson

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on June 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM PDT

Professor Harriet Stephenson is retiring from Seattle University after 47 years of service.  Harriet joined our faculty in 1967 when their were few women holding PhDs in business.  It is a credit to former Dean Jim Robertson that he was smart enough to hire Harriet (and other former faculty members such as Professor Hildegard Hendrickson).  It started a long tradition of Albers having a higher proportion of female faculty members than the average business school.

Harriet is best known for her founding of our Entrepreneurship Center, now the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.  She started the center in 1989 with very limited resources and laid the groundwork for its success today.  One of its important activities was the Business Plan Competition, which we have now named after her as the Harriet B. Stephenson Business Plan Competition.  I'm glad we were smart enough to do that!

Harriet was also the first holder of the Lawrence K. Johnson Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship.  The chair was donated by Kent Johnson in honor of his father, and it was Harriet who engaged Kent in supporting entrepreneurship at SU.  Today the chair is held by Dr. Leo Simpson, and it is key reason for the success of our entrepreneurship initiatives.

Harriet has also been very active in the Small Business Institute and United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE).  She has served in many leadership roles with those groups and her students have probably accumulated more SBI awards than any other faculty member in the nation (according to Leo, at least!).

Harriet has also taken on many leadership roles at SU, including department chair, acting dean, president of the faculty senate, and chair of the United Way campaign!

Harriet has received many awards over the course of her career, both internal and external.  At SU she has received several teaching awards, including Albers Undergraduate Teacher of the Year in 1985 or the SU Alumni Professor of the Year Award in 2009.  Externally, she has received the Paul Sarbanes Spirit National Award for social entrepreneurship and the National Small Business Institute Directors Fellow Award, among others.

Despite all these accomplishments, Harriet has remained very humble and just gone about doing the work that she does.  She was never one to seek the spotlight, but the spotlight found her.  She was an important mentor for many of her Albers colleagues and considered by all to be one of the most supportive individuals in our school.

On behalf of the thousands of students at SU that you have served, and your colleagues in the Albers School, thank you for everything you have accomplished and contributed to Seattle University, Harriet!


Professor Harriet Stephenson:




Graduation 2014

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on June 16, 2014 at 4:06 PM PDT

June 15th was graduation day at Seattle University.  Some 229 graduate students and 346 undergraduate students from Albers received their degrees this year.  Highlights of the ceremonies in Key Arena included Margaux Helm receiving the President’s Award for the top academic performance among SU undergraduate students.  Albers student Nichole Abbey gave the undergraduate student address.  Leadership EMBA graduate Mark Eaton received the Provost’s Academic Award for the top academic performance among SU graduate students.  Albers alum Gary Brinson received an Honorary Degree from SU at the graduate student ceremony in the afternoon.

In his remarks, Gary gave the audience some advice on investing for retirement.  It might best be summarized as start early and put it in index funds with low management fees.  All SU faculty and staff will be happy to know we have those options in our SU retirement plan! :}  Gary also brought up the $15/hour minimum wage law in Seattle.  He noted that he worked his way through SU working at Oberto Sausage and was paid $1.25/hour.  The equivalent of today's $15 back then is $2.25, double the pay rate.  He suggested that at the higher wage Art Oberto would not have been able to afford to hire Gary Brinson, and wondered where would Gary Brinson be today if he had not had the job at Oberto's.  His point was to illustrate the unintended consequences of the $15/hour wage law, namely a decline in employment opportunities for low skill new entrants into the job market.

Some in the audience did not appreciate that perspective, but others appreciated Gary having the courage to raise the issue.  It's clear the unintended consequences of the new law have not received much consideration in the rush to get legislation approved before a ballot initiative is organized.  For example, consider the impact of the legislation on the SU campus and our use of student workers.  Most students working on campus make much less than $15/hour.  When the law goes into effect, it is unlikely the university will raise its student worker budget.  Instead, we will have the same funds to pay at the higher hourly rate, meaning we will have fewer hours for students to work on campus.  Total student income may not change, but there will be fewer students working, and it will certainly be harder to get work done! :{

Two Albers staff members received degrees from SU – Nadeje Alexandre (graduate student advisor) received her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Evinn Hickey (undergraduate student advisor)  received her Master’s in Student Development Administration.  Congratulations to Evinn and Nadeje!

The university is endeavoring to shorten both graduation ceremonies and those results are starting to pay off.  I think you will see even more progress next year in getting the undergraduate ceremony to move along.

On a personal note, my son Greg graduated this year with undergraduate degrees in business and French, meaning he was able to walk across the stage twice, and I was able to present him with his business diploma.  (Actually, it's not the diploma, just the cover, because we do not give out diploma's at graduation.  We mail them later!)  It was a pleasant surprise that he was able to participate in the ceremony.  You see, he will spend the summer fishing for salmon in Alaska and the boat was supposed to head North on June 9th, but a series of repairs is keeping them here until June 17th, so he was able to participate at the last minute.  That was a good Father's Day present for me!

The dean and son, Greg, on stage at graduation (photo courtesy of Jerry Huffman):



Hildegard Hendrickson

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on June 8, 2014 at 4:06 PM PDT

June 8th marked the one year anniversary of the disappearance of Dr. Hildegard Hendrickson, retired faculty member of the Albers School.  While hiking to pick mushrooms, Hildegard disappeared and has not been found since, despite the efforts of many to find her.

Hildegard was a member of our faculty from 1967 to 1996 and during that time served as department chair and finance professor.  There were about 80 friends, colleagues, and former students in attendance.  It was a good opportunity to bring together two communities who were very important in Hildegard's life -- Seattle University and the Puget Sound Mycological Society.

The Puget Sound Mycological Society donated an apple tree to the university, along with a memorial plaque recognizing Hildegard.  The tree is planted just South of the Hunthausen Building.  Our ceremony started with Fr. Steve Sundborg, SJ, President of SU, blessing the tree.  FYI, the small tree already has four apples growing on it!

We then heard prepared remarks from representatives of SU and the Mycological Society.  Representing SU were Dr. John Eshelman, former Dean and Provost, and Dr. Rex Toh, retired Professor of Marketing.  They recounted several good Hildegard stories that everyone could relate to.

They were followed by the two representatives of the Mycological Society, Marian Maxwell, current president, and Ron Post, past president.  They wanted it known that Hildegard's teaching was not limited to SU, but she played a very influential teaching role in the society, becoming one of the leading mushroom experts in the organization and in the Puget Sound region.

Everyone used the same words to describe Hildegard -- honest, direct, reliable, caring, organized,...  Hildegard was a remarkable individual.  We all miss her very much.


Here is a picture of the apple tree: