Smith will guide future College of Business through approval, accreditation
Howard Smith doesn’t mind an uphill course.
An avid hiker, Smith remembers encountering an older man on a trail several years ago. The man, passing Smith, said he’d completed at least one major hike a week. Smith’s new goal was born.
These days, Smith completes about three major hikes a week, squeezing them into early mornings before his drive to Pacific University’s Forest Grove campus—where he’s set his sights on a new goal.
Smith is the founding dean of a future College of Business at Pacific, a title that is bound to come with challenges, not the least of which is the paradoxal nature of being dean of a college that doesn’t exist.
His first task is completing a proposal for a new college and taking it through the University’s governance system, building buy-in from faculty and staff, fundraising to support the endeavor and beginning a long accreditation process.
He’s been dean of the University of New Mexico’s Schools of Management and School of Public Administration, as well as dean and tenured professor of management in the Boise State University College of Business and Economics. In Boise, he also was vice president of university advancement, adding a significant fundraising element to his portfolio.
Provost John Miller said Smith brings every qualification that University leaders hoped to find—and more than they expected.
“This guy covers all the bases,” Miller said. “It’s like destiny.”
“We were fortunate to recruit him at this point in his life and in our planning,” said University President Lesley Hallick. “He really saw how exciting it could be to build a program, and he has the experience to pull it off.”
The chance was a tempting one, Smith said, both because it fit his qualifications and because it’s so rare.
“The opportunity to found a new college is few and far between these days.”
He’s starting by working closely with his colleagues at Pacific and shepherding the founding proposal through appropriate channels. But he’s also anxiously looking ahead to the possibilities: He foresees the opportunity for significant crossover for students between a College of Business and the College of Arts & Sciences, eventual new graduate and professional degrees and specialization for business students interested in the healthcare industry.
“We’re not going to try to be everything to everybody. We’ll be selective and focus on specific niches and strive to be superior in those initiatives,” he said. “It’s all based on a fundamental foundation of a deeply rich liberal arts education base. On top of that, we will layer innovation and entrepreneurship.”