College

Greetings!

In this, the penultimate letter I will be writing to alumni and friends of the college, my thoughts are turning toward transition. A particularly warm finish to the month of February but a late snow in March has me thinking of the change of seasons, and my upcoming move from the prairie to Shakespeare country in Warwickshire. The term has been progressing well and midterms are in full swing. As I write, spring break is approaching and our students will be heading off in many directions — some to a fun-filled vacation in southern climes, some to take part in professional development programs, many to make office visits for career or internship positions, and a growing number participate in a program called Alternative Spring Break. The latter go out into various communities and serve those less fortunate than themselves. Students in the college make up a diverse group — racially, culturally, in interests and lifestyle — in all ways possible. This too represents a transition and the college is richer and more relevant for embracing this diversity.
Commerce West itself is in a state of transition. Renovations have been continuing while the semester is in progress, which has required painstaking planning and abundant tolerance and goodwill from everyone in the building. Like the family we are, everyone is pulling together. When the job is finished, the new Wohlers Hall will be a showpiece and a much improved academic facility. Some of the most important changes to the building are taking place behind the walls, so to speak. When the work is through, every classroom and office will be wired for the technological demands of the new economy.

Technology is itself a major driver of the new industrial revolution — a major transition now evolving at a rapid pace. The effect of technology on everything we do in the college is considerable — ranging from the way we teach to what we teach to where our students are located to how the faculty conduct their research.

Technology is itself a major driver of the new industrial revolution — a major transition now evolving at a rapid pace. The effect of technology on everything we do in the college is considerable — ranging from the way we teach to what we teach to where our students are located to how the faculty conduct their research.

It is no longer sufficient for faculty to just master their subject matter. They must also master the technology that enriches their presentations and research. And technology has so altered the business world that we have to integrate and weave such subjects as information technology, e-commerce, and process management into the curriculum.

During my tenure as dean I have overseen a great many changes and I know that more will inevitably follow once a new dean is appointed. Change is very refreshing and essential to the growth, vitality, and enhanced reputation of the College of Commerce. We embrace change with enthusiasm and responsibility. Despite the constant presence of change, however, there is an essential core commitment in the leadership of the college to a tradition of excellence that has been our hallmark since we received the college designation in 1915.

I invite all of you to take an active part in shaping the future of your alma mater. My e-mail address is hthomas@uiuc.edu and I would like to challenge you to send me your thoughts about the impact of the Internet and the new economy on the college's operations. What should our Internet strategy be? How can we use the new methods provided by educational technology to enhance the quality of the teaching and learning experiences we offer our excellent students?

It is with great pride that InSight records the achievements of our students, faculty, and alumni — from the profile of Josh Whitman, the quintessence of a scholar/athlete, to the successes of our faculty, to the generosity and commitment of alumni who share their time, expertise, and good fortune with the college. As always, I encourage you to stay in touch, come to alumni events, and when you visit campus, which I hope is often, please drop by my office.

With best wishes for the future,

Howard Thomas, Dean and James F. Towey
Distinguished Professor of Strategic Management