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Q&A with John Navin, PhD, Interim Dean and Professor School of Business, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

IBJ: Congratulations on your promotion. Is it for a specified period of time?

QandA-John-NavinNavin: Two years. I began as Interim Dean on July 1st and have the option to reapply for the permanent position in July 2015.

IBJ: This is quite a change for you from what you’ve done up to this point, isn’t it?

Navin: Yes, it sure is. Everything has changed. For the past 23 years, I’ve been teaching. My entire career up to this point has been teaching, ever since I came to SIUE after I completed my PhD at Michigan State University in 1991. This is an exciting opportunity. Although the Dean’s position doesn’t include any teaching, I will now be a lot more involved in strategic planning, and in representing the School of Business to the community.

IBJ: What will your major responsibilities as Dean include?

Navin: The position interfaces with the Provost and the external community. Fundraising is a big part of that, as is setting the strategic direction for the School of Business. Overseeing our school’s budget, managing our future projects, keeping the alums up to date with what’s going on in the School of Business, personnel management and more. You can think of it as being a senior manager. Before, I was Professor and Chair of the Economics and Finance Department, a department of 16. Now, I’m overseeing a school of 54. Many of the administrative and leadership functions are similar, but it’s on a grander scale. Add to that the community involvement.

IBJ: Which part of your new job are you looking forward to the most?

Navin: The thing I’m looking the most forward to is the opportunity to set the agenda, to steer the ship. We’ve got a lot of challenges, no doubt, but we have an extremely forward-thinking business community and university as well. I’m really looking forward to interacting with the companies that hire our graduates, the alumni who serve on our advisory board and the external community of Southwestern Illinois. That for me is a new responsibility. It’s going to be fun to be out front and to have the privilege of being the face of the School of Business.

IBJ: With regard to community leadership, this is somewhat of a natural transition for you, isn’t it?

Navin: Yes, it is, in that I’ve been active as a leader in my community for years. As a long-time resident of Glen Carbon, I raised my kids here. I served on the Glen Carbon Village Board for five years, I was on TheAlliance of Edwardsville & Glen Carbon board and I’m currently head of the Glen Carbon Zoning Board of Appeals. Many of my SIUE economics grads are integrated in the local business community, working at banks and investment firms.

IBJ: As you begin your role as Interim Dean of the School of Business, what would you like Southwestern Illinois to know?

Navin: One of the things I want to make sure people realize is that the SIUE School of Business is an available resource to businesses and governmental entities here in our region. We have an exceptional faculty, and we’ve done a lot of really great work – such as economic impact studies – for a variety of organizations in the past. That’s my passion: I want our school to clearly identify ourselves as a resource for companies and organizations.

IBJ: What’s an example of research that the School of Business has performed for a company or organization in the past?

Navin: We’ve done work for Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois and for America’s Central Port. Several years back, we performed an economic impact study for Leadership Council on the impact of the medical malpractice insurance premium crisis on Madison County. Over the years, we’ve also produced studies on topics such as employment and workforce investment.

IBJ: What other work do you hope to do with area companies?

Navin: Beyond fundraising and offering the School of Business as a resource, I hope to promote more public-private partnerships between the School of Business and corporations in the bi-state region.

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