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Around Campus


conversation A Conversation with Michael Tidwell by Princess Gabbara


Michael Tidwell’s resume speaks volumes. Prior to being named dean of the College of Business last year, Tidwell served in the same position at Bloomsburg (Pa.) University. Te southern California native studied communications at Ball State (Ind.) University as an undergraduate before deciding to pursue business. He comes fom a family of entrepreneurs so it’s only natural, he says, that he’d carry on the tradition. With a master’s and Ph.D. fom Washington State University, Tidwell has taught at a number of schools, including Clayton State (Ga.) University and now, he’s brought his insight to Eastern. He’s got big ideas for the College of Business—and we wanted to hear them.


Eastern: What’s your overall vision for the College of Business?


Tidwell: Te overall vision is to ensure that the College of Business is recognized as an important and central economic force throughout southeastern Michigan. To do that, we must ensure that every graduate of the College of Business is well prepared for a career, highly educated and adaptable in the new workplace. We want our students to be ready to enter today’s work force. So having faculty members who are well educated, up to date on current trends, ensuring that we have the latest technology in every classroom—those are the types of things that it takes to ultimately deliver a world-class education.


Eastern: How do you plan on positioning the college strategically in this competitive market?


Tidwell: We’re designing a co-curricular professional development program. It’s designed to ensure that students have interviewing, resume-writing, mentoring, networking and etiquete skills—all those things it takes to not only get that first job early but to ensure that they get that job at a higher salary, and that they get promoted quickly. Our program is designed to launch them into their careers.


Eastern: Is there anything you’d like to incorporate at EMU from your time spent at other schools?


Tidwell: Te biggest thing is that people support suc- cess. And when I say that, I’m talking about alumni, corporations or whoever from an investment perspec- tive, whether it’s an investment of money or time. Many people are reluctant to make an investment where they haven’t seen a track record. You have to begin to show a track record before you can get people to buy into your new idea, whether that’s a business idea or programmatic idea from a university perspec- tive. You need the investment before you can launch. It’s called “bootstrapping,” which means you’ve got to figure out how to do it yourself, and put your own money and time in before other people jump on board. And so because people support success, we have to bootstrap a lot of what we do before they invest.


“Many people are reluctant to make


an investment where they haven’t seen a track record. You


have to begin to show a track record before you can get people


to buy into your new idea, whether that’s a business idea or


programmatic idea fom a university perspective.”


—Michael Tidwell


16 Eastern | FALL 2013


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