Patton steps down as dean, puts career aspirations on the front burner

Jeanette Perry

After working nine years in the Dillard College of Business Administration, including the last five of dean, Terry Patton is stepping down, returning to the classroom.

Terry Patton, dean, Dillard College of Business Adminstration. Photo by Izziel Latour.
Terry Patton, dean, Dillard College of Business Adminstration. Photo by Izziel Latour.

“It’s very interesting, When I stepped in, it was a very interesting thing. We had a Provost, who was just on her way out, and so I talked about what I wanted to do, and she was gone, and so with my very first meeting with our Provost now, Dr. Stewart, I told her I’m in this for probably for a period of four to six years. That’s all I really want to do as Dean.” 

In addition, Patton said, changes in his academic field and family require more of more of his time than he could devote as dean.

“I’ll be teaching. I had a textbook in my area in the past and I’d like to work on that. I have some other things in governmental accounting. I’d like to provide some services to professionals, so I’m very interested in developing some of those materials, something i’ve wanted to do. That was my next goal and I’ve had to put that on the back burner for 5 years and I’d like to put that back up on the front and see what we can do with that. It’s sort of exciting.”

Patton said he feels that he has done what he set out to do as dean.

“I actually asked Dr. Stewart last year, ‘is four enough?’ And she said, ‘I’d like to have you here for five.’ I said that’s fine, and so I’ve done it five,” Patton said. “We got through our accreditation, which we really needed a lot of work on when I first got here, so we did our maintenance of accreditation and we got through that in good shape. I think it’s really time now to pass the reins over to somebody else, give them enough time, before we have our next maintenance visit so that they can put their spin on things.” 

Patton will still resume his duties as the Robert Madera Distinguished Professorship of Accounting which he is excited about. He says that although that is an administrative position it will still leave more flexibility with regards to his schedule so that he can do the things he really enjoys.

“I’ve spent most of my life, probably determined in my 20s, that I had this niche area of governmental accounting that I wanted to spend much of my career in, and I just can’t spend the time I would like to in that area. My wife and I have a grandbaby we’d like to go see and do some things, and it’s harder to do when you have these time constraints as a dean.”

Emphasize Teaching

Patton said this change will also give him a chance to focus on teaching. 

Patton said, “I think at the university and our college also, we have an emphasis on the students, which I really like from a professor standpoint and teaching standpoint because some places have more of an emphasis, so much so on research, that I think the students get ignored but that’s not the case here. We have a situation where I think we have a faculty as a whole, everyone is working together with the idea of trying to give the best educational experience possible to our students, and that’s a nice environment to be in.” 

He said he appreciates the emphasis the university gives on teaching as well as trying to give a good educational experience to the students.

“We have small enough classes I get to know the students, I can learn people’s names, I know who they are, I meet with them, we talk about things, talk about careers,” Patton said. “Just yesterday I had a student or the day before I guess, I had a student from the past write a note just thanking us for what we did, so, you know, it’s a really good, it’s a good environment to work in.”

The Future

While he may not be at the helm, Patton said he would like to see enrollment growing at the both the graduate and undergraduate levels and to see more outreach in the local community.

“It is very important from the standpoint of our students having that kind of experience, meeting people in the community and having them involved in our classes,” Patton said. “The college has been involved in economic development of the community, so we provide resources for that.”

Patton’s tenure as dean is until August 31st of 2017. He continues with his plans after he completes his role as dean. 

Faculty and Student Reaction 

Randi Roanhaus, academic advisor coordinator, said, “I think he’s a fantastic dean. He is extremely student, staff and faculty centered. It’s good to have a boss that’s so great and it’s also encouraging that he will will be here to guide the next dean. I believe the atmosphere he has helped to establish will remain.”

Brittany Fernholz, management information systems senior, said, “I didn’t know [he was stepping down] until just now. If that makes him happy, that’s important. I liked Dr. Patton as our dean, but he has to take care of himself.”

“I think Dr. Patton has been very influential around the Dillard College of Business and especially as the dean, has been an essential part of its growth in recent years,” Eduardo Zuleta, finance senior, said. “It was always a pleasure having him as a guest lecturer for some of my classes and just running into him around Dillard. He is very well liked by our students and will surely be missed.”

Steps to Choosing a New Dean

  • Place a search ad in national publications
  • Form a search committee made up of current faculty members
  • Review applicants 
  • Invite applicants for campus visit
  • Select successful applicant