Gary Koppenhaver notes research, making connections in forum

The balance between teaching and research is what drew Gary Koppenhaver to Central Michigan University.

The College of Business Administration dean candidate held an open forum today and said CMU is looked at as a balanced institution and has a compelling balance of teaching and research. He hopes to continue the balance by pushing teachers to be scholars.

“You can be a scholar teacher, and teachers should strive (to be scholar teachers),” Koppenhaver said.

Koppenhaver is a professor of finance and chairman of the finance, insurance and law department at Illinois State University.

Koppenhaver said the world is not slowing down or asking less of universities and he is not sure privatizing education is the right answer.

He said the emphasis needs to be on a common focus that everyone is committed to a better future through learning opportunities.

“Education is adherently a social activity shared by society,” Koppenhaver said.

As a dean, Koppenhaver said connecting with as many alumni as possible is key because these people are the main financial supporters of a university.

Koppenhaver said deans should be on the road making connections. The connections develop a trust that shows operations are in good hands.

“People have to feel comfortable with you,” he said.

Koppenhaver said student course ratings can only offer so much insight into a teacher’s true ability. He noted his vision for a move away from relying on student ratings 100 percent to more of a 50 percent model. In order to do that, he said, there must be a deeper evaluation of course material, portfolios, assignments and possibly videotaping performance in the classroom.

“Student evaluation is important and we should care what the students think,” Koppenhaver said. “But there are other ways of evaluating.”

Koppenhaver wants to make sure that as a dean, students would students know him and that he is open with faculty about changes they would like to see.

“I like to work hard and hopefully I am working on a good plan,” Koppenhaver said.

Professor of Finance and Law Kenneth Sanney said he was impressed with what Koppenhaver had to say.

“I like that he wanted to maintain the balance between scholarship and teaching,” Sanney said.

Sanney said there are a lot of similarities between the candidates so far and he will have to distinguish the differences between them.

“(They) appreciate what we do well and are very good candidates,” Sanney said. “The search committee did a good job.”