Anne Marie tells me I have finished my one-on-one meetings will all of the faculty and staff of the College of Business Administration. Nice to meet all of you. If I missed anyone please contact Anne Marie to schedule a visit.

So what’s next?

When I was at the University of Kentucky I remember using a case about UPS. UPS is one of the largest employers in Kentucky, so many students could identify with the company. Some might even end up working for it. What I liked about the case was the claim that no matter what position people were hired for at UPS, they started out by driving the truck. The logic behind this approach was simple: if you hadn’t driven the truck, you didn’t fully understand UPS. Lesson: before you try to manage, make sure you understand the core functions of the enterprise.

For the College that comes down to two things: knowledge production and knowledge dissemination. So, I have been attending research seminars offered by our various departments in an effort to understand how we create knowledge. I can’t overstate how important an active research program is to the long-term success of the college. An emphasis on research is what differentiates universities from community colleges and ensures that faculty have interesting things to say to students that goes beyond what they can read in the book. Think of it as professional development for faculty or the equivalent of corporate R&D.

I also like to attend seminars because I learn things about how business is evolving, new concepts that change my view of the world, and insights into how I can be a better manager and leader. For most of our students these lessons are learned not in research seminars, but in the classroom. So over the next few months I plan on visiting some classes, sitting in the back and observing. Knowing what goes on in class is critical to understanding UCF and the college….it is simply, our biggest truck.

So, if I show up in your class, don’t freak, I’m not there to evaluate anyone. I’m there to understand the student and faculty experience. I want to witness lecture capture both live and via the net. I want to see Cornerstone and Capstone in person and get a glimpse of what our various majors and graduate students are up to. I don’t want to interrupt class. Pay no attention to me until class has ended. If you are not in a hurry when class is over, stop by and say hello. I’d like to have a brief conversation with you.

Guess I won’t be driving the truck, just sitting shotgun.

Paul Jarley, Ph.D., is the dean of the UCF College of Business Administration. He blogs every week at post appeared on October 29, 2012. Follow him on Twitter @pauljarley.