Dean describes virtues of a Santa Clara education
FebruaryÂ 15, 2018
The following is an entry in a series called â€śVoices of Santa Clara,â€ť which profiles noteworthy students and faculty. The Q & A is excerpted from the â€śVoices of Santa Claraâ€ť podcast.
Caryn Beck-Dudley is the Dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara. Prior to joining Santa Clara in 2015, she served as Dean of College of Business at Florida State University for nine years. In her time here, she has worked to emphasize Santa Claraâ€™s unique position as a Jesuit university in Silicon Valley. She is the first female dean at Santa Clara, and was previously the first female dean at Florida State and Utah State.
Gavin Cosgrave: What did you want to grow up to be when you were 10 years old?
Caryn Beck-Dudley: I played college, which is a weird thing I know, but I wanted to be a college professor. Or, I wanted to own an employment agency; in those days you got a job by going to an employment agency.
GC: Did that change at all when you got into college?
CBD: Oh, totally. I had no idea of what I wanted to do, but I loved college because I had been playing college since I was ten. My mom asked what I was going to graduate in, so I added up my credits. I could graduate in political science, so I graduated in political science and went to law school.
GC: What did you learn in the first couple years of being the business school dean at Utah State?
CBD: Being a dean is very different than being a faculty member.
You learn to manage your time differently. You learn to count meetings as actual work timeâ€”as a faculty member you count meetings as wasted time. If I did that I wouldnâ€™t accomplish anything all day long. The modern business dean meets with alumni, asks for support and talks about your strategic vision.
GC: In the past several years, with the rising cost of higher education, thereâ€™s a stronger argument to be made for skipping school and going straight into the world. Why should a student who is on the fence about committing to the time and money of a college education stay in school instead of working or starting a company?
CBD: What I think Santa Clara does really well is our liberal arts education, which doesnâ€™t necessarily prepare you for todayâ€™s job, but hopefully prepares you for the job 5-10 years out. That really comes from reflection, having a broad body of knowledge to draw upon, and flat out a network.
One of the things universities give you is a network of like-minded people, and you rely on that network forever.
GC: What are a few skills or mindsets you want Santa Clara students to leave with?
CBD: I hope theyâ€™re intellectually inquisitive, because they never know what theyâ€™re going to see. I hope they read a lot, and read widely. One thing that has helped me in my meetings with alumni is that I can talk about almost any subject at a pretty base level because I watch sports, I understand classical music, I understand art, I understand the humanities, I read in a lot of technology areas. Thereâ€™s not very many topics that would come up that I couldnâ€™t hold a conversation in.
I hope students gain that from a university setting.
GC: You have set several firsts in your career, being the first woman business school dean at Utah State, Florida State, and now the first woman dean of the Santa Clara Business school. Have you ever felt more pressure to succeed or be a role model in your career because the business world has been historically maledominated?
CBD: Always. I always think I am a role model. When I practiced law, I was one of six women lawyers in a firm of 80. Iâ€™ve been in all male industries before. Itâ€™s interestingâ€”at Santa Clara, almost all the deans are women.
The dean of the college of arts and sciences is female, the dean of psychology and education is female, and the dean of the law school is female.
Itâ€™s very rare to have that many women deans on a faculty.
GC: What advice would you give to a first-year student starting college?
CBD: Stay on top of your classes and have a great time. Youâ€™re only in college for four years, and while you might think it might seem overwhelming, itâ€™s notâ€”life always gets better. Have a great time, meet as many people as you can and try new things.
To listen to the full interview, visit voicesofsantaclara.com or search â€śVoices of Santa Claraâ€ť on the iTunes Podcast App.