Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Message From Dean Salvatore F. Sodano

This month marks my third year as dean of the Frank G. Zarb School of Business. This milestone gives me the opportunity to reflect on the changes that have occurred at the Zarb School and contemplate how we will continue to strengthen our programs in the future.

My tenure as dean has been a truly exciting, challenging and enriching experience. I am very proud of all of the accomplishments the Zarb School has made in the past three years and am grateful for the overwhelming support I received from faculty, administrators, staff and especially students and alumni. Along these lines, there is some news pertaining to my role at Hofstra. President Rabinowitz has asked me to assume a new role at Hofstra, working directly with him on university-wide initiatives. I will elaborate on my new position after reviewing the Zarb School's many accomplishments.

When I began my journey as dean, three goals were foremost. First, in order to solidify the reputation of the Zarb School, it was imperative that we become nationally ranked. The allure that these rankings bring to an institution is undeniable and, although our academic programs have always been of high quality, we previously were not ranked. Second, the Zarb School needed to strengthen connections with its very formidable roster of alumni. Nurturing these relationships significantly bolsters a school, providing a wealth of networking and career opportunities for students. In addition, successful fundraising efforts are facilitated through a strong alumni network. Third, our graduate programs needed to attract the best and brightest students.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that all three of these goals have been accomplished. We have always known that the Zarb School was a fine institution, with dedicated faculty, an innovative curriculum and state-of-the-art facilities. Now, the strength of our school has been formally recognized by U.S. News & World ReportBusinessWeek and the Princeton Review which, through extensive surveys of business school deans, corporate recruiters and students, have ranked our programs among the best in the world. (For a detailed description of these rankings, click on Zarb School’s Impressive List of International and National Rankings and Accreditations.)

In May 2008, Edward G. Watson (M.B.A., ’89), executive vice president of operations and technology at FannieMae, graciously agreed to serve as president of the new Zarb School Alumni Association, a cohesive and comprehensive group that represents all Zarb undergraduate, M.B.A., M.S. and E.M.B.A. alumni. In just one year, this dynamic group has made significant strides toward enhancing the national reputation of the Zarb School and expanding networking and professional development opportunities for our alumni and students. Much of my time over the last three years has been devoted to alumni outreach, fostering relationships with this very important constituency. These efforts have reaped tremendous benefits and, despite a challenging economic environment, gifts to the Zarb School are stronger than ever.

In fall 2008, the Zarb School made another tremendous leap forward, as our first class of full-time, day M.B.A.s commenced studies. This new cohort program, established through fund raising efforts for scholarships and geared especially toward high-performing students, has significantly enhanced the profile of our graduate population with an average GPA of 3.2 and average GMAT score of 620.

We continue to forge ahead with new programs and initiatives. Once again, this semester we had an impressive complement of programs, providing Zarb students with abundant opportunities to interface with leading professionals. The Zarb School welcomed Nobel Laureate Dr. Robert F. Engle, Henry Keizer, global head of audit at KPMG, and Sir David Tweedie, chairperson of The International Accounting Standards Board, among others. (For a full list of this semester’s programs, click on Highlights of Recent Events.) We are expanding our online course offerings and exploring the possibility of a Zarb online M.B.A.program.

Regarding my new role, over the past few months, I have had conversations with President Rabinowitz about the Zarb School and the University. We talked about what we have been able to achieve at the Zarb School and the possibility of me working with him, and doing many of the things that we have been able to do here, University wide. He strongly encouraged me to take on a new role reporting to him, as Senior Executive Advisor to the President. I have agreed to do so. In particular, I will continue to focus on building strong relationships with all of our constituencies, including our corporate relationships, alumni, donors, students and faculty, as well as continuing the great success that we have had in putting on high-profile conferences and events for the Hofstra community. I will continue as dean of the Zarb School until a successor is found. It is anticipated that this transition will take place sometime next summer.

This next academic year promises to be particularly exciting as Hofstra University celebrates its 75th anniversary. In recognition of this milestone, each school on campus will host a major conference. We will announce the theme of the Zarb conference soon. I look forward to another productive year at the Zarb School and, as always, welcome your comments and suggestions.


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