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From day one, Brown has an eye on the future

Watch Brown discuss Lehigh’s undergraduate program in his first Webcast

During his tenure at New York University’s Stern School of Business and the Yale School of Management, Paul R. Brown learned to balance his love of teaching with his passion for research.

But few places afford faculty the opportunity to excel in both pursuits. It’s why he was initially intrigued by Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics.

The relatively small size of Lehigh’s business program is its greatest asset according to Brown, now in his first week as the college’s dean. It’s an advantage that he plans to promote as part of a bold, ambitious and unprecedented faculty recruiting campaign already underway in the college.

“Lehigh’s riding a wave of momentum that is really starting to generate some interest in both industry and the business school community,” Brown says. “I may be new to Lehigh, but I’ve known about its strengths for some time and I think we’re in a good position to start turning a few heads.”

With a student body of just over 1,200 students, the college prides itself on the close relationships that exist between the students and the college’s faculty. But as the demand for business education at Lehigh continues to skyrocket—applications to the college jumped nearly 30 percent in the past year—the college is searching for new faculty to strengthen its programs and enhance its students’ educational experience.

It’s a difficult proposition. Recruiting talented business faculty is a fierce international competition, and Lehigh is in a competitive landscape that includes some of the world’s most well-known business programs.

Brown and the college’s five department chairs are familiar with that predicament, however, and argue that such an aggressive move is both necessary and urgent. The college currently holds a student-to-faculty ratio that is significantly higher than Lehigh’s overall ratio, which stands at 9:1.

To help bridge that gap, Brown’s recruiting campaign is expected to grow the faculty by 25 percent over the next three-to-five years. He’s looking to fill up to 12 positions in the ’07-‘08 academic year alone.

“The college has a strong faculty that is highly respected by its peers, and I truly believe they have helped to build a world class undergraduate business program,” says Brown. “But we have to continue looking ahead to find ways to sustain such a high level of quality that everybody has come to expect from Lehigh’s business program.”

Just barely a month old, the recruiting efforts have already generated some unexpected interest in Lehigh. Upcoming annual meetings and business conferences traditionally slated for June and July also make the timing right.

Recent national recognition has also raised the college’s prominence. Lehigh’s undergraduate program has earned a "Top 20" ranking from the editors at BusinessWeek magazine for two years in a row, and its highly touted accounting program captured a sixth-place nod from the same magazine. Its supply chain management program was also lauded as a ”smart choice” by Inbound Logistics, a well-known trade publication.

“You can’t talk about the nation’s top business programs without thinking about Lehigh,” Brown added. “It’s such an exciting place to be and that’s largely due to the commitment and energy of our faculty.”

Highly-collaborative faculty who work across colleges, coupled with an unusual mix of interdisciplinary programs, make the CBE an even more attractive home for aspiring business faculty, according to the new dean.

“I think I can offer a rather fresh perspective on the college,” Paul said, smiling as he thought about the college’s six-month dean search process that involved over 80 international candidates. “I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of the Lehigh community and I think we’re ready to take the college to the next level.”

--Tom Yencho

Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2007
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