“Scott has been highly successful in his role as dean at Portland State,” an email from Provost Kathleen Enz Finken said. | Kyle McCarty/Mustang News

Kyle McCarty/Special to Mustang News

“I love fundraising; it’s extremely satisfying to get to know someone really well, and they get to know really well what they’d like to support,” Orfalea College of Business dean candidate Scott Dawson said.

Kyle McCarty
Special to Mustang News

Scott Dawson, the second candidate for dean of the Orfalea College of Business, spoke at a forum Thursday.

Dawson has been dean of the business school at Portland State University since 2000, and began his presentation by describing his background and experience.

Overseeing the creation of new graduate programs and elevating the quality of faculty were among his accomplishments at Portland State, Dawson said. He oversaw the creation of a healthcare MBA and a masters program in global supply chain management, along with other programs. The school’s business college saw the most growth through specialized programs, Dawson said.

Dawson said a university needs to leverage the advantages its faculty and geographic location bring. He used Portland State’s business of craft brewing masters program as an example. Portland has the most craft breweries of any city in the U.S., and one of the university’s faculty members operated a craft brewery before entering academia. Demand for the online program quickly exceeded expectations, Dawson said.

The candidate declined to give specifics about plans he would have if he became dean, saying reading about the university online and spending a limited amount of time on campus for interviews didn’t give him enough information to begin making recommendations for the college of business.

The use of the web to create flexible programs was a theme in Dawson’s presentation.

“I am a firm believer it can be done exceptionally well,” Dawson said.

However, Dawson said online learning shouldn’t be implemented unless it meets a specific need.

“You’ve got to think about how you go to the market, it’s an accessibility thing,” Dawson said.

Dawson noted that Cal Poly does not have a large number of international students, and identified this as an area where the business college could grow. Partnering with foreign universities is the best way to grow, Dawson said.

When asked why he was drawn to the job at Cal Poly, Dawson said he sees an enormous opportunity for fundraising at Cal Poly.

“I love fundraising; it’s extremely satisfying to get to know someone really well, and they get to know really well what they’d like to support,” Dawson said.

Cal Poly’s dedicated alumni stand in contrast to that of Portland State, Dawson said. Portland State is primarily a commuter school, where students often have jobs and families.

“They don’t bond to the institution the way your students do,” Dawson said.

Cal Poly’s polytechnic structure and opportunities for collaboration with different disciplines was also a draw for Dawson.

“You’ve got amazing skills on this campus I don’t have,” Dawson said.

Dawson said he sees his potential move to Cal Poly as “running towards something,” and that he would be leaving Portland State in good condition.

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