Improving the quality of Kansas University's School of Business is the primary goal of Dean Joe Bauman in the coming academic year even though this year's budget will be tight.
"The biggest change going on is we are looking at each one of our degree programs and trying to improve that," Bauman said.
Bauman, who is beginning his second year as dean, said the school also will begin to develop coursework for customer-focused operations, thanks to a $1 million grant.
However, anticipated state budget cuts also will mean some of the school's classes with small enrollments will be eliminated, Bauman said.
"There are a lot of good things happening. And there are a lot of things we can do during the budgetary crisis," he said. "There are still a lot of things we can do without a lot of additional money. It's important to keep working on those."
BAUMAN, A former IBM executive, said the school's faculty has been organized into teams that will work to improve the quality of the school's programs.
Faculty members have been divided up into teams to work on the undergraduate program, the master's program, the doctoral program, the accounting degrees, executive and management education, and also research.
"We have strong people on those teams," he said. Charles Krider, associate dean, will coordinate the work on the academic programs, he said.
"So we have great hopes we can take what already are good ingredients in a quality faculty and quality students and quality course content and really tie that together to drive at least some of our programs to be the top national programs," Bauman said.
He said there will be little change in the faculty next year, partially because of KU's hiring freeze in anticipation of budget cuts for the 1991-92 fiscal year.
"WE WILL BE beginning a search, if the hiring freeze is off, for an accounting faculty member who would come on board in the 1992-1993 fiscal year," Bauman said.
Bauman said the school has been looking at possible ways to save money as a result of the expected budget cuts.
"It will have some impact on our teaching," he said. "It will probably impact summer school next year. That was the only place we found any flexibility."
Bauman said the business school continues to rely on non-state funding for budget help.
"The School of Business passed the line a few years ago where the state budget was not adequate to cover all of our academic and faculty supports needs," he said. "We're already into that. It's just a matter of how far we go into that. We are dependent on continuing to raise funds."
BAUMAN ALSO said that the school's 60-plus member board of advisers has been restructured to help the needs of the school.
"It's becoming quite an active board in terms of assisting us," he said.
The board helps in raising funds, in networking for job placement, in publicity, in critiquing curriculum content and in speaking at the school.
Bauman said the school has received a gift from National Computer Systems Inc., in the name of Charles W. Oswald, chairman and chief executive officer, which will support the executive lecture series.
The school also will begin developing a new set of courses this fall, made possible with a $1 million gift from the Lou Ward family. Ward is president and chairman of the board of Russell Stover Candies Inc., Kansas City, Mo.
Those courses will be based on "customer-focused operations," Bauman said.
"IT STARTS building on the notion that the purpose of a business is to provide benefit to its customers," he said. "There will be a series of courses developed over the next few years that cover all aspects of running a business that will go with that focus."
The school has been making a thrust toward developing courses around quality, ethics and international business, Bauman said.
Another emphasis, he said, is writing.
"It's a major skill need we are hearing from our graduates and the people who hire our graduates," he said. "Communications skills both written and oral are needed."
He said the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business just changed its reaccreditation requirements and is really driving to work for strong liberal arts-based schools of business.
"And of course, that's been KU's strength over the years," he said. "So we find ourselves, as we get into this, as one of the leaders in the country, in the design of our undergraduate program."
BAUMAN SAID the school is now in the top 50 out of 800 business schools in the country, as rated by the "Gourman Report," which rates graduate and professional programs in international universities.
And he thinks the school's ranking will improve during the next year with the team emphasis on improving programs.
In assessing the job opportunities for business graduates, Bauman said recent graduates are finding that smaller companies are doing most of the hiring.
"If there's a trend, it's toward smaller businesses for starting jobs," he said. "We always have had a significant number of entrepreneurs come out of KU, and I would expect that to continue."