As interim dean of the College of Business, Dr. Jean-Claude Assad says his top priority is to increase enrollment.
Assad, who has been on faculty at Jackson State University since 1991, and recently served as the president of the JSU Faculty Senate, assumes the new position following the departure of former dean, Dr. Glenda Glover, who was named president of Tennessee State University on Nov. 27.
Assad plans to increase enrollment through stronger outreach at local and regional high schools and community colleges.
“Our college offers a wide range of programs that prepare our students for all facets of business and industry,” Assad said.
In addition to its academic programs, the college also has a Center for Business Development, which provides services to the small business community throughout the city and the state. Last week, some staff members from the center traveled to Mount Olive, Miss., to help growers in that community establish a farmer’s market. The project was funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Assad said another priority will be building more strategic relationships with Mississippi’s government and private sectors. He said such partnerships are beneficial to students, often resulting in internships at corporations and job placement upon graduation.
“My goal is to make sure we increase our visibility in the Jackson-metro area, doing outreach with K-12 schools, with community colleges, with government and the business sector within the state. Then, we’ll reach outside the state,” said Assad.
“We already have a strong relationship with the banking community in Jackson, including our special partnership with BankPlus. The former dean was on the board at Regions bank. We have a very good relationship with Trustmark and BancorpSouth.”
Assad said he’d like the college to work with the auto industry, the manufacturing industry, and the service industry in Mississippi, as well.
“Historically, we have had strong relationship with the major accounting firms in the state and nationally,” he said. “We have also enjoyed a good relationship with some of the Fortune 500 corporations and we plan to continue to strengthen those relationships for the benefit of our students.”
Assad, 59, helped establish JSU’s doctoral program in business, the first such program at a historically black college or university. He also served as the program’s director after it began in August 1998.
From August 2003 to April 2012, he was the director of all the college’s graduate programs, which include the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) program and the Ph.D. program. Over the years, the graduate programs have maintained stable enrollment and high graduation and placement rates. The Ph.D. program in business has maintained a placement rate of 100 percent.
In August 2011, the College of Business launched the MBA online program in partnership with Education Online Services Corporation (EOServe Corp.). Assad said there will be aggressive marketing of the online program. EOServe Corp., the college’s marketing partner, has projected significant enrollment growth in the near future.
“You have a lot of competition in online programs and in all undergraduate and graduate business programs. However, our programs offer a greater benefit to our students because they are AACSB-accredited, while many others are not,” he said.
“With the work of highly qualified faculty and a dedicated staff, the college achieved its first business accreditation in 1995 by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). The AACSB is the most prestigious accrediting body for business schools throughout the world,” said Assad.
Assad is currently an associate professor of economics in the Department of Economics, Finance, and General Business. Assad received his Ph.D. and master’s degrees in economics from Howard University. He also received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Howard.