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Foster College sees a fresh face

The Foster College of Business has seen many changes over the past year.

Senior business majors saw changes in their core curriculum in the Fall of 2015. In summer of 2017, Baker Hall was demolished and the business college found its temporary home in the Campustown office space.

Now, the Spring semester sees a fresh face filling in the role of dean, due to a recent resignation from Darrell Radson.

To many students, this news came via an email announcement on Jan. 31 from newly appointed Interim Dean and Associate Professor of Marketing Matthew O’Brien. Respecting Radson’s personal reasons for resignation, O’Brien commented only on the future of the Foster College of Business.

“My number one commitment is to the students and supporting the faculty and their teaching and research,” O’Brien said. “The good news is we have processes in place that allows the dean to step in and out, [so the transition] will not cause hiccups for the students [this semester].”

O’Brien said he has “no aspirations” in becoming the business school’s new full-time dean. According to Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Walter Zakahi, Bradley has not yet decided when they will begin the search for a new dean, but he understands what to do once the time comes.

“It is too soon to say when we will begin the search, and at this point, there is no deadline set for this process,” Zakahi said via email. “Once we are ready to begin the search, it will likely follow our usual process … The process is lengthy and involves multiple interviews. This search will be done by committee.”

Before becoming interim dean, O’Brien stood as an associate professor of marketing – a commitment O’Brien said he intends on holding throughout the time of transition.

“In my role as associate professor and interim dean, I have one teaching load,” O’Brien said. “I am teaching Marketing 624 – Marketing Decision Making. The good news is it’s a seven-week course, so after that I can focus more on the [dean] transition.”

Zakahi said he believes O’Brien will do well as interim dean and sees the Foster College of Business doing well in the college’s shift.

“I am confident in Dr. O’Brien’s leadership, and I am hopeful for a smooth transition,” Zakahi said. “The length of the interim appointment has yet to be determined. I see a bright future for the Foster College. There are many accomplishments [completed by Dr. Radson] to be proud of, and great things on the horizon.”

O’Brien has a long history with Bradley University and an elaborate list of qualifications which make him qualified to step up as interim dean for the time being, according to Zakahi.

“Dr. O’Brien received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma and arrived at Bradley in August of 2004 as a faculty member in the Department of Marketing,” Zakahi said. “He earned tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2008. In 2011, he was named a Fulbright Scholar to the country of Japan at Kobe University. He has since served Bradley in a number of capacities, including president of the university senate from 2012 [through] 2014 and most recently, the associate dean of the Foster College.”

Zakahi said he will look for potential full-time deans who fit the mold of Bradley’s culture.

“The biggest challenge is making sure he [or] she fits into the culture of Bradley,” Zakahi said. “Bradley is a close-knit family, and it’s imperative that we find the right person for the job –Someone with vision and dedication. Someone who is a leader. Someone who not only has the academic background, but also knows how to manage people and inspire them to be their best. On top of that, this person must understand ‘who’ Bradley University is and be as invested in its future as the rest of us.”

Sophomore Dean’s Student Advisory Council member Connor Reece said he will miss Dr. Radson but feels O’Brien can handle the job.

“Dean Radson was great,” Reece said. “He was easy to work with and let our voices be heard. I was sad hearing about his resignation, but after meeting O’Brien, I’m confident the Foster College of Business is in good hands, and I’m excited to work with him.”

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