Two new deans hired with plans for convergence center

Two important aspects of the developing convergence center have already come together – new deans have been recruited for the Foster College of Business and Caterpillar College of Engineering.

Darrell Radson, the current Dean at the School of Business and Economics at Michigan Technological University, will become Bradley’s new Dean of the Foster College of Business starting next semester.

“I look forward to coming to Bradley to learn more about the faculty and students and address the opportunities that are ahead of us,” Radson said. “[My] overall goal is to increase the national prominence and recognition for the Foster College, and the con- vergence center will play a major roll.”

Lex Akers, the Current Associate Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri and new Dean of the Caterpillar College of Engineering, said he agreed.

“I am very excited and looking forward to joining the BU team,” he said. “[As Dean of the Caterpillar College of Engineering] the concepts of the convergence center are my top priority. This is where great colleges of engineering need to go.”

The convergence center will help Bradley become more nationally recognized, Radson said.

“Through the center Bradley will be known as an innovator and leader in higher education, meet- ing the needs of our economy and [businesses] by providing graduates who can meet society’s chal- lenges,” he said. “The convergence center will articulate a vision to be nationally recognized, known for our leadership in providing avenues for business and engineering education to merge.”

Akers said the idea of integrating business and engineering students isn’t new, but Bradley’s plans have an exclusive aspect.

“The building truly makes this [idea] unique,” he said. “These students will be together, where they’ll be mixing in the halls and getting to know each other. There will be a tremendous amount of communication between them. Students will be positioned in a great place to enter the workforce.”

Radson said he agreed.

“[Akers] and I will work close- ly together to build relationships between the Foster College and the Caterpillar College that will benefit both students and faculty,” he said. “Our colleges will provide opportunities for business and engineering students to work and learn together to solve problems and address issues that business and engineering leaders cannot solve on their own.”

Akers said the business skills engineering students will learn will be extremely helpful for their careers.

“The concept of a convergence center… can really help engineering students in the work-

force in the 21st century,” he said. “I’ve watched engineers work their way up to CEO positions, but they had to learn all these business skills on the way. I’m very excited to work with Radson [on this]. His vision and experience are tremendous, and he’s worked in this field before. It’s extremely valuable for us to have.”

In the meantime, Radson said he will focus on increasing the national recognition of the Foster College of Business.

“The overall goal is to increase the national prominence for the Foster College,” he said. “I’ll be working closely with the faculty to develop specific goals that will enable us to achieve this overall goal. I will work to build relation- ships with our college’s graduates, other Bradley graduates and business leaders who can help us through their involvement.”

Akers said he has plans that will help improve the Caterpillar College of Engineering.

“There’s nothing more challenging than growing off such a solid foundation [that the college already has],” he said. “Engineers need to study more of the aes- thetics and design of a product, not just the function. Leadership and communication skills are also important for engineers, and that will be developed. Many of [my goals] may already be in effect, but it’s a great place to start to move toward national distinction.”