SMU's Evolution - Getting Started
Well, I would argue that is still in process, not over. When the university started, they had done a deal with Wharton, to provide initial guidance, curricular materials, even the manuals for appointments and promotions and whatnot. And if you think of Singapore who's always in a hurry that's not a bad thing to do, because if you waited for that template, it would take years before you'd start and have actual students. But the downside of that is it encourages people to take as given a set of practices born in a different institution, in a different society, at a different point in time. Now, maybe all that's right. But if you think it through yourself and conclude it's right, great! No problem. But if you've never thought it through yourself and just bought it blind, I got a problem with that.
An example of that would be the University of Pennsylvania does not have a freestanding school of information systems, on a bet. Decision Sciences is what it's called and I think is still called that is a department at the Wharton school, it is not a freestanding school. Well, for what we envisioned we needed a freestanding school, and we needed the freedom to create an educational architecture that wasn't modelled after anybody. The conception that was provided by the faculty committee, and by the first dean, Steve Miller, was a halfway house. Computer science departments good on the software and the technology, kind of poor on the management application side. Management types who teach computer science or say they teach computer science know something about the management side, but aren't usually really good at systems development and implementation. The idea was to build a middle ground. That wasn't an idea borrowed from somebody else, it was an idea conceived of looking at a field and looking at its needs. That's was the spirit that I was after as president. And stayed after throughout the three years.