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Jim Dewald, dean of the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

Last fall, several months into his first sabbatical, former real estate developer-turned-professor Jim Dewald was named interim dean of the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business. At the time, he recalls, he had "no intention" of seeking the position on a permanent basis.

But he quickly embraced the experience, so threw his hat into the ring to replace Leonard Waverman, now dean of the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton.

"I still had fire in the belly and enjoyed it," says Dr. Dewald, whose appointment to a five-year term became official earlier this month.

Dr. Dewald says it is a "perfect time" to be dean because the school is implementing a strategic plan that includes the development of two new centres for ethical leadership and entrepreneurship and innovation.

By July 1, he expects to complete an aggressive hiring campaign to add 11 or 12 new professors, with some already hired from Switzerland, the United States and other Canadian schools. With retirements, the school's full-time faculty will grow to about 80 professors, up from 75 currently.

He hopes to expand Haskayne's research activities, with an eye to forging closer ties with the local business community and raising the school's international profile.

"We are looking for all our professorial staff to be much more engaged and active in research and bring that research into the classroom," Dr. Dewald says.

He adds that the school, with 3,000 students, is increasing opportunities for internships and other real-world experiences during the program.

A former president of several real estate firms in Calgary in the 1990s and early 2000s, Dr. Dewald rekindled his interest in academia in 2001 and dropped by Haskayne to inquire about a PhD. One month later, he was enrolled in the program and earned his degree in strategy and global management in 2006.

That year, he joined Haskayne's faculty and become associate dean of graduate programs for 2009-2012 before being named director of real estate and entrepreneurship studies last year.

Standards revised

New accreditation standards have been adopted by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the U.S.-based accreditation body, to help institutions keep pace with changes in management education – and the world around them.

The changes approved this week by AACSB International after two years of study represent the most significant overhaul in a decade, with the number of standards reduced to 15 from 21.

As before, schools are expected to demonstrate how they identify – and meet – their own goals to educate a new generation of business leaders. But the revised standards will assess how schools, in pursing their own path, demonstrate a capacity to be innovative, generate research that matters to academia and business and foster links among students, faculty and the business community.

"To remain current, leaders within the [business school] industry had to stand back and evaluate where management education needed to go," said AACSB board chairman Joseph DiAngelo, in a press release announcing the changes. "We looked deeply at the marketplace to determine new routes to relevance to ensure business schools are developing the type of leaders that society needs for the future."

Two Canadian business school deans who attended the AACSB meeting welcomed the changes.

"It's a good evolution," says Allan Conway, dean of the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor, who is hopeful the new standards will make it easier for schools to strike a balance between the pursuit of academic research and offering solutions to real-world business problems.

"It's not rigour versus relevance but rigour and relevance," he says.

The revised standards aim to encourage schools to drive innovation to "create and sustain value for students, employers and the communities they serve," according to AACSB. To that end, corporate social responsibility and ethics receive greater weight in the process.

"From a global perspective, not all schools have made the kind of progress they have wanted to make here," says Steve Harvey, dean of Concordia University's John Molson School of Business, which has won high marks from groups that rate schools for their "green" profile. The new standards, he adds, "further justifies that what we have been doing should be happening."

Donor support

Bank of Montreal has pledged $2-million for a new building to house the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, the largest corporate gift to date for the $110-million project.

A 640-seat auditorium in the new building, which officially opens in September, will be named the BMO Financial Group Auditorium.

Meanwhile, several BMO senior executives and other bank officials, all Ivey alumni, have contributed an additional $450,000 for the capital campaign.

In addition to $37.5-million raised privately and another $22.5-million from the university, the business school received $25-million each from federal and provincial governments for the capital project.

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