Spring 2012


Biz School Steps Up Its Game

New School of Business Professor Michelle Lane and students in a Management Theory class.New School of Business Professor Michelle Lane and students in a Management Theory class.

HSU’S SCHOOL OF BUSINESS is in the midst of an ambitious expansion, supported by recent major gifts from the Patricia D. & William B. Smullin Foundation and an anonymous donor.

Over the last year the School has hired new faculty, made extensive changes to the curriculum and partnered with local businesses for an expanded internship program. Even more is in the works as part of a larger strategy to boost enrollment and focus the School on entrepreneurship and sustainability.

“This is a really exciting time for the School of Business as we look to expand and create our signature identity, which is rooted in entrepreneurship and infused with sustainability,” says HSU Business School Chair Steve Hackett. In recent years, a number of business schools have started expanding the traditional curriculum to include classes in these areas, Hackett says. At Humboldt State, doing so is a natural fit.

The School’s expansion got off to a strong start last year after HSU committed $2 million in additional state funding to the effort and an anonymous benefactor stepped forward to provide $500,000. Then this spring, the Smullin Foundation pledged $400,000 to create paid internships for business students (see back cover).  

The gifts are the two largest ever to the HSU School of Business.

“The Smullin Foundation is pleased to be able to make a difference for undergraduate business students and North Coast communities through providing paid internships,” says Carol Anne Smullin Brown. “It is a privilege to support Humboldt State.” 

The university is hoping to partner with local foundations, businesses and alumni to raise an additional $1 million.

The funding has allowed the School to hire three permanent faculty members in sustainability and entrepreneurship. Nancy Vizenor, a nine-year instructor in the school, was promoted to Assistant Professor in entrepreneurship, Michelle Lane joined the faculty to teach entrepreneurship and David Sleeth-Keppler and Sarita Ray Chaudhury were brought on to teach sustainable marketing. Kate Lancaster has joined the school to teach accounting beginning this fall.

Going forward, the School is exploring ways to broaden its reach to include national and international students. Ideas include the creation of an online MBA to offer classes in East or South Asia.

Other initiatives include an undergraduate internship class led by Business School Instructor Shari Duron, and a “Professor for a Day” program in which business leaders will be invited to interact with students and discuss current business issues. By next year, the School also plans to start a speaker’s series featuring national business leaders.