Meet the Deans: Dr. Jennifer Percival looks to create good through business
New dean impressed by business students’ level of engagement, hopes to build on it
BGSU welcomed three new deans to campus this summer. In our Meet the Deans series, we’re introducing you to each dean, the expertise they bring to the University and the impact they’re planning to make at BGSU.
By Laren Kowalczyk '07
When Dr. Jennifer Percival was named dean of the Schmidthorst College of Business at Bowling Green State University, a group of student ambassadors she met during her interview were among the first to reach out.
That small gesture reaffirmed what Percival witnessed during her time on campus: business students at BGSU are engaged and committed to their success.
“You can just feel the energy,” she said. "To have students reach out to introduce themselves and ask for a meeting is very unique. For them to take that leadership role and be the welcoming committee just shows how developed the business program is in helping them become future professionals.”
Percival began her role as dean in June and hopes to continue an open dialogue with students as she assimilates to the University and identifies opportunities for growth and change.
Throughout her career in higher education, Percival has been a strong proponent of interdisciplinary research and teaching and plans to make that a focus at BGSU. While many degree programs in the Schmidthorst College of Business offer concentrations or specializations, she intends to broaden that spectrum to include additional collaborations within and beyond the college.
"We have to look at opportunities to think outside the box in a way that would better prepare students for what they’re going to see when they graduate and start their careers,” Percival said.
She used cybersecurity as an example of a field that requires collaboration across numerous disciplines, including information systems, supply chain management, criminal justice, computer science, management, psychology and engineering technology.
"To come to a campus where people share an interest in working together allows you to remove some of the barriers of who owns what discipline or where that student belongs and think holistically about how to support that student on their career journey," Percival said. "As we move toward the future, we have to think about where and how education can change fast enough to create these interdisciplinary opportunities for students."
Additionally, Percival wants the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center to be a place where students build connections. She envisions the state-of-the-art facility playing host to a steady stream of presentations, speakers and networking opportunities - both formal and informal - to provide students with opportunities for engagement outside of classes.
“I would like to see that beautiful facility become a hub of activity, a meeting point for Schmidthorst College of Business students, faculty, alumni and professionals to connect and share ideas,” Percival said. "It’s a matter of looking at the overall student experience. How can we bring more companies into the building to talk about their culture and journeys they've had as professionals to help students realize ‘That could be me?'"
Percival previously served as associate dean in the Manning School of Business at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. In collaboration with services across campus, she grew enrollment by 25% over five years and increased its six-year graduation rate by 18% in that same period.
She also led initiatives to support first-generation students, increased engagement with student organizations in the college and encouraged undergraduate research.
"I look forward to working with Dr. Percival as she takes on the challenge of developing a clear and compelling vision for the future of the college while fostering excellence in teaching and research, prioritizing diversity and inclusion and serving as a visible and engaged fundraiser for the college," said Joe B. Whitehead Jr., provost and senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs.
Percival has a Ph.D. in Engineering - management science and an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics - Co-op option in operations research, both from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Her scholarly work demonstrates her deep interest and expertise in collaborative, interdisciplinary projects and commitment to experiential learning.
Updated: 11/08/2022 08:12AM