Michael Fields Ph.D.
Dean, H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship
Preparing for the Future of Business
With a background as a marketer, Michael Fields, Ph.D., recognizes a good opportunity when he sees it. And that’s why Fields says he jumped at the chance to become the dean of NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship.
Fields joined the Huizenga School last August, replacing Randolph Pohlman, Ph.D., who stepped down as dean after 14 years, but has remained a member of the NSU faculty. Fields is now charged with leading a business school that boasts more than 6,000 students and has the largest M.B.A. program in Florida.
Fields came to NSU from Central Michigan University, where he served as dean of the College of Business Administration since 2006. He was a member of the faculty at Missouri State University’s College of Business Administration from 1990 to 2006, including stints serving as an associate dean and as director of the M.B.A. program. He was also on the faculty at the University of North Carolina—Charlotte from 1985 to 1990.
Prior to entering academia, Fields worked in management in the supermarket, food, and retail industries from 1972 to 1981. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration and his Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Arkansas.
What attracted you to the Huizenga School?
A tremendous foundation has been laid here. We have an outstanding school named after premier entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga. We have a gorgeous facility—the Carl DeSantis building—that provides all the resources needed to educate our students. We have a tremendous faculty that has really differentiated itself by bringing real-world expertise into the classroom.
And, there’s a foundation of value creation that was driven by my predecessor, Randy Pohlman.
The university has made a real commitment to accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). As part of the process toward accreditation, the Huizenga School is adding 30 faculty positions over the next three years. That will allow us to develop some differentiated offerings.
The position has everything a business school dean would want in the job.
What challenges lay ahead?
We are in very tough economic times. Companies are looking for ways to cut expenses. Many companies have quietly discontinued or temporarily suspended their tuition reimbursement programs, partly because they question the return on the investment that they are receiving. Graduate business education is at a critical juncture.
How can you address these challenges?
The Huizenga School already has an established relationship with industry and business. My goal is to take the school and drive it that much closer to industry and to business. We will listen to businesses and find out what skills and knowledge they desire from their employees and determine where there are gaps in those skills. The Huizenga School will then design programs that address those needs.
When we begin hiring new faculty members, it won’t just be the addition of 30 professors to the school. These hires will be in response to areas that businesses feel need to be addressed. These programs will give the school and our graduates a differential advantage.
When students graduate with a business degree from NSU, how do you hope the Huizenga School has prepared them for their careers?
We want to provide our students with a very good practical understanding of business. They are being taught not only the theory that provides the foundation for their particular discipline, but also the practice of that theory. Our faculty members have “walked the walk” and been leaders in business. They are able to put that theory to work and bridge that gap between theory and application of theory. We want our graduates to be able to drive value to the employers who hire them from day one.