Southern University at New Orleans Leadership Success Story
Dean Igwe Udeh accepted his position as Dean of Southern University New Orleans School of Business 21 days before Hurricane Katrina destroyed the campus. “There was nothing left; the students, faculty and staff lived in the Marriott hotel.” The dean shared why he stayed, “ I gave my word, I could have gone back to my home institution, but I promised I would help build the business school.”
The road to a new Southern University New Orleans School of Business & Public Administration was not easy. The state revoked all of the programs — the dean, faculty, and staff reapplied. The dean signed a contract that if they did not receive AACSB accreditation within 6 years the School of Business would close. Faculty, students, and staff moved from the Marriott hotel and relocated in trailers for years. Slowly enrollment increased; faculty demonstrated currency in discipline; funding to support the programs was acquired; and the School prospered. Yesterday the School dedicated the second of two buildings; the first building houses classrooms and faculty offices while the second building is a small business incubator. The development effort for the two buildings was over $11 million all — raised in the nine years after Katrina.
The road to AACSB accreditation started May 2007 and within 5, not 6 years, Southern University New Orleans was accredited. The dean credits the faculty first, “AACSB accreditation is dependent on the faculty; they re-tooled, published, and worked with the community.” However it was the dean, whose expertise is strategic management, who stayed, planned, and navigated a successful come back for a School that some claimed would never be re-built or accredited. Kudos to Dean Udeh and his team of administrators, faculty and community supporters.