Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383
Name: Kathy Koval
Position: Assistant Dean, Director of Business and Public Management Programs
Name: Cindy Cheyney
Position: Assistant Dean
Name: Laurie Christie
Position: Administrative Assistant to the Dean
Name: Danah Allen
Position: Communications and Impact Coordinator
Name: Julie Ferris
Position: Administrative Assistant
What drew you to WCU originally? And how has WCU changed since?
"I'm actually a West Chester University alum. I received my Masters in Psychology in 1988. I really enjoyed my time here as a student. At that time, WCU was experiencing great growth and was showing potential. When I had the opportunity to return as a faculty member, several years later, I was very excited to do so. Since I've started, it's changed in so many ways. The students are really great. In addition, the level of engagement, research, and productivity from the faculty continues to be strong. WCU has developed many innovative programs, and we're seeing growth across the board. I really liked WCU when I originally came, and it's only become more dynamic and effective over the years."
What makes CBPM at WCU standout compared to other business and public management programs across the country?
"We have an emphasis on the practice of business and public management. We emphasize the development of practical tools in our classes and ground our curriculum in the application of course material to address complex issues in business and public management. Our faculty have a real mix of scholarship and practice in their approach to teaching their classes. Additionally, we have a number of new programs that we've developed over the years, which I think are unique compared to many schools like WCU."
What is the most fulfilling part about working at WCU and/or for CBPM?
"Working with students and seeing how they grow, not only in their mastery of skills, but also their confidence and their ability to address complex business problems."
What is the cutting edge in your field and how does your research extend it?
"What you're seeing now is more cross-disciplinary research that borrows from many different fields to answer a specific, complex problem. Right now, I'm working on a series of papers with Jack Gault and Marc Duey (from the Marketing Department) that looks at the factors that influence early career hiring decisions. One of the things that we're really interested in is how professional experience can be perceived differently by hiring managers, based on the specific characteristics of the experience. Our team is trying to drill down and look at not only what experience hiring mangers prefer, but to identify the factors that lead to perceived legitimacy and bias in hiring decisions."
How has your research influenced your teaching? In what ways have you been able to bring the insights of your research to your courses?
"In the classroom, we talk a lot about intention versus what happens unconsciously. For example, I cover recruitment, selection, and placement in my classes. Managers want to make the best hire they can, given the resources they have. Our research looks at how these decisions can be unconsciously biased by certain things that they're not aware of. I talk a lot about how you might have the intention to do one thing, but you ultimately end up doing something different because of these unconscious biases."
Does any particular moment standout as being your favorite since working at WCU?
"For me, the best moments are always when we can bring the outside community into the university to mix with students. For a long time, I've been using a service learning model in my classes, and to me it's always very gratifying to see students work on a project that has a real impact on the practice of real life organizations in the community. There have been a number of cases where the students have had the opportunity to interact directly with clients and hear how the work has bettered the organization and has improved things for these companies and non-profits."
What advice would you give to our incoming freshman?
"I would speak to the importance of effective time-management and organization in managing your college career. The second piece of advice is to constantly be thinking in terms of planning. As a freshman, you should be creating a four or five-year plan for ultimately knowing what you want to accomplish in college and a tactical plan for getting there. It's really important to have specific goals and create a road map to accomplish these goals."
What advice would you give to our graduating seniors?
"You should have a five-year plan of what you want to accomplish in your first five years out of college in your career. Fortunately, that's something that your classes, your advisor, and other faculty members can help you develop.
Look at college not just as a place to train you for your first job, but as a place where you become an educated adult. Try to pursue things that are of interest to you. Take some chances, because you don't know what you may like, and try to experiment a little bit. Explore the many opportunities that exist for you at the university."
What is your guilty pleasure?
"I don't know if it's a guilty pleasure, but I collect vintage guitars. I've played guitar for many years, and it's something that I do for fun. The way I see it, each instrument holds a history and we're just the custodians of these instruments because they tend to last much longer than people do."