Noel appointed associate dean for academic programs and curriculum
When Terry Noel, Ph.D., arrived at Illinois State University a dozen years ago, he was struck by the sense of common purpose exhibited by the faculty and the emphasis on putting students first.
“I was really taken by the atmosphere of Illinois State,” said the associate professor of management and quantitative methods, who for the past two years has served as assistant chair for the department. “There was a deep sense of collegiality that I did not experience elsewhere…It was different from any place I’d ever been. Now I have a deep-seated respect for what Illinois State University is and what it stands for. This is the first place I have even ever entertained the idea of getting into administration.”
Now, his goals are coming to fruition.
As he prepares to step into the role of the College of Business’ associate dean for academic programs and curriculum, Noel stated he is “really looking forward to the challenges” of his new position. He noted the job involves “a lot of moving parts,” including managing curriculum and how different courses and fields of study fit together, serving as a liaison for the COB at the university level, handling student issues and overseeing both the traditional MBA program on campus at Illinois State University, as well as its corporate MBA programs in Decatur and Panama City, Panama.
Noel particularly enjoys equipping students with the tools to make “choices that are very impactful” on the rest of their lives, and is excited to be presented with the opportunity to have a hand in developing the bigger picture of what Illinois State can do for students.
“One great reason to be in higher education is—for all the aggravations and all the frustrations—there’s a sense that we’re taking people at a time in their lives where they have a lot of adulthood left…and we’re trying—to the degree we can—to give them options that will make the rest of their lives better for them and for the people they care about and for the world at large…This is just a wonderful profession because you get to hopefully go to bed every night feeling like you had a positive impact on a set of people,” the incoming Associate Dean observed.
He then described the influence other Illinois State administrators have had on his own career.
Expressing appreciation for his predecessor in the associate dean role, Noel observed, “Dr. Tim Longfellow has been just wonderful in coaching and mentoring me, to kind of give me the lay of the land.”
He also thanked Interim Chair of the Department of Management and Quantitative Methods Roberta Trites for serving as a positive example for him in how to approach the role of an administrator and Dean Ajay Samant for his leadership and the “highly competent, forward-thinking” attitude he brings to the College of Business.
In turn, Dean Samant spoke highly of the new associate dean, observing, “Dr. Terry Noel is a valuable addition to the leadership team of the college. He brings with him significant experience as a faculty member and as an administrator in the largest department in the college.”
Drawing on his background in teaching entrepreneurship, Noel described how the field of study impacts his approach to organizational problems and issues and outlined how he expects it will influence his efforts as an administrator.
He noted that some people approach a leadership position as if their task solely involves keeping all of the cogs in a clock in working order year after year.
“That’s good. It’s not wrong. They should run smoothly,” he continued. “But if that’s all you do, the rest of the world is going to leave higher education behind.”
Noel then described how studying entrepreneurship has taught him the importance of being inventive and developing a mindset of looking toward the future so you can adapt and be better prepared to meet it.
“In entrepreneurship, we’re constantly looking at the world that hasn’t emerged yet,” he said. “You start looking at problems a little more creatively, a little more innovatively, and you start getting to see how change, sometimes unpredictable change, is a part of that management process. My view is that higher education in the next five or 10 years is going to undergo some really big changes, and we have to think entrepreneurially if we’re going to maintain enrollment because students are demanding different things.”
Noel, who is a two-time recipient of the COB Wilma Jean Alexander Technology Faculty Innovation Award and also was awarded the Wisdom’s Torch Teaching and Learning Award, then noted technology is a factor that will continue to impact curriculum and the classroom in the coming years.
“We’re going to have to experiment with how we deliver education,” he said. “We’re going to have to learn how to weave technology intelligently into our classes, not just throw technology at the problem.”
Speaking of the need to be proactive instead of reactive to changes in both the business and higher education landscape, Noel concluded, “Higher education sometimes is guilty of being the dinosaur waiting for the asteroid to hit. We can’t be that way…We have to think through what the changes in the world mean for higher education and how do we prepare young people to deal with those things so that they feel competent to engage with a world that is moving very, very fast and will not slow down. And if we can just try to figure that out and keep our eyes on the prize, which is to help young people be ready for all that, we’ll have done our jobs well, but we can’t just sit here and watch the rest of the world go by.”