Dr. Eric Dent joins UNCP as Dean of the School of Business


Eric DentDr. Eric B. Dent has been selected as the new Dean of the School of Business at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Dr. Dent comes to UNCP from the University of Maryland University College, where he is a doctoral professor and founding director of a doctoral program in management with specializations in organizational processes, international management and technology and information systems.

Before earning a Ph.D. in organizational behavior and development, Dr. Dent, 41, worked in software development and management consulting as a corporate vice president.

Dr. Roger Brown, Provost and Vice Chancellor for the Office of Academic Affairs, said Dr. Dent is an important new addition to the university.

"I believe that Eric Dent is the right person at the right time to help the School of Business achieve major progress in developing the managers who will lead our region and state," Dr. Brown said. "His energy and creativity are very impressive. But all of his current colleagues mentioned his sense of integrity as one of his strongest assets, and as a family man, he has made a significant commitment to UNCP and to building a prosperous, healthy community. He will be a fine new neighbor."

Dr. Dent said he is particularly excited by the prospect of joining a growing university.

"One of the most attractive aspects of this opportunity is that UNC Pembroke is growing so quickly," he said. "I prefer to be part of an organization in the growing stage."

Several important objectives are in the planning stages at the School of Business, including community economic development.

"One of the most important things I have been asked to do is develop the relationship between the university and the local business community," Dr. Dent said. "Having students and faculty engaged in research, marketing and the development of business enterprise is a productive relationship for communities and universities."

The new dean has been tasked to work toward accreditation for UNCP's graduate and undergraduate programs by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

"This is a 3-5 year process that is very important to our university," Dr. Dent said. "Accreditation is an asset in attracting graduate and undergraduate students and professors from outside our region. It will take a concerted and strenuous effort on the part of all our faculty and staff."

Dr. Dent has published many articles and two books: "Organization Development" (1993, University of Maryland Press) and "Management: Perspectives, Processes, and Productivity" (1995, University of Maryland Press). His interests are the disciplines of organizational leadership and behavior. He said he was drawn into the field from work experiences.

"I was getting an MBA in finance while working for IBM as a software engineer," Dr. Dent said. "We were working on a project with 500 programmers who were divided into departments of 10 people."

"Despite having three of the best people on the entire project in my department, we were consistently less productive than other departments."

"That experience opened by eyes about what performance is all about," he said. "My impression had been that excellence in software development was the main factor in high performance. What I learned, though, is that how decisions are made, how people are motivated, how communications occur and so forth make even more of a difference.

"Teamwork, morale and empowerment are critical in any enterprise," he said.

"I believe that we as a society can experience the next leap in the quality of life through better organizational management," Dr. Dent said.

After working for IBM, Dr. Dent worked for an international consulting firm and started his own firm, Always Improvement, in 1993.

Dr. Dent lists his current research interests as leadership in turbulent environments, new science and chaos theory applications in organizations and organizational learning experience at universities.

A member of the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Organizational Change Management, Dr. Dent is a member of the Academy of Management, the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society and the United Kingdom Systems Society.

Growing up in Florida, Dr. Dent also lived in Durham, N.C., where his father worked for IBM.

He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Dent earned a Master of Business Administration degree and Ph.D. from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.