Dr. Ramin Maysami named UNCP’s acting dean of business


As the acting dean of UNC Pembroke’s School of Business, Dr. Ramin Maysami has been busy this summer. His appointment was effective on July 1.

He discussed his new role between a meeting with a prospective faculty member and a finance workshop. He had breakfast on-the-fly.

Dr. Maysami, who was chair of the school’s Department of Economics, Finance and Decision Sciences, became involved in the university community soon after his arrival on campus in 2003. Besides an outstanding record in the classroom and for scholarship, he was the founding director of the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) program, served on the Faculty Senate for four years, chaired the Academic Affairs Committee of the Senate for two years and was elected the 2010-11 Faculty Senate chair.

Dr. Kenneth Kitts, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, was pleased that Dr. Maysami accepted his offer to lead the School of Business.

“Dr. Maysami has the experience and vision required to lead the School of Business,” Dr. Kitts said. “I look forward to working with him in pursuit of institutional goals for academic excellence, student achievement and regional outreach.”

For his part, Dr. Maysami is enjoying the new role. “It’s very exciting,” he said. “The main reason I accepted to fill this important role is that I really care about the School of Business and this university. I have a lot to contribute, and I’m willing to put in the time and effort to make the School of Business shine, so it was a natural thing.

“I’ve been very involved on campus with committee work, with the B.I.S. program and the Faculty Senate,” Dr. Maysami said. “To make a difference, you must become involved.”

The coming academic year is an important one for the School of Business. In the short term, Dr. Maysami must replace himself with an acting department chair and appoint a permanent assistant dean.

“There are many goals, but the biggest is accreditation by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Our official visitation is in the spring semester 2012, most likely in February,” the acting dean said. “We’ve been working toward this for over five years, and I have been involved from early stages as a faculty member and later as the department chair.”

The key issues are faculty credentials, assurance of student learning and curriculum. “My job will be to convey to the visiting team all I that have accomplished in meeting these important goals, and that we will quickly address any questions they might have.”

Budget cuts are a concern for the 2011-12 academic year. “It’s going to be tight,” Dr. Maysami admits. “As an economist, I am expected to have expertise in this area; I hope I can prove that.”

Dr. Maysami’s leadership style of combining “frequent communication and transparency” is a key asset. “As long as you are fair, treat everyone equally and according to established policy and, of course, remain respectful of everyone’s unique contributions, it will be okay,” he said.

Although class sizes will be larger this year, Dr. Maysami will continue to recruit more students to undergraduate and graduate programs. He acknowledged that enrollment growth is a two-sided coin.

“We have room to grow,” Dr. Maysami said. “While we continue to pursue growth, we must do our best to improve graduation and retention rates. The best tools we have are faculty who genuinely care about teaching.”

Other goals include developing further the school’s online programs. The School of Business’s management concentration has been offered completely online for a number of years, and both economics and finance concentrations recently received approval for full online delivery.

“Our faculty are attending conferences and workshops to learn ‘best practices’ for teaching online,” Dr. Maysami said. “We can expect growth through additional online programs, but we are proceeding cautiously.

“Business is an international affair,” said Dr. Maysami, who taught in Singapore for nine years before coming to UNCP.

He recently stretched himself around the world to expand the limits of the classroom experience. Dr. Maysami co-taught a class in China and Pembroke simultaneously in one of UNCP’s Interactive Video Classrooms.

The time-difference got him out of bed very early, and technology disparities posed minor obstacles, but “the best part was talking to the students in China just like they were here in Pembroke,” he said.

In person Dr. Maysami is as outgoing as he is involved in university matters. He would like to see the School of Business look outside itself even more.

“The School of Business has become more involved in the entire university and community,” Dr. Maysami said. “Last year, I was the Faculty Senate chair, and three more business faculty served as senators. Business faculty were represented in almost every university committee, and this should continue.  Involvement across campus is important, from freshman orientation to commencement to homecomings.”

Research and faculty scholarship is clearly on the rise in the School of Business. New faculty are being recruited from top research universities, he said.

At the Nanyang Business School in Singapore, Dr. Maysami was deeply involved in applied research. He served as the deputy head of the Central Banking Policies Research Unit and head of the Interest-free Banking Research Unit.

“There was an expectation of faculty involvement in business and finance,” he said. “I was heavily involved in consultation in the banking industry, especially in the areas of regulation and new financial services.  The government picked up on our research on interest-free banking and designated that financial service as a targeted area of growth.”

Dr. Maysami remains an active scholar. He has published extensively in international peer-reviewed journals and presented papers at conferences in the U.S., Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece, Iran, Malaysia, Brunei, Mexico and Thailand.

On campus he is currently a member of the chancellor’s Budget Advisory Committee, the Master Plan Committee and the Student Appeals Board. Although he will step down from the Faculty Senate and relinquish some committee memberships, he promises to be even more involved as acting dean.

In 2009 Dr. Maysami was the recipient of UNCP’s Outstanding Teacher Award and, in 2008, the Adolf Dial Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work.  He received the School of Business’s Facultyship Award in 2006 and 2007 and the Peter B. Veil Award in 2009.  The award that he holds most dear, he says, is the student-voted Outstanding Professor award that he received in 2011.

Dr. Maysami earned a Ph.D. from Iowa State University, where he also earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. He is also a Certified Financial Planner.

For more information about the School of Business, please contact the school at 910.521.6214 or email business@uncp.edu.