Q&A with Dean Michael Mikhail

Dean Michael MikhailIn 2012, Michael Mikhail joined UIC as Dean of the College of Business. In five years, he’s launched programs such as iLEAD — the Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development -- the renowned Business Scholars program, increased enrollment, and improved student outcomes.

We sat down with Dean Mikhail to hear his thoughts on the past five years and learn what he looks forward to accomplishing in the future.

Q: You just underwent UIC’s five-year assessment process with rave reviews. What has been your proudest accomplishment over the past five years?

I’m proud of the changes UIC Business has seen over the past five years – faculty growth, new programs, amplified student support. I can’t call these accomplishments mine alone. The college is home to a dedicated faculty and staff who all share a focus on positive student outcomes.

There are more programs in place to support student success at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Just one example is the steady growth of the Business Scholars, a selective program designed to challenge and support a cohort of highly-motivated undergraduate business students. In May, we celebrated the graduation of the first class of Business Scholars and are seeing them transition into roles at Deloitte, Morningstar, National Futures Association, TTX and other industry-leading organizations. We’re excited to see these recent graduates and future graduates of the Business Scholars program continue to achieve success.

Q: In addition to those accomplishments, how have you seen UIC Business change since you became dean?

The reputation of UIC Business graduates has grown stronger. We’ve learned through feedback from companies that host our students as interns and hire our graduates that they’ve noticed a change. UIC Business students are as academically successful as ever, but employers are seeing students and graduates with a stronger sense of self who are more comfortable taking on leadership roles. I credit this to a purposeful focus on professional development programs, specifically our iLEAD curriculum, designed to help students master the intangible skills needed to succeed throughout their career.

Q:  You’ve personally hired 40 percent of the college’s tenured faculty. Can you talk more about that growth?

A strong faculty is imperative to the success of any college, and the credentials of our faculty speak for themselves. Professors at UIC Business marry pedagogy and practice, possessing a unique combination of academic and research credentials as well as real-world business leadership experience. Many of our recent hires weighed competing offers from some very impressive institutions. Ultimately, they chose to come to UIC Business because they want to be a part of what’s happening here.

Q: What do you envision as the future of UIC Business?

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the UIC Business community. UIC is preparing to launch an aspirational campaign that will transform the entire campus. As a part of this campaign, an intensive effort to raise support for the university, UIC Business has set funding priorities that will help us build on our strong foundation for student success to create transformational opportunities for the future business leaders of tomorrow.

You can expect to see the college continue to increase student scholarship support, enhance programs for student success, recruit high-caliber faculty, and break ground on a new building designed to support the programmatic demands of 21st-century business instruction.

Q: How do you see alumni playing a role in the future of the college?

Graduation is hardly the end of the UIC Business connection. It’s the kickoff to lifetime membership in the UIC Business Alumni Network. One of my goals is to make it easier and more rewarding than ever for graduates to connect with the college, current students, and the entire UIC Business alumni network.

UIC Business alumni are a powerful asset and we want lay the foundation for a successful partnership. The 2017-2018 academic year will bring new engagement opportunities from mentorship to networking events as well as communication channels to share updates, feedback and opinions.