Trading Places: Dean for a Day Allows Students to Switch Jobs with Dean Shook
- Author: Stacey D. Gish, Communication Coordinator
- Author: Tuesday, October 8th, 2019
A new student will soon take his place in Grise Hall to navigate classes and take advantage of resources important to student success. The Dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business, Chris Shook, will spend Thursday, October 24, as an accounting and finance student while junior accounting major Frank Zheng and junior finance major Seth Newby will take meetings on the dean’s behalf during the inaugural Dean for a Day.
Dean for a Day is a concept Shook brought from the University of Montana, where it was a well-received activity. He said he felt the GFCB was the perfect place to implement the activity and not just an opportunity for him to wear jeans to work.
“The Dean for a Day competition was a great way for me to better understand the life of a student. It helps me place myself in their shoes and experience our facilities and other student services,” he said. “It is fun for both the student and me.”
When Shook announced the Dean for a Day competition during the first Student Advisory Council meeting of the semester, the students expressed excitement at having the opportunity to trade places with the dean.
“I thought it would be super interesting for Dean Shook, who was an accounting major and CPA, to trade places with me and take my back-to-back classes on Thursday,” said Zheng. “Plus, I get to skip classes that day so who wouldn’t?”
The day isn’t just hanging out on the fourth floor in Shook’s office, though.
“What a dean does is likely a mystery to our students,” Shook said. “I am hopeful they will have a chance to see the importance of communication in being a leader for any organization. Their schedules are designed to highlight important issues confronting WKU. I also hope they will be able to offer their unique perspectives to the leadership here at WKU.”
The Student Advisory Council decided that the student who would be able to trade places with the dean would represent the student organization that raised the most money for the PEAK Professional Clothes Closet. Zheng, who represents the Beta Alpha Psi honor society for accounting students, raised money by selling chocolate bars.
Zheng will be tasked with hosting meetings with the Center for Leadership Excellence, the WKU Chief Diversity Officer, and the Study Abroad Office. But what he said he is really looking forward to is a scheduled meeting that has him enjoying coffee with a donor.
“The opportunity to lead meetings and meet with donors – and ask for money – will provide me with a first-hand experience needed for the workplace,” he said. “I hope to gain an understanding of the business college from a different perspective and gain insights into the decisions that are being made on behalf of our College and University.”
Newby said he hopes the opportunity to serve as dean will help him understand the concerns and struggles administrators face on a daily basis.
"I want to learn more about how the Gordon Ford College of Business is connected to the University as a whole and learn how to better interact with donors," he said. "I also hope to use this experience as an opportunity to further develop my leadership skills in emphasizing patience and positivity."
For details on each participant’s agenda, please visit the website: https://www.wku.edu/business/dean-for-a-day.php