Mark Higgins, a professor of accounting at URI; and Peg Ferguson Boyd, the former assistant director of URI Career Services, were promoted to the respective positions in August 2004. They spent the fall semester implementing enjoyable programs for business students while making sure their academic experiences are second to none.
“It is important to build a sense of community,” said Higgins. “This should be their academic home.”
Higgins is no stranger to the College of Business Administration; which enrolls approximately 1,600 students in eight majors. For the last 16 years, he has worked in the College as an accounting professor and served as the area coordinator and director of the master’s in accounting program. Prior to his career at URI, he was a tax manager for Ernst and Young in New York. The Kingston resident was “looking for something different” when he heard of the opening for the associate dean’s post.
As associate dean, he is in charge of faculty schedules and student needs pertaining to petitions and curriculum issues. He enjoys the fact that he has so much student and faculty interaction, “I never close my door,” he said.
His goals for the remainder of the academic year include reviewing the financial services major and closely examining and revising the first two years of the business courses. “We need to continue to provide a curriculum that is consistent with what is required in the marketplace.”
Peg Ferguson Boyd spent several years in the audit department at the firm Ernst and Young in New York before she decided to pursue a degree in student personnel development. Looking for the “big university experience” she came to URI in 1996 as a career advisor and was promoted to assistant director of Career Services in 1999. The position of assistant dean at the College of Business Administration intrigued her.
“It incorporates my past business experience and combines it with student development.” She was chosen from an applicant pool of 60.
Known by her co-workers as a “change agent,” the Exeter resident rapidly implemented new student programs to build a strong sense of community. She planned a welcome back party, an accounting career night, “Midterm Madness” celebrations complete with popcorn, mini golf, and gift certificate giveaways; undergraduate pizza parties and major information nights. She also oversees the publication of a new student newsletter.
She also works with students as an academic and internship advisor and assists Higgins in evaluating the curriculum, especially with regard to student internships. She works closely with Career Services and the Office of Internships and Experiential Education to arrange for companies to visit the College, and teaches an internship seminar for business students.
Both new deans have received high marks from Business Dean Edward Mazze who credits both Higgins and Boyd for their good communication skills and proven experiences as leaders.
“They’ve done an excellent job so far. They have taken on a lot of responsibility and initiated more student friendly programs,” said Mazze.
“The College of Business is a unique place at URI,” said Boyd. “I want to build an affinity so that every student feels valued and the learning environment grows in depth and discussion.”