New dean of business college appointed

Eileen Mansoorian

After two years and 40 candidates, Dr. William Jennings was appointed as dean of the College of Business and Economics on Dec. 21.

“I think he was found to have the most relevant experience,” said Harold Hellenbrand, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Jennings became the interim dean of the college in the summer 2006 and the college began looking for a new dean the following semester, said Hellenbrand.

“He was a pretty valued commodity in the L.A. business dean’s market,” Hellenbrand said. Jennings was also offered the same position at CSU Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The process began with the committee of the College of Business and Economics selecting candidates as one of the finalists. In the selection process, faculty and staff of the college made their recommendations by ranking the finalists in categories, said Dr. Donald Bleich, the chairman of the department of finance, real estate and insurance. Bleich became the chairman of the department after Jennings became the interim dean of the college.

After the committee decided on the three finalists, they each met individually with the chairs of each department of the college, then with the faculty, followed by an open forum with faculty, staff and students, said Bleich.

Once these meetings were complete and the committee had made their selections to Hellenbrand, they each met with him. The final decision was made after Hellenbrand conferred with President Jolene Koester.

Prior to being appointed, Jennings got his start in the Bay Area where he was born and raised. He spent the last half of his senior year of high school in the U.S. naval station in Rota, Spain. Upon returning to the states, he completed his undergraduate degree in economics from CSU Hayward (now known as CSU East Bay) in 1970.

He volunteered for the U.S. Army and served six months in the South Carolina National Guard and six months in electronic training in Georgia. After completing his year with the army, Jennings received his master’s and doctorate degrees in economics at UCLA.

“I just found it very interesting as a field and it helped me understand the world a lot,” Jennings said.

Jennings started at CSUN as a part-time professor of economics in 1981. After becoming a full-time professor, he transferred to the department of finance, real estate and insurance, where he was chairman for 17 years.

“One of his best talents is he has a great rapport, not only with faculty, but also with staff,” Bleich said.

During his time as chairman, Jennings changed the department from having not only good teacher evaluations, but also having faculty who were published in top journals, such as the Journal of Finance, Bleich said.

“I saw the positive changes he made to the department and I knew he would do the same thing for the college,” said Bleich.