The Richmond Register

Education

April 2, 2013

Shao: ‘What’s best for students’ always first concern

RICHMOND — “What is best for the students?”

That’s the first question Dr. Alan Shao says he asks when addressing an issue as a college administrator.

Shao, dean of the College of Charleston’s Business School for the past four years, is one of three finalists to be Eastern Kentucky University’s next president. He spoke Tuesday afternoon during a forum in EKU’s Brock Auditorium and met the public at an evening reception after a full day of meetings that began at 7:30 a.m.

The other two candidates, Michael Benson and Gregg Lassen, visited the campus last week.

The key to success in business, Shao said, is “keep your eye on the customer.”

In higher education, the key is “keep your eye on the student.”

The more he learned about EKU, Shao said, the more amazing he found its accomplishments and potential to be.

Although a college teacher for most of his career, Shao said he was trained to be a marketer, and good marketers always do their research, he said. That’s how he learned so much about EKU.

Good marketers also have stories to tell, based on their research, and Eastern has a compelling story to tell, Shao said.

The university has an illustrious history, excellent faculty and beautiful facilities that he would love to lead and promote, Shao said.

Still, EKU has some great needs, he added. The proportion of students who graduate after initially enrolling is well below the national average and must be improved. Its best private fundraising campaign garnered about $28 million.

After already being asked several times about his management style during his campus visit, he summed it up near the beginning of his remarks with two words -- strategic empowerment.

Students come to college looking for knowledge and for mentors, and they want to be empowered by both to launch a career, Shao said, and successful universities provide that.

Good leaders empower the success of others, Shao added. And the job of college administrators is to empower the success of students and the faculty who teach them.

“I’m not a micromanager, never have been and never will be,” he declared.

The son of a Chinese father and American mother, Shao said his life philosophy is “no excuses.” Whatever he does, he said, “mediocrity is not an option.”

While the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are deserving of their prestige, EKU under his leadership would “refuse to be considered secondary” to any Kentucky institution, he said.

Although not tall, Shao said he loves to play basketball and approaches the sport with the same determination that he approaches everything in life. He begins each day with an exercise workout and goes to work with a smile, even if he may not be smiling when the day is done.

The College of Charleston’s business school last year launched an eight-year plan, but it was the work of all its stakeholders, not primarily the dean, Shao said.

He would like to lead EKU’s stakeholders in a similar plan, beginning with thorough research and setting ambitious goals.

In devising the eight-year plan as well as his school’s daily operation, Shao said he wants to know what students are thinking, especially those who may not be vocal. That’s why the school has a dean’s forum with 12 student representatives who bring other students’ thoughts to him. A “Think Differently” forum is designed to bring minority views to the forefront.

While a business model should be embedded in a university’s operation, academic learning must always come first at an educational institution, Shao said in answer to a question.

However, university stakeholders must realize that state funding will only go down, he added, noting that the College of Charleston is even more dependent on state funds than Eastern.

Even for students majoring in business, Shao said the arts and sciences should be the foundation of their education. Any business person needs good communication and a background in history, among other skills, to be successful. And those come from liberal arts study, he said.

Travel and study abroad, as well as foreign language study, are important to students who will be competing in a global economy, Shao continued.

When his current school’s eight-year plan is fully implemented, every student will be required to study abroad before graduating, he said.

Study abroad, foreign language study, graduate study and internships set students apart and make them more competitive in the workplace, Shao said. He encourages all of them at the College of Charleston and would do the same at EKU.

His entire life has prepared him to be EKU’s next president, he said. His father, who came to the United States in 1948 at age 24, taught at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

His mother, like his wife does today, taught elementary school. He and his three brothers all earned doctorates in business.

He rose through the faculty ranks at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte before becoming dean of the College of Charleston’s business school and also has run businesses.

Dr. Sheila Pressley, chair of the faculty senate and member of the presidential search committee, presided at Tuesday’s forum.

She reminded the audience that both the search panel and the regents, who will select the president, value their input. Comment forms were available at the forum and also may be obtained online, Pressley said.

The online form for commenting on Dr. Shao is available at www.presidentialsearch.eku.edu/feedback3.

Responses are due by 3:15 p.m. today.

Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@richmondregister.com or at 624-6690.

1
Text Only
Education
  • Kitcarson1.jpg Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades

    Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
    The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
    With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.

    April 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16 CMMShealthfair5.jpg Health fairs cover contemporary teenage topics

    Berea Community High School health students coordinated their first all-day health fair in November that was catered to elementary students.

    But their spring fair Monday handled more mature issues that targeted the middle and high school crowd, said health teacher Cathy Jones.

    April 16, 2014 13 Photos

  • Regents approve smoke-free campus policy

    The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved a tobacco-free campus policy and set 2014-15 rates for tuition, housing and meal plans.

    Effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-10 EKUDanceTheatre1.jpg EKU Dance Theatre tonight

    Performances are 8 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.
    Tickets are available at the Whitlock Building ticket window or by calling 622-2171 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
    Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general admission and free for children under the age of 12. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.
    This semester’s concert offers a variety of dance forms including modern/contemporary, hip hop, Middle Eastern, musical theater and Latin jazz.

    April 10, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-11 ChildAbusePrevPinwheels.jpg Pinwheels for prevention

    Madison Central High School CIA, or Central in Action club, placed 473 silver and blue pinwheels in the flower beds in front of the school, each representing a substantiated child abuse case reported in Madison County in 2013 to show support for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-10 TibetanMonks1.jpg Tibetan monks provide week of cultural experiences

    Berea College has had a special relationship with the Tibetan government-in-exile dating back to the 1990s. That is when the late John Stephenson, then Berea’s president, befriended the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, according to Jeff Richey, chair of Asian Studies at the college.

    April 10, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-10 RedCedar4.jpg Open for learning

    While some may not have known all of the words or the exact notes to sing, parents and children in the Red Cedar Learning Cooperative enjoyed an afternoon jam session together Tuesday, complete with guitars, a ukulele, drums and a harmonica.

    April 9, 2014 13 Photos

AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results