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Meet the Dean: Norean R. Sharpe, Ph.D.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Norean Sharpe, Ph.D., was appointed Dean of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business in 2016. In her previous position as Senior Associate Dean of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, she expanded the school’s global public and private partnerships to increase opportunities for students, while expanding research and scholarship opportunities through their Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows program. Additionally, she shepherded the launch of two programs to increase recruitment and retention of a more diverse population—SmartStart and Business Undergraduates Invested in Leadership Development (BUILD), which provide increased opportunities for these students to be mentored by faculty and staff. She earned her doctorate in systems engineering from the University of Virginia.

What attracted you to St. John’s University and the Tobin College of Business?

The students I met during the interview process were so engaging and enthusiastic about St. John’s that I was immediately impressed! They asked excellent questions and were committed to improving the student experience at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, I appreciated their interest in expanding opportunities to travel and study abroad.

What would you say are the Tobin College’s greatest assets?

Tobin College is one of the most diverse campuses I have visited—from a variety of perspectives. In my opinion, diversity augments the learning environment and strengthens educational opportunity for everyone.

How is the University’s Catholic, Vincentian, Metropolitan, and Global mission reflected in the College’s curriculum and programming?

At Tobin, we believe in offering numerous opportunities for students to learn through service to others in the local or global community. Our Global Destination Courses (GDCs) provide an opportunity for experiential learning in numerous countries, including Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Italy, and Peru.

Would you share some of your goals for the College?

Since we live in a global economy, it is essential that we prepare our students to be global leaders. To support this mission, we hope to expand overseas opportunities for our students by adding international destinations in our GDC program, expanding institutional and corporate partnerships, and raising money for global scholarships.

How does your background in systems engineering and mathematics influence your goals for the College and your perception of the business world?

We hope to build on the quantitative strength of Tobin in the areas of Accounting, Actuarial Science, Risk Management, and Finance—and hope to develop new programs in Business Analytics that will use our unique space at the School of Risk Management (SRM) in Manhattan.

What skills and knowledge do students need for business success in today’s ever-changing environment?

In my experience, the more quantitative skills students acquire during their college career, the more employable they are. Students who have financial, accounting, computer science, and/or analytical skills are more likely to be employed sooner at a higher salary. This trend is likely to continue, so the Tobin College of Business is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend.

What is one thing you would like Tobin students and the University community to know about you?

I have always been a driven person who doesn’t need much sleep, so students are welcome to meet me if they want to at Starbucks on campus at 7:30 a.m.! I am a health nut, so I work out five to six times a week and I only read nonfiction—biographies are my preference, as I believe that we can learn a great deal from history and other’s challenges and failures.

How do you like living in the New York City area?

My daughter lives in NYC, and my parents live an hour from the city, so it is a wonderful opportunity for me to spend time with family outside of work. I have traveled to numerous financial centers around the world, and I find that NYC offers a unique intersection of culture, sports, art, and history that is unparalleled in the world. Given the location of our School of Risk Management in Manhattan, I am thrilled to be living in the city and sharing my time between SRM and our undergraduate and graduate programs in Queens.