Spotlight On: Marilyn Wiley, Dean, University of North Texas – G. Brint Ryan College of Business

Spotlight On: Marilyn Wiley, Dean, University of North Texas – G. Brint Ryan College of Business

2022-12-15T13:02:01-05:00December 15th, 2022|Dallas-Fort Worth, Education, Spotlight On|

2 min read December 2022 — Invest: spoke with Marilyn Wiley, dean of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business at the University of North Texas, and discussed how the school leverages strong corporate partnerships and academic development to prepare students fully for an evolving business world. “To be in a thriving metroplex is the best thing you can hope for from an education standpoint,” she said.  

What have been the key achievements for the College of Business over the past two years?

Our biggest achievement was our enrollment continuing to grow substantially throughout the pandemic and afterward. The University of North Texas grew roughly 4% a year on average and the Ryan College of Business grew 11% within the same time. We are considerably bigger than when we started. It was a challenge but we are proud of the accomplishment. With the pandemic, we changed our recruiting process. We reached out to markets we weren’t in before and were more intentional about understanding that students might need to hear from us in a different way. 

What drives the success of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business and how does that set it apart from competing schools?

It’s our corporate engagement. We believe strongly that business schools need to be connected to the corporate community at all times. This ensures we are teaching not only what businesses need right now but what will be needed in 10 years and how we can prepare our students accordingly. We have advisory boards for all of our majors so business leaders can come in to evaluate what we are teaching and need to teach. We have speakers in our classes all the time so students are exposed to the people with whom they’ll be working. We also engage our students from the moment they walk in the doors with a sequence of professionalism classes. This provides them with mentoring relationships and connections with business people throughout their academic journey with us. 

What strategies are being implemented to keep education affordable for students?

First, we’ve had a tuition freeze in place for the last three years and will not raise it next year. We are also mindful of costs students incur other than tuition, specifically textbooks, which can cost a student as much as $1,000 a semester. We’ve started a number of initiatives, including an open-source curriculum and a faculty-developed curriculum, that keep us from moving to the newest edition of a textbook if the older edition is still current and the faculty member can supplement. This means that more used books are available. We have also gone into integrated textbook uses across courses. We can partner with a textbook provider to get online access for a year to materials that cover all of our students’ courses at a greatly reduced price as opposed to buying a new book at great cost. We have also increased our fundraising with a number of generous donors stepping up to provide more scholarship opportunities for students. 

What are students expecting from their college experience now?

A business student above all expects to find a career at the end of their four years. They want to learn content and build a network but they come to us focused on what that job will look like. Students expect us to provide support in that journey, have career resources available and to give them the opportunity for professional development, like internships. Another success has been the ability to expand our career support within the college. We have a centralized career service on campus and that staff is co-located throughout the colleges. We have five career counselors in our building and have received a gift from an alumnus to grow that staff and build a larger career support space so students will see the careers team in the main atrium whenever they are here. 

What is your outlook for higher education in North Texas over the next two to three years?

To be in a thriving metroplex is the best thing you can hope for from an education standpoint. The fact that there is so much business migration to the North Texas area is hugely positive. It’s a partnership that is good for both sides. We can provide the workforce these companies need and they can help inform and support us in what we do. It’s not just about enrollment. I’m not focused on getting bigger but being able to offer our students a cutting-edge educational opportunity and a job and career they can dream of when they join us. 

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