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Business Dean Settles In
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Roy “Chip” Wiggins has never been one to sit still. A penchant for collaboration has propelled the Bentley professor of finance across borders both geographic and intellectual. His latest move follows suit, as he crosses into Academic Affairs as dean of business and the McCallum Graduate School.
“I enjoy working with faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents to find out what interests them about the university, and to learn how we can do things better,” says Wiggins, whose appointment took effect on May 1. “Now I have an opportunity to take that collaboration to an even higher level.”
The Georgia native harbors a restless spirit that he jokingly compares to that of Don Quixote (minus the windmills).
“I like a challenge, particularly problems that seem difficult if not impossible to solve,” he says of the literary comparison. “I’m ready to scale walls, so to speak, to reach goals.”
Wiggins, who holds PhD and MS degrees in finance from Georgia State University, joined the Bentley faculty in 1996 as an assistant professor. Most recently, he chaired the Finance Department and directed the Bentley Microfinance Initiative.
As department chair, Wiggins managed the largest MBA concentration and three Master of Science programs (Finance, Quantitative Finance and Real Estate Management) and contributed to all aspects of graduate program development. He played a similar role at the undergraduate level, with oversight of three popular majors: Finance; Accounting and Finance; and Economics–Finance.
Colleagues praise his skill at creating rapport. For example, as project director for a $205,000 grant from the Davis Foundation, Wiggins worked closely with Arts and Sciences leadership and faculty to develop and deliver workshops that helped fellow professors integrate liberal learning themes into their courses.
His collaborative reach extends to the administrative side of the house. Wiggins has partnered with University Advancement staff to facilitate initiatives such as the Cumming Family Scholarship for Women Leaders, Micro Bank Loan Fund, and Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series. He also has consulted with President Gloria Cordes Larson on programs that support diversity among students, faculty and staff.
The business dean post comes with a special set of challenges.
“Market forces demand continuous innovation at all levels, but especially among graduate and executive education programs,” Wiggins notes. “These are very important pieces of the business education puzzle, as we prepare graduates for a corporate landscape that has changed more in the last five years than at any other time in recent history.”
One immediate priority is Bentley’s reconfigured MBA program, which he calls “an innovative and creative approach to teaching leadership.”
Mirroring programs at the undergraduate and doctoral levels, the new MBA brings together faculty from business disciplines and the arts and sciences. The work relies on a strong alliance between Wiggins and Dean of Arts and Sciences Daniel Everett.
“A lot of business schools talk about how to integrate arts and sciences, but very few can do it the way that Bentley does,” Wiggins observes. “Since we do not have separate schools – one for the arts and sciences and another for business -- we have a more unified faculty.
“Bentley’s faculty and the administration tackle issues in very creative ways,” he adds. “That is very energizing.”