College of Business

You may have noticed something different about Eastern Washington University’s College of Business and Public Administration in recent weeks. The college, located on the EWU Spokane campus, has a new name.

Inside EWU sat down with College of Business Dean Ahmad Tootoonchi, PhD, to find out what we should know about the changes. He also shared details on some exciting new programs being offered as the college advances down a new path.

Ahmad Tootoonchi, PhD, College of Business dean

Q: What is the new name of your college?

A: The new name of our college is the College of Business.

Q: What was the purpose of the name change?

A: The business programs in our College of Business are accredited by AACSB, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business––arguably the most prestigious accreditation body that grants accreditation only to business programs. There are over 16,000 colleges and schools of business around the world. Only five percent are accredited and we are one of them. But, our College of Business and Public Administration had three parts, business programs, the Economics Department and the Planning and Public Administration Department which housed public administration and urban and regional planning. Those programs have their own accreditation through their own accreditation agencies. When I came to the college as a dean, I realized that our college’s strategic plan had two vision statements and two mission statements. One for the entire college and one for the business programs. It didn’t feel right for a college to have two vision statements, two mission statements, two sets of everything.

Q: To keep the prestigious AACSB accreditation you felt it was necessary to have a college in which all of the programs are AACSB accredited. What did that mean for the other programs previously part of the College of Business and Public Administration?

A: I initiated a conversation with my wonderful colleague and fellow dean, Jonathan Anderson, PhD. He kindly agreed to take those departments into his college (the College of Social Sciences). We talked with faculty members and we prepared the necessary forms. The whole process took a full year. Effective July 1, the Department of Economics and the Department of Planning and Public Administration each moved to the College of Social Sciences. Now the College of Business has programs that are all accredited by AACSB.

Q: Now that you are solely a College of Business, what types of degree programs do you offer?

A: We offer undergraduate degrees in accounting, marketing, finance, general management, entrepreneurship, management information systems (MIS) and business/data analytics. We have recently established a new undergraduate degree titled “Music and Technology Entrepreneurship” that is a collaboration between engineering, music and business faculty members. We also offer a face-to-face evening MBA (Master of Business Administration) program and we developed an online MBA program, that, for the first time, will be offered in September. So, we have evening MBA, online MBA and another graduate program we call MPAcc, Master of Professional Accounting. All of these programs are accredited by AACSB.

Q: What are your most popular programs?

A: Almost all of our business programs are among the Top 10 most popular programs at Eastern in terms of enrollment. Our marketing program is very strong, our data analytics is growing very fast, finance is very strong, as is accounting, entrepreneurship, management and MIS.

Q: The College of Business is located on the EWU Spokane campus. What are the benefits of your location?

A: Downtown Spokane is a business district––a business community. Having business programs closer to the business community makes a difference. We are in frequent communication with business leaders and organizational leaders; we offer a leadership development series where we invite our community leaders to participate in panel discussions; and we invite students, regardless of their major, to participate in the series. Being in Spokane makes it easier for business leaders to come and visit us and to speak with our students in different classes.

Q: What other opportunities exist for students to work directly with the community?

A: In the past five years, close to 600 students did internships in the community––that’s huge! Also, data-analytics students, led by Elizabeth Tipton, PhD, helped the city of Spokane with their data visualization and analytics to help the city with their data collection and analysis on the homeless population. Our accounting students provided 75 hours of volunteer service to prepare income tax returns for low-to-middle income people in Spokane. They filed 4,985 returns. We have the Technology Commercialization Summer Academy, which is open to all students at Eastern Washington University. Last summer we had 12 students participate and each student received $1,500 (thanks to a grant) to become a Technology Commercialization Fellow. It is still going on. This summer we had 15 students involved. We recently established a program called Global Experiential Learning. We’re trying to enhance the program’s funding to be able to send the first group of students and faculty overseas for global experiential learning next summer. So yes, we do a variety of things for our students in the College of Business.

Q: Is there anything else you would like people to know?

A: I want to emphasize that my efforts to transition the Department of Economics and the Departments of Planning and Public Administration to the College of Social Sciences was purely because of our focus on the AACSB accreditation. My relationship with my colleagues was great and I told them I did not want them to think that we did not want them in our college. Traditionally those departments are part of social sciences, so it worked well for everybody. Now that we have a College of Business, with all of our programs accredited by AACSB, we can better focus in terms of distribution of resources, communication, coordination and hands-on experiences for our students.

For more information on EWU’s College of Business and to explore the many programs available to students, please visit their website at ewu.edu/cob.