By Nicholas Unazoi
July of 2013 will mark Ken Jones’ eighth year of being dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM), as well as the date of his planned retirement. He sits down to reminisce about his time as the dean and his plans for the future.
Q: What feeling did you have back in 2005, hearing that you were the new dean of the TRSM?
A: I knew there were a number of challenges and opportunities. I knew the school had a reputation before I came and it was a matter of building that reputation and I had a very privileged feeling that someone had entrusted me to do this.
Q: You are the founding director of the centre for the study of commercial activity (CSCA) and under your guidance; the CSCA has grown into a leading centre for business research and has the support of over 50 government and corporate members in various sectors. How did this impact your role as dean?
A: The CSCA was a research institute and so I certainly understood research and that was one of the mandates for the new dean; to increase the research capacity of the faculty. In a way it gave me credibility with the faculty. So it gave me some respect. I was not a dean who had done no research, and if you are a dean who had done no research in your life you may come in with some suspicion to researchers.
I also knew about research grants and how to get them. So I was familiar with the business sector in this city and the provincial and federal government granting council, so I had experience in actually going out and asking for resources from the private sector and getting them. I had a record of success, so I felt very comfortable in the funding raising side of being a dean. I think that was an added advantage, since the funding is related to university research so it was a strong link to what the business school wanted to be.
Q: What are your fondest memories of your time as dean for the last seven years?
A: Seeing the student groups evolving, seeing all the things they do, whether it is the competitions in which they win or whether it is hosting the Ted Rogers Conference. There are 600 business schools in the world that are accredited and we are now one of those. So that is a proud moment.
Q: If were given an opportunity to go back in time to the first day of being the dean of the TRSM, would you change anything?
A: Well I tend to think more on the positive than negative. I would say my regrets are little, what I view as a negative, others might view as a positive, There is nothing wrong with failure, if you do not fail you might not have taken a enough risk.
Q: Any hopes for the future of Ryerson?
A: I have seen an enormous evolution of the whole place. I guess my one hope is great universities and businesses schools are known by the leaders they produce. I am very convinced seeing the students on a day to day basis, that in the not too distant future this business school and the school in general will have a number of major leaders in the Canadian society and also internationally. It is a good university now but my hope is, and I think it will, become a great university.
Q: Do you have an idea of who will become the next dean of Ted Rogers School of Management?
A: Not at all. If you asked the last dean seven years ago if he had any ideas he would say no too. Certainly one name that would have not come to his mind is Ken Jones.
Q: What are your plans for the future after you retire from being the dean of TRSM?
A: I really do not know. One thing I do know is that I will not be getting up at 6 o’clock a.m., which I have been doing for the last number of years. I will read books, spend more time with my family, travel. Enjoy the last 10% of my life in good health. I will really miss this place, it has been part of my life for 42 years and will be 43. I really have fond memories of here. There is no one day when I did not want to come to work, it been a wonderful time