Daniel Goebel, the new dean of Northern Arizona University’s W. A. Franke College of Business, will be just one of several new faces on campus on the first day of the fall semester.
Craig Van Slyke, the previous dean of the college, stepped down about a year ago, but filled the position until NAU could find a new dean. Slyke will stay on as a business professor at NAU.
Goebel hails from Illinois State University, where he served for the last five years as the university’s associate dean for Academic Programs and Maintenance of Accreditation and as a professor of marketing. He has worked for Illinois State since 2001 as a professor and administrator. He’s had research published in numerous journals and textbooks since 1998 and served on the editorial review board for the Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management.
Goebel said he got into teaching college courses after working as an accountant for 10 years for three different companies, Union Texas petroleum, A.E. Staley Manufacturing and Frito-Lay.
“I got to thinking, 'what do I really want to do with my life,'” he said.
He spoke with one of his former college professors and his father-in-law, who was also a professor, about teaching at the university level. He returned to college part-time to get his master's degree in business administration, specializing in marketing, from Illinois State in the 1990s and went back to college full-time to earn his doctorate degree in 1998 from the University of South Florida.
“It turned out to be a great move for me,” he said. “I really enjoy interacting with faculty and students.”
It was not the life path he was expecting or was expected to take as one of the first members of his family to attend college, he said.
“I’ve lived the impact that a degree can have on your life,” Goebel said.
That's one reason why he accepted NAU’s offer of becoming dean. About 40 to 50 percent of the students at NAU are first-generation students, he said. First-generation students often have things a bit harder than students who have had parents graduate from college -- they don’t know what to expect or what’s expected of them, and have to learn that along the way.
“Watching them mature and succeed from freshmen to seniors is very rewarding,” he said.
Goebel said he also accepted the position because the Franke College of Business’ program, like the one he oversaw at Illinois State, places students first.
“We have smaller classes and quality faculty that interact closely with students,” he said.
The Franke College teaches students more than just the basics of business, such as accounting, marketing and management. It also has a professional development section that emphases life skills that students need to get into the business world, such as resume and report writing, communication skills, how to dress for an interview or the workplace, etc.
Being able to communicate effectively is one of the best business skills you can have, Goebel said. If you can’t communicate clearly to your managers or suppliers, you will not succeed and your business will not succeed.
Students also need to have a deep knowledge of their particular business field, whether it is marketing, finance or management, he said. Students need to be able to interpret the trends in their fields in order to be successful.
Goebel said another thing that attracted him to NAU was the quality of the faculty. NAU’s professors are really good at identifying trends in the business world and adapting the college’s curriculum to match those trends, he said.
He also liked that NAU has several advisory boards that link professors, alumni and students together to collect feedback and collaborate on ways of improving the university and the College of Business.
Goebel said his first big project will be getting the College of Business ready for its next accreditation review by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in 2019. The organization accreditation is one of the hardest to achieve and has been earned by less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools, he said. The organization looks at everything the college does: the quality of the teaching, research, innovation and student engagement. Business colleges are reviewed every five years.