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Eller targets U. Georgia dean for UA


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EVAN CARAVELLI/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
George Benson, dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, discusses potential strategies for growth to members of the UA Eller School of Management yesterday.
By April Lacey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 2, 2004
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The Eller College of Management has targeted the University of Georgia business dean as a likely successor in its search for a new dean.

George Benson has been the dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia in Athens since 1998.

The Eller College held a question-and-answer forum with Benson yesterday in which faculty, students, and any other interested parties could participate. Approximately 30 individuals, mostly faculty members, attended the event.

Benson explained that he is looking for a business program that can move into the top 10 business programs in the country, and that Georgia is an unlikely candidate for such advancement.

"I'm trying to identify what it would take for Eller College to make that move," Benson said.

Benson said that above all else, the most important motivation for him to come to UA's Eller College was the faculty's research abilities.

The Eller College faculty has a reputation of constantly keeping themselves on the "cutting edge" of information, Benson said.

"If you are a good researcher, you have a higher probability of being a great teacher," Benson said.

Because they stay on the "cutting edge" of information, the faculty is able to bring in a large amount of funding from the federal government for research.

Another driving force in Benson's consideration of the UA is the opportunity to expand the Eller College into areas of Phoenix.

This is an important advancement opportunity because Phoenix is a larger city with more businesses, which, in turn, creates more opportunities to expand the Eller College and draw more revenue, Benson said.

To start, the Eller College would hold a speaker series in Phoenix to tout the idea of creating a base there, and then follow up with advertising in places such as newspapers, television and billboards, Benson suggested.

Benson's ideas of expansion in Phoenix parallel a similar expansion he took part in at the University of Georgia, Benson said.

The University of Georgia is located in Athens, which is 75 miles away from Atlanta. Since Atlanta is a bigger city with more business opportunities, the Terry College has now expanded to create a base there, and they expect to have their own building by January 2005.

His goal at the UA would be to eventually start an MBA program in Phoenix, and then a small undergraduate program, Benson said.

A key component of this idea is to begin the project with the best effort possible, including top-notch faculty and effective advertising, Benson said.

"You have to do it with quality and market it with quality," Benson said.

Another reason Benson says he is interested in the UA is because Karl Eller, founder of the business college, has been welcoming to him.

Prior to his work at the University of Georgia, Benson was the dean of the Graduate School of Management at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Former dean Mark Zupan left the UA in January 2004. Since then, the Eller College has been searching for a new dean, said John Stewart, the president of the MBA Student Association.

The Eller College is choosing from a pool of candidates that will eventually be narrowed down to one final decision for the position, Stewart said.



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