Stepping Down, But Not Out
After six successful years overseeing the school's graduate programs, CSOM Associate Dean Robert Taggart is preparing to head back to the classroom
By Reid Oslin
When Prof. Robert A. Taggart steps down at the end of the semester from his Carroll School of Management post as associate dean for graduate programs, he'll leave behind some innovative changes that will define the school's MBA curriculum for years to come.
Thanks to Taggart, MBA students with specific career interests don't have to settle for taking general classes. They now have the option of choosing courses in corporate financial management, marketing technology, corporate management accounting and global management, among others.
These new concentrations, according to Taggart, will enable students to deepen their skills and develop specialization in particular areas a little earlier in the program.
"There's a lot of competition out there," says Taggart, who will return to CSOM's Finance Department next fall after serving six years as graduate dean. "We are breaking out revisions in the MBA curriculum to try to make it more attractive both to prospective students and to employers as well."
Taggart credits CSOM Dean Andrew Boynton and Director of Curriculum and Research Jeffrey Ringuest as part of the "team effort" that brought about the new options, and adds, "the departments have really pitched in helping to define the specializations."
But these changes won't sacrifice the Carroll School graduate program's long tradition of student services and academic and professional camaraderie, adds Taggart.
"I think that the feeling of community is a real strength of the program, so I always tried to keep that going. The students get to know each other real well here. I think they learn a lot from each other and I think they have a good relationship with the faculty and the staff."
Colleagues say Taggart, who insisted on teaching a first-year finance course in addition to his duties as dean, leads the way when it comes to interaction between students and teachers.
"Bob's commitment to the students is extraordinary," says Boynton. "I think that he represents the best of Boston College values in the sense of creating time and space and making himself available to students and alumni. At the same time, inside the school he has been a great leader of the program and garnered the total respect of his colleagues. He's well respected because of his own academic skills and his own leadership skills.
"To me he is the 'ultimate citizen' of Boston College."
Taggart also added an "Alumni Weekend" to the CGSOM calendar, inviting MBA graduates to return to the school for socializing and a first-hand look at such topics as the regional economy, accounting disclosure and innovative corporate strategies.
Taggart won't be giving up all of his administrative duties. He serves as university representative to athletics, an assignment that involves keeping academic tabs on all of Boston College's 800 student-athletes.
"It's interesting and I'm learning a lot about BC's athletic program and all that it entails," he says. "I think I will enjoy doing it, but it is fairly time-consuming. I'll miss a lot of the elements of the current job that I have, but something needs to happen to free up a little more time."
Taggart's office is testimony to his involvement with students, with photos of dozens of MBA candidates from the last six years lining the shelves. "I know pretty much all of the full-time MBA students," he says. "If they ever want to see me on some issue that they are having, whatever it may be, they know me as a person rather than just the face of the administration.
"The main thing I will remember is the students," he says of his tenure as dean.