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COB faculty successfully transitioning to new leadership roles

| Carrie Ottum

When Dr. Bob Erffmeyer’s retired in February after 30 years of service with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium, he left many roles to be filled with his involvement in the UW-Eau Claire Sales Center, UW Consortium MBA program, and UW Undergraduate Business Alliance.

Erffmeyer’s main role in recent years, however, was as MBA Director.  Over the years he also looked after the academic side of the Undergraduate Alliance.  In the past year, in anticipation of his retirement, Erffmeyer worked with Brewer Doran, Dean for the UW-Eau Claire College of Business, Jessica Franson, Distance Education Coordinator, and executives of both the MBA and the Alliance to reorganize the Instructional Design and Online Course Support Team, the MBA program, and the Alliance. 

The first thing they did was recognize that while not nearly as demanding as the needs of the MBA, the Alliance is now large enough that it needed its own structure, especially since the partner campuses for the Alliance and the MBA are all different expect for Eau Claire.  With that realization, it was decided Dr. Brent Opall would be named the Academic Director for the Undergraduate Alliance.

Opall joined UW-Eau Claire from his alma mater, UW-Superior, which is the next largest partner after Eau Claire in the Alliance. He also serves on the Alumni Board there, so his knowledge of both campuses is a bonus to the Alliance.

Over the past year, the MBA Director job has been redefined, along with the memorandum of understanding (MOU), partnerships, operations manual, and curriculum to better reflect the maturity of the program, the growth of iDocs, and the paucity of faculty time.  As a result, iDocs was reorganized, expanding Franson’s role to Managing Director, and Kevin Meinholz to Program Operations Coordinator.  They will be handling the day-to-day operations of the MBA program, ably assisted by Rachel Funk-Johnson, as Student Services Coordinator.

Funk-Johnson will serve as the program's full-time advisor, focusing primarily on educational and career advising for current students, as well as recruiting prospective students and reviewing applications for admission.

"I am thrilled to be continuing my academic career with the UW MBA Consortium," said Funk-Johnson. "Through this new position, we will be able to strengthen our relationships with our students even further and get them an additional layer of support as they move through their program."

Dr. Paula Lentz was named the Academic Director for the UW Consortium MBA. Lentz's role will focus on academic issues and not operations. Lentz is also the Academic Program Director for the Business Communication program, and Director of the Business Writing and Presentation Studio and Student Professional Development Program. 

"This new organization will allow us to grow the MBA more easily and I believe will also position us better to defend out top 10 ranking in US News despite rapidly increasing competition," said Doran. 

Dr. Lenita Davis will be joining UW-Eau Claire in the fall as Director of the Sales Center and Associate Professor of Marketing.  "We are thrilled that she will be joining us and expect will continue to maintain and grow our reputation in Sales," shared Doran. 

The University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium is a unique and innovative program that provides students with the opportunity to complete their MBA degree totally online by partnering with three AACSB accredited business schools within the University of Wisconsin System. Partnering schools include UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Oshkosh.