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Professor Finzel to serve as interim dean

Posted by Elaine Simonds-Jaradat on Tuesday, Jun. 28, 2011


Growing up south of Detroit in the harsh economic climate of the 1970s, Bart Finzel always wanted to understand economics and use that knowledge to help working people become more resilient in times of economic change.

He followed that path as an educator for more than 25 years and is currently professor of economics and management at Morris. Now the newly appointed interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean wants to help the University through its own hard financial times by leveraging our exceptional human capital.

“Morris is one of the most remarkable stories in higher education,” Finzel says. He intends not to let that awareness get lost amid the budget woes hitting higher education as a whole. Instead, he advocates celebrating strengths and allowing them to carry us forward to new heights.

Finzel sought the position, he says, because people he respects encouraged him. And he has some specific ideas about where to begin. The dean’s role is to enable faculty to accomplish their objectives, Finzel insists, and his first priority will be to secure the resources and support they need to realize their goals. He embraces his two-year appointment as just enough time to propose an incremental, long-term vision and is counting on his “tenacious” nature to see his plans through.

“As a campus, we need to advocate more strongly for academic programs,” Finzel continues. “Our mission shouldn’t change, but we need to move forward.” Finzel also wants to begin a conversation about cooperation across disciplinary lines and how different disciplines relate.

Currently the Center for Small Towns interim director, Finzel has enjoyed working with the Morris community. “I really love Morris,” he enthuses, because small towns “can realize the agency of individuals.” Pivoting to the internal constituency will give him a panoramic perspective on the University’s place in the world.

Serving on the Morris faculty since earning a doctorate in economics from Cornell in 1989, Finzel has taught a host of economics courses ranging from labor economics to gender economics to environmental economics, as well as management courses. He helped developed Morris’s curriculum for the multi-institution Mellon Foundation funded Global Issues Honors Consortium, for which he served as faculty coordinator.

The recipient of several research grants, he also holds the all-University Horace T. Morse—University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education Award and the University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association Teaching Award.