A new path

Although the beloved dean of the School of Business and Economics, Ginny Dybenko, will be stepping down from her position before her term expires in August, the change marks greater recognition for her influence at the university.

In a statement issued by Wilfrid Laurier University on Jan. 14, it was announced that Dybenko would be ending her term prematurely in order to take on another role at the university.

According to Dybenko, Laurier president Max Blouw has asked her to take on a new position that is yet to be created.

“It’s an amazing time for Laurier. Here we are sitting at our centenary and we have to prepare for the next century,” she said. “[Blouw] has asked me to be part of a transformation to become a real leader in this university in the 21st century.”

Steve Farlow, executive director for the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship, expressed the great influence Dybenko has already had on the university.

“The most important thing is building bridges with the larger business community because that’s her background — especially with the technology community,” he said. Uncertain of what new position she would be assuming, Farlow noted, “There’s all sorts of alternative roles where she could play a contribution.”

Dybenko will maintain her current role until an acting dean is selected.
A committee consisting of senior administration, faculty members and vice president: academic and provost Deb MacLatchy will make a decision in the coming weeks on Dybenko’s interim replacement.

“An acting dean is appointed and that acting dean is generally a senior qualified person within the faculty,” MacLatchy explained.

Describing the search for a new full-time dean, MacLatchy said, “One of the challenges of looking for people to fill academic positions is that there is a cycle associated with them.”

“Right now we’re in the worst part of a cycle to start a recruitment process. The best time to do that is really in the late summer and the fall.”

However, Dybenko said she’s not worried about her successor. She thinks they are coming into a situation with “terrific direction.”

“I don’t think any successor of mine at such a great business school needs any words of advice at all, other than to listen to the great faculty that are there today and to listen to the fabulous students,” she said.

The current vision for SBE is one that can be attributed to Dybenko and the experience and connections she brought to the faculty when she was appointed dean of business in 2006.

Her resume includes successful stints with Bell Canada and technology firm Syndesis.

Throughout her term at Laurier, Dybenko has overseen the implementation of several new degree programs and building international partnerships in China, India and the U.S.

The ongoing development of a global hybrid MBA and an iBBA program, according to Dybenko, will further expand the faculties programming by allowing students to continue their studies anywhere in the world by utilizing mobile technology.

Looking towards her future at the university, Dybenko said, “In talking with the president, what he would really like me to do is to think about a role that broadens the kind of skill set I can bring to other faculties and to Laurier as a whole.”

Elaborating on what that might mean, she noted utilizing her connections with local businesses such as Research in Motion and OpenText to work with the university “on a broader level.”

While it is still unclear how these different attributes will contribute to her new position, Dybenko said, “I think that I can give that back to the school, the benefit of those relationships and just spread them beyond SBE.”

—With files from Mike Lakusiak

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