Todd Mooradian, incoming dean of the University of Louisville College of Business, enjoys teaching strategic marketing (he literally wrote the book on the subject) and is a dedicated fan of his daughters’ school activities. He comes from the College of William and Mary, where he has been since 1990.
Before he officially begins his new role on March 1, Mooradian took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for UofL News.
You have been at the College of William and Mary School of Business Administration since 1990. What did you see at the University of Louisville’s College of Business that attracted you to apply for the dean position?
I was initially attracted to the position at the University of Louisville because it is an important, national research university and the opportunity to lead the College of Business at Louisville is the sort of challenge I wanted and felt I’d prepared for. But as much as the University and the College have in the way of strengths and important work to do, it ended up being the people who really sold me on Louisville. In my first meeting with the search committee and then later during my extended visits to campus, I met great people with terrific abilities and important aspirations for their College. I am honored to have been offered the chance to lead the College and to work with these people – the students, the faculty, and the partners of the College of Business – and I have a strong sense that it’s going to be a lot of good hard work and a lot of fun.
What programs makes the UofL College of Business stand out? Is there anything you are thinking about adding?
It’s important to note at the start that the College has an important mission that includes “[enhancing] the intellectual and economic vitality of our city, the region, and the broader business community.” We deliver value to students, to the economy, and to the academy. That’s a compelling reason for being and all our programs and all our people contribute to it every day – they should and they do. Our world-class faculty, our terrific and hardworking staff – they’re all coming in every day and helping move our students, our city, and our region forward. It was clear to me in every conversation that the people of the College of Business are deeply committed to those goals and are passionate in pursuing them.
That being said – that every program is essential in fulfilling our mission – it is possible to look at niches of particular distinction. The College’s well-known emphasis on entrepreneurship is an important strength, and a timely one. The world is looking for graduates who can think entrepreneurially and recognize opportunities, whether in new ventures or as members of existing organizations. The Equine Business programs are also a rare and valuable resource that the College can and will leverage.
I also see the College of Business as being distinctive in the creation of new knowledge – that is, in doing important and impactful research. The faculty are doing incredibly interesting research at Louisville and we need to find ways to invest more in that knowledge creation; it’s part of our mission and it’s vital to the economy and the world.
Are there things I’m thinking of adding? I certainly believe that, in business education, new ways to deliver important value to students and businesses are emerging all the time and we’ll need to refresh our product portfolio both by revising existing curricula and by launching new degree and non-degree programs. Those have to originate in the organization – from faculty capabilities and school strengths – and they have to be owned broadly, not brought in from outside. So yes, I am thinking of adding new things and launching new initiatives, but I don’t come to Louisville knowing specifically what those will be. I come knowing the process needed to facilitate great new things: we have to build the structures and support, the culture, and the expectations for people to envision new and innovative things and then for them to feel supported to pursue those great ideas.
You have won several teaching excellence awards and also a student advising award. Do you plan to teach at UofL? If so, what subjects?
I won’t teach right away – I’d love to but I won’t have the time. As you note, I was an award-winning teacher and adviser – that was very gratifying and a very important part of my life; I miss it – but for the first year and maybe longer, I’ll be focused on moving the school ahead and on enabling others to do great teaching and great research.
If I do get back to teaching I will teach marketing strategy. I wrote the Pearson/Prentice-Hall textbook on Strategic Marketing and I enjoy teaching it.
What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?
When I am not working it’s likely that you can still find me somewhere on campus. I really enjoy being part of a university and its culture. I grew up a block from campus at the University of New Hampshire where my father was a football coach and then the athletic director and my mother was a librarian. I’ve almost always worked and lived on a campus. So whether it is supporting our student-athletes at Cardinal sporting events, attending cultural activities, or engaging alumni, my family and I find that being deeply engaged in the life of a university and all that it offers is part of “who we are.”
If I am not on campus, chances are that I am attending one of my daughters’ events. I enjoy being a dad to two wonderful girls. With our younger in 10th grade, I only have so many more school activities left. While it is true that if I never see another hard-plastic bleacher seat I won’t miss it, one of the most rewarding parts of my life will always be the time I’ve spent supporting the girls in their pursuits.
As a family, we enjoy traveling and we have been fortunate to have lived in Europe for two extended semester-long stays. I still travel to Europe to consult and teach at least once a year.
Individually, I enjoy reading, mostly business books, biographies, or crime mysteries. I also enjoy biking for health and sanity and am pleased that Louisville is such a bike-friendly city with wonderful parks and trails to explore.
Louisville is a vibrant city with award-winning restaurants, many family-friendly activities and, of course, in addition to all of UofL’s outstanding athletic teams, we’re home to the Kentucky Derby. Have you ever been to the Kentucky Derby?
No, I haven’t been to the Derby although it is something that has always been on my “bucket list.” It’s an important cultural event that anyone who loves sports would be thrilled to attend. I look forward to the 143rd Run for the Roses!