Meet the new dean: David Saunders 2003


profile from 2003

The close of the 2002/2003 school year brought a new face to the School of Business - David Saunders, the newest dean, who had moved his family from Calgary back to his home province.

"It's a thrill to be joining such an exceptional team. I was attracted to Queen's School of Business by its reputation for talented faculty, staff and students - and by its outstanding record of innovation without sacrificing quality," said Saunders.

Saunders said he learned many important lessons in his previous roles at business schools around the world. Primarily, that "business schools need to be very strategic in the highly competitive sector of advanced education. It's all about making choices. Successful business schools have to ask tough questions and make focused decisions: What do we wish to be known for? How does each activity we undertake help us to become a better school? From there, we must continuously strive for excellence in everything we choose to do."

As co-author of the three biggest selling negotiation textbooks in the world and armed with a PhD in social psychology, Dean Saunders was well suited to the task before him. Moreover, he felt a familiarity with Queen's from his days at Duke University.

"Queen's feels very similar somehow, like returning to a family that I belong to, even though I haven't been here before," explained Saunders. "Queen's has the most innovative business school in Canada. They took a lot of risks in the mid 1990s..it's a growing, happening place. It's about excellence, it's about quality."

Dean Saunders said one area he was already focused on was improving the School's international profile. "There are great opportunities for strengthening international partnerships. The School's student exchange program already has a strong global reputation. Two-thirds of undergraduate students spend time abroad. That's probably the highest in Canada. When I first saw it in the literature, I thought the number was wrong so I queried it during my interview a couple of different times just to make sure I read that right," he said.

Saunders also recognized the importance of the School's largest group of stakeholders. "Alumni help us keep a focus on the long term, on the bigger picture. In this sense, they own the School. The fact remains that deans come and deans go, but alumni will always have their degree. As the School's dean, it is a privilege to manage that degree on behalf of Queen's graduates...at the end of the day, my job is to protect the integrity of the degree. So, if we get it right for the alumni and we get it right for current students, then I think we're probably doing the right thing."