Janice Warner, Ph.D, has a pragmatic approach to what’s best for her students at the Georgian Court University School of Business and Digital Media. As dean, she looks at “what’s going on in the business environment and what businesses are looking for in employees.”
When she became dean in 2012, Dr. Warner developed a minor in social media marketing and collaborated with the Department of English to include digital communication and graphic design in the business school’s curriculum. Both of those subject areas were part of the School of Arts and Sciences, but as business majors began to study them, she says, “there was so much synergy that we decided maybe we could do it better if we were all together.”
So in the fall of 2015, the Department of Communication, Graphic Design, and Multimedia became a part of the School of Business, and the school was renamed as the School of Business and Digital Media. And, according to Dr. Warner, “it’s going very well.”
Growing the School of Business and Digital Media
Dr. Warner was recently selected as one of New Jersey’s 2017 Best 50 Women in Business by business publication NJBIZ. The honor is exciting—for her and for the university where she has been able to achieve so much.
“My colleagues and the president chose to nominate me without telling me,” says Dr. Warner. “I hope it brings Georgian Court to the forefront.”
Her path to leading one of GCU’s fastest-growing academic areas began a decade ago. Dr. Warner was an unconventional choice to run the GCU business school. She was named interim dean in 2007 while the university conducted a nationwide search for a dean. As an assistant professor pursuing an academic career after a successful business career, Dr. Warner didn’t apply for the permanent position.
“But,” she says, “the provost saw something in me. I really appreciate being dean of the business school, which was shrinking. We had 100 students; now, we have close to 300.”
She acknowledges that GCU’s transition to full coeducation four years ago has helped.
“I made a point of becoming acquainted with the men’s athletic coaches,” she says. “They bring some of their athletes by to learn what the business school has to offer.”
Before Dr. Warner became dean, the school’s only undergraduate majors were accounting and business administration. Now, there are 10, with the addition of digital communication; digital design; graphic design and multimedia; finance, health information management, Latino business studies, management, and marketing.
Additional changes implemented by Dr. Warner include the launch of the school’s first Business Analytics class for M.B.A. candidates; greater emphasis on giving students hands-on opportunities; and the creation of a Business Advisory Council. To facilitate students’ hands-on experiences, Dr. Warner has made internships a requirement and hired an internship coordinator.
“We have career development sessions and workshops,” she says, “and we have a networking event where students interact with people from the business community. We also hold roundtable events where the professional at the table is charged with speaking about a particular topic.”
Bringing Business Knowledge and Experience to the Classroom
Prior to joining GCU in 2007, Dr. Warner had worked at the forefront of data communications since the late 1980s at such industry leaders as Eigent Technologies, Telcordia Technologies/Bellcore, and Seimens AG. She holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, and an M.B.A. from Rutgers.
When she decided to pursue an academic career, Dr. Warner researched and applied to schools near her home in Holmdel.
Georgian Court was “eye-opening,” she says. “I learned what a small private school can do. I came to love being here. People really seem to care about the students.”
Story contributed by Sanford Josephson.