3 Questions with Dean of Faculty Ken Matsuno

Ken Matsuno, Dean of Faculty

Ken Matsuno has been a member of Babson’s faculty for more than 20 years. This June, he’ll put those years of experience to work in a new role: Dean of Faculty.

“Twenty-two years is a long time. A baby born in 1996 is a graduating senior in 2019—or even has already graduated,” said Matsuno of his Babson tenure. “So, sometimes my Babson experience felt like my second upbringing. With patience and encouragement, Babson has developed me well.”

As dean, Matsuno will lead Babson’s full- and part-time faculty. We sat down with him to learn about his excitement for the role, and what’s on the horizon for Babson’s faculty.

What drew you to the role?

“Just like many of my colleagues at Babson, I have worked on many things all at the same time—teaching, research, and service. I have been exposed to many different aspects of institutional life—I have served as a division chair and sat on many committees. I taught in all the programs, except for more recent Master of Science programs. In other words, I am a typical Babson faculty.

“I am grateful that Babson has trained and developed me into a balanced academic. I felt that, by serving as the Dean of Faculty, I could give back to the institution that helped me grow as a well-rounded professional.”

What opportunities do you see for Babson’s faculty?

“I believe there are numerous opportunities where Babson’s faculty collectively is uniquely positioned. I feel that our impact will be felt much more in the research areas where there is a longer-term, bigger payoff than short-term achievements or gains.

“I am talking about those research areas where no single discipline can provide comprehensive solutions. They are complex, real-world social and business challenges that take multiple perspectives and approaches for meaningful and workable solutions. Babson faculty has a unique cultural advantage there, because many of us instinctively believe in collaboration and integration than separation and isolation whether it is about teaching or intellectual discourse.

“I see an opportunity here: we can better harness the power of collaboration, mutual inspiration, and cross-learning among us at Babson because we have fundamental values to undertake such an interdisciplinary, or even transdisciplinary, inquiry here.”

How has your time at Babson shaped your work?

“First, it certainly helped me develop fundamental competency in each area individually, but more importantly the career here encouraged me to develop them in a balanced way. We are a good-sized business school, but relatively small as a higher ed. institution. We cannot afford to have too many specialists in each of the basic functions: teaching, research, and administration. We all have to do them all and quite well, especially in teaching.

“Second, Babson’s values on the holistic view of the world we live in have encouraged me to go beyond a narrow, tight disciplinary silo in research. I’m not sure how many marketing PhDs are working on, for example, businesses’ strategic responses (or lack thereof) to population aging or natural disasters, but I do, and I have just begun publishing those papers in well-respected interdisciplinary journals. It took awhile, I admit, but Babson has been supportive to pursue problem- or issue-driven research.

“Finally, Babson allows one to serve the institution in a variety of capacities at different levels. Often, all it takes is to raise your hand and say, “I want to do it!” And, you work hard and show that you care. Then, people around you always work with you—you are not going to be left alone or abandoned! Well, it’s comforting to know this, isn’t it, as I step into the Dean of Faculty job!”

 

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