New Dean looks to continue college’s success

Riley Guerzini, Editor-in-Chief

Freshmen are not the only people new to the university this year.

Cathy Carey, Dean of the Romain College of Business, said she is excited to step into her new role and keep the college on an upward trajectory.

“You can’t go wrong with a good business education foundation,” Carey said at the new student convocation last month. “Virtually any field you enter has the potential to land you in positions such as a business owner, a CEO, a manager or an employee. Understanding business principles will help you make better choices.”

Carey will succeed Provost Mohammed Khayum, who served as dean from 2006 to 2018, and Interim Dean Brian McGuire who took over the position last year. 

Cathy Carey

Carey grew up in Lexington, Kentucky and attended the University of Kentucky. There, she received a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in economics. 

She spent 27 years at Western Kentucky University after graduating from UK. She served as a professor, chair of the economics department and the interim dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business from 1992 to 2019.

“I know UK and IU are big here,” Carey said. “We want to make USI big here too.”

It was at WKU that Carey learned what it would take to lead a college, especially as a woman in the business field.

“Being an economist and being a female changed the experience a lot,” she said. “There are very few female economists, but also women in business back in the day weren’t as common.”

Only five women faculty were employed in the Gordon Ford College of Business when Carey started. She said that when she left, female faculty grew to over 40% of the college.

“I didn’t have any mentors but I got the chance to mentor,” she said. “As a result of being female, I was put on practically every committee that came down the pike. They wanted female representation and there were so few of us that I ended up being on most of them.”

USI was the second college to pop up on Carey’s radar when she began applying for dean jobs last spring. She was looking for a college within a four-hour radius of Bowling Green, Kentucky where her husband Bruce works at a lumber company.

“He didn’t particularly want to leave there so the original idea was that I was going to choose a place where I could commute back and forth on weekends,” she said. “Not only did I land the best location that fit our goals, but it’s a fantastic school.”

Another criterion Carey was looking for in colleges was accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and have an economics program.

“A lot of times economics is in the Liberal Arts,” she said. “It was very important to me that my tenure home was in the college to which I was going to be dean.”

Fewer than five percent of the world’s business schools have earned AACSB accreditation. USI has earned AACSB accreditation in both business and accounting.

USI scored in the top five nationally on the Certified Management Accounting exam in 2018. They also came in second place in the Institute of Management Accountants competition last spring.

The college will file to renew its accreditation next summer. Carey said they are in the process of assessing the policies of the past and looking for what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve been kind of waiting for the faculty to get back so they can be part of the process,” she said. “We have to have buy-in or it doesn’t work. We’ve been on a great trajectory so that makes it easy.”