Northwestern University
Dean Blount's Blog
  Here I am with Morty Schapiro and Dan Linzer
  Here I am with Morty Schapiro and Dan Linzer

Building Wider Bridges
August 26, 2010

In recent decades, many of the best professional schools have had a tradition of holding themselves somewhat separate from the university within which they were founded. In some cases, these schools bear donor names, like Kellogg and Wharton, that have allowed them to build strong brand identities that are quite distinct from those of their universities. Whether the schools had separate names or not, it is not an exaggeration to say that 20th century business school deans were often expected by key stakeholders to be “moat-builders”—protecting the resources of the school from the ever-broadening reach of the university.

But with the effects of globalism becoming felt even within the most elite ivory towers, the old script is breaking down. To compete effectively in the 21st century global marketplace for the best ideas, faculty and students, professional schools will need the social and financial backing of their universities. Without it, we risk limiting ourselves intellectually, strategically and practically, and in the process, finding ourselves out of sync with the business world.

John Lavine, dean of the Medill School, and me  
John Lavine, dean of the Medill School, and me  


A key priority for me this summer has been to reach out to my fellow deans and other senior administrators at Northwestern and begin making connections. In the process, I have had some great conversations and learned a lot about all that the other schools are doing: Medill (journalism), McCormick (engineering), the law and medical schools, the communications and education schools, the library and the school of continuing studies. I’ve also been in regular contact with our president, Morty Schapiro, and provost, Dan Linzer. Through this process, I’ve begun to get a sense for how things happen in both the formal and informal organization that crosses the different university offices.

There are so many creative things happening at Northwestern and so much potential here. I’m excited to start working with our faculty to continue broadening our ties, to build even wider bridges across the university. And not just on our Evanston and Chicago campuses, but also internationally.

I welcome your comments, feedback and ideas at


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