Celebrating the Legacy of Dean Craig McAllaster

A look back at Craig McAllaster’s 14-year tenure as Dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business—and what he plans to do next.

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The longest-serving dean in the history of Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business, Craig McAllaster plans to end his tenure on May 30, 2014, after 14 years on the job. In a recent announcement McAllaster stated, “A teacher at heart, you will continue to find me teaching in Crummer Hall.”

McAllaster joined Rollins in 1994 from the University of Central Florida, where he was director of executive development. He holds a doctorate in education from Columbia University in New York, master’s degrees from Columbia and Alfred University in Alfred, New York, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona.

McAllaster’s tenure as dean was marked by many accomplishments, such as seeing the College through the largest recession, adding a blended courses method to the curriculum, and raising Crummer’s recognition through national rankings, including maintaining the No. 1 MBA Florida ranking from Forbes since 2000 and achieving No. 1 MBA in Florida ranking from Bloomberg BusinessWeek. McAllaster will end his tenure as dean with the most impressive year for rankings in the MBA program’s history.

Highlights
-Published 16 times and conducted 30 academic presentations since 1994
-Sat on 13 boards during his tenure
-Held positions as the president of Southern Business Deans Association in 2005, a board of directors member for AACSB, and a co-chair of Small School Network Affinity Group
-44 percent of all Crummer alumni graduated during his tenure

Accomplishments
-Hired more than 75 percent of current faculty
-Purchased and renovated an apartment building dedicated to graduate student housing, which helped double enrollments of international students
-Launched first AACSB-accredited EDBA program in Florida, the Saturday MBA program, a 16-month Accelerated Early Advantage program, and the Key Executive MBA program
-Implemented the first blended learning MBA program
-Created the Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship and Center for Leadership Development
-Led the first major distance technology renovation of the Crummer facility
-Conducted more than 20 accreditation visits and mentored numerous schools with AACSB
-Revamped marketing and branding, increased MBA applications by 40 percent and enrollment by 14 percent, increased average GMAT scores, and improved selectivity

How did you become dean and why are you leaving?
Craig McAllaster: I never intended to be dean but was drafted to replace my predecessor. At the time, I was responsible for the part-time MBA program and very happy in that role, but with the support of my peers, I made the decision to accept the opportunity. After five years, I thought to myself that I would only stay in the position for another five. Fourteen years later, here I am. I remained as a dean three times longer than what the AACSB says is the national average. Recently I started teaching in the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (EDBA) program and realized how much I missed the day-to-day involvement with students in a classroom. That feeling led to my decision that it was time to step down.

What are your plans?
CM: I will be taking a one year sabbatical, spending the year on a few writing projects while still teaching one class for the EDBA program. I have two journal articles and two book ideas that I would like to dedicate some time to. After my sabbatical, I will return to teaching full-time at Crummer.

What drew you to education as the focus of your work?
CM: Throughout my career, I had always been in and out of the classroom and the boardroom. Even though there are opportunities to teach in a corporate environment, the overall impact is different when teaching solely in academia. I had just finished my doctorate at Columbia in 1987 while working for Loral in Westchester, New York, when I felt like I was at a pivotal crossroad. I was in a succession planning meeting with my boss who inspired me to make the move permanently into academia. I responded to a position opening at Cornell University and have since continued and loved my journey in higher education.

You helped launch the first EDBA program in Florida. What inspired your decision?
CM: When I was going to school to earn my doctorate, I remember my own experience of the difficulties to obtain a degree while working and having a family. The ability to obtain a doctorate degree while balancing your life needed to occur in the business world. In 2007, we conducted research on executive doctorates, finding no degrees were offered in Florida. We discussed offering an EDBA in 2008, but due to the economic downturn, we decided the timing wasn’t right. In 2012, we started the journey again and officially launched in the fall of 2013.

Is there anything that you accomplished while at Rollins that people said you wouldn’t be able to?
CM: Survive 14 years! I took the position without tenure. During my deanship, I completed all the requirements to fulfill that goal. The ability to get tenure while dean is almost impossible, and I finished all the necessary research and requirements in order to do it. I was granted tenure in 2005 and received full promotion to professor in 2009.

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One of the pictures posted with the article shows those of us who enjoyed working with the dean—myself and Tom Kruczek—and shows a laughing and smiling Erin. The people at the table all enjoyed being around the dean who always made us laugh. He always encouraged us to be all that we could be.

Lori Roth ’08 ’11MA

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Dean McAllaster hired me in November 2005 as his executive assistant. I showed up to the interview in hot pink hospital scrubs and sneakers and he still hired me... the rest is history!

Executive Assistant Pam Clark

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Craig led the search committee when I was hired and soon after I arrived at Rollins we became good friends. I am sad to be losing Craig as a fellow administrator but also happy that Craig will be returning to something he truly enjoys, teaching. I wish him the best in the years ahead!

Vice President for Business and Finance Jeffrey Eisenbarth

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Enjoy each and every step of this new journey!

Director of Marketing Joanna Camburn

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Glad you'll still be around Crummer Hall as a member of the faculty! I'm proud to say I was a student and then a staff member under your leadership!

Assistant Director Tres Loch

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After almost ten years, I have finally discovered the key to Craig’s happiness—York Peppermint Patties!!!

Assistant Dean and Executive Director Jackie Brito

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Dean McAllaster was one of the best managers I ever had. A true leader and mentor, Craig, supports his team’s abilities, empowers them to do their job, and sets them up for success. He is also an innovative thinker who understands how to adapt in the increasingly competitive world of higher education. Rollins MBA students will now have more opportunity to benefit from Craig’s expertise and continued passion for the college.

Lisa Junkerman

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He has been a great leader for our school. And, I loved when he visited me in NYC at NFL Headquarters and I treated him to our cafeteria's finest!

Michelle McKenna '95

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It has been a pleasure to work with and for Dean McAllaster! He made me feel welcome and a part of the Crummer family right from the beginning of my tenure. I look forward to seeing him in the halls of Crummer next year. Lucky EDBA students!

Executive Director Jane Trnka

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Dean McAllaster has been an innovative boss, and it's been fun to work with him—yes, it has been fun. Best wishes Craig!

Executive Director Susan Bach