After two decades with the University of Lethbridge, Dr. Richard Perlow has permanently made the five-hour trek north to become MacEwan University’s new dean of the School of Business.

Settling himself into the heart of Edmonton has been an easy adjustment to make.

“I’ve been struck by the opportunities here,” says Dr. Perlow. “MacEwan’s location is phenomenal – right downtown where the action and opportunities are. It just couldn’t be a better place for a business school.”

The new dean’s priorities include establishing new connections in the business community, carefully examining programming, finding that magical blend of in-class and work-integrated learning, working with others in planning for a new business building and helping students meet their full potential. But before he digs too deeply into goal-setting, he’s taking time to listen. 

“I have ideas percolating in the back of my head, but I also have a lot to learn. I want to hear our faculty’s ideas, their input on where we’re going as a school of business and how we fit into the broader vision of the university.”

During those conversations, one thing has become crystal clear. 

“A lot of universities say that they prioritize teaching, but when you talk to MacEwan’s faculty, you quickly see that they truly love and are passionate about teaching. I knew MacEwan had excellent teachers, but they have exceeded my expectations. Our faculty truly care about doing a great job, being first-rate teachers and researchers, and connecting with students. It’s in the DNA of this place.”

It’s in Dr. Perlow’s DNA too. He has spent his career teaching human resources, organizational behaviour, and training and development courses. “There’s nothing like seeing the light bulb go on for students – witnessing them get something, truly absorbing and applying what they’re learning and seeing their confidence grow.” 

He knows how to prepare work-ready graduates from his time at the University of Lethbridge. During his three terms as associate dean, one of Dr. Perlow’s many contributions involved helping to shape a professional development program for students. 

“Students are out there competing for jobs and need to be able to distinguish themselves,” he says. “It’s about helping students develop holistically so they can become more employable, reach their full potential and have fulfilling lives.”

Highlighting differences – and the strengths those differences can present to organizations – is the focus of Dr. Perlow’s research which looks at individual differences in performance and employment discrimination. It’s work that also connects deeply with his own values. 

“Respect and tolerance are very important to me. People differ, and those differences are both fascinating and exciting.”

Creating new opportunities for students to differentiate themselves and stand out will be one of the aims of a new home for the School of Business. 

“We’re currently in the design phase, and our focus for the spaces within that building is on enhancing the student experience,” he says. “That means providing spaces to facilitate the theoretical, practical and engagement components that allow students to gain different experiences and develop the communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and analytical skills they need to contribute to the business world.” 

And the implications of what those students might contribute out in the world are tremendous because, as Dr. Perlow explains, business is one of the main drivers in our world. 

“Business is one of the ways we develop as a society,” says Dr. Perlow. “Businesspeople are innovators and entrepreneurs who find solutions, create systems and develop products and services that change our lives and uplift society. What they do has a significant impact on improving the quality of our lives.” 

He adds that the ability to create real, meaningful change is where the business community and academia have great potential to connect. 

“Universities exist to help people develop, lay a foundation so that graduates can reach their full potential, have fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions. That’s why we’re all here – faculty, staff, administrators – to make a difference for our students and communities. To help them develop and grow.”

"I find that MacEwan is a friendly and welcoming place to obtain more than an excellent education. Here, students can obtain an outstanding experience. I look forward to working with others on creating programs and initiatives that enable people to become all that they are capable of becoming and to help develop the community in which we live.”

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