"We're more than just a business school," said Norma Loeser. "We're a government and business school, and we educate our students for positions in the management of complex organizations."
As dean of George Washington University's School of Government and Business Administration, Loeser has accomplished a lot in the past two years and believes that "keeping up quality is the number one challenge" ahead for the school.
"The reality of running a school in the private sector is that our product in business and government must be relevant so that our students perceive the quality of the education they are getting," she said.
Loeser received her MBA and doctorate from George Washington and was assistant dean at the School of Government and Business Administration from 1971 to 1973. A retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and former managing director of the Civil Aeronautics Board, Loeser was the first woman in the nation named to the top position at a major business school.
Her first year as dean was spent redesigning the MBA program to be more relevant and responsive to a student's career objectives.
An office of continuing professional education was established as well as an executive-in-residence program to give students a better feeling of the business world.
"In business school we will be thinking a lot more about internships and the real, practical realities of the world of work," she said.
Full-time faculty was increased, more women were brought into the programs and a new marketing strategy was adopted to "sustain our growth rate."
"We're not in a position of ignoring the business realities of running this institution," she said.
Recently, a greater effort has been made to tap the adult education market by "attracting middle managers back to the university to upgrade their education," Loeser stated. This has been done without sacrificing the school's traditionally high admissions requirements.
"We have been on a campaign of raising admissions criteria and are maintaining a high level of standards in terms of admitting students, and we're looking for better and better output," she said.
Being located in the Federal City has been a great advantage, Loeser said. "We see ourselves as being in a position in Washington to offer a very good education with a focus on international and public policy issues."