‘Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job.’ Adlai E. Stevenson

After six years as the W. P. Carey Chairman of the Department of Information Systems, Michael Goul has decided to step down from his position in order to serve the school as the new Assistant Dean of Research. He will be passing the torch to Information Systems Professor Raghu Santanam, effective July 1.

By Michael Goul and Raghu Santanam

Michael Goul

Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job.” — Adlai E. Stevenson

It’s been six years now, and it’s time for change. I am stepping aside as chair of the W. P. Carey Department of Information Systems effective July 1. It has been hard work — but well worth it because I was able to get to know a great many people and accomplish a lot by working with you — colleagues, industry leaders, professional society leaders, students and stakeholders. I never imagined that such an amazing host of people might jump into the ring to help improve programs, support research, mentor students and all the rest you’ve done. Many academic departments have a three-year chair rotation — I don’t think I would have learned enough in three years to do much. Six years has been just right for me.

I am often asked why I wanted to be a chair. The answer at the onset — and still is — to make a difference.  Our trajectory has been one of fast-paced change aligned with rapid change in the school, university and the business world.

One way for me to assess our progress has been to look back through our KnowIT features. We rolled out our first version in 2010, and it included a story about the department’s Advisory Board and its 25 members. There are now over 70 members. An issue or two later featured a story about David Woody, a CIS alum and American Express executive who came back to help us create a brand new honors program class, CIS 236. This coming fall semester, there will be seven sections of that course, and David and other alumni have been a huge help. We also have launched several new programs, including our online master’s programs, that didn’t exist when we started KnowIT.

In that first year, we featured stories about exceptional students including Stephanie Gonzales. Stephanie is now a senior manager at Protiviti, and she still takes time out of her busy schedule to come back and mentor students. Another story featured a team of students who participated in a national competition — we could afford the travel expenses thanks to help from our advisory board. Ian Anderson, Brady Emerson and David Roman were our representatives; Ian is now at Wibi working in big data, Brady is at Deloitte Consulting LLP and David is seeking an advanced degree in business. All of them have seen major success and are advancing their careers in exciting ways.  It has been very rewarding seeing our graduates succeed — we hear about more and more of you alums out there who are making significant career strides.

We’ve featured loads of faculty research in KnowIT throughout the years. It is always surprising to our faculty when they attend a conference, visit another university or talk with a student or a member of our advisory board and discover there is widespread familiarity with major findings from their research. KnowIT has been about making connections, recognizing successes in all that our stakeholders achieve and in telling the world what we’ve been up to.

I will miss all of the excitement of day-to-day chair duties, but I am not going away and I am looking forward to staying completely engaged. (Goul has been named the assistant dean for research effective July 1) Our new chair, Raghu Santanam, will be fantastic. He is an amazingly successful researcher and teacher, and he has been instrumental in ensuring the success of all of our programs and their students for many years now. Raghu has been a regular at our advisory board meetings, and I know he looks forward to engaging all of our stakeholders as we embrace even more change and complexity going forward. I know you will come to Raghu’s aid when he asks — just the same as you have helped me so much through the years.

A special thanks to all of you who read KnowIT and continue to help us with our endeavors — and an extra special nod of appreciation to all of you who take the time to step up to help with students, speak to classes, judge case competitions, mentor student projects and the list goes on. You know who you are, and I am especially indebted to you for making my time as department chair so rewarding and successful. I’m not saying goodbye — instead it’s, “see you soon.”

“The greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.”  — Dr. Jonas Salk

Santanam-200 I am both humbled and excited to take on the department chair position for the Department of Information Systems. I would like to begin by first thanking our current Chair Michael Goul for his invaluable service and leadership. He has successfully lead several new initiatives in the department and firmly established our department as a thought leader in our academic community. At the end of his tenure, we find ourselves in a stronger position to continue our trajectory of growth in student success, academic reputation and community engagement. Frankly, my job is that much easier simply because of Mike’s tremendous efforts over the past six years.

Recent developments in higher education remind us of the challenges ahead of us. As a department, we have managed to thrive in the face of this adverse climate through innovation, able leadership and institutional support. We will continue to be challenged to be innovative and entrepreneurial in the future. Stakeholders and university leaders are asking us to be creative in developing solutions that simultaneously increase the productivity and quality of our research, teaching and service activities. Given our track record, resilience and innovativeness as a group, I expect that collectively we will address current and future challenges to grow to be one of the premier information systems departments globally.

The year 2015 is an important milestone in the history of our department. It marks the 40th year of the creation of Computer Information Systems as a major in the business school at ASU. While it is a cause for celebration, it is also time for us to double down on our continuing commitment to the community.

As a knowledge enterprise that takes responsibility for advancing the economic development of its community, ASU places a premium on social embeddedness and use-inspired research. IS researchers have built a great tradition of research that is focused on theory and technology-inspired design science, and data analytics that advance both science and practice. As such, we expect to do more to engage our professional partners in various industries.

We also expect to continue to build our interdisciplinary collaborations within the university. Our business-focused research track record on social media, health IT, mobile computing, data analytics and IT security is synergistic with research in many other departments and schools within ASU. We intend to fully leverage the industry knowledge and knowhow of our esteemed Executive Council and Executive Advisory Board members to continue to make our curriculum and research relevant and forward looking.

In summary, I believe we are strongly positioned to continue to be an innovative and entrepreneurial department within the business school. There are clear opportunities for us to explore and expand our research, teaching and community engagement initiatives. I am excited to take on a leadership role in exploring these opportunities for the department and contributing to the vision and mission of the W. P. Carey School of Business and ASU.