About Paul Jarley

Opinionated dean working to improve the educational experience and prepare students to compete as business professionals

Administrative Professionals Rock

Wednesday is Administrative Professionals Day. Our AA’s work hard to make all of the rest of us look good. We should thank them everyday, not just on April 24th. Administrative Professionals Day always reminds me of Anne Marie. She set the standard for Administrative Pros at UCF and I think it most appropriate to repeat a blog post I wrote for her retirement party…


Today, Anne Marie retires from the UCF College of Business. We plan on sending her out in style. God knows she deserves it. Anne Marie has worked for at least four different deans and has solved an unimaginable number of problems, both real and perceived. Most of those issues never got to the dean’s door.

Deans love this. So, it came as no surprise that when I reached out to my predecessors and asked them to help me tell her story that they responded with enthusiasm. We share a fondness for this classy woman who lightened our burdens and endured our peculiarities with style and grace. I will try to be brief, but can’t resist being a little tongue and cheek along the way while I poke some fun at me and my predecessors in an effort to highlight her many talents…

As with most good things in the College, the never shy Dick Huseman takes credit. He told me in a recent phone call that he hired Anne Marie. Dick was in need of a new executive assistant and got a recommendation from someone in the community to give her an interview. I strongly suspect that Anne Marie was interviewing Dick more than the other way around, but somehow they came to terms. My guess is that, like most things, Anne Marie figured she could fix him. 

Dick quickly learned that he had found a terrific gate keeper who kept an ear to the ground and brought an air of professionalism to the College. This latter quality is strikingly apparent in one of my favorite photos in the college archive: It is of a dashing Dick leaning against the receptionist desk next to the immaculate Anne Marie, with a young Cindy Colon (looking like Annette Funicello) seated to his left. Every time I see that photo I think: I would definitely do business with these people.

It is a truism in dean searches that they always want the opposite of the last one. I am told that Tom Keon is as reserved as Dick is effervescent. He certainly did something right as he led the College through incredible change and growth. Not surprisingly, Tom gives Anne Marie equal billing in their success, writing..

….”Anne Marie de Govia, or as I fondly remember AM, was a true partner to me for the 14 years we worked together in the dean’s office at UCF. There are many wonderful traits that I could describe but I prefer to focus on just a few. First and foremost, AM is a true professional who never accepted less than perfect for any and all work that crossed her desk. Second, as dean, everyone that had contact with the office would remark on how helpful, how friendly, and what a joy she was to interact with at all times. And, of course, how lucky I was to have her as an assistant. Finally, she was a friend. She was always there to cheer, support, and provide a warm heart and ear to listen. I still miss her. God bless, and good luck, my friend and colleague.”

When Tom departed, Caribbean English collided with North Carolina speak. No one can smooth over a tense situation with a folksy response better than Foard Jones. Attackers leave both comforted and a bit confused. I suspect Anne Marie took on the role of translator. Foard acknowledges he certainly was in need of her help, writing…

…”Sophisticated, warm, intelligent, and dedicated are just a few ways to describe Anne Marie De Govia. I could not have asked for a better chief of staff and partner in crime. I quickly found myself using the word “we” a lot. As in “Anne Marie, how should we handle this?” or “what should we do now?” But more than her administrative acumen and experience, I could count on her easy laugh, humor, and tales of Carnival to make the day a little brighter and less insane. Sometimes you just get lucky. I surely did with the opportunity to work alongside Anne Marie. She made a difference in the lives of many in many ways.”

Then came the guy from Vegas, as direct as Foard is subtle. By the time I came to UCF, it was Anne Marie’s College. I would regularly remark that while people in the College didn’t know each other very well that everyone knew Anne Marie. The College it seemed flowed through her, perhaps because she was charged with helping everyone figure the new guy out. 

It wasn’t hard to see Anne Marie’s talent, but it took me a little while to decipher her three distinct looks…

Look One only appears when she has a Caribbean student in her office needing help with a largely self-inflicted crisis. That look means “What exactly were you thinking before you did that unbelievably stupid thing…I’m not sure I can, or should, save you.” She saved them anyway. They were grateful.

Look Two occurs when someone is claiming that I said something that she is sure is stupid, but Anne Marie can’t rule out the possibility that I said it. These encounters usually end with a sigh of relief (she was grateful it was nonsense and she wouldn’t have to fix it), but on occasion would lead to Look Three.

Look Three is a very wry smile that means “Dean I am about to teach you something about the college that will save you from your dumb self: Be grateful.”

I am.  


We lost Anne Marie shortly after she retired, but I see a lot of her in many of our A.A.’s from John Paul’s calming influence in a storm, to the way Susan has trained Ajai, Angelika handles Jim, or Renee is working to break in Pradeep, to how Paula and Jennifer keep tabs on their wandering bosses. Then there is how Tina, Andrea and Cindy make sure I don’t do something stupid ( it takes a village in my case).  Which, quite frankly might be better than Gregg where no single person wants to take responsibility for him as evidenced by the fact that none of the Dixon School’s three assistants are willing to have their picture up on the web. They prefer to remain anonymous. But to those of us who depend on them everyday to conduct the business of our unit and make us look good, our administrative assistants are anything but anonymous to us and we want them to know we couldn’t get it done without them.. Anne Marie would be proud.

Pay Attention to Who Finishes Third

This is my first year at UCF that I missed the Joust Finals. The Joust is our version of Shark Tank. Students from all over campus enter the Joust in the hopes of winning resources that will help jump-start to their business. The competition is fierce and the judges are accomplished business folks who aren’t afraid to ask tough questions. This year the competition also has a new presenting sponsor: ViaTek a company owned by UCF College of Business Alum Lou Lentine. You can learn about his company by clicking here.

One of the inside jokes in the College is that you want to finish third in the Joust. As great and experienced as our judges are, predicting who has the next great business idea is incredibly hard.  The journey to success is filled with uncertainty and in the end, that journey can only be taken by the student entrepreneur and his or her team. For some reason, those who have finished third in the Joust seem to be the most successful business folks in the long-term.  This is an very important point for our student entrepreneurs to understand: The Joust is just a point of feedback in a long quest to succeed.  Sometimes the Joust feedback is used to scrap the idea altogether.  Other times the feedback is used to pivot.  Still other times, the entrepreneur just decides to stay the course.

So congrats to Wawwe for winning the Joust but keep an eye on Omnimodal for that third place finish. That team might want to check out our podcast on lean startup.  It features one of our past participants in the Joust.  He gives people a very unvarnished look into what the long process to success looks like for a guy who finished third in the Joust.  Give a listen by clicking here.

And congratulations to Ridesurf and Brite for finishing second and fourth respectively. You are all winners for taking the risk to enter our competition and pushing your ideas to the next level.

Win At Failing?

Everyone fails. It is part of life. Rather than pretend it won’t happen, you should count on it and know what you will do to recover from it. Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk–taker and successful leader. That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college. Today, we begin the fourteenth installment of our Failure Competition. Entering our competition is simple:

  • Write an account of a failure you have experienced in the past. Your failure story has to focus on a time you stepped out of your comfort zone to experience something new: the farther the better. Tell us why this was such a stretch for you, the failure that resulted and what you learned from the experience that would be of interest to others. It needs to be genuine, people can spot a fish story a mile way.
  • While the Failure Competition began with students in our capstone class, it is now open to any UCF student on campus: undergraduate, graduate or EMBA, business, education, engineering or whatever. The only requirement is that you currently be enrolled at UCF. About a year ago, we had a music student win the competition.
  • Need inspiration or guidance to tell your story? Search my blog. We have posted many stories about failure over the years.

Here are the ground rules, complete with important deadlines:

To enter you must post your essay in response to this blog. If you are a capstone student this semester include your section number and name of your instructor. If you are not in this class, tell me your class standing ( e.g., freshman, senior, graduate student) and your field of study. You must complete this exercise by 5 pm on Monday April 15. Don’t Worry If You Don’t See it Right Away. I Have to Accept It

A panel of College staff will choose no more than three finalists for me to consider. I will select three finalists by April 18th at 5 pm.

The finalists will be asked to submit short videos based on their essays. Those videos must be sent to me by 5 pm on Sunday April 21st.

I will then feature one video each day on my blog starting April 22 with a vote by everyone reading my blog taking place to determine the winner on Friday April 26.

The winner will get a letter of recommendation from me along with a $500 prize. Second place will get $300, third place $200. These monies are awarded through our financial aid office.

Good Luck!

Why You Want to Be at a Research University

“The value of a business degree isn’t the piece of paper, it is the people around you, the networking and the research that faculty are bringing back into the classroom.” Jeffrey Inman, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and Faculty at College of Business Administration, University of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday we had our annual Titen Speaker Series Lecture.  This year’s speaker was Dr. J. Jeff Inman from the University of Pittsburgh.  He spoke about the way technology is changing our lives and what leads consumers to adopt or reject new technological applications.  His examples were far-ranging and included experiences in retail, manufacturing, and higher education.  It was an engaging presentation.

Andy and Gail Titen fund this event because they believe it is better to have a conversation with the person who discovered the insight than it is to talk to someone who just read their paper or book.  The visitor gives our students the opportunity to see how research is done and why it is important.  It also gives our faculty and PhD. students an opportunity to meet with a leading scholar from another university and pick his or her brain about their work and important trends in their field.

Research plays an important role in any major university like UCF.  At one level, research is a faculty development tool ensuring that professors stay current, relevant and rigorous in their approach to today’s most important topics and issues.  To be successful at research, faculty need to address important topics using rigorous analytical techniques, convince their peers at other universities that their ideas have merit and publish their work so others can build on, or critique, their ideas.  At another level, research is the impetus for changes in practice and by doing so helps invent our future.  In short, well-tested ideas move the world.  If you want to hear about a great example of this in our College, give a listen to our podcast on behavioral ethics by clicking here. The podcast will explain how the Enron scandal led to a whole new way to think about business ethics that is being pioneered here at UCF and how businesses are using this approach to improve ethical decision-making in their organizations.   After that you just might want to enroll in Dr. Folger’s class.  He’s the guy whose ideas and research helped to spawn this whole field.

Dr. Robert Porter

This is the third time in 2019 that I am writing about the loss of a colleague. We got news last Friday, that Dr. Robert Porter had passed away after suffering a heart attack.  Bob was a lecturer in our management department for several years and ran our Executive Development Center for more than five years.  He had just recently moved on to become President and CEO of the Florida Virtual School.

Bob was one of the most polished professional speakers the college has ever had.  He cared a great deal about the student experience and the success of our graduates. He moved easily between academic and business settings and excelled in teaching our capstone strategy course. Bob also helped grow enrollment at our Executive Development Center to record levels.

He was also a proud father and granddad.

Bob’s family is establishing a scholarship in his name, an apt tribute to a guy who cared so deeply about his students’ success.  If you’d like to contribute, you can do so by clicking here.  A great teacher touches the lives of many students. The lessons he or she teaches them live on well past the teacher’s time with them.  I know many students will continue to carry Bob along with them throughout their careers.


Are You Career Ready?

If you are a non-business major returning from Spring Break and unsure of your career plans after graduation in May, we might have a solution for you. Our new MSM Integrated Business Track program emphasizes development of applied business skills through a team-based, active learning approach that creates well-rounded problem-solvers who will thrive in environments that require them to take on multiple roles and responsibilities for their employers. Located on the UCF Main Campus, the MSM Integrated Business Track program is a 12-month, daytime program with a 30 credit hour curriculum and classes and co-curricular activities that require a commitment  Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Basically, you give us a year and you come out career-ready— able to apply your undergraduate degree and new found business skills in a wide variety of settings. Check it out by clicking here.

Spring Break 2020

While you are sitting on that beach thumbing through your cellphone and wondering whether this “fun in the sun” spring break is really what you want to be doing next year, you might want to click here.

Not only would you be doing something great for someone else that gets you outside your comfort zone, imagine what perspective employers might think when you tell them about that experience instead of what you are doing now…..

They Really Are Social Media Stars..

If you’re a fan of the podcast, you might be amused to learn that Kelly’s chickens are all grown up and laying eggs. The industrial egg complex doesn’t seem worried, but Carolyn was right, those chickens are becoming social media stars….

Don’t know about our podcast? Click here to give a listen. Some new episodes will be hatching soon…

Our Job

The unfortunate events of the past week are about the future of the university. It will likely be several months before new leadership is in place, our relationship with state leaders can begin to heal and our path forward come into focus.

But our job here in the college remains unchanged: to ensure that students continue to learn, that faculty continue to make new discoveries, that our partners continue to help us co-create our culture of engagement and find the talent they need, that our graduates continue to get good jobs, and that we continue to tell our remarkable story.

UCF and its College of Business remain institutions on the rise because the people who work, study and volunteer here know that they are doing great things. Our best response to the uncertainty that lies ahead is to continue to charge on.

Advice for Students From the Hall of Fame

Last Tuesday we held our 20th Annual College of Business Hall of Fame Induction at Rosen Shingle Creek in front of 850 guests.  The event celebrates our alumni, corporate partners, faculty, staff and students.  It is extremely hard to get into our Hall of Fame.  We have more than 60,000 alumni and less than 90 have received this honor.

As part of the induction, we ask each of our honorees to give our current UCF students some advice.  The tip that stuck with me was from Rick Cardenas.  Rick is CFO of Darden.  From the day he attended UCF, Rick said he always knew he wanted to be a CFO of a Fortune 500 company.  He told the attendees that focusing on your “next” job is a recipe for dissatisfaction.  Instead, he suggested that students think about the very last job they want to have in your career.  He commented that if you do this, you will see that there are many paths to get there and will be much more patient and satisfied along the journey.  This strategy certainly worked for Rick.  Maybe it can work for you too.