JOHNSON CITY (April 18, 2014) — When Dr. Linda Garceau came to East Tennessee State University in 2000 as dean of the College of Business, she had no idea what challenges awaited her.
She brought with her the knowledge gained while earning a master of accountancy degree from the University of Hartford and a master of business administration degree, as well as a doctorate of business administration, both from Boston University. In addition, she had teaching experience at Ohio’s Cleveland State University.
What she left behind was a house in Cleveland, where her husband continued to reside and work, making theirs a “commuting” marriage for many years to come.
When ETSU merged the College of Business and the College of Applied Science and Technology in 2003, Garceau became the dean of the new entity. “That has been my greatest challenge, as well as my greatest opportunity,” she says. “The College of Business was centralized and easier to define, while the College of Applied Science and Technology was quite the opposite.”
While the business departments encompass such traditional areas as accountancy, economics, finance, management and marketing, the diverse programs on the technology side of the merger include computer sciences, engineering technology, surveying, digital media, interior design and military science.
“It took time to coordinate all the disciplines into a college based on trust, with respect and appreciation for every program,” Garceau notes.
Looking back, Garceau takes pride in many of the College’s accomplishments, such as the Accelerated M.B.A. degree program. Her greatest accomplishment, however, may lie in accreditation.
“We are in good standing in every program, with full accreditation from major accrediting bodies,” she says. “And we are held up as a model by accrediting agencies for our system of self-assessment.”
Those accreditations include recognition by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB, and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, known as ABET.
Garceau has a long history of service to both accrediting bodies, but especially AACSB. She has served on the organization’s board of directors and acts as a mentor to universities in the U.S. and abroad wishing to meet AACSB standards and achieve accreditation.
“Between now and September,” Garceau says, “I will be visiting Taiwan, Scotland, Paris and Japan for business and pleasure.” Her daughter and two granddaughters will come along to sightsee in Paris.
An avid golfer, Garceau belonged to the Executive Women’s Golf Association in Cleveland. “Golf is a wonderful way to get away from the problems of the office and make friends,” she explains. “So, I started a chapter here.” The chapter has been successful and so has Garceau’s golf game. She earned the title of “Golfer of the Year” from the local Chamber of Commerce.
And now that she is retiring, Garceau’s only regret, she says, is leaving behind good friends. She will not have time to dwell on the past, however, because she has many plans for the future. “Once I step off the platform after the May Commencement exercises,” she says, “I will have ended my ETSU career. Now I can move back to Cleveland with my husband, re-establish old friendships, meet new friends, fix up the house, travel, play golf, spend time with grandchildren (there are three of them, granddaughters ages 12 and 8, plus a new grandson still counting his age in weeks), and consider other options. I’ve already received suggestions that I either engage in consulting to help other colleges move ahead or return to teaching.”