You might see Brian Dunn around Hughes Hall, but do you know what he does?
The affable eight-year veteran of the Gabelli School of Business has a varied and important role. Learn more in this transcript of our conversation with Brian, edited only for clarity and continuity:
Q. Tell us about your job and what you do at the Gabelli School of Business.
A. I am the assistant dean of honors opportunities and dual degree programs. That’s kind of a catch-all for most honors programs that we have, including the four-year Global Business Honors Program and various other societies like the Boyle Society (students with a 3.75 and above GPA who are dedicated to doing community service projects each semester) and Beta Gamma Sigma (an international business honors society). I manage research assistantships, and I coordinate the application process for dual-degree programs such as the BS/MBA and BS/MS. I also oversee the Gabelli School service-learning program.
Q. How long have you worked at Fordham University?
A. It’s been about eight years now, the longest I’ve ever been anywhere. It’s been the same job, but it’s evolved over time.
Q. What did you do before you came to Fordham? And what was your educational background?
A. Right out of undergraduate I worked in advertising for a few years, and during that time I had a kind of revelation. I wanted to align my internal mission with that of my employer, and I didn’t see that happening within advertising. So I decided I wanted to work in higher education. My first job in higher education was with NYU Stern in undergraduate advising. I did that for five years before I moved here. My BA in marketing came from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, and my master’s degree was at NYU while I was working there. That’s in higher education administration. Eight or nine years later, I’m done licking my wounds from that, so I just started a PhD program in higher education here at Fordham.
Q. Do you enjoy working with students? And what do you find surprising or interesting about it?
A. The greatest thing is that you never know what is coming through your door, so it keeps you on your toes. You get that immediate response – How is this working with the student? – and the ability to talk it out with the student and help them get to where they feel like they need to be or where they want to be. Sometimes that’s not even giving them the answers but giving them more questions so they can reflect upon what they really want to do and why they want to do it.
Q. What do you like to do in your time away from work?
A. It probably sounds cliché, but spending time with my family. Between work and school, I don’t have as much time at home as I’d like, so I enjoy playing with my kids. My children are 5 and 4, and we have one on the way, so it’s about to get very interesting very soon. The funniest thing was the other day the TV was on and my son walks in the room. There was an advertisement for the Superman vs. Batman movie coming out. And he’s used to seeing cartoon superheroes, so when he saw that Batman had a real face, was a person, he was just staring at the TV and saying, “Superheroes are real?” And that’s the greatest part about it. Kids can be really challenging, but then they also come up with something like that. And you realize that they are learning, just like I am still learning.