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Key Accomplishments

We have a new president at the University of South Alabama. He’ll be settling in next semester. In order to get him up to speed the deans (and others) have been asked to prepare briefing documents. Pretty standard stuff I guess. External hires at a high level are going to need a data dump at the beginning. It seems like it would be extraordinarily difficult to come into a new organization as President. Whenever you grumble about what high level execs get paid think about the workload just to get to where you can begin to go to work. It seems unfathomable to me.

Anyway, the dean of my college has asked selected faculty to put together a list of accomplishments. There was very little direction other than ‘recent’, and ‘have it to me by December 1st’. Well, it’s December 1st, so I have to write it, and thought it might be interesting to write it here for the world to read. (as if) One other piece of information is that the entire report that the dean has to submit is limited to 4 pages, and there are multiple requirements besides accomplishments. We have two centers, four academic departments, and three other reporting units, so everything probably needs to fit into less than half a page.

This sort of thing is uncomfortable for me. I don’t think of myself as shy, but I don’t tend to formally spell out my accomplishments. I have to put them in some tracking software we use, so I try to do that, but I’d rather spend my time doing than reporting. This is a defect in my thinking and my work process. If I don’t report out no one will know what I did. If at some point in the future I’m in a position with a responsibility for reporting I will need to be much more proactive, so this is practice and/or therapy I guess. Because of space constraints, lets just do a list. These are in the order of importance, according to me.

  1. Minority Business Accelerator — The Melton Center has been providing a Minority Business Accelerator in partnership with the SBA and the Chamber of Commerce for several years. I believe the first cohort was spring of 2017. We did it every spring until this year when we switched to fall and spring. We’ll be starting the spring cohort soon. That’s a total of 5 cohorts, over 30 minority entrepreneurs, and over $100,000 raised and distributed to help these businesses grow.
  2. Build a Bridge — Began in Fall 2017. This is an outreach program to teach entrepreneurship to high school students. It has a full curriculum culminating in a pitch contest. Participants and winners have been awarded cash prizes and scholarships to USA. We’ve conservatively been in front of 150-200 students, some of which have been recruited to USA.
  3. Coastal Pitch Competition (formerly Causeway Pitch Competition) — Elevator pitch competition. Began in Fall 2016 and has been held annually. Hundreds of students from across campus have competed. Probably gave away $40,000 to students. Multiple contestants have gone on to start the businesses they pitched or other businesses.
  4. Coastal Venture Competition — Business Presentation/Plan/Business Model Canvas competition. Fewer entries than the pitch competition due to it being significantly more work. Most students who entered this competition entered the CPC as well. $40,000 in prizes plus in kind donations of products and services useful in starting a business.
  5. Minority Business Development Program — New program to complement the Minority Business Accelerator and help nascent entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running. Similar format to MBA, but for minority businesses that haven’t launched. This program finished its first iteration last spring and looks promising. We raised $20,000 to support the program and gave away over $10,000 in stipends and prizes.
  6. Fundraising — We have completed several consulting projects for businesses, religious organizations, and government to fund the above initiatives. In addition we’ve raised money through grants, donations, and our board. Our annual budget historically has been between $60,000 and $100,000. Most of this work was not done by me, but it was important to list.

We’ve done more than that, but those are probably the biggest. Not a bad list for five years. This could easily be shrunk down to a quarter page of bullet points. I don’t know what part of this is important to the dean or the president so I’ll leave that to them and get on with the business of the day.

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