UNF Coggin College of Business hires new dean

Luke Barber

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The new Coggin College of Business Dean Dr. Mark DawkinsPhoto by Luke Barber

The new Coggin College of Business Dean Dr. Mark Dawkins
Photo by Luke Barber

UNF’s Coggin College of Business welcomed its seventh dean, Dr. Mark Dawkins, on June 15.

“I’m very excited about being here,” Dawkins said. “I’m going to be focusing very heavily over the next few years on growing the enrollment of undergraduates, as well as our MBA programs.”

In January 2015, the incumbent dean, Dr. Ajay Samant, went on an administrative sabbatical. Samant, who was dean for five years, left his duties to whomever the university’s Board of Trustees deemed fit.

Dawkins said there were approximately 80 applicants for the position. Dr. Paul Mason, an economics professor at UNF, acted as the stand-in dean until June, when Dawkins was officially appointed by the board.

“This is a good time for a change of leadership,” Samant said via email. “The state of the College is strong. I am looking forward to spending more time with students.”

Samant, who traveled out of the country shortly following his departure from his leadership role, will return back to UNF in July to resume teaching finance courses.

“I have accomplished the three goals that I wanted to attain [as dean of the college],” Samant said. “The Coggin College raised the highest amount of funds of all the colleges in the UNF capital campaign. We were reaccredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in business and accounting for the next five years with no conditions met.”

On top of this, Samant helped start the Center for Sustainable Business Practices, which was designed to encourage Jacksonville businesses to revise their business practices to include social and environmental responsibility.

“When you look at the education landscape, you need to serve all segments of the market,” Dawkins said. “You need to have an online presence, you need to have a residential presence, you need to have a commuting presence. We [UNF] are in all segments of the market. That is what attracted me long term to the university.

“We need to look at all programs that we offer and make sure that the programs that we are adding are meeting the needs of the community in the marketplace, but also that we have the faculty capacity to do a good job in serving those constituents.”

After seeing that the position was available in a collection of educational job postings called The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dawkins, a Jacksonville native, jumped head-first into the application process.

“My wife and I were planning a long time ago to return to Florida eventually for retirement purposes,” Dawkins said. “This opening at the Coggin College of Business just gave me a chance to get here probably 15 years earlier than I thought I actually would. It’s a great thing. It’s really given me a chance to get reoriented and connected to the business community and to help grow the University of North Florida.”

According to a press release issued by UNF’s Public Relations department, Dawkins earned his Ph.D. in accounting from Florida State University in 1994. Dawkins was an accounting professor at the University of Georgia, starting in 1994, and he also served as associate dean of Academic Programs at the university for six years before making the transition back to Jacksonville.

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