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Retiring after a career filled with challenging opportunities

Retiring after a career filled with challenging opportunities

Associate Professor Emerita Dawn Harris in the classroom in 2015.

When Dawn Harris, associate professor of management, came to Quinlan in 1991, she anticipated staying for only a few years. Instead, she found challenging opportunities and stayed for decades, culminating in her retirement in December 2020. Below, she recounts some of these opportunities and challenges during her time at Loyola.

In her own words

“I pursued an academic career at Loyola since I loved learning and knew education was a wise investment for students. Several years after joining Quinlan, Dean Bob Parkinson asked me to work on the strategic plan for the business school. It did not take much to convince me to get involved with the plan since my doctoral work and teaching was in strategic management. This opportunity led to administrative work at the School of Business to implement the plan, which meant developing new programs in sport management, entrepreneurship, and study abroad, as well as the move of the business school to Maguire Hall.

“After my work on the study abroad programs at the business school, the provost created a University-wide position and invited me to develop global initiatives and lead the immersion trip to East Africa. This opportunity led to teaching new courses with other faculty members at universities around the world and pursuing research on social entrepreneurship in emerging economies. It was always exciting to witness the students coming back to campus inspired by their study abroad experiences.

“While working in an administrative capacity, I also continued my research on strategic leadership, with a particular interest in women in leadership. I wanted to understand why there were not more women in top executive positions. In 2006, my co-authors and published a groundbreaking study that examined the pipeline of women in line for leadership positions at major Fortune 1000 firms. The widely cited findings are still relevant for women seeking advancement to the C-suite.

“After completing this article, I accepted another position as the director of the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership. In this capacity, I was able to promote student leadership with the Gannon Scholars and work on a research seminar series.

“With over 10 years in administration, where I had the opportunity to practice what I preached in class, I was ready to take this leadership experience back to my teaching in the graduate strategy and leadership course. Dean Kevin Stevens then asked me to spearhead a new MBA curriculum to develop future business leaders which culminated in the new MBA program, the Next Gen MBA. The new MBA program had a successful start this past fall in the midst of the pandemic. This fall I also circled back to my work on women leaders and co-presented on women in the workforce since the pandemic as part of Quinlan’s Q Talks: Live! event.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed all of these challenging opportunities at Loyola. Now I am excited about my next chapter where I can continue to learn, seek out new opportunities, read, stay in touch with former students, and find some new bike and ski trails.”