Business Dean Becomes UST’s First Chief Innovation Officer
As dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Beena George approaches her work with the finesse of a businesswoman: with an eye toward improvement and organizational efficiency, and always with the customer in mind.
Her focus on building relationships in the Houston community and her creativity in tailoring business school programs to better meet the needs of students and the Houston community. These characteristics led her to implement new programs like the Master in Clinical Translation Management—a graduate program in the commercialization of biotech. In addition, she forged collaborations with incubators and accelerators for business students, such as TMCx, Texas Medical Center institutions, JLABS and Station Houston.
With her business acumen, Dr. George makes the ideal candidate to step into the new role of University of St. Thomas's chief innovation officer. Beginning this July, she will cement the University’s dedication to creating a culture of innovation.
Experience Meets UST's Uniqueness
“To me, ultimately, it means creating better solutions to meet new or currently unmet needs of our current and future students as well as our alumni,” Dr. George said.
Dr. George joined the faculty of the Cameron School of Business in 2003, teaching management information systems. Her innovative approach to teaching a course on sourcing management earned the distinction of excellence in the 2004 AIS Award for Innovation in Information Systems Education. She became dean of the Cameron School of Business in 2013.
As a liberal arts University, UST’s focus is learner-centered innovation that ensures students are prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
“UST will approach this common cause in our own unique way, with a focus on the human person even as we pursue innovation,” Dr. George said.
Innovating the Concept of Innovation
In addition to examining trends and synthesizing information from many sources, she will also draw on ideas from throughout the University, because often ideas need to be connected to bring them to fruition.
Dr. George’s considerations of innovation are straight out of one of the business classes she taught as professor. Under her guidance, the University might consider product innovation: changing the approach to building programs to create new learning opportunities or credentials; student experience innovation: changes and enhancements that make every interaction of the learner with our institution useful, easy and seamless; or perhaps, process innovation: what she calls the “least exciting” form of innovation, which can bring new operational efficiencies and a process discipline that enables other forms of innovation.
“Innovation requires you to be in the moment and take advantage of opportunities that you have now,” Dr. George said.
Dr. Richard Ludwick, UST president, said Dr. George will help UST play an instrumental part in positioning the University within Houston’s explosive growth in technology and innovation.
“Dr. George will take us well beyond those initial projects to firmly establish UST as a major player in the Houston innovation ecosystem and other ecosystems throughout the state and nation.”
The University of St. Thomas is Houston’s Catholic University. For more than 70 years, UST has graduated students into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more. As Houston grows, UST will continue to provide the strong leaders and skilled workers needed to meet those demands.