May 21, 2018

Martin Roth | Dean, University of Hartford Barney School of Business

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Martin Roth

Five years after becoming dean of the Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford, Martin Roth is about to take on the business of being a university president for the first time: at the University of Charleston (UC) in West Virginia, starting July 1. He leaves UHart June 15 and said he's enjoyed every minute at Barney and the university.

Roth, 57, who was interested in pursuing a presidency at a private, independent college or university, called UC attractive because of its focus on professional programs, career preparation, community engagement and lifelong learning. Before departing, we asked him to weigh in on his time here and his new job.

What are you most proud of accomplishing at UHart?

How successfully we have partnered with the business community. It has been foundational to our enrollment, experiential learning, student placement, rankings and fundraising growth. We now have a really distinctive undergraduate "career ready" program that provides each student with internships, corporate visits, mock interviews, and other rich experiences.

Our revised MBA program offers working professionals the opportunity to complete the degree in two years or less, specialize in areas such as business analytics, project management, and finance, take classes on campus or online, all at a very attractive price. It's been great working with our faculty and staff on designing and delivering these types of innovations.

Is there anything you didn't accomplish that you wish you would have?

I wish I would be here for the construction of our new addition. We raised over $4.5 million to add a new commons, cafe, trading room and analytics lab, career and professional development space, and innovation lab. I hope to return for the ribbon cutting in 2019!

What do you see as your biggest opportunity as UC president?

The university has a nice portfolio of professional programs upon which we can build. They are also doing some great distance education work with the military, and I am excited to help UC grow their presence in the online, working professional space. We should also be able to offer a rich mix of leadership, analytics and innovation programming to a variety of audiences.

What do you see as your biggest challenge as UC president?

Like Connecticut, West Virginia is not experiencing much economic growth. And it faces the same shrinking student demographic situation endemic to the Northeast. So we'll need to innovate in ways that make us distinctive and attractive to students and employers.

Like most industries, higher education institutions are in a battle for market share. University closures and mergers will become more prevalent. But if we are successful, these challenges should translate into opportunities for growth.

What's the biggest change you've noticed in Hartford's business community in your time here?

A recognition that economic growth is everybody's business. It's been great to see the largest employers investing in innovations such as the InsurTech Startupbootcamp and the Advanced Manufacturing Center and their desire to have Barney School and other higher-ed institutions work with them.

We need to keep the best Connecticut high school students here, and provide great pathways for them, and out-of-state students, to become part of the region's economic vitality.

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