UHV names award-winning business professor as new School of Business Administration dean

The next dean of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Business Administration will be a highly regarded economics and international business professor with extensive administrative experience and impressive teaching and research credentials, it was announced today.

Farhang Niroomand (Knee-roo-mand) is a professor at the University of Southern Mississippi and previously was associate dean and graduate program director for the university’s internationally accredited College of Business and chairman of the college’s Department of Economics and International Business. Niroomand replaces Charles Bullock, who accepted a position in June as vice chancellor of academic affairs at Chapman University College in Orange, Calif.

Interim Dean Jifu Wang will return to his position as chairman of the SoBA Management and Marketing Department when Niroomand begins on July 1, said Suzanne LaBrecque, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“We are really excited that Dr. Niroomand has agreed to join the leadership at UHV,” she said. “Our business school is poised for the next level of excellence, and we believe Dr. Niroomand brings the experience and the drive needed to lead us there.”

In November, Niroomand received the Award for Excellence in Trade Education from the Mississippi World Trade Center for his global business and international trade contributions to the state’s business community. He was appointed to the Mississippi District Export Council in 2006 and is the executive secretary-treasurer for Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honor society in economics. Niroomand has been selected for inclusion in the 2008-2009 Princeton Premier Registry.

“I am extremely honored to join the team at UHV,” Niroomand said. “I am particularly excited by the tremendous potential the School of Business Administration possesses. SoBA is one of only approximately 560 business schools in the world that are accredited by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB standards require high academic and professional qualifications for the faculty and the achievement of rigorous learning goals for students both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.”

Niroomand has helped implement four Business and International Education Title VI-B grants from the U.S. Department of Education, including “From Local to Global: The Internationalization of Business in Mississippi.” He was director of the project, which resulted in an International Business Certificate program for the business community and economic developers, a language and business study abroad program in Costa Rica, student internships in international business, and an International Business Information Technology Incubator pilot program.

“As we expected, owing to the progress of our business programs during the past five years, we had an outstanding national applicant pool for the SoBA dean position,” UHV President Tim Hudson said. “Dr. Niroomand’s stellar credentials, experience and collegiality made him the clearly preferred choice. He will be an asset to our students and our community.”

Local business leaders who met Niroomand, such as Omar Rachid, physician recruiter at Citizens Medical Center, were impressed with his extensive work in international business and his ability to communicate.

“I was impressed that Dr. Hudson asked community members to be a part of such an important decision for UHV and equally impressed with Dr. Niroomand,” he said. “I’m looking forward to welcoming him to Victoria.”

Niroomand, 55, earned his doctorate in international economics from Michigan State University in East Lansing, and has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in international trade and finance at Michigan State, the University of Connecticut and Southern Miss. His peers at Southern Miss have recognized his work in the classroom as outstanding by giving him the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1987 and 1994. He also has received the Louis K. Brandt Faculty Research Award and the BellSouth Outstanding Faculty Award.

He has published extensively in professional and academic journals, including Economic Development and Cultural Change, Economics Letters, Review of World Economics, Applied Economics and many others. He is a past editor of the Journal of Current Research in Global Business.

Niroomand has served as the director and professor of record for international study abroad programs in Spain, Japan, Costa Rica, Hong Kong and England. He has supervised more than 500 students who have studied overseas.

“Because we live in a world that is increasingly interdependent, international education is absolutely necessary to building the global knowledge for our students to become effective leaders and to be job competitive,” Niroomand said. “A global perspective gives a competitive edge in the world marketplace.”

LaBrecque said that she hopes Niroomand will encourage more international students to attend UHV and more UHV students to study abroad. UHV has study abroad programs in Spain, London and Mexico.

Niroomand also will be instrumental in SoBA’s AACSB reaccreditation, which will take place next spring.

“We are so proud of our AACSB accreditation, which is the highest standard of achievement for business schools in the world,” LaBrecque said. “Dr. Niroomand’s extensive experience with the accreditation process will ensure that we continue to meet AACSB’s rigorous standards.”  

Niroomand will move to Victoria with his wife, Farnaz Zand, an assistant professor of computer science at Southern Miss.

“We are delighted to be coming to Victoria,” Niroomand said. “The School of Business Administration has so much to be proud of, from the AACSB accreditation, which is the result of the efforts of the faculty; to the diverse student body; to the support from an administration that is committed to global engagement and innovative, adaptive and technology-driven programs that prepare future business leaders.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler