Javier Reyes is among West Virginia’s newest residents, and he may just well be among those with the brightest outlook on the state.
Reyes, who officially became the new Milan Puskar Dean at West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics on July 1, said he sees a lot of opportunity for the state’s flagship business school to help West Virginia.
“I see a lot of ways that WVU’s business school can help West Virginia, ranging from research to providing valuable information on economic development, lending our talents and expertise in the area of financial literacy, and helping to build an entrepreneurial landscape in our state that encourages new business ventures,” Reyes said. “These opportunities, and many others like them, are how we are a valuable resource to our students, our state and the world around us.”
Reyes comes to WVU from the University of Arkansas, where he simultaneously served in high ranking positions: as vice provost, and as associate dean and a tenured economics professor in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He had served at the University of Arkansas since 2003 in a number of administrative roles, including as director of the Walton College’s honors program.
He has learned to work in many different areas, and is no stranger to success. An expert in global economic matters, Reyes is an award-winning educator, an innovative leader in learning technologies, and an experienced relationship builder between industry and academics. In 2008, the University of Arkansas awarded him the Faculty Gold Medal Award for excellence in supporting undergraduate students and their research. In 2009, he was named the All-Around Faculty Member in the Walton College of Business for excellence in research, teaching and service among all his peers at the business school. He was also inducted into the Teaching Academy of the University of Arkansas in 2012.
While at Arkansas, he strategized and completed the development of new online programs in six different academic colleges. As an expert in distance education, Reyes looks to help position B&E as a top level provider of relevant online business programs, expanding access to education in new and innovative ways. This, he said, should allow B&E to expand its scope and impact across the state and nation and around the world.
Reyes managed the successful expansion of undergraduate enrollment at the Walton College, growing the program by more than 2,000 students. He has experience in investment banking and has been a visiting scholar at several international institutions. He has also served as grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation and as an invited academic scholar for the International Monetary Fund.
While he insists that he has “much to learn” before putting together a plan or charting a course for the WVU College of Business and Economics, there are some critical plans he has for the business college that capture the momentum of audiences such as students, alumni, donors, faculty and staff. Those plans, said Reyes, will help move the school ahead.
“Our role as West Virginia’s flagship business school going forward will be one to help the state with economic development, research, communication and any other aspect necessary to help create a better West Virginia,” the dean said. “Our state is at a critical crossroad in its history, and it is not only our job to present the findings of the economic characteristics of West Virginia. It is also incumbent upon us to present solutions to the challenges we all face together.
“I also think it’s important for us to create an open pipeline of communication to provide a venue for conversations between groups such as business leaders, entrepreneurs, faculty experts, talented students, etc. This venue will help us in our goal to develop students and talent who are job-ready with a global mindset, which will fuel economic development and lead regional, state and global organizations and companies.
Reyes has also embraced, and plans to help the college grow, the concept of experiential learning.
“I’m a huge fan of the ‘learning by doing’ philosophy,” said Reyes. “I was very happy to see that there were so many people at B&E and connected to our college who subscribed to that same philosophy. I really believe in it, and I believe learning outside of the classroom is just as integral to the student experience as learning inside the classroom. There have never been more opportunities for experiential learning at B&E than there are right now, and we plan to grow in that area.
“One of the main topics of discussion I have had with all of the groups I have spoken with thus far is that providing unique and valuable experiential learning gives us a real opportunity to differentiate ourselves by doing things differently,” he said. “I have used the term ‘doing things differently’ a lot, and it’s something we’re going to continue to use at B&E.”
In the meantime, Reyes and his family are new West Virginia residents, and his outlook on helping his new home state is positive. Infectious, almost.
“I am excited about being here and about our potential as a business school in helping our state,” said Reyes. “The sky’s the limit.”
For further information on the WVU College of Business and Economics, follow B&E on Twitter at @wvucobe or visit be.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics
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