College of Business

A Short History of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business

The middle Tennessee normal school evolved into a four-year teachers college in 1925 with the power to grant the Bachelor of Science degree. In 1943, the Tennessee General Assembly designated the institution a state college. This new designation represented a significant departure from the founding purpose and opened new avenues for expanding and diversifying curricular offerings and degree programs. The institution was advanced to university status and received its current designation on July1, 1965.

A program in commerce or business has existed here since 1939 when Elwin W. (Wink) Midgett came to Middle Tennessee State Teachers College in January 1939 to "start the business department at the state teachers college in Murfreesboro."; The first courses in business were offered by the division of social sciences in 1939. In 1946, a business department was established. "Wink"; Midgett served as the head of the business department from 1946 to 1964. The first degree in business was awarded in 1947.

In preparation for a university reorganization and name change to become effective on July 1, 1965, the School of Business and Industry was organized in the fall of 1964 as a separate administrative unit. The unit included the following departments:

  • Accounting
  • Agriculture
  • Business Administration
  • Business Education
  • Economics
  • Industrial Arts
  • Military Science

In 1965, the name of the business unit was changed to the School of Business and Industry and Firman L. Cunningham was named Dean. He served until his death in 1973. In 1969, the first MBA degree was awarded. The name of the business unit was changed in 1970 to the School of Business and Economics.

Finance was added to the economics department in 1968, and the Business and Economic Research Center was established in September, 1970.

In the Spring of 1971, after a reorganization study by a special university committee, all the industry departments were placed in a separate school and the School of Business and Economics was formed from the remaining departments. Those included:

  • Department of Accounting and Data Processing
  • Department of Business Administration
  • Department of Business Education and Office Management
  • Department of Economics and Finance
  • Business and Economic Research Center

Distributive Education (changed to Marketing Education in 1989) was added to the Department of Business Education and Office Management in 1973. The name was changed to the Department of Business Communication and Entrepreneurship in the fall of 2006. In the fall of 1975, the Business Administration Department was renamed the Department of Management and Marketing. In the same year, the Accounting and Data Processing Department was designated the Department of Accounting and Information Systems. In 1979, all courses in statistics were transferred from the Department of Management and Marketing to the Department of Accounting and Information Systems.

The University celebrated its diamond anniversary in 1986 with the theme, "Our Year to Shine."; The theme included reflections of yesterday, celebration of today, and anticipations of tomorrow during a year-long observance. The year 1986 was important in the University's history for another reason. For the first time, an alumnus won the Nobel Prize. Dr. James McGill Buchanan (BA 1940) received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his development of the theory of Public Choice, which deals with techniques of public sector resource allocation.

During the 1973-74 academic year Dr. P. William Vaught served as Acting Dean.

In 1974, Dr. Alex J. Simon was named Dean. He served until the end of 1975 fall term at which time Dr. Simon returned to full-time teaching.

1977, during Dean Vaught's tenure as dean, the school received its initial accreditation at the undergraduate level by the AACSB. Under Dean Vaught's leadership the School of Business was granted a Beta Gamma Sigma national honor society in business charter on April 10, 1978. This prestigious organization is only available to AACSB accredited institutions.

Dr. Ben B. McNew was named Dean in 1980 and served until 1988. In 1983, under Dean McNew's leadership, the School of Business received initial graduate accreditation and reaffirmation of undergraduate accreditation by the AACSB. In 1984-85 the Department of Accounting and Information Systems was split forming the new Department of Information Systems (changed to Computer Information Systems in 1986). Dean McNew initiated the establishment of the Jack O. Weatherford Chair of Finance, and the proposal which resulted in the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise. Dean McNew resigned as Dean to become the first chairholder of the Carmichael Chair of Economics at the University of Central Arkansas.

Dr. E. Dwight Bullard served as Acting Dean from May until October 1988.

Dr. Barbara S. Haskew became Dean in October 1988 and served until the spring of 1995. In 1991 the School of Business became the College of Business. Under Dr. Haskew all of the programs of the College of Business received reaffirmation of accreditation by the AACSB. Dean Haskew was instrumental in filling and developing the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise. Ambassador Joe M. Rodgers became the Chairholder and worked with three camp us liaisons, Drs. James F. Steward, R. Earl Thomas, and E. James Burton. The Chair has been able to bring national and international speakers and local business executives to the campus to present seminars and programs to enrich classes and present topics of interest to the campus community.

During Dean Haskew's term as Dean, the College of Business received approval for a new Business and Aerospace Building. The 163,000 sq. ft., $22-million building includes 41 master classrooms, a 200-seat university computer lab, a 235 seat lecture hall, three student lounges, an organization meeting room, 5 meeting rooms to accommodate different size groups, an aerospace lab, weather center, wind tunnel, three lobbies, 150 faculty offices, 6 department office complexes, 5 centers, 2 endowed professorships, chairs of excellence centers, a graduate and undergraduate advising center, and a Dean's office complex.

In addition to service as dean, Dr. Haskew held a joint appointment as Interim Vice President for Development and University Relations during the 1993-94 academic year. She accepted the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in the fall semester of 1995.

Dr. E. Dwight Bullard served as Interim Dean during the 1995-96 academic year.

In June 1996, Dr. Rick Elam became Dean. He oversaw the completion and moving of the college to the new building. Dean Elam made organization changes in the administrative structure of the college, pushed for curriculum change in the core requirements for business majors, and expanded the academic advising process for business students. Dean Elam announced at the beginning of the 1998-99 academic year that he would step down as Dean at the end of the year.

In 1997, Dr. E. James Burton became the Executive Director of the Jones Chairs of Excellence, and the coordination functions were moved from the College of Business to the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The University has two Jones Chairs:

  • The Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise
  • The Jennings and Rebecca Jones Chair of Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning

Dr. Burton became the Dean of the College of Business at the beginning of the fall 1999 semester. Dean Burton added an Assistant to the Dean and a Director of Leadership Middle Tennessee to the administrative staff during the 1999 fall semester. In 1999 responsibility for the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise returned to the College of Business. The Jennings and Rebecca Jones Chair of Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning remains an interdisciplinary endeavor reporting to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Administrative support for this Chair is provided by the College of Business.

The Jones College of Business received reaffirmation of accreditation from the AACSB in 2001. The Department of Accounting achieved initial accounting accreditation from the AACSB in 2003. The Jones College of Business received reaffirmation of accreditation from the AACSB in 2001.

Dr. Burton initiated a codification of faculty performance expectations and a preliminary look at admissions standards for the College. Each of these remains in the active continuous improvement process.

Leadership

Name

Title

Years

Elwin W. (Wink) Midgett

Department Head

1946-64

Firman L. Cunningham

Dean

1964-73

P. William Vaught

Acting Dean

1973-74

Alex J. Simon

Dean

1974-75

P. William Vaught

Dean

1975-80

Ben B. McNew

Dean

1980-88

E. Dwight Bullard

Acting Dean

1988

Barbara S. Haskew

Dean

1988-95

E. Dwight Bullard

Interim Dean

1995-96

Rick Elam

Dean

1996-99

E. James Burton

Dean

1999-


Mileposts

First Business Courses

1939

First Business Department

1946

First Business Degree

1947

Midgett Business Building Opened

1959

First School under University designation

1965

First MBA degree

1969

AACSB Undergraduate Accreditation

1977

Beta Gamma Sigma Charter

1978

AACSB Graduate Accreditation

1983

AACSB Reaffirmation of Accreditation

1992

Business and Aerospace Building Opened

1997

AACSB Reaffirmation of Accreditation

2001

AACSB Initial Accounting Accreditation

2004