Dr. Mohammed Khayum, dean of the Romain College of Business and professor of economics, recently reached an impressive career milestone, celebrating his 25th year with USI. The University was reaching new enrollment heights in the 1990’s, bringing with it an expansion of programs, support services and new faculty. Khayum was among the new faculty joining the burgeoning campus in the fall of 1991, teaching economics and finance.
His role has evolved from professor, then chair of economics and finance, to associate dean and was selected as dean in 2006. He, too, has evolved. “I found, at times, that my personal preferences as a faculty member didn’t always align with the departmental objectives, and it took some time and effort to understand and adjust to that,” he said. “That awareness has been helpful in preparing me for my current role. I have developed a better understanding of conflict and how it relates to commitment towards common objectives and accountability.”
Khayum admits that his early notions of leadership traits, such as charisma and eloquence were simplistic. His personal and professional growth, as well as his observation of students, staff and faculty has made him realize that each individual has the capacity for leadership. The ability to influence and persuade stems from not just determination and drive, but from sincerity. “Every person has the potential to be an influence,” he said. “It just depends on what it is you really care about and whether you’re eager to allow that to influence others. Once you’re sincere, others can sense that, and therefore you don’t have to persuade them because they don’t have to unravel your motive.”
The Romain College of Business has been recognized for many extraordinary achievements. Just over the past few years, they have brought dynamic speakers to the University, such as T. Boone Pickens, legendary entrepreneur and philanthropist; and Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve; and Oscar Salazar, early architect and founding chief technology officer of Uber. Students of the college have won both regional and national accolades in marketing, accounting, finance and information systems. The college-sponsored Startup Weekend continues to bring innovative entrepreneurs to campus to pitch ideas. The new online MBA program has seen impressive enrollment numbers and introduces new audiences across the country to our University.
Ever the forward thinker, Khayum envisions new academic possibilities for the future of the college. Whether it’s understanding blockchain technology and its effect on business practices, cyber security or how behavior changes with information consumption, Khayum and his team are on the cutting edge of new developments and ways to incorporate them into the curriculum.
Khayum takes great pride in the accomplishments of the college and its faculty. “Faculty members have and continue to make a difference in the lives of many others, not only students,” he said. “They touch lives here and across our networks by the way they respond to the intellectual needs and aspirations of others through their research, instruction and relationships.”
What has led to Khayum’s devotion to USI and his 25 years of service is what he also considers the University’s greatest strength: commitment. “What makes USI special is the level of care we show to each other. That sense of community is more than just a statement; it’s a deep level of commitment.”
Photo Credit: USI Photography and Multimedia
Dr. Mohammad Khayum