Beheruz N. Sethna

From 1994 to June, 2013, Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna served as President of the institution now known as the University of West Georgia (UWG). When he retired, he was the longest-serving University President in the State of Georgia (among both, public and private colleges and universities).  The following accomplishments are shared ones, and reflect the work of several other colleagues and supporters.

During Dr. Sethna’s tenure as President, the institution saw transformative change from a College to a State University to a Ph.D.-granting SACS Level VI University (this is SACS’s highest level – e.g. the best private and public universities in the South are SACS Level VI, such as the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, U of Texas, U of Virginia, Emory, etc.).  In August of 2013, the Board approved a sector change for UWG to a Comprehensive University with a mission to be a world-class academic institution.

During Dr. Sethna’s tenure, UWG’s academic standards increased several times and full-time equivalent enrollment increased by approximately 50 percent to close to 12,000 students. 

Almost 40 new buildings have been added during Dr. Sethna’s tenure at UWG.  During his tenure, more square footage was added than every other President combined since the institution started in 1906 – at an investment of almost one third of a billion dollars of new construction and renovation funds.

During his tenure, UWG awarded 33,000+ degrees, more than every other Presidential administration combined in the institution’s history (107 years, at the time he retired from his presidency).

The endowment was increased by more than 10 times its 1994 level.

Dr. Sethna has also served two terms in 1999-2000 and 2006-07 (each 12-15 months long) on an interim basis as Senior and then Executive Vice Chancellor for the entire University System of Georgia. He had functional responsibility for approximately 260,000 students and 10,000 faculty members, in all 35 public institutions in the State, including four Research Universities, 15 Comprehensive Universities, and 16 Two-year and State Colleges, in the following areas: Academic Affairs (all program and faculty decisions), Student Affairs (including admissions, registrars, and other student-related matters), Planning and Policy Analysis (research on University System data), the Office of Information and Instructional Technology (all technology decisions, including Y2K implementation, PeachNet – the Statewide backbone, and related areas) and (in 2006) Fiscal Affairs for part of the term.  Plus: In 2006-07 as Executive Vice Chancellor, he had line responsibility for all 15 Comprehensive Universities, in which these Presidents reported to him. 

As Tom Peters said, the best leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders: Dr. Sethna has helped develop, mentor, and/or give opportunities to many senior administrators, some of whom have reached the position of President and Vice Chancellor. He also serves as a Presidential Mentor for the American Council on Education’s Spectrum program, from which at least two of his protégés have risen to presidencies.

In December of 2013, after his retirement from the position of President, he was given the University of West Georgia’s highest honor, The Founder’s Award.

Dr. Sethna is the first known person of Indian origin ever to become President of a University in America.  He was also the first person of any ethnic minority to become president of a college or university in Georgia other than a historically black college.

FAMILY:

Dr. Sethna has been married for more than 45 years to the multi-talented Dr. Madhavi Sethna, who has an MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad, an MA from Columbia University, an MS from Clarkson University, and her doctorate from UWG.

Together, they have two children and four grandchildren.  Dr. Anita Sethna is a surgeon specializing in facial plastics and reconstructive surgery at Emory University, who has two daughters: 6-year old Zarina Cole and 3-year-old Cyra Cole. Shaun Sethna is an engineer and an intellectual property attorney in Houston, married to Sunita Shirodkar, also an attorney; they are the parents of two sons: 4-year old Surin Sethna and Sian Sethna who is a year old.

  • BS, B. Tech. (Honors) Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, 1971
  • M.B.A., Master of Business Administration, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, 1973
  • M. Phil., Master of Philosophy, Columbia University, New York, New York, 1975
  • PhD, Business (Marketing), Columbia University, New York, New York, 1976
  • Certificate, Certified Computing Professional, Association for Systems Management, Cleveland, OH, 1985
  • Certificate, Advanced Faculty Development, MIS: A.A.C.S.B. and Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1986
  • Executive Program, Institute for Educational Management, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1991
  • Executive Program, Experienced Presidents Seminar, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008

Fall 2020 Sections

  • MKTG-3808 (Business Research) Section: 01D
  • MKTG-3808 (Business Research) Section: 01
  • MKTG-3808 (Business Research) Section: 02

Spring 2020 Sections

Fall 2019 Sections

Spring 2019 Sections

Fall 2018 Sections

Spring 2018 Sections

Fall 2017 Sections

Spring 2017 Sections

Fall 2016 Sections

Spring 2016 Sections

Fall 2015 Sections

Spring 2015 Sections

Please Refer to Curriculum Vitae for Listing of 80+ Papers

Undergraduate Research

Guided more than 160 UWG students to acceptance at least one national conference each. Advisor to five undergraduate research teams that have won the first prize in the nation in undergraduate research at the National Social Science Association. There have been journal articles published with students.

Implications of the Flattening World for American Education

According to Tom Friedman, 10 influences have done much to “flatten” the world, from the fall of the Berlin Wall (toward the end of 1989) to what he calls the steroids, such as hand-held devices (circa 2003-4). All of these flatteners occurring in a blink of an eye constituted the first of what Friedman calls the triple convergence. The next (and related) convergence occurred when “the convergence of the ten flatteners begat the convergence of a set of business practices and skills that would get the most out of the flat world” – also of professions with different skill sets. This meant a new business model was required to succeed. Instead of collaborating vertically (the top-down method of collaboration, where innovation comes from the top), businesses needed to begin collaborating horizontally – where companies and people collaborate with other departments or companies to add value creation or innovation. And, finally, the third element of the triple convergence occurred with the advent of China, India, and other countries into this new world, almost 3three billion people who had been left out of the business climate were now in. So, it is a “triple convergence” that we in America have to deal with – a convergence of 10 flatteners in the blink of an eye, of many diverse skill sets and professions, and of three billion new people in the global market. This has tremendous implications for American higher education and society in general.

Higher Education: An American Star

Higher education (particularly the four-year college and university sector) appears to be under criticism from many politicians for a variety of reasons, and is constantly having to play defense. One of the often-cited criticisms is that higher education needs to operate more “like a business.” • This presentation uses a well-established corporate / business model, and real national and international data to demonstrate that higher education, far from being the drain on resources it is made out to be, is really An American Star, worthy of significantly increased support and resources. • This topic has been featured in a TEDx talk by Dr. Sethna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xgdPxDPCaQ

Accomplishments

RECOGNITIONS, HONORS, AND AWARDS:

Although Dr. Sethna would be the first to state that UWG’s accomplishments have been a team effort, perhaps some of that recognition falls to its President of 19 years.  For example, among other things, UWG is nationally known in academic debate and undergraduate research.  UWG won two national championships in academic debate, and beat Harvard four times in his last five years as President.  During a 15-year time span, UWG beat every university in America 8 times in undergraduate research papers at the National Collegiate Honors Council. UWG won seven first prizes at the National Social Sciences Association – 6 of the 7 have been from Dr. Sethna’s class; he taught a course each year as President.  He was elected Honors Professor of the Year by the students of the Honors College.

He has received personal Resolutions of Commendation from the Governor of the State of Georgia, the Senate, and the House of the State of Georgia, and from the State of Georgia Board of Regents, and has been named among the 100 Most Influential Georgians six times.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has also awarded him several other honors.  He was given a very rare honor by the governing board, the title of Regents’ Professor. The Board also named him President Emeritus.  Earlier, the Board awarded Dr. Sethna the prestigious Cornerstone Award, which is not an annual award, but is given occasionally.  In 2012-13 UWG was named the Customer Service institution of the Year, and Dr. Sethna the Customer Service President of the Year.

He has had hundreds of media appearances to his credit based on his academic work and his administrative contributions, including national TV appearances such as the CBS Early Show with Bryant Gumbel and CNN's American Stories

Dr. Sethna has also earned a large number of academic honors.  Perhaps most distinctive is his record of being nationally recognized for instructional innovation by the Decision Sciences Institute eight times.  (No other person in the history of this national competition has been so honored more than two times.)  He also has an extensive record in the field of undergraduate research, briefly described on the following page.

He has published a book, Research Methods in Marketing and Management. In addition, he has published 75 papers, several case studies, and obtained externally funded research from the U.S. Department of Energy, IBM, AT&T and others.

Dr. Sethna is a Distinguished Alumnus of the two most prestigious higher education institutions in India/Asia: IIT-Bombay and IIM-Ahmedabad.  It is estimated that no more than a handful of people hold both these honors.  Dr. Sethna has been personally honored by universities and University Presidents in China, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and countries in Europe; and also by Vice Chancellors and Board Chairs in India.  Dr. Sethna has been an invited speaker at hundreds of meetings, and at universities in many U.S. states and foreign countries, including three times at the University of Oxford in England; he has also been the keynote speaker at various corporate forums.

He has been a Fulbright Professor and has taught at some of the most prestigious institutions in India and South Asia.  He also taught a landmark program in computers in Nepal – taught to senior professionals from the national Government, Higher Education, and the corporate sector.

On July 4, 2014, he was honored by the Carnegie Corporation by being named one of the “Great Immigrants – The Pride of America” http://greatimmigrants.carnegie.org/profile/beheruz-sethna/

 

 POST-ADMINISTRATION HONORS AND ACTIVITIES:

Since he retired from administration in June of 2013, Dr. Sethna continues as a full-time faculty member at UWG, with two combined faculty titles. He is a Regents’ Professor, the first and only such person at UWG to be awarded this honor by the Board of Regents in the 100+ year history of the institution. He is also the “Beheruz N. Sethna Distinguished Scholar,” the first holder of an ongoing honor which will be awarded to another distinguished faculty member upon his eventual retirement; the award will continue to bear his name. Some of his other academic accomplishments and honors are mentioned below.

In 2014, his course was selected on the basis of a national competition sponsored by the Decision Sciences Institute as one of the three most innovative courses in America.  An earlier version of this work had received the same honor in 2004.

His teaching evaluations continue to be in high 4s on a 5-point scale, sometimes as high as 5 on a 5-point scale, in which every student gave him a 5 out of 5 on every dimension of instructor evaluation.

Guiding undergraduate research continues to be his major academic activity.  This is very significant, because making competitive national research presentations is not normal for undergraduates, particularly those as young as his students, some of whom have been 15-16 years old at the time.  Many students have written to Dr. Sethna years after taking his course to say how much they have benefited from the rigorous instruction they received, and the opportunities for national accomplishments. 

Over the past seven years, teams of undergraduate students working under his guidance have had five journal articles published or accepted, some of them with Dr. Sethna as a co-author.

Dr. Sethna’s students and he have crossed a major milestone in undergraduate research.  Since 2003, 168 of his undergraduate students have had their work accepted for presentation to at least one national conference; some more than one, for a total of 249 such national presentations. In addition, his students have garnered six national first prizes for undergraduate research, and one at the graduate level (2019), at the National Social Sciences Association.

In 2017, Dr. Sethna was elected Beta Gamma Sigma Professor of the Year by students in the Honor Society for Business. Also in 2017, he received a Faculty Research Award in the Richards College of Business, in 2018, he received a Faculty Teaching Award, and in 2019, a Faculty Service Award.

Since he retired from the position of President in June of 2013, he has had nine journal articles (single author and co-authored) published, including one 2019 acceptance.  Over his career, his record includes 75 publications.

In academic circles, one measure of performance in addition to the publication of articles, is the number of times a faculty member’s publications are cited by authors of other publications.  According to Google Scholar, Dr. Sethna’s work has been cited in 1,485 publications.

Dr. Sethna is also a member of MENSA.

 

KEYNOTE SPEECHES:

Dr. Sethna is a popular speaker with well over a hundred speeches to his credit.  In addition to scores of speeches to service clubs such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, he has been the keynote speaker at several international and national conferences and meetings sponsored by various corporate and academic groups.

He has also been the keynote speaker at two Naturalization Ceremonies sponsored by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service in which new U.S. Citizens are sworn in. He has also been the Commencement (graduation / convocation) speaker at U.S. colleges.

The Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) is a national professional development program sponsored by the Institute for Educational Leadership, which provides potential education leaders with the knowledge and networks to advance the core issues of education policy.  Dr. Sethna was involved with the conception of the EPFP in Georgia and has been a major speaker in the program each year for the past ten years, which is as long as the Georgia program has been in existence.

In April of 2016, he presented a TEDx Talk entitled, “An American Star” – that talk was published on the web on May 17, 2016.  See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xgdPxDPCaQ

In June of 2018, he presented a talk to the Indian Merchants Chamber on Leadership. He has also been a featured speaker on Leadership-related topics at the American Council on Education programs for senior academic leaders across America, and was a keynote speaker at the University of Oxford in England in July, 2019, and has already been invited to be a keynote speaker again for July, 2020.

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

Since he relinquished the position of President, Dr. Sethna teaches in the summer at Balgram, an orphanage school in rural Maharashtra.  He brings equipment for science experiments with him each year, so that the children can learn science concepts by doing hands-on science activities themselves.  He leaves the equipment behind so that the children have access to this equipment even after Dr. Sethna has left.  The students also gain a degree of familiarity with English in this process, which will come in useful to them in their search for employment. He also raises funds for the orphanage using his connections and fund-raising experience.  For example, thanks to a U.S. donor, he has been able to provide computers, solar lights, and recently completed a fund-raiser to provide solar-powered water heaters for the approximately 100 children at the orphanage. He is now funding a science lab at Balgram.

Dr. Sethna has been a Presidential Mentor to help aspiring administrators rise in the hierarchy.  Two of his protegés from ACE programs have already reached the level of President, in addition to four others, not affiliated with the ACE program.