For Dr. David Fearon, professor of management at CCSU, weeks’ worth of unpaid volunteer hours, rigorous training, and long weekly meetings are all worth it. In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Fearon is an examiner in the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, a federal program that educates companies and organizations on better performance through excellent management. Dr. Fearon and his team will be assessing the quality management of a large American organization.
Despite the heavy workload involved, Dr. Fearon is happy to participate in the Baldrige program, as it brings him in close contact with the problems faced by today’s management professionals. “I really valued this opportunity to get to the nitty-gritty of what senior leaders of companies are grappling with,” he said. “All that matters to our students is the future. I have to be relevant and connected.”
Becoming an examiner is tough work. It is a prestigious and competitive position, drawing in high-level professionals from many fields. “The application is very rigorous and requires several top level references. I didn’t even realize until I was invited what rare company it is. I started to see some of their titles and where they are working and I thought ‘what a community!’ It’s great for a guy who loves to pick a brain. I knew it would be a fabulous network,” he said.
Examiners work closely with businesses and organizations to review every aspect of management. The process takes months, but at the end the organization gets a comprehensive report of what is working and where there are opportunities for improvement. Companies often apply to the program several times before being selected for review. “If any of these organizations merit a site visit, they get a week or more of the team going in and going through every little piece of what they are really like in person with a bunch of questions that aren’t covered in this rigorous process,” said Dr. Fearon.
This isn’t the only work Dr. Fearon is undertaking off campus this summer. In addition, he is continuing his work with Juran Global, a world renowned organization devoted to helping organizations improve quality management. Dr. Fearon trained under Dr. Juran and is helping current CEO Joseph DeFeo edit the 7th edition of the Juran Handbook for Quality. He is also working with the National Graduate School for Quality Management in Falmouth, MA.
Dr. Fearon feels fortunate to be able to continuously work in and outside of the classroom. “There’s been a pejorative assumption that when a professor is tenured, they don’t have to work as hard. They don’t have to be as avid a learner or looking for opportunities to build new relationships. That’s not me and not most of the people I know. We really see this as a privilege to have a life where you can continue making new ideas come out into the world,” said Dr. Fearon.