Dean Eplion at Home in the School of Business


Tassy Payne

Alysa Lambert, associate professor in human resources management, said David Eplion, dean of the School of Business, is good at keeping communication lines open and that he’s good at advocating with the school, the administration and with the community.

Tassy Payne, Staff Reporter

Not everyone gets the chance to work in a place they can call home.

For David Eplion, he said it was an honor to come back to Southern Indiana to work at IU Southeast, a place he considered home.

Eplion had been an undergraduate student, a graduate student, an assistant and associate professor at IU Southeast.

Eplion said that when he first came to IU Southeast, he thought he wanted to be an attorney. But after taking an Introduction to Business class with Gene Beckman during his first semester at the school, he said Beckman got him excited about business.

“I decided I no longer wanted to be an attorney after that course, and I am very thankful to Gene for that,” Eplion said.

Eplion finished his undergraduate degree in marketing at IU Bloomington and came back to IU Southeast for his master’s degree in Business Administration. After he graduated with his MBA from IU Southeast, Eplion said he went to the University of Pittsburgh and earned his PhD in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management.

Eplion said that he had interviewed at different places after receiving his PhD. He said that he was hired by IU Southeast in the fall of 2001 as an assistant professor of management. Eplion said he expected IU Southeast to be a good fit for him.

“I loved it,” Eplion said. “It’s kind of cool to come back home.”

He said he received tenure and was promoted to associate professor of management in 2009. In 2013, he was named the Coordinator of the Marketing and Management Departments. In 2015, he was named the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Coordinator, which consisted of him making sure the School of Business was doing things it needed to in helping maintain accreditation.

And now, after 15 years of working at IU Southeast in various roles, he was selected to be the dean of the School of Business.

Eplion was named the dean of the School of Business in May of 2016.

Alysa Lambert, associate professor in human resources management and new program coordinator for Human Resources, management, and supply chain, said that Eplion took over the role of being the dean in a time of complication, especially with reaccreditation. She said this was a significant challenge.

Eplion said the accreditation visit is every five years, which along with being the dean he said was one of his challenges. But he said that accreditation was a nationwide challenge for a lot of schools.

Lambert said she feels ready for when the accreditation team arrives, saying he he took the right individuals and put them into the right roles.

Eplion said that during this time, administration understood the financial challenge and his group of faculty stepped up to the occasion to get the report done.

Along with reaccreditation going on, Eplion said another challenge he’s facing as a dean is providing more services for students. He said that although the numbers in the School of Business are growing, enrollment at IU Southeast and funding from the state are going down and the budget is decreasing.

Lambert said that Eplion put together a 10-12 point strategic plan of what he wants to do for the School of Business.

David Eplion, dean of the School of Business, reviewing the PDF of the School of Business’s Mission and Vision statement, which states, “The mission of the Indiana University Southeast School of Business is to provide a high-quality business education and to make a positive impact on our students and our community.” This includes service learning, something Eplion said he wants to promote in the School of Business.

Eplion said that he’d like to accomplish the goal of strengthening ties with the School of Business, IU Southeast and the Southern Indiana community.

“I want the School of Business to be the first resource the community thinks of when they have business questions or when they have business trouble,” Eplion said.

Although he said this is something they have already been doing, Eplion said he wants to and will do more.

In addition to strengthening ties within the communities, Eplion said he wants to promote the school programs that the School of Business has to offer.

“There are a lot of things going on that people don’t know about, and the hard part is getting the word out,” Eplion said.

One thing people don’t know about is the opportunity to obtain a Master’s Degree in Management. Eplion said this is a full-time, one-year degree that is directed towards non-business majors or people who have graduated from other schools and would be interested in business.

Eplion said that it has been approved internally by the Academic Program Council and that the IU Southeast Faculty Senate approved the program on Thursday, Jan. 19. He added that the School of Business is anticipating to start this program in the fall of 2018.

Additionally, Eplion said he wants to do joint programs with other schools at IU Southeast. He said he wants to do a conflict resolution course with the School of Social Sciences, a Masters of Information Systems in the School of Natural Sciences and a possible joint program through the School of Education.

Kenneth Harris, associate professor of management, said he has enjoyed working with Eplion. Harris said he and Eplion collaborated and taught similar and sometimes the same classes. He said they have worked together on two journal articles and five conference papers.

Brian Atwater, assistant professor of supply chain management, said that Eplion had been the program coordinator of management, marketing and supply chain management – his area prior to becoming the dean. Even though he said their interaction half the time was while Eplion was still a faculty member, he said that he was a collegial, easy-interacting guy.

“He is very good at being inclusive,” Atwater said. “Everybody has input on decisions. And he is good with having information out in the open so everyone can understand what’s happening and everyone can make well informed decisions.”

Atwater said that this process of sharing things in the open is the style Eplion has carried into the role of dean and has something he has continued and expanded upon.

Harris said he hopes he is successful in his role as dean.

“I hope he’s transparent as possible, seeks out input as necessary and takes good opinions into account when making decisions,” Harris said.

Lambert said that Eplion was doing a great job as the dean. She said she has seen growth in the School of Business, and she is hoping to continue to grow under his leadership.

“He’s good at keeping communication lines open and he’s good at advocating with the school, the administration and with the community at large,” Lambert said.