Dr. Steve Kerr Aims To Help Make the Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI) at Chancellor University as Iconic in Cleveland and Globally as The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

November 18, 2009

CLEVELAND, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ — Dr. Steve Kerr is a business man, academic, author, advisor, and father to a six-year-old. He’s also a long-time friend of Jack Welch and is the newly appointed Executive Director of the Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI) at Chancellor University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Before getting re-connected to Jack Welch through JWMI, Dr. Kerr was formerly the Chief Learning Officer at GE where he and Welch first collaborated. More recently, he is a senior advisor to Goldman Sachs, where from 2001-2006 he was a managing director and their Chief Learning Officer.

His academic credentials include being on the business school faculties of Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Southern California where he was dean of the faculty and director of the Ph.D. program. He is also a former president of the Academy of Management, the world’s largest association of academicians in management.

As an author, Dr. Kerr’s writings on leadership and “on the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B” are among the most cited and reprinted in the management sciences. His most recent book is Reward Systems (Harvard Business Press, 2009).

He is also the chairman of the board of the Fisher Island (Florida) Day School, under the relentless supervision of his son, Zachary.

In person, Dr. Kerr is soft-spoken, warm, and approachable. When asked a question, he responds in a rational rambling stream of consciousness of related ideas from which the listener has to distill the answer. But he does clearly answer the question. It’s also clear that he’s intimately familiar with Jack’s ideas and methods.

About his involvement with JWMI, Dr. Kerr said, “I wanted to work with Jack again, especially on a project that will have such a significant impact on thousands of students, from working men and women in mid-career, to entrepreneurs, veterans and people reentering the workforce. Classes will be small, students and faculty will get input from Jack, and the curriculum will be current and relevant to today’s news.”

When asked what he hoped to accomplish in this new role, Dr. Kerr explained, “The main motive I have is really to protect and extend Jack’s legacy. He did a lot for me. I worked for him for about seven years in GE and I was his consultant before then, so I’ve worked for him a long time. Additionally, he reaches about 30 students a semester in a class he teaches at MIT; and he really wants to reach out to a far broader audience to make a difference in people’s lives. JWMI gives him that larger forum.”

“Jack’s desire,” continues Dr. Kerr, “is to give people a chance to be successful in their careers; to equip them with unique tools that they won’t find anywhere else. He wants to help people, such as the working single mother trying to get ahead, the soldier who is just getting out of the military and wants a business career; these are the kinds of students we see Chancellor University attracting with JWMI.”

Dr. Kerr continues, “People are asking if Jack’s really going to show up and be involved in these programs. The simple answer is yes! It’s almost annoying how much he’s bugging me and others working on the JWMI curriculum. And I’m glad he’s that involved. It shows he’s sincere and passionate about JWMI’s success. Jack has two speeds; full and off. He doesn’t get halfway interested in anything. When he’s interested, then he’s just over the top with being involved.”

Asked about his vision for JWMI, Dr. Kerr answered, “Well, one year from now, if we want to be taken seriously, we’ve got to show we’re grounded. My father’s an artist and he talks about how Picasso was a great artist before he became a modern well-known artist. Some think you can just scoff at tradition and cut corners, but it just comes out as bad art. So a year from now, you know, we need to walk before we run, we have to maintain our accreditation in good standing, and we’ve got to have a firm, quality masters program; it’s got to be solid.”

“Three years out,” he continues, “once the programs are more mature, we can do all kinds of riffs around that. We will be an exemplary brand online, as well as on ground. Maybe years ago, there was justification for people to be undistinguished online, but the technology now is so wonderful. Shame on us if we can’t get it right. The online field could really use a high quality MBA, and that will be us; and it will have a distinct Welch flavor.”

Describing the uniqueness of the Welch program, Dr Kerr stated, “This won’t be just a traditional MBA, but a Welch MBA. He was a chemical engineer, he didn’t study business, so he’s come up with 50 things maybe that are at an angle through or even contradictory to what we think we know about business and is taught in the conventional MBA. Students will still be exposed to the same material included in a traditional MBA, but they will have the advantage of the insight and wisdom of Jack Welch. Since Jack is still learning, it will be fresh insight that he injects into the classes.”

When asked how JWMI can benefit Cleveland and the N.E. Ohio region, Dr. Kerr said, “Let’s be honest; this won’t have the impact that, say, a new manufacturing plant opening would. However, Chancellor University is already a positive force given its long history in Cleveland and the fact that it is thriving and growing. Beyond that, local residents will be able to take advantage of on-campus learning, as well as the online learning. They can attend at the MidTown Campus or the Mentor Learning Center.”

“But beyond this,” Dr. Kerr concluded, “there will be the prestige and recognition that JWMI can bring to the area just by being based here in Cleveland; it has the potential to become iconic, kind of like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or Cleveland Clinic. And those in N.E. Ohio will have unusual access to this rich resource.”


Chancellor University (formerly named Myers University and Dyke College), is the second oldest business school in the U.S. and offers educational opportunities to a multi-national student body, which includes first-generation college students and working adults. Chancellor University provides opportunities to earn associate, bachelor, and master degrees in business and select professional fields, including accounting, corporate management, criminal justice, finance, health-services management, human resources management, small business entrepreneurship, marketing, paralegal, and public administration.

Chancellor University has a rich and deep heritage, having graduated several titans of business, including John D. Rockefeller, Sr., founder of the Standard Oil Company; Harvey Firestone, founder of Firestone Tire & Rubber; Theodore Ernst, founder of Ernst & Young; and leading Cleveland businessman and philanthropist David N. Myers.

The school’s website is www.ChancellorU.edu.

In 2009, the Jack Welch Management Institute (www.JWMI.com) at Chancellor University was launched to provide a unique business education experience featuring the direct involvement of Jack Welch. JWMI currently is offering both an MBA and MMG degrees. Jack Welch was CEO of GE for 20 years, and, with his wife, Suzy, until just recently, were columnists for BusinessWeek. They are the authors of the bestselling business book, Winning.

SOURCE Chancellor University

Source: newswire

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