Dr. Marc Tomljanovich (Tom-yan-o-vich) felt fortunate enough to do a little bit of everything while in his role as the Executive Director of Business Programs at Drew University, a liberal arts college located in Madison, New Jersey.
No stranger to higher education, Tomljanovich holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University and received his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Northwestern University. During his time as a professor at Drew, Tomljanovich took classes to Wall Street twice a week during the spring semester. They rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, toured the gold vault at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and more. Those interactions taught him how transformative experiences can help students more effectively learn and determine their career paths.
Tomljanovich hopes to bring the wealth of those experiences into his new role at Millersville University (MU), where he was recently named the new Dean of the Lombardo College of Business. Tomljanovich replaces the recently retired Dr. Doug Frazer, who served as interim dean this past year.
“I can’t stress to you how excited I am,” he said, noting how the entire interview process took place on Zoom during COVID-19 restrictions. “This is an amazing opportunity. You have a brand new college, and we get to work collectively to figure out what we want this to look like at a time with so much uncertainty around us.”
At Drew University, Tomljanovich also served as a chair in the economics and business departments. He was the director of Drew’s Master of Science in Finance program, introduced in 2018 as the first graduate business program offered by the university, and also assisted in launching the Master of Science in Data Analytics in fall 2019. He served as chair of the Economics and Business departments. In 2010 he received the “Distinguished Teacher of the Year” award at his former institution. In the 2016-17 academic year, he was an American Council on Education fellow, during which he was at Lehigh University and worked with their president and provost on several strategic initiatives.
Tomljanovich is aware of the great work of Frazer, whom he called an “icon” of business at Millersville. His focus in coming to Millersville is to add to the new College’s strengths to best forster business students’ skills, experiences and expertise.
“My goal is to see what’s going really well and enhance it,” he said. “We will expand the Lombardo College of Business into new areas that don’t require us to reinvent the wheel, but that play to our academic strengths.”
Tomljanovich has direct experience in developing new programs. In addition to his work at Drew, he served as a committee member when Lehigh University launched its new College of Health. The group focused on finding the right programs that fit the vision of the school.
“At Lehigh, they weren’t going to just build a new hospital,” he said. “So we had to find programs that complimented the infrastructure in place. It’s the same thing here at Millersville.”
Tomljanovich said he was drawn to Millersville for several reasons. He was excited about a new, larger role with different experiences. At Drew, he built up a strong business alumni network, something he intends to continue to do at Millersville. He was especially drawn to the University’s EPPIIC (Exploration, Professionalism, Public Mission, Inclusion, Integrity, Compassion) values.
More than anything, Tomljanovich said he is thrilled to infuse new ideas into an already strong program.
“Business isn’t as cut and dry as a discipline like physics. Business is multi-faceted and inherently interdisciplinary,” he said. “Business problems are human problems. To understand these issues well, we have to pull in ideas from sociology, from psychology and in some cases, even music or art.
“For me, as we look at crafting new programs and marketing who we are as a College, we don’t want to silo ourselves. I welcome the opportunity to work with areas across the University to collectively build ways to help our students thrive in college and in life.”