Tom Dyckman: Scholar, educator, leader
By Jay Wrolstad
Dyckman arrived at Cornell in 1964 as an accounting professor whose interest in number crunching extended well beyond the classroom to include how human behavior affects accounting policy and investment decisions. "I chose to work at Cornell because there is good balance between teaching and research at the business school," he says.
As the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Accounting for nearly 30 years, Dyckman left a lasting impression on scores of Johnson School MBA graduates. "I love an audience," he says with a small laugh, noting that his lectures are frequently peppered with anecdotes that keep the messages fresh. "It's very satisfying to help students grasp important ideas and then see them go out and be successful."
Dyckman, who retired at the end of 2006, also left his mark as an administrator, using his role as associate dean to help the faculty do their jobs better through initiatives such as the Support for Teaching and Research (STAR) grants awarded to individual instructors.
Perhaps Dyckman's biggest contribution to the school was serving two stints as acting dean (1994-95 and 1996-97) during the search to replace former Dean Alan G. Merten. "I did not want it to be a permanent position; I was more interested in moving the school forward," Dyckman says. A particular challenge during this period was responding to the Johnson School's ranking among graduate business schools in Business Week, which had fallen from 15th to 18th place.
While these rankings are subjective, Dyckman notes, they do send a message to prospective students. "I brought a lot of people together – faculty, administrators, and students – to address the situation," he recalls. "We were able to add the Parker Center and we started an immersion program for students." Within two years the ranking rose to eighth place.
"I enjoyed all of the things I was able to do at Cornell," Dyckman says. "The quality of the faculty now is at an all-time high, and so is the quality of the student body."