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Friesen and Rosenbaum Transition to New Leadership Roles

COVID-19 Pandemic Brings Challenges for New Positions
Friesen and Rosenbaum Transition to New Leadership Roles
Dr. Geoffrey Friesen (left) and Dr. David Rosenbaum both moved into new leadership positions at the College of Business this summer while facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a half century of combined service at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business, Dr. Geoffrey Friesen and Dr. David Rosenbaum transitioned to new leadership positions this summer at the critical juncture of adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Friesen, associate professor of finance, moved into his new role as executive director of Business Graduate Programs, and Rosenbaum, Hay Professor of Economics, took over as department chair for the Department of Economics.

Friesen emphasized his goal to raise the level of excellence of an already renowned online education delivery system, as the college moves to increasing avenues of remote learning.

“I’m embracing skills I’ve learned the past five years teaching online graduate courses in managerial economics,” said Friesen, who also coordinated the Ph.D. program for the Department of Finance since 2015. “It’s like the girl in the nursery rhyme (“There Was a Little Girl” by Henry Wadsworth) – when online education is good, it’s really, really good, but when it’s bad it’s horrid. You can’t just flip a switch and make it work. You have to be intentional and strategic about how you do it. I’ve seen all that here behind the scenes as an instructor.”

Friesen credits his predecessors for giving Nebraska Business a strong foundation. As far back as events of 9/11, courses in the Nebraska MBA program moved online with deployment of military students. Prior to that, the program facilitated remote learning via satellite in the 90s.

“I recognize the collective wisdom of our college. It’s exciting to lead with the addition of programs like the two new master’s programs in business analytics and finance. The timing couldn’t be better because they are very flexible, with a menu of courses that can be tailored to different needs of employers and employees at any stage of their career. I want to expand the breadth of our offerings while maintaining the same quality,” he said.

Rosenbaum accepted his new assignment leading the Department of Economics following a long tenure in a variety of positions for the college. He originally came to Nebraska in 1985.

“I thought this would be a chance to help out the department as we’re transitioning and bringing in a lot of younger faculty this semester,” said Rosenbaum. “With the budget situation as it is due to COVID-19, it’s an important time to be careful with resources and manage our faculty resources in a way that’s going to get the most value for students and still make it an attractive place for faculty to work.”

Although he served in a variety of roles during his 35 years in the department, this is his first stint as chair. He takes over a 127 year tradition of strong leadership dating back to William G. Langworthy Taylor, who became the head of the Department of Economic and Political Science in 1893.

“Our big impact is providing a good economic education to undergraduate students and preparing graduate students for good careers in the profession. I’ve been part of that in quite a few roles including working in undergraduate education, the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management and the Bureau of Business Research. One of the great things about Nebraska is the ability to jump between roles. When you see a new opportunity you can try them out, and I’ve enjoyed that through many aspects of my career. I’m excited to continue that as chair of the Department of Economics,” said Rosenbaum.

To learn more about graduate program offerings at Nebraska Business, visit: Master's Programs and Graduate Certificate Programs.

To learn more about the Department of Economics, visit:

Published: July 29, 2020