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Stepheca Sawyer Is Serving as Interim Dean of Bolte School

Nicole Patterson

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Mount St. Mary’s University named Stepheca M. Sawyer, MBA, to serve as interim dean of the Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business, beginning January 1. She superseded Michael Driscoll, Ed.D., who hired her in August 2019 as director of business programs.

“Stepheca brings a tremendous amount of higher education experience to her new role. I am confident she will position the Bolte School for even greater success in the future,” said Provost Boyd Creasman, Ph.D.

Sawyer has moved swiftly into the role to implement strategic objectives for all stakeholders and to lead the day-to-day operations for undergraduate and graduate programs. She assembled a team of faculty to serve as academic directors over the programs with three top priorities, including student development, academic curricula and preparation for reaffirmation of the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) accreditation in spring 2022.

“The faculty and staff that I work with are absolutely amazing,” Sawyer said. “From the time of my interview to my on-boarding process and even now, people have been extremely supportive.”

Sawyer’s business acumen and dynamism were formed from more than 15 years’ experience in higher education, including specialties in business education, student development and enrollment management—particularly student recruitment and retention. She served as retention program coordinator at Morgan State University’s Graves School of Business and Management from 2004-2019 and taught in the department of business administration.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Sawyer is a champion for the value of a liberal arts education. “A lot of great things happen within a small university, and we have the opportunity to touch students’ lives directly. So much of what I learned and was able to accomplish was due to my start at a small, faith-based (Episcopal) liberal arts college—and I’m doing my part to give back.”

Sawyer studied broadcast journalism and French at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Arts in communications . She earned a Master of Business Administration from Tennessee State University in Nashville and a Master of Arts in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. She has also studied in London, England, and Montpellier, France.

“I have a participative leadership style. I like to get the team together in a huddle, talk about the plays and then try to make them happen,” she said.

Her game plan includes revamping the branding and storytelling aspects of the business school and working together with the Mount’s Office of University Marketing and Communications to focus on highlighting undergraduate and graduate student success.

“I also want to enhance the student experience in virtual spaces to help them stay connected,” she noted. Discussions on how to increase student engagement include consideration of relevant guest speakers, competitions and town hall forums.

“In spite of what everything may look on the outside, we have an opportunity to be the example that you can have differences of opinions and coexist," Sawyer said. "At the Mount, you can bring them all to the table, work together as one and make a difference collectively. I’m proud to have the opportunity to do just that.”

Sawyer also plans to produce a bi-monthly business school newsletter featuring faculty, students and alumni accomplishments as well as faculty perspectives on current business events and the economic impact of everyday phenomenon.

Prior to starting her career in education, Sawyer was a business journalist serving in roles as editor of the Nashville Record, a business and legal newspaper in Nashville, Tennessee, and a business news editor for the international newswire company, Business Wire. “As you can see, I never left the communications field. I just combined all my passions,” she said.

From 2007-2017 Sawyer was a small business insider for the radio show BriefCase Radio on WEAA 88.9 FM in Baltimore. She gleaned insights from business owners across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. “The talk show focused on advice for entrepreneurs and featured subject matter experts in marketing, innovation, technology, accounting and more,” she explained.

In September 2020, she was selected as the vice-chair of the Baltimore Metropolitan Women’s Business Center (BMWBC) Advisory Board. BMWBC offers training, advising, event services and business resources to businesses in Baltimore City, Baltimore, Howard, Frederick, Carroll and Harford counties. She too is a woman business owner as founder and CEO of Sawyer Syndicate, LLC.

A national search for a dean is in progress.

Nicole Patterson