Travis Maynard is passionate about building strong teams. He has spent years exploring team dynamics and effectiveness in his research, and he has brought that expertise into the classroom as a professor and chair of the management department in the College of Business.
Now, in his new role as associate dean of graduate programs at the College, he is using his knowledge about what it takes to create effective teams to build on the College’s top-ranked programs.
Maynard, who stepped into the associate dean role on Aug. 3, is taking the first several months in his new position to open dialogue with both internal and external stakeholders about what they want graduate programs at the College to look like going forward. As an evangelist for the power of strong teams, it’s a process he’s looking forward to.
A Leader in Research and the Classroom
Maynard has been with the College of Business since 2006, starting as an assistant professor in the management department after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in organizational behavior. He has made a substantial impact on both the department and the College in that time, receiving a variety of awards for both teaching and research and serving as chair of the management department for the last two academic years. Among his many accolades are being named a Fulbright Scholar and a Global Teaching Scholar at CSU.
In addition to teaching courses on team effectiveness and leadership, Maynard has conducted extensive research in these areas. He has directed several research projects examining teamwork in health care settings, which sparked an interest in how teams adapt in the face of significant challenges. Such challenges are often present within extreme contexts, which recently led Maynard and his colleagues to an interest in teamwork in these contexts that has resulted in research projects involving law enforcement and the military. In addition, he is currently working on a project with NASA examining team adaptation and resilience.
His experience researching and teaching on team dynamics in challenging situations has prepared him well for a role that requires balancing multiple priorities and working across groups to achieve successful outcomes for students.
“I really want to build on the strengths we already have in graduate programs within the College of Business at CSU,” he said. “We have a long tenure of excellence, and my vision is about how we build on that. I think the only way to build is to understand from our stakeholders, both internal and external, what their experiences are with our programs.”
Finding New Opportunities
Maynard recognizes that he is embarking on this new role during a period of great upheaval in higher education. Instead of feeling daunted by these challenges, he sees this as a time of great opportunity for graduate programs at the College of Business.
“COVID-19 provides an opportunity and a necessity for graduate programs to be nimble and provide content that the market wants,” he said, adding that the College’s graduate programs need to adapt to the changing marketplace and evolving skill sets professionals need today.
“We have a lot of experts in the College of Business who deal with the things we’re dealing with now as a country – supply chain resilience, change management, leadership, work life balance and numerous other pertinent topics. So, we’re positioned to provide our students with the tools to deal with those things,” he said.
Another key focus area for Maynard is improving diversity, equity and inclusion at the College, and he has already taken steps to make meaningful progress in that space. He’s currently working with the College’s HR staff and DEI student engagement specialist to create a five-course series on increasing diversity and equity in the classroom and has spoken with graduate faculty about ensuring their courses include diverse speakers, case studies topics and article authors.
“I am passionate about doing a better job in this space,” he said. “We need to get different voices in the classroom, and we’re working on making the curriculum more inclusive.”
Building new corporate partnerships – and enhancing existing ones – is another avenue Maynard is pursuing to increase diversity. By increasing access to business education through corporate sponsorships and scholarships, he believes the College can provide top-quality business education to a more diverse set of students.
Corporations aren’t the only entities Maynard is developing relationships with – he’s also working to build strong partnerships with colleges and units across campus to enhance opportunities for student learning and growth.
“I want to be more entrepreneurial in developing our portfolio, and working with other colleges across campus is a great way to do that,” he said. “Whether it’s one-off classes, certificates or full programs, we have a big opportunity to build on those and meet market needs.”
True to his team-building roots, Maynard is spending his first several months in this role connecting with internal and external stakeholders to discover what they like about the College’s graduate programs and what they think could be improved.
“What are our strengths, and where are our opportunities for growth? How can we strengthen our relationships with our alumni and partners? How can we increase diversity and inclusion to ensure all are welcome? These are the questions I’m asking,” he said. “We have a really firm foundation, but to build on that foundation, we have to listen to and learn from our stakeholders and build from there.”