By John Hulstine
Professor of Management Dr. Michael E. Collette stepped in as the interim dean of the Falls School of Business when his predecessor, Terry Truitt, was chosen to become the executive director of the Flagship Enterprise.
Collette wishes Truitt the best of luck in his new position.
“I think Terry will be facing some new and exciting challenges, and he will definitely be missed by the faculty here,” he said.
In addition to working as the interim dean, Collette is involved in organizations that improve community.
“Part of my faith experience has been trying to discover what it means to love your neighbor,” said Collette.
In Madison County and the City of Anderson, poverty is a widespread problem.
“Some people like to define those individuals in poverty as people living off the system,” said Collette. “That simply is not the case. These are people who are single parents or traditional families who work between two and three jobs a week just to get by. It is our responsibility to help them.”
Collette previously served on the board of United Way for 20 years and he enjoys helping local nonprofits support the community.
“I’m currently serving on the board of Aspire, Inc.,” said Collette. “We provide a combination of physical and behavioral health services to the community. One of our programs is a little controversial, because it is a needle exchange program. To get clean needles you need to turn in used ones, and at the same time, we try to provide the individual with a variety of services to combat their addiction.”
Collette has learned to retain patience and compassion for anyone he encounters.
“We need to learn about how we can care for each other,” he said. “I am a pretty non-judgmental person, but it has taken time to get there. It comes out of my relationship with God. It’s not about questioning the individual, but being there in love.”
Collette moved to Indiana in 1977.
“At the time, I did not know anything about AU,” he said. “I never heard about the Church of God or the City of Anderson, but I was interested in faith-based education. While I was working at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, I saw AU listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education and decided to make the move.”
Over the years, Collette has enjoyed teaching his students.
“The reason I love this campus is because of its students,” he said. “My wife has told me over the years that I come home happiest when I have just gotten out of classes with students. That is where my joy is.”
This year, Collette is excited to welcome both new and returning students to the Falls School of Business.
“I have kept my classes as interim dean, because all these students are so bright and gifted,” he said. “I have great hope of this generation changing the world, because we need help.”
To accomplish this, Collette does not see himself as having the role of caretaker.
“This year, we are continuing to advance the Falls School of Business,” he said. “Our faculty has an incredible responsibility to position the Falls School of Business for the future. Students are at the forefront of what we do here, and we are here to serve our students.”
Collette holds his colleagues in high regard.
“We are all friends and we communicate like families communicate,” he said. “It is a community that is based on the salt and life philosophy. We love and support one another. There are days that we may not agree on everything, but we will always break bread with one another.”
Collette has experienced failure and loss, but he considers his hardships a blessing.
“I have failed a marriage once, and I have failed in business once,” he said. “I have also lost a daughter to cancer. I consider myself one of the most blessed people in the world and that is part of my faith walk. There are times when I have had to work through my relationship with the Lord as a result of my own failures.”
Gerald Potts, sophomore music business major, is relatively new to the Falls School of Business. He likes the environment he finds when attending his classes.
“The culture of the school puts me into the right mindset when I consider how to develop skills in business management,” he said.
Potts hopes this semester will ready him for a potential career in business management.