Cougar of the Week: Q&A with College of Business Administration Dean Jim Hamerly


Photo courtesy of the CSUSM Office of Communications (graphic by Carolyn Cheng)

College of Business Administration Dean Jim Hamerly is retiring this semester. He shares his thoughts on his retirement and gives advice to graduating students.

Melanie Ramirez, Staff Writer

Jim Hamerly is the dean of the College of Business Administration at CSUSM. He plans to retire from his position after the spring 2021 semester. Hamerly specializes in entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. 

What are you most proud of accomplishing in this role? 

I am very proud of the collegiality and team spirit across our college and the way they work together. Nearly everything we accomplish is a team effort and there is a high degree of cooperation and support among all. Also, we have been very successful in delivering value to the business community through our students’ efforts and programs. I am proud of the team of executive volunteers as well as faculty that coach and mentor every student in our college.

What is your favorite thing about being dean of the College of Business?

Seeing outstanding cooperation and contribution across all aspects of our college in a unified effort to help students become successful academically and professionally.

How has your experience at CSUSM been?  

My passion for providing an environment that helps first-generation students and my diverse and action-oriented business background are sometimes at odds with the pace of change and high compliance required, but the reward of seeing students succeed makes it all worthwhile. 

What are your retirement plans? 

While I am retiring from the CSUSM, I will never retire fully. I’ve got lots of interesting projects currently on the back burner, primarily associated with alumni startups and nonprofits. I plan to plant more sequoias as part of my carbon-negative efforts. I am also hoping to qualify for the USA National Triathlon Team in my age division.

What are some of the challenges that come along with your position as a dean? How have you solved these problems/issues? 

Improving an organization’s culture is difficult and takes years; however, through the cooperation of our faculty, staff, professionals, and organizational behavior and cultural instruments, we have made good progress. Education is going through significant disruption and will continue to do so. Good strategic planning and proper fiscal management are essential.

 What would your advice be to this year’s graduates who have graduated under these unpredictable circumstances?

The pandemic may have caused you to accept a less-than-ideal job, and you may question that choice later. Whatever job decision you do make, don’t question it. Commit to a period – I would suggest 18-24 months – and, in the worst of circumstances, no matter how much you may dislike your boss, your peers, the job, promise yourself to do your absolute best, never questioning your original decision. And at the end of that 18-24 months, give yourself the permission to raise your head and examine whether that is the job or career for you. Most importantly, permit yourself to leave if it was a wrong decision.

Questioning the decision along the way will necessarily reduce your effectiveness in the job and lead to a less desirable outcome. However, even in a lousy job, you will learn just as much as in a good job, and you will learn a lot about what you don’t want, which is just as important as what you do want. And there’s always the chance that the job will be the right one for you. 

Melanie Ramirez is a graphic design intern for The Cougar Chronicle. She is currently a junior at CSUSM as an arts and technology major. Melanie hopes to work in the entertainment industry after graduating. She enjoys watching films and shooting photos and loves to indulge in a good book.