Dr. Herbert "Herb" Snyder (Photo by Shaylee Moon)
Dr. Herbert "Herb" Snyder (Photo by Shaylee Moon)

Dr. Herbert "Herb" Snyder recently started his first semester as the dean of the College of Business at Eastern New Mexico University.

Before joining the Greyhound family, Dr. Snyder spent 21 years as a reservist, mostly in intelligence. He also worked as a fraud investigator for New York State and taught at Indiana University, North Dakota State University and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

He received a bachelor's degree in management and accounting from Babson College in 1981 and a Ph.D. in information science from Syracuse University in 1994.

Dr. Snyder discussed his goals as dean and his favorite thing about Portales with the ENMU News:

What are your responsibilities as dean?

I'm still getting used to the job, but my general feeling is that a dean is responsible for articulating a vision that's consistent with the values of the College, communicating to the people I work with and finding and using the resources effectively to make sure we can achieve our vision and be the best versions of ourselves that it's possible to become.

There's also a lot of administrative minutia and putting out fires. Every day brings something out of the ordinary.

What drew you to this position?

I've always worked in state universities, and I have a lot of time for universities whose job it is to improve the lives of people who attend them and communities in which they're located. Lots of universities do this, but it's especially strong in the DNA of regional comprehensives like ENMU.

What do you enjoy the most about your job so far?

I like the people I work with and see incredible potential for a good program to become even better. I feel a strong common purpose in the staff, faculty and students to make ENMU, themselves and the community prosper and grow.

What goals do you have for your position?

I always envision a business school as looking outward and being heavily involved with the business community as well as educating students. I would like to see strong partnerships with the business community and our students. I am also a big believer in skill multipliers. That is, education and experiences that help us use our academic skills more effectively.

Fluency in languages, for example, allows a graduate to work in multiple parts of the world and/or with diverse groups of people. Similarly, better skills or certifications in IT, sales or entrepreneurship set students apart from a crowded field of other qualified students and allow them to use their majors in more settings. An accountant who has advanced IT skills, a manager who understand supply chains, or almost any student in any major with sales skills has a significant advantage in finding a job in a wide range of organizations, and an easier path to advancement.

What are your favorite things about ENMU and the local community?

People here are incredibly warm and friendly. I seem to have the most interesting discussions waiting in the check-out lines. I was in Wal-Mart recently when the cashier mentioned she was from Algeria. We had a short conversation in French, which ended up involving the Spanish-speaking man in line behind me. Not surprisingly he followed another Romance language with much more ease than I could. I hasten to add it was 7 a.m. on Sunday, so we didn't hold up the line.

Apart from the people, I really enjoy the campus. The central quad is literally an oasis on a hot day, and I love how relaxing it is to walk here at night.

Which organizations are you involved in?

I haven't been here long enough to become involved in anything other than scholarly organizations that I already belong to. I served on the library board in Fargo for more than 12 years as well as the local zoo and community kitchen. As soon as I get settled better, I'll check to see if the Portales Public Library has any openings.

Tell us about your background.

I understand I was born in North Carolina, but I don't remember it. My parents were originally from Providence, and we moved to New York (city and upstate) where I grew up. My father was a chemistry researcher in the drug industry and later a professor. My mother was a legal secretary. I have a younger sister who somehow grew up into an interesting person and not the annoying brat I remember as a teenager. She's a social worker in New Jersey, and somehow we've become very good friends.

Do you have family here?

The City of Fargo had a slightly catastrophic break in the sewer line at our house there. It's pretty hard to sell a house where you can't flush the toilets, so my wife is still in North Dakota dealing with all those issues.

Who influences you?

I dedicated my first book to my father and my wife, for all their support and for instilling and supporting a love of learning in me.

As far as people to whom I am not related, my biggest influence and role model has been Marcus Aurelius, the stoic philosopher. I was introduced to him in a freshman seminar, and it completely changed how I think about the world and how I think about life.

The same seminar also introduced me to Thomas Kuhn, and "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." That book taught me how to see the world in a completely different way and was possibly the reason I went to graduate school. It certainly formed the basis for a great deal of my scholarly work.

Those two books also taught me that as a teacher, you can never be sure what will make an impact on a student. I hated the seminar, and the professor was near the end of his career and clearly burned out on teaching. Nevertheless, he introduced me to two new ways of thinking that completely changed my life. He died about 15 years ago, but I had the chance to look him up and let him know that he actually made a difference to one of his students, despite his best efforts not to. (I may have phrased it more elegantly when I actually told him.)

What kinds of awards have you earned?

If you work as a scholar and teacher long enough, you start to accrue plaques and certificates. I was a Fulbright Scholar (Ukraine) and a Kellogg Fellow at various points in my career. They're probably out of date, but at one point my books were in the collections of over 800 libraries in roughly 20 countries. I've also received Fraud Educator of the Year Award from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), awards for excellence in teaching from the American Accounting Association and the AACSB and awards for the best business ethics case from the Institute for Management Accounting.

What are your hobbies?

I spent a great deal of time backpacking and climbing when I was younger. I now find that still like to hike, but prefer to walk from inn to inn in places like the U.K. and Spain.

Favorite places you have traveled?

Nepal and India certainly. More recently, Wales and Spain. I finished the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and the Camino de Santiago in the last few years.

Please share an interesting fact about yourself.

I'll give you two. I used to work as an EMT on an ambulance. I delivered a baby, and I am currently two for four on restarting stopped hearts. I also climbed two of the Seven Summits.