Dr. Stavros Sindakis, the University’s recently appointed Director of Business Programs, is a man who claims to thrive on hard work. He brings to the University broad experience in designing and teaching business programs. A significant part of this has been in curriculum development and course design for interactive and online learning.
Dr. Stavros Sindakis, the University’s recently appointed Director of Business Programs, is a man who claims to thrive on hard work. He is also aware that his new position has more than its share, coming at a time when the pandemic has added an unprecedented layer of complexity to the already demanding tasks of shaping management education at the University. “I love to be challenged—and to challenge others,” he says.
Sindakis seems well-equipped to meet these challenges. He brings to the University broad experience in designing and teaching business programs. A significant part of this has been in curriculum development and course design for interactive and online learning.
For Sindakis, the pandemic has “opened doors” in education, and the landscape of learning we see is a complicated one. He points out that in traditional on-site courses, too often learning stops when students leave the class. “It’s important that we foster an ongoing, active learning environment. And online learning platforms and collaboration tools can extend learning well beyond the classroom session,” he says. At the same time, however, he notes that it is still hard to do very hands-on, practical applications such as lab experiments. But Sindakis is convinced that after the pandemic subsides, institutions will be investing more, not less, to support online learning.
It’s a trend he saw gaining momentum even before the outbreak of the public health crisis. He’s observed it at several universities in Asia, the Middle East and the UK where he’s taught, including the University of Derby, the University of Sharjah (UAE), and the American University in Dubai. (He’s also held positions at Chongqing Technology and Business University in China, where he is a Visiting Scholar in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, and the University of London School of Management in the UK).
Sindakis’s research to date has been marked by a similar geographical diversity, but also great variety in the industry sectors and size and types of organizations he studies. He’s investigated family management strategies in the Arab world, health care in Greece and the Singapore retail industry, family-owned firms in the US and venture capital firms.
As he notes, however, there are recurrent themes underlying most of his work, whatever the sector or business culture or location. “The common thread is how innovation happens or is applied in different contexts. I find it fascinating, for example, how customers can be involved in new product development. And innovation, in turn, is closely related to entrepreneurship and knowledge management, the other main areas of my research.”
His research interests took root early on in his academic career. Sindakis earned an MBA in a specialization in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from Kingston University (UK) and subsequently an M.Phil. in Strategy, Enterprise and Innovation from the University of Portsmouth. It was at Portsmouth where he earned a Ph.D. in Strategy, Enterprise and Innovation. His research interests also explain his role as book series editor for Advanced Strategies in Entrepreneurship, Education, and Ecology and editor-in-chief of the soon-to-be-published Asian Journal of Innovation Management.
Another common element in his research emerges when you scan a list of his publications. Many of the papers are co-authored. “I enjoy working with teams,” he says. “In fact, most of my research and writing, and even a part of my teaching, is done collaboratively.”
His expertise in knowledge management and penchant for teamwork are reflected in his priorities for the coming year, one of which is to foster a community of practitioners who share their expertise in course design and instruction.
“Knowledge comes with practice,” he says. Teaching during the pandemic, he notes, demonstrated that the more experienced faculty become in using the tools that educational technology offers, the better equipped they are to exploit its potential to enhance learning.
But this process can be accelerated when knowledge is shared. One of the ideas he wants to introduce this Spring semester is a weekly showcase of innovative teaching. Each week, a faculty member will be asked to present to the business faculty something that they’ve done in their classes that worked well and engaged students in the learning process or heightened interaction.
Another priority is a comprehensive appraisal of the Business curricula. All courses will be reviewed, and it is likely that some will be revised, others dropped, and new ones added. But Sindakis is also looking towards eventually creating new programs. For him, there’s a need to address knowledge areas which the business world has already embraced but which the University has not yet been given full due in the Business programs, such as big data and artificial intelligence.