Gina Nicolosi selected to lead Department of Finance

Gina Nicolosi
Gina Nicolosi

Gina Nicolosi, an associate professor in the NIU Department of Finance, will become chair July 1.

In her current roles, Nicolosi teaches the competitive-entry Student Managed Portfolio course, serves as the adviser to the NIU Investment Association and acts as a faculty chaperone on a number of student financial trips.

Nicolosi will take over for Dennis Dean, the interim chair since 2013. While he initially agreed to serve for a six-month period, Dean will have led the Department of Finance with passion for three years.

“Dennis is highly regarded among faculty and staff at the college,” said NIU College of Business Dean Denise Schoenbachler. “I asked Dennis to help us out for a short-term period and I couldn’t be more grateful for his extended service. He led a successful career in banking and came into higher education with enthusiasm and focus.”

“After Dennis retired from the banking industry, leading a group of academics was probably not part of his retirement plan,” Nicolosi said.

“In addition to being faced with a newly approved master’s of Financial Risk Management program needing to be staffed, promoted and coordinated, he also had to immediately oversee two faculty members’ tenure applications. Not only did he handle these issues with grace, he also further pursued other initiatives,” she added. “He strengthened our alumni network, increased our scholarships, placed a larger focus on student events on- and off-campus, redesigned our online presence and, most recently, acquired funding for a $50K Bloomberg terminal. The guidance he provided to me personally, and to our department, is invaluable.”

Dean said he is “thrilled that Gina has agreed to assume the role as chair.”

“I cannot think of anyone else more qualified for the position. Her energy and positive attitude are contagious. Her rapport with the students is amazing,” he said. “I think she will be outstanding.”

Dennis Dean
Dennis Dean

Nicolosi plans to follow in his footsteps by increasing the department’s student focus.

  • Experiential Learning: “Our faculty teach classes very well, but my personal belief is that experiential learning opportunities outside the classroom can have an equal or even larger impact on a student’s university experience. I would like to encourage conference participation, faculty/student collaborative research, field trips, alumni involvement on campus, internships and perhaps even a case competition here at Barsema Hall.”
  • Boosting Technological Skills: “I plan on expanding my newly started Excel workshop series. Once the Bloomberg terminal is available, we will also heavily encourage students to become Bloomberg-certified.”
  • Attracting New Students: “Marketing the department to attract new students and also gain support from former students is crucial. This summer, the Student Managed Portfolio issued its first quarterly newsletter that was distributed to alumni and also prospective students at recruitment events. I would like to follow suit at the department level and incorporate the department’s two student organizations (Financial Management Association and the Investment Association) into the effort. In the same vein, I plan to start visiting local community colleges to investigate how we can have a larger presence on their campuses.”
  • New Program and Courses: “My longer-term plans include proposing the addition of a personal finance course to the general education class offerings and also designing a Certified Financial Planner Board-registered program.”

“Gina will be a terrific addition to the college leadership,” Schoenbachler said. “I know she will continue to enhance the student experience, much like she did when working with students to pioneer the extracurricular NIU Investment Club (now Investment Association) years ago.”

Although Nicolosi is not officially assuming the role until July , she already has been laying the groundwork to bring her plans to fruition.

“It is a privilege to be able to serve my esteemed colleagues and outstanding students as chair,” she said, “and I look forward to working with them more closely in the coming months.”

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