Math Tools for Journalists: Part Three



The last four chapters of “Math Tools for Journalists” teaches young journalists about directional, area and volume measurements, as well as the metric system. Both are important for journalists to understand for a number of reasons.

Chapter 9: Directional Measurements

Knowing how to calculate distance, time and rate is an important skill for young journalists. This skill can be helpful when reporting on car or plane crashes where the distance, time and rate may be important to the To find the distance, multiply the rate and the time. For the rate, divide distance by time and for time divide distance by rate.

Similarly, speed is equal to distance divided by time. Always remember though that speed and velocity are two different things and cannot be used interchangeably. Speed measures how fast something is going and velocity measures speed and direction. Acceleration is equal to the ending velocity minus the starting velocity, which is then divided by time.

Try it Out:


Q: You are a reporter in Boston covering the Boston Marathon and doing a profile on one specific runner. You are including in your story how the runner’s marathon time has improved over the years. This years, the runner ran the marathon, 26.2 miles, at an average rate of 5.7 miles per hour. How long did she take to finish the marathon?

A: 4.6 hours

26.2 miles/5.7 miles per hour = 4.6 hours

Chapter 10: Area Measurements

Understanding area measurements such as perimeter and area is necessary for reporting on construction and physical spaces. To calculate perimeter of a four sided area, add together two times the width and two times the length. For other shapes, add together the length of all the sides. To find the area of a square or rectangle, multiply the length and width. For a triangle, multiply the base and height and divide that by two.  

Smaller spaces are measured in square inches or square feet. Larger areas are measured in square feet, square yards or square rods. One square foot equals 144 square. One square yard equals nine square feet. Finally, one square rod equals 30 square yards.

For circular spaces, you must know how to calculate circumferance and area. To find circumference, multiple pi times two and then multiply that product by the radius. For area, multiply pi by the squared radius.

Try it Out:


Q: You are covering the construction of the School of Communications and need to find out the square footage of the entire new building. You know the length of Schar is 160 feet and the width is 60 feet. You also know the length of McEwen is 180 feet and the width is 60 feet. What is the area of the whole building?

A: 20,400 sq feet

(160×60)+(180×60)=20,400 sq feet

Chapter 11: Volume Measurements

Understanding volume measurements is important for any journalist. This can come into play when discussing a new product, writing a recipe or in business reporting.

The most important part about understanding liquid measurements is knowing basic conversions:

  • 2 tablespoons = 1 fluid ounce
  • 1/2 pint = 8 ounces, one cup
  • 1 pint = 16 ounces, two cups
  • 2 pints = 1 quart
  • 2 quarts = half gallon
  • 4 quarts = gallon
  • 1 U.S. standard barrel = 31.5 gallons
  • 1 U.S. gallon = 4/5 Imperial gallon

For solid objects, a reporter can find the area by multiplying the length, height and width. Volume formulas also vary based on the shape. Remember area is measured in cubic ____ based on the unit. 

A ton is a common measurement for things with a large volume. There are different types of tons: short ton (2,000 pounds), long ton (2,240 pounds) and metric ton (2,204.62 pounds).

Try it Out:


Q: What is the volume of a cargo train that is 30 feet long, 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide? 

A: 9,000 cubic feet

30 x 20 x 15 = 9,000

Chapter 12: The Metric System

Understanding the metric system is arguably the most important math skill a journalist must have. Considering almost every other country in the world uses the metric system, it is important for journalists to understand it so they can convert measurements when reporting internationally.

The metric system is rather system: it is based on multiples of 10. It is important for journalists to know  the prefixes, such as milli, micro, mega, giga, etc. The three units of the metric system are meter (length), gram (mass) and liter (volume).

The metric system also uses a different formula for temperature. To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit temperature and multiply it by .56. To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, multiply 1.8 by the Celsius temperature and add 32.

There are many style and usage rules to be followed when using the metric system. For example, all units must start with a lowercase letter except at the beginning of a sentence and Celsius. The symbols should also be written in lowercase letters, except for liters and units named after a country or person. Symbols for units are never plurals. Also remember to use a space between a number and its symbol.

A reporter also does not use a period at the end of unit names. The dot or period is used as the decimal point within numbers. If a measurement is less than one, zero needs to be written before the decimal point.

Try it Out:


Q: You are a food reporter writing a recipe for scones. To make the scones, you must preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. What is that in Celsius?

A: 220 degrees

.56 x (425-32) = 220


Elon alum Al Drago speaks to communications students about his work, experiences

IMG_6884Al Drago graduated from Elon University in 2015. Less than two years later, his photos have been published in a number of major news outlets, such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone and The Washington Post.

On Friday he visited with current Elon students to share his insights on the industry and give advice for their future careers.

“My Elon experience was based around the journalism that I did,” Drago said.

While at Elon, Drago was the Photo Editor and held internships at the Herald Sun, Burlington Times-News Raleigh News and Observer and The Baltimore Sun. Drago told stories about his experiences at Elon, specifically the major projects he worked on.

IMG_6887“The key is staying with a story that you’re really passionate about and you’re really engrained in.”

Drago also explained how he got his start in journalism.

“I ferociously worked … I knew what I wanted, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got it,” Drago said. Drago centered much of his talk on tips for young journalists to remember when covering stories and working toward a professional career.

IMG_6948Drago also advised students on how to use social media. He reminded students that future employers always see what people post on their social media. But, a presence on social media is important in this digital age. “Embrace the platform” is one of the

Most importantly, Drago encouraged students to work hard to get what they want. While it is important to have a balance between social life and professional work, Drago said that working hard and getting out of the “Elon bubble” will help you get ahead.

“I chose work every single time. I dedicated myself to my work.”

LIVE BLOG: Spring Convocation speaker Dan Gilbert

By Olivia Zayas Ryan

On Thursday, the Elon University community gathered in Alumni Gym for the annual Spring daniel_todd_gilbertConvocation. This year’s speaker, Dan Gilbert, is the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.

Gilbert is also well known for his TED Talks on the science of happiness. His first TED Talk, The Surprising Science of Happiness, has been viewed more than 13 million times and remains one of the 25 most popular TED Talks of all time.

Additionally, in 2007 he published his book Stumbling on Happiness, which made it to the New York Times bestsellers list and has since been translated into more than 35 different languages.

03:31 p.m.: Procession of graduating students, students who are on the Dean’s and President’s lists and faculty and staff members begins.

03:36 p.m.: Joel Harter, associate chaplain of protestant life, and Jessica Walden, director of jewish life at Hillel, introduce the event with a prayer.

03:38 p.m.: “Convocation is an important rite of Spring here at Elon,” President Leo Lambert said.

03:39 p.m.: “Education and higher education in particular has long been seen as a gateway to opportunity in this country,” Lambert said.

03:40 p.m.: “Higher education makes possible what we could not have imagined before … Higher education lights a path for the future,” Lambert said.

03:41 p.m.: “Education and training beyond high school leads to a better and more secure life,” Lambert said.

03:43 p.m.: “As always, I thank each of you for all you do, to make Elon, this country, this community and the world, a better place,” Lambert said.

03:44 p.m.: Lambert thanks Gilbert for coming to Elon today

03:45 p.m.: India Johnson, associate professor of psychology, takes the stage to introduce Gilbert as the convocation speaker.

03:45 p.m.: Johnson shares her own story about her education as a single mother of two.

03:46 p.m.: “I thought to myself, if Dr. Gilbert could go on to become a professor of psychology, so could I.

03:48 p.m.: “So Dr. Gilbert, Daniel, thank you. Thank you for finding your way to social psychology and the academy and sharing your journey so I could find my way as well,” Johnson said.

03:48 p.m.: Gilbert thanks Lambert and Johnson for the introduction and takes the stage.

03:50 p.m.: “Happiness is what happens when you get what you want, and that’s never what happens in this lifetime on Earth,” Gilbert on ancient theories of happiness.

03:51 p.m.: “People who have everything they want aren’t any happier than the rest of us.”

03:52 p.m.: Gilbert shows advertisements from his childhood.

03:53 p.m.: “The culture was telling my mom that cigarettes, Coke and TV were the keys to happiness.”

03:54 p.m.: “We are surrounded by people who tell us where happiness should be found … None of their theories are based on science.”

03:55 p.m.: “To do science requires really only one thing: you have to be able to measure something. If you can’t measure something, you have to write poems about it.”

03:55 p.m.: Gilbert jokes that there is a mini-bar under the podium. There is a lot of laughter from the crowd. Attendees seem engaged and entertained.

03:58 p.m.: After joking about his mother and childhood, Gilbert shows a picture of his mother. He tells the three things his mother said he needed to be happy: a good marriage, money and children.

03:59 p.m.: Gilbert asks the crowd if they believe that marriage makes people happier. An overwhelming majority of attendees did not raise their hands.

04:00 p.m.: “Every single piece of data in social science states you are wrong: marriage causes happiness … Married people are happier than single people.”

04:04 p.m.: Gilbert shows graphs on the data of happiness for married people versus single people.

04:07 p.m.: “When you look at men and women as they approach divorce, what do you see?” Gilbert said, as he shows that divorce also makes people happier.

04:07 p.m.: “It’s not just ‘I do’ that makes you happier, it’s being in a marriage that’s good.”

04:08 p.m.: Gilbert addresses the question, does money make people happier?

04:09 p.m.: “The relationship between money and happiness isn’t simple … The amount of happiness money can buy levels off.”

04:11 p.m.: “My friends who are economics say ‘If money doesn’t make you happier you’re not spending it right,’ they say this in an amusing way but they are right.”

04:13 p.m.: Gilbert explains the goods and services that people should be spending money on to make them happier: experiences and things for others.

04:16 p.m.: “Research shows that when people spend money on others, doing things for others, they themselves get a happiness boost.”

04:18 p.m.: “People with children are less happy that people without them and people with children are the least happy when their children live with them.”

04:21 p.m.: “When you have a baby, life doesn’t go on,” Gilbert said. Studies show that having children does not make people happier.

04:23 p.m.: “I wanna suggest to you that the way we look when we’re living our lives and the way we look when scientists take a step back are two very different worlds … The view of human happiness I’ve shared with you is the view from outer space.”

04:24 p.m.: “There is a parenthood penalty, on average across the world, people with children are just a little bit shy of the zero point, children bring happiness down.”

04:28 p.m.: “I wanna suggest to you that what makes human beings happy is a scientific fact.”

04:29 p.m.: I really do believe that the more we learn about the true causes of happiness the more of it we can get for ourselves and our communities.”

04:29 p.m.: Gilbert concludes his speech and Lambert takes the stage. Graduates of the class of 2017 and students on the Dean’s and President’s list stand and are recognized.

04:32 p.m.:  Lambert recognizes students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Kappa Phi and Omnicron Delta Kappa.




Elon construction causes negative environmental effects

As Elon University continues to expand its campus, trees are being cut down to make room for new buildings and facilities.

Last month, the university began construction of a new parking lot next to the McMichael building. This new parking lot will add 165 parking spots for faculty, staff and visitors, Dan Anderson, vice president of University Communications, said in February. And construction is set to begin on Sankey Hall this summer. This new building will take the place of many parking spots in the existing visitors’ lot.

To begin construction on this new parking lot, the university had to cut down a number of trees adjacent to the McMichael building. The university also recently began construction on the Schar Center, a 161,000-square-foot convocation center that will be able to seat approximately 5,500 people. This new building is being built on the 19.5-acre parcel of land next to the Hunt Softball field. To begin construction on this building, the university had to remove almost nine acres of trees.

For many, physical expansion is of great value to the university. According to Paul Moersdorf, adjunct assistant professor of physics, it is often easy to overlook the value that trees have on campus as well.

“What’s the value of a single tree? That’s hard to say,” Moersdorf said. “If you’re a human being, and it’s where you want to put a driveway, the tree has no value at all. Or if it’s where you want to put a communications building, and you’re talking about a dozen trees, the trees have no value. The communications building is more important.

“However, if you are the squirrels that rely on the nuts from those trees, or the birds that put a nest in the trees, or all of the thousands of species of life that lives in the bark, on the bark, on the leaves, in the root system of the tree — to those, the value is infinite.”

Over the past few decades, Elon has expanded its campus significantly, adding more than 100 buildings in less than 20 years. With each new building on campus, more trees are being cut down.

According to Tom Flood, assistant director of Physical Plant and director of landscaping and grounds, the university recognizes this issue and continuously adds more trees during construction.

“Construction inevitably has to remove some trees sometimes,” Flood said. “But we are very cognizant and careful to go back with a large number of trees in the planting.”

Flood offered many examples, saying that before beginning the construction of the Global Neighborhood, Physical Plant had to remove around 100 trees. But after construction was completed, 313 trees were added in the new neighborhood.

Similarly, construction for Schar Hall caused about 10 large oak trees to be cut down, but through landscaping, Physical Plant added 54 new trees — 28 percent of which were oak trees.

Though the plans have not yet been finalized, Flood said the construction team plans to add more trees in and around the new parking lot near the McMichael Building.

“We will probably have, I imagine, in the range of 40 to 45 smaller, new trees go back in on that project,” Flood said. “So we will line the street on Haggard Avenue with them and also adjacent to the elementary school. There’s a bioretention base for storm water management on the north side of the parking lot that will have trees in it and around it. And then in the landscape buffer between the parking lot and the McMichael Science Building, there will be more trees in there as well.”

Flood also added that more trees will be planted around Sankey Hall. Regardless of upcoming construction, he said that Elon is still committed to making sure that trees remain across campus.

“It’s part of the ethic of who we are — Elon means ‘oak,’ our logo is an oak leaf, and so that sets the standard for what our campus will be,” Flood said. “We have always envisioned and designed this campus as sort of a ‘southern garden,’ if you will, set in a grove of oaks — so that still guides the landscape architecture that we do today in all of our projects.”

Elon students join in solidarity for gender equality

On Wednesday, many Elon University students, faculty and staff participated in A Day Without a Woman, a national strike to show value of women in the U.S. socio-economic system. To participate in the strike, women were encouraged to take the day off from work, avoid shopping except for at minority- or locally-owned businesses and wear red in solidarity.

A Day Without a Woman coincides with the International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women across the world. The organizers of A Day Without a Woman are the same activists who organized the Women’s March on Washington in January.

Members of the Elon community participated in the strike in a number of ways. Some simply wore red in support while others canceled class.

Senior Danielle Dulchinos initially wanted to participate by not going to class, but decided to attend class out of respect for those without access to an education.

“I ended up going to class because being able to go to college is such a privilege,” Dulchinos said. “It’s such a privilege as a woman for a lot of reasons and a lot of women don’t have that privilege, a lot of women don’t get to go to school at all and so for me, while I totally, 100 percent agree with the strike and agree with the point of the strike, I feel like personally I decided to go to class because this is an opportunity afforded [to] me that’s not given to many others.”

While many students participated in the event, the movement was not supported by all students. Senior Josh Weintraub said that while he supports the general cause, he does not support the organizers behind the event.

“The woman who was the main person in putting all of this together is a known Palestinian terrorist who killed multiple Israelis in a bombing and tried to plan to bomb the British Embassy in Israel in the past,” Weintraub said. “So I feel like we can support international women’s movements without allowing these people to have their views normalized by running the events.”

Weintraub said that while he does consider himself to be a supporter of women’s rights, his position as a Jewish man makes it difficult for him to support the event considering the actions of one of its organizers against Israelis.

“I felt like it puts me in an odd situation of, do I support women’s rights, and even though I do it’s frowned upon because I don’t support the events that are happening today,” Weintraub said. “So I’m put in the middle situation of not being able to identify with the people who are protesting today but identifying with what they’re trying to say at the same time.”

Regardless of personal opinion on the need or effectiveness of the event, International Women’s Day and A Day Without a Woman served as ways to spark conversations about gender inequality on campus. For Dulchinos, the event should be motivation for people to learn more about the feelings and stories of others.

“It should be a day for us to take a step back and really get to know our fellows citizens,” Dulchinos said. “I think that there is so much that can be solved if you sat down with somebody who is very different from you and just said, ‘Why do you feel that way? What makes you scared?’”

Students had the opportunity to learn more about and further discuss issues of gender inequality at Elon’s International Women’s Day Forum, an event co-sponsored by 12 different academic departments and student organizations across campus.

The forum, hosted by sophomore Lucia Jervis, included presentations from Elon faculty, students and alumni. The presenters included Rissa Trachman, associate professor of anthropology; Alexa Sykes ’13; Carmen Monico, assistant professor of human service studies; Nina Namaste, associate professor of Spanish; Sumeyye Pakdil Kesgin, adjunct assistant professor of religious studies; and sophomore Amy Belfer. The forum concluded with a performance by some members of the cast of The Vagina Monologues.

The speakers presented on a number of topics, ranging from gender issues in archaeology to global gender-based violence.

Freshman Julia Dick who attended the forum said that the speakers and their focus on women in leadership were inspirational and uplifting.

“To me, it was just extremely empowering just to hear people’s stories and hear the things that they’ve had to go through to kind of get to where they are now,” Dick said. “You know, facing adversity obviously did not stop them from pushing through and doing what they loved.”

Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby speaks to students on representation, diversity

Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby speaks to Elon University students about the importance of diversity in the court system.

On Wednesday, Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Associate Judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, spoke to Elon University students in a lecture titled “The Third Branch: How a Trusted, Diverse Judiciary is Crucial to Ensuring our Democracy,” host by Elon’s Liberal Arts Forum.

Blackburne-Rigsby was introduced by senior Emily Hayes, the president of Elon’s Liberal Arts Forum. The Liberal Arts Forum is a group of students who meet weekly to bring to campus academic speakers for each semester who embody Elon’s commitment to a liberal arts education.

The event was held in Whitley Auditorium and hosted by Elon’s Liberal Arts Forum.

Blackburne-Rigsby began her lecture by outlining how the U.S. court system works. She shared jokes and personal anecdotes as she discussed the importance of the judicial branch in a democratic society.

Above all else, the role of the judicial branch is to interpret the constitution and determine whether or not the laws we pass uphold the constitution.

After establishing a base knowledge on the court system, Blackburne-Rigsby went on to discuss the growing need for diversity in the judicial branch.

“I think diversity is a symbol of justice,” Blackburne-Rigsby said.

She stressed the importance for diversity to bring varied opinions and perspectives into

Judge Blackburne-Rigsby speaks to the Elon community.

the court room. Having a diverse court system allows for greater access to justice.

Blackburne-Rigsby specifically spoke about the concept of Miranda Rights, a precedent that gives criminal defendants the right to an attorney. But, these rights only apply to criminal cases, not civil. If someone is charged with a crime in a civil suit and cannot afford an attorney, they will still not be given one by the courts. For this reason, Blackburne-Rigsby said it is important to have judges who will be able to empathize with defendants’ backgrounds.

She concluded by opening the floor up for questions from the audience.

Sophomore Jack Thorne attended the event for a class assignment, but found the lecture to be much more interesting than he expected.

“Anna Blackburne-Rigsby was a really engaging speaker so it was really easy to become interested,” Thorne said. “I learned so much about diversity in the judicial branch and about concepts I had even considered before.”

Blackburne-Rigsby’s has a special connection to Elon too, making this lecture even more special. Her son, Julian Rigsby, is a sophomore at Elon and a member of the Liberal Arts Forum. He is the one who pitched her as a speaker last year.

At first, Rigsby wasn’t sure if the Liberal Arts Forum would support the idea of bringing his mother as a speaker, but he was pleasantly surprised when the group was as excited about the idea as he was. 

“I’ve looked up to my mom forever and she’s the biggest inspiration in my life,” Rigsby said. “I’ve seen her speak so many different times in a variety of venues and to countless different types of people. She is an amazing woman who works harder than anyone I know. She is so committed and has so much passion for the work that she does and I know she loves being a judge so much.”

Unfortunately, Rigsby could not attend the event because of a stomach virus, but he still views having his mother speak on campus as one of his best memories at Elon.

“Bringing her to Elon was one of the best ideas I’ve had in college,” Rigsby said. “Sadly I had a stomach virus and the day she was supposed to speak, I couldn’t attend her speech. My other members in the forum kept me updated the entire time and told me that she spoke with all of the elegance and awesomeness that I was already aware of. She honestly changes my life daily and I love her more and more every day because of how loving, passionate, and strong she is.”

Blackburne-Rigsby was appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by former president Bill Clinton and then appointed to the D.C. Court of Appeals by George W. Bush in 2006. Later this week, she will be sworn in as chief justice of the court.

Dean of business school works to bridge gap between students and administration

Dean Raghu Tadepalli

Each month, Raghu Tadepalli — in addition to his many responsibilities as dean of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business — has lunch with senior business students to discuss their praises and critiques of the business school.

Tadepalli does not simply hear complaints from students — he listens to them.

At one of these monthly lunches last year, students voiced their frustrations about the reporting portions of the business school’s internship requirement. They felt the essays and reflections required in addition to the internship were onerous and redundant.

So, Tadepalli made changes. He worked with his colleagues to modify the internship requirements and alleviate some of the work for students. This past summer, he supervised around 20 interns because he wanted to see first-hand the work students were completing to receive internship credit. Seeing that there were still redundancies in the work students were required to complete, Tadepalli helped revise the program again.

Meeting with and listening to students is not only what Tadepalli sees as the most important part of his job, but it is also his favorite part.

“I think a large number of students know my door is open, so people drop in,” Tadepalli said. “I think [the students are] really respectful and know that they’re also very busy. I’d say that they’re quite a few students who feel comfortable dropping in to chat.”

AUGUST 22, 2012 - Kristin Barrier directory portrait. (photo by Kim Walker)
Kristin Barrier, director of operations and accreditation, Love School of Business

Kristin Barrier, director of operations and accreditation in the Love School of Business, sits in an office directly across from Tadepalli and witnesses these student interactions daily.

“Dean Tadepalli has a true open-door policy, and he often meets with students who are looking for help or advice,” Barrier said.

Barrier graduated from the Love School of Business in 2004 and earned her Master’s of Business Administration from Elon in 2007, so she has seen Elon’s growth under Tadepalli’s leadership from the beginning.

“The Love School of Business has grown in numbers exponentially since Dean Tadepalli arrived, and also the quality of education and the quality of students we are attracting has improved,” Barrier said. “I graduated from the Love School of Business in 2004 and the M.B.A. program in 2007, and I have seen both undergraduate and graduate programs take huge leaps in improving the curriculum and rigor in the past 5 years that he has been dean.”

Tadepalli’s move to Elon

Tadepalli began his position as dean of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business in July of 2012. He came to the university from Babson College, where he previously served as the Murata Dean and Professor of Marketing in the F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business.

Tadepalli received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in commerce with a major in accounting from Andrha University in India. He then went onto complete his Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in marketing from Arizona State University and earned his doctorate from Virginia Tech.

After completing receiving his doctorate, Tadepalli was given several job offers to complete marketing research, but turned down the offers because he “didn’t see much fun in it.” Tadepalli wanted to continue doing research but was more excited by the idea of teaching and interacting with students. This led him to begin working in higher education.

Tadepalli held faculty and staff positions at a few other universities before arriving at Elon almost five years ago. While he has not taught in a classroom in a while, he is still able to conduct research and will have a new study published in a few months.

No matter what position he has held, Tadepalli has always made students his biggest priority. His dedication to students is part of the reason he enjoys working at Elon because the university as a whole mirrors that same commitment.

“It’s nice to be at a university campus when there is such an undivided attention on making sure that students learn,” Tadepalli said. “I think it’s a value that permeates everything that we as, faculty or staff, that we do. Students are really at the center of what we do … here there is no mistake about it: We are about students. We are about what students are learning and how they’re learning and how we are helping them develop into leaders for tomorrow.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 7.47.34 AM
Tadepalli serves as an admirable leader for the Love School of Business

Exemplifying good leadership

His commitment to listening to students is also reflected in his leadership style. For him, listening to those he is leading is the most important aspect of leadership.

“I think listening is very important,” Tadepalli said. “When someone walks into my office, the conversation is about them. It’s not about me. So you have to pay attention to what they’re saying.”

Barrier has seen this through her interactions with the dean. Barrier is responsible for general behind the scenes work and ensuring that the Love School of Business is meeting all of the requirements for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accrediting body. They work together to meet the requirements and complete other projects in the school.

“[His leadership is] very laid-back and supportive — he trusts people to do their jobs, and he makes sure they have the resources needed to accomplish what is expected in their job,” Barrier said. “He is incredibly easy to work with, values my opinions and, in my view, a great leader for the business school.”

Junior Franki Filandro had the opportunity to witness this leadership and work closely with Tadepalli when she brought the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi to campus. Filandro wanted to provide business students with the opportunity to be involved in a professional organization without having to give up a large portion of their time.

To bring the fraternity to campus, Filandro had to first be approved by Delta Sigma Pi’s national board and then Elon. Tadepalli was supportive of the organization and helped convince the university to allow Filandro to start a chapter at Elon.

Filandro said that Tadepalli succeeds in making himself available to students, saying that he is always around to meet with students or tries to reach out to them if he hasn’t seen them in a while. Listening and staying connected to students is a part of Tadepalli’s leadership style.

His style is certainly very open and almost a backseat kind,” Filandro said. “He gives you a chance to figure it out for yourself and then guides you in the slightest of ways. I believe that the whole time he knows where you should be going, but he let’s you find it on your own.”

The future of the business school

Still, Filandro fears that the business school may be growing in quantity, not quality. According to Tadepalli, the business school has grown by around 65 percent in the past five years. In his time at Elon, Tadepalli has worked with faculty and staff to revise every major and minor within the business school, revise the MBA program and added a Master’s of Science in Analytics and Master’s of Science in Accounting.

And, with Sankey Hall, the new business school, beginning construction this summer, the fear of getting too big too quickly is on Tadepalli’s mind, too.

“We recognize that it’s not important to just be big but to be good,” Tadepalli said. “We are constantly benchmarking and asking ourselves what we can do.”

Diversity as a priority

Though many members of the Elon community believe that increasing diversity on campus needs to be made a greater priority, Tadepalli recognizes the need and works to bring diverse voices into the business school. He believes that understanding how to manage diverse groups is important to excelling in business and said that diversity is one of the business school’s core values.

He has worked to uphold that value by implementing diversity education initiatives into various class curriculums and recruiting diverse faculty and staff members. Currently, he said the business school has about 60 faculty members representing 16 different countries.

On a personal level, of the six deans at the university, Tadepalli is the only dean of color, so he sees the need for diversity first-hand. It is not uncommon for him to be the only person of color in a room.

“Yesterday morning I was in a meeting, there must have been ten people there, and I was the only non-white in that room,” “Sometimes, you know I kind of have an out of body experience and I’m thinking, ‘Wow if I were looking down upon me, if there was a picture that was taken, how would this look?’ And I think, in that respect, I came here from Babson College in Massachusetts, which is very diverse. And so, I’d say, at Elon I think the values are there and the respect for diversity is there, but we need more demonstrable programs in that regard.”

Many accomplishments to be proud of

Even with all of the growth the Love School of Business has yet to see, whether it be in infrastructure, quality or diversity, Tadepalli has plenty to be proud of. When reflecting on his proudest moments at Elon, he recalled an experience from rather early in his career here.

During his second year at Elon, the Love School of Business had an accreditation visit where three deans from other schools visited campus and assessed the business program with the goal of giving recommendations to make the program better.

At the end of the visit, the three deans sat down with Tadepalli, President Leo Lambert and Provost and Executive Vice President Steven House to discuss their findings and give recommendations for improvements over the next 5 years.

Their recommendation was simple: they had no recommendation. To the three deans, the business school was operating perfectly and there were no changes they felt Tadepalli needed to make. Even after praise like this, Tadepalli finds a way to recognize the work of others, showing once again the interesting dynamics of his leadership style.

“So I think it’s kudos to my colleagues,” Tadepalli said, “but when a group of three deans from outside come and look at you and their 21 standards, and at the end of it they say, we have no recommendation, you feel pretty good.”