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39 years of excellence: Celebrating Elizabeth Grasby’s career at Ivey

Jun 29, 2017

Elizabeth Grasby

Elizabeth Grasby being recognized as Professor Emerita at this year’s Spring Convocation

After 39 years at Ivey, Pre-Business Director Elizabeth Grasby is putting down the cases, closing her office door, and calling it a career.

During her career at Ivey, Grasby worked for six different deans and nine associate deans. She reported to 14 different people over the years, and moved offices around campus nine times.

Grasby was recognized as Professor Emerita at this year’s Spring Convocation for her exceptional contribution to Ivey and Western.

The highlights

Upon her graduation from the HBA Program in 1978, Grasby worked for one year writing Management Science cases under now Professor Emeritus Peter Newson. She then taught Business 2257 (Business 257 at the time) full-time for three years followed by 11 years of part-time teaching while raising her two children, Sarah and Matthew.

From 1987-1989, Grasby was the Assistant Director of the China Project (under CIDA-Canadian International Development Agency) at Ivey. Responsibilities included the management of faculty and MBA students from Tsinghua University in China.

In 1993, Grasby returned to full-time work as Director of the Pre-Business Program. At the time, there were two introductory business courses designed primarily for students interested in Ivey’s HBA program. During her tenure, three more introductory courses have been added for engineering and science students and Pre-Business enrolment now exceeds over 3,200 students.

Lessons learned. Memories made.

Over her years at Ivey, Grasby also taught continuing courses to mature students in the following continuing education programs: ICB (Institute for Canadian Bankers), CIM (Canadian Institute of Management), and CDE (Continuing Dental Education). She also introduced the case teaching and writing method to Western’s Occupational and Physical Therapy Faculty and was the Director of CIM (for Ivey) for several years.

Grasby loved working at Ivey for a multitude of reasons: the teaching, the variety in her work, and the opportunities to take on new and exciting challenges. She felt respected and supported by faculty members and the Deans’ office at Ivey, even during her early days as one of the few women in management education. She also appreciated the strong support staff (Pre-Business course coordinators and many of the staff at Ivey) who were key to the department’s smooth internal operations.

Perhaps Grasby’s favourite aspect of teaching at Western was the students. She always enjoyed working with students and teaching case classes.

“Students are always interesting – every year classes were different with a few students who were ‘characters,’” she said. “And I cannot imagine teaching a class without cases and the pedagogy that goes along with case teaching. It would be far less interesting and engaging for both instructor and students!”

Grasby appears to have made excellent hiring decisions with her staff choices. Pre-Business lecturers have consistently received top teaching evaluations at the university.

“When selecting new lecturers, my decision is often based on 90 per cent attitude and 10 per cent aptitude since most lecturers come from Ivey’s HBA Program and already have the academic and intellectual skills to understand and teach the material,” Grasby said. “Our rigorous training process is critical in helping new lecturers prepare. When this training is combined with enthusiastic lecturers, the students are receptive to learning and they enjoy the class experience and respect their lecturers.”

After a long and enjoyable career, Grasby is looking forward to spending time with her husband Al and their family, travelling, and playing golf and bridge.

Julie Gosse and Ian Dunn are taking over as Co-Directors of the Pre-Business Program.