Steven Cerri was an adjunct professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara campus (UCSB) from 2003 to 2010. Around the 2000-2002 time-frame, the engineering department of UCSB decided that it was important to train undergraduate and graduate students in engineering and other technical majors in the processes necessary to bring new technology to market. Three of the aspects of the entrepreneurial process necessary to achieve this outcome are management, leadership, and communication. Steven Cerri was asked to develop and deliver a course teaching the skills of communication, leadership, and management specifically related to the technical world. The course was titled; “So you want to be a technology manager.” The best way to describe what happened is to let the associate dean of the engineering department, Dr. Gary Hanson say it in his own words:
To whom it may concern:
I am honored to have been asked by Steven Cerri to contribute a letter of reference on his behalf regarding his outstanding capabilities as a management faculty member here at UC Santa Barbara’s Technology Management Program. While Steven is not a ladder rank faculty, he is a key member of the faculty team, a gifted conceptual thinker, a positive role model for our students, and a true colleague in the best sense.
I am the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and its Technology Management Program (TMP). Our mission is to educate men and women to create economic value through new technologies. The Technology Management Program’s educational programs include over 30 graduate and undergraduate level classes in management, entrepreneurship, new product development, and marketing taught by world-class scholars, highly successful business lecturers and entrepreneurs. Our classes are consistently ranked among the top 10-15 % at the University and virtually all are over-subscribed.
Steven has been an instructor in the TMP for the past three years beginning in 2003. He has been teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses titled “So You Want To Be a Technology Manager”. Originally, almost none of the engineering graduate students wanted to take a “management class”. After Steven’s first year in which he utilized his own engineering insights and perspectives together with some of the latest theories of management, judgment, and decision-making, students now literally rave about the content and effectiveness with which it is delivered. The most common quote from his feedback evaluations is “the most important and best class I have taken at UCSB.” Steven is very, very good.
He is flexible and willing to accommodate the students in ways that shows he truly cares about what they learn. What makes Steven unique and powerfully effective in his teaching for our program is that he combines two technical degrees and an MBA with twenty years of technical and technical business experience. This means that when he teaches technology-business management and leadership, his courses are rooted in practice as well as in theory. Our students truly appreciate this mixture. Also, because of Steven’s experience and education he has the ability to develop a variety of class topics that can compliment our department’s mission. While, we do not yet have an “Executive” or more advanced career educational program, I know from having developed and run such programs for Boeing, Microsoft, and other tech companies, that Steven would also bring huge value added to that context as well.
If Steven Cerri lived closer to Santa Barbara, we would try to monopolize his talents. As it is we have worked with him to devise some fairly flexible schedules so as to provide the learning opportunity for our students given the travel distances involved. I enthusiastically recommend Steve Cerri for any program wanting to have some of the best structured and effectively taught technology management courses offered at a business or technology college.
Professor Gary Hansen,
Technology Management Programs