There's a New Dean in Town

Herb Snyder is a newer face at Eastern New Mexico University, beginning his job as the new Dean of the College of Business in only June 2019. He brought with him a great deal of experience from his previous occupations.

Moving to Portales from his prior home in North Dakota where he taught at North Dakota State University was a big change. However, the scenery changes in North Dakota to New Mexico were nothing compared to what he experienced during his last big move, which was from New York to North Dakota.

Snyder has an extensive resume; ENMU is not the first college institution he has had the privilege of working for in his career. Beyond ENMU and NDSU, these include Indiana University, and Fort Lewis College, located in Durango, Colo. However, his work in academia has not been his only venture. “This is the only job I’ve had where I didn’t have to carry a gun to work,” he said, eluding to his previous service in the Army, where he worked in intelligence, as well as his prior work as a fraud investigator for New York State. During his time as a fraud investigator, his focus was mainly dealing in medical fraud. After leaving the Army, he worked as a regular accountant for about 90 days before discovering that regular accounting was not for him. This led him to his work as a fraud investigator, a job he held for seven years. In many aspects, it was similar to the work he had done in Army intelligence, he shared. “It was fun. It was a great job to have; people make professions out of it,” he said. But after seven years in the field, Snyder said that he needed a change. “I wasn’t using enough of my brain, really, to make it all the way through until retirement.” So he left his work investigating medical fraud to go further his education. In 1994, he obtained his Ph.D. in information science from Syracuse University in New York.

Beyond his service in the Army, his work as a fraud investigator and completing his Ph.D., Snyder has accomplished a great deal in his life. Traveling, learning languages, and even saving lives working as an EMT. But his current endeavor is focused on helping the next generation through his work at ENMU.

The College of Business currently does not have departments like other colleges within ENMU, so as Dean of the College of Business, Snyder oversees a great deal, while he also serves as a professor of accounting. Accounting is one of the larger majors within the College of Business. Other majors the college offers include marketing, finance, banking, general management, as well as other specifications like personal financial planning. Snyder is passionate about helping students enter the field that is right for them. As a professor of accounting and someone who has personally worked in the field, Snyder said that it is a much more interesting and dynamic field than people often think. It is more than bookkeeping. “People think somehow that accounting is like physics. Like these are somehow the fundamental laws of the universe of business. It’s not. If you think about accounting as a language, it’s a way of speaking about how a company is doing financially in a sort of standardized language. You use numbers, but its not really physics. It’s a system of doing things.” Luca Pacioli, a man often called “The Father of Accounting” found this system of doing things in Venice in the mid 1400s. Snyder shared that since then, it is essentially gone completely unchanged. “It’s like the cockroach of ideas; it works so well that no one’s ever had to change it,” he said. “It’s better if you think about yourself as a linguist, or a practitioner of law,” he said to any aspiring accountants.

Snyder has been quite the asset to ENMU thus far, and has goals to improve college experience and outcome, as well as job efficiency when his students eventually enter the workforce.

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