Federal Reserve Governor Susan Phillips will take the School of Business and Public Management into the next millennium as its new dean, said Professor Donald Hawkins, head of the SBPM Dean Search Committee.
The selection ends a year-long search by the committee, comprised of faculty, students, alumni and business professionals.
“She really has a combination of private, public and academic experience,” said James Edwin Kee, who served as interim dean for the past two years.
In addition to serving seven years on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, Phillips has distinguished herself as a Brookings Economic Policy and Securities Exchange Commission fellow.
Phillips also blends practical experience in her field with academic pursuits – she served as a professor and vice president for finance and university services at the University of Iowa business school.
Hawkins said Phillips’ wide range of work experience is a good background for juggling the complexity of SBPM. The new dean must lead the faculty, staff, students and alumni in identifying the school’s goals, he said.
Administrators hope the school will proceed down the path set by former Dean F. David Fowler, who resigned two years ago, Hawkins said.
“I think we are already headed in the right direction,” Hawkins said. “I would characterize it as thinking globally and acting locally.”
Hawkins and committee member Douglas Rutherford said the school needs to develop a strategic plan to take advantage of the resources D.C. offers.
“We welcome Susan Phillips’ experience and the networks she has developed,” Hawkins said.
Within months of the new dean’s arrival, the school will undergo an accreditation by a national organization of business schools – another opportunity for SBPM to improve, Hawkins said.
“Dr. Phillips has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in high-profile positions in higher education and public service,” University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said in a press release.
The dean selection process began less than a year ago, when the group began to decide what criteria it would consider in its selection, said Rutherford, who graduated with a master’s degree in business administration Sunday.
“We wanted to make sure we were asking the right questions and conveying what GW needed from the new dean,” he said.
Rutherford said the search committee, which had help from Hendrick Struggles, a nationally-known search firm, worked to nominate the most qualified candidates for the position.
Initially, a list of 90 candidates was compiled, Rutherford said. But, the committee gave “airport interviews” – speedy two-hour sessions – to 10 candidates, whose names remained confidential.
Five candidates were called back for a day-long interview, which allowed students and other members of the SBPM community to offer input on the selection.
The 22-person committee compiled a prospectus report listing the school’s priorities, Hawkins said.
Experience in private and public service and in academic settings were key criteria in the dean search process, Rutherford said.
“(Phillips) was a leader from the beginning,” he said.
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