The search for the next business school dean is underway.
Over the last few months, the University has convened a search committee and hired an outside firm to conduct a nationwide search for its next business school leader. Last month, officials released a profile on the search firm’s website laying out the qualifications for the next dean, including a commitment to diversity and knowledge of how to use GW’s D.C. location to benefit the school.
There hasn’t been a permanent business school dean since April, when former Dean Linda Livingstone left to become Baylor University’s first female president. Former Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Vivek Choudhury has been serving as the school’s interim dean.
University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said the search committee is chaired by Vanessa Perry, a professor of marketing. The committee – comprised of eight faculty, alumni, administrators and students – will partner with the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, which the University used during the presidential search, to find the next dean.
“Maybe this is the time to pick a dean who really fits the D.C. location.”
“The search will be ongoing until it concludes with the goal of naming the next dean before the end of the academic year,” Csellar said in an email.
Perry declined to comment on the search, deferring to the University’s statement.
Professors in the business school said although the selection process is closed and the public will not know who the candidates are, they are hopeful that more information about the candidates will be released to faculty before a public announcement is made.
Pradeep Rau, a professor of marketing who served on a past business school dean search committee at GW, said he hoped the new dean will have an in-depth understanding of the D.C. community, giving business school faculty and students a better understanding of how business plays a role in policy.
“I’ve always felt that our location is something we mention a lot,” she said. “Maybe this is the time to pick a dean who really fits the D.C. location.”
He said to find qualified candidates, the search committee could look to think tanks in the area for candidates who could bring a familiarity with D.C. and integrate that knowledge into the curriculum.
“I feel that we need someone who knows the city, understands the policies of what happens in this town. Business schools are supposed to be very centrally connected with policies,” Rau said.
The business school’s profile, posted online, states that the next dean should “optimize a location that is shared by many organizations and institutions that drive global capitalism.”
In the last seven years, three different deans have led the business school. Doug Guthrie, the school’s dean from 2010 to 2013, was fired after overspending by $13 million. Livingstone, who started in 2014, developed a plan to start paying back the money overspent during Guthrie’s tenure.
The profile also makes increasing fundraising a top priority for the business school. The school raised $75 million during the course of the $1 billion campaign that completed last July, according to the profile
“I think one of the largest components would absolutely be in terms of diversity, inclusion and equity.”
Officials and faculty have said little about the search and what types of candidates they are considering, but experts said keeping a search confidential isn’t unusual – especially for a high-profile position.
Khalilah Lawson, a consultant at the search frim Witt/Kieffer, said candidates should have confidentiality through the selection process to be able to decide for themselves whether their vision aligned with GW’s overall goals for the business school.
“What is it that the School of Business will be able to identify as ways to advance the mission of the overall University?” she said. “It’s preparing students, preparing leaders for a global organization and administration and competence.”
The profile makes diversity a top priority for the next dean. Last academic year, the school created a diversity council and named its first-ever diversity officer in an effort to increase representation. The school has also expanded outreach to international students in recent years, creating more resources in the school’s career center.
Lawson added that business schools across the country are already trying to adapt to a more global marketing environment, making it crucial that candidates have an international mindset.
“I think one of the largest components would absolutely be in terms of diversity, inclusion and equity,” she said.