Raising school’s visibility key issue for a new business dean  


Making Pitt Business more of a force in the larger university was on the minds of several people at an open forum Dec. 9 on the search for a new business dean.

Amanda Godley, vice provost for graduate studies, is leading the search committee to replace Arjang Assad, who will transition to faculty on June 30, 2022. Assad has been dean of the Katz Graduate School of Business and undergraduate College of Business Administration since 2015.

The forum, the second of two, will help the committee build a job description. Initial interviews will be conducted confidentially in February and early March. The Pitt Business community will be involved in finalist interviews in mid-March and early April, and Godley said they hope to have the next dean in place during summer 2022. The consulting company Korn Ferry is helping with the search.

Don Moser, professor of business administration in the Department of Accounting, said all the candidates should “have experience at a university where there is strong connections between central administration and the business school. My sense is that the (Pitt) administration has not valued the business school in a way that’s happening at our peers.”

Gordon Vanscoy, a search committee member who received his MBA from Pitt and CEO of RareMed Solutions, agreed that Katz needs to “emerge central to the mission of the University.”

Research is a key way Pitt Business sets itself apart from other local and regional universities, Moser said, and a new dean should be able to communicate that importance to the central administration. Right now, he said, the retirement of several research-oriented professors in business and the inability to replace them “is troubling.”

“We should find someone who both understands and values research and supports the role of continuing to invest (increasingly) in a Ph.D. program in its pursuit of research,” said Dennis Galletta, director of the Ph.D. program at Katz and a professor of business administration.

Jennifer Petrie-Wyman, associate director of strategic initiatives at Pitt Business, said there’s a clear need to build the school’s revenue base and part of that is figuring out what attracts students today. A new dean, she said, should be someone “who really expresses an interest in students and gets involved in activities at Pitt.”

She said the school needs to look forward to a post-pandemic, post-2020 world, which includes doing more in the area of diversity and inclusion. Chris Gassman, associate director of the Center for Sustainable Business, noted that more and more businesses are becoming savvy about environmental issues, so business schools need to do the same.

Jodi Weisfield, executive director of development for Pitt Business, said what she needs from a dean is a “fundraising partner.” They need to be willing to be the face of the school and form ties to CEOs and other business leaders, as well as be savvy politically within the University.

“I want Pitt Business, across the board, to be a destination school,” she said. In addition to attracting students, that means bringing in strong faculty who want to spend their careers at Pitt, building up connections with businesses and creating new research centers. Her ultimate goal is to double the number of donors to the school, which could include finding someone to sponsor the naming rights for the College of Business Administration.

Moser said he would like Pitt Business to have a new facility that would be large enough to have all its programs incorporated in one place, instead of spread across campus.

In addition to the forums, faculty, staff, students, alumni and others can comment on what they’d like to see in the next dean of Pitt Business on an online form.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 724-244-4042.


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