Alison Davis-Blake, the dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, will be the next dean of the Ross School of Business, according to an e-mail sent to Business School students from University Provost Philip Hanlon yesterday.
Pending approval by the University’s Board of Regents, Davis-Blake will start her term on Aug. 22. She will replace current Business School Dean Bob Dolan, who’s held the post since 2001. Dolan announced last March that he wouldn’t seek a third five-year term as dean.
Davis-Blake — who will be the first female dean of the school — was formally introduced to the University community during a lunch at the Davidson Winter Garden at the Ross School of Business yesterday.
In an interview at the event, Davis-Blake said there were several aspects about the Business School that drew her to the University.
“The three things I’m most excited about are the amazing faculty, the world-class programs and, of course, the (University) itself — a great University with so many great programs,” she said.
Davis-Blake cited the Business School’s motto, “leading in thought and action,” as the basis for her future plans as dean.
“I think we’re going to stay committed to ‘(leading) in thought and action,’ and take it to the next level,” she said.
University President Mary Sue Coleman wrote in a University press release issued yesterday that Davis-Blake was the ideal candidate to lead the Ross School of Business.
“Alison Davis-Blake is a known leader with strong ties to business communities,” Coleman wrote. “I am particularly impressed with her commitment to international experiences for students. Her strengths align perfectly with the mission of the Ross School to train leaders in thought and action.”
Hanlon said in an interview at the event that it was held to welcome Davis-Blake and to give her an opportunity to meet everyone in the Business School.
“I think that she will be a very active dean and she’ll be inclusive of everyone’s views,” Hanlon said. “And (she) will want to be out there and know everybody, so this seems like a great start to that.”
Students wandered in and out of the event in between classes to say hello to Davis-Blake.
Business sophomore Michael Cueter said he wanted to be a part of the welcoming event after receiving Hanlon’s e-mail early Monday morning.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I saw the event online, and I just stopped by after class to celebrate.”
Cueter said he hasn’t heard much about the new dean, but the news he has received about her has only been favorable.
“I hear she is very capable for the job,” he said. “I am in a class with the (current) Dean (Bob Dolan), and he’s talked about her positively.”
Dolan said in an interview last March that after serving as dean for 10 years, he would pursue other opportunities — a move influenced in part by similar career changes by other top business school deans around the country.
Business graduate student Jennifer Hu said she went to the event because she was curious to learn more about Davis-Blake.
“I was interested because she’s our first female dean in the Business School,” she said. “So I just wanted to come out and see what her perspective is and what experiences she’ll bring.”
Davis-Blake’s work focuses on the area of human resources, Hanlon wrote in the e-mail to Business School students.
“She is an expert in outsourcing arrangements and organizational employment practices such as the use of temporary and contract workers and the design of organizational salary structures,” Hanlon wrote.
According to the University press release, Davis-Blake has been the dean at the Carlson School since 2006. She earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in organizational behavior from Stanford University in 1986.
Prior to arriving at the University of Minnesota, Davis-Blake worked at the University of Texas, Austin from 1990 until 2006— ultimately becoming the university’s associate dean for academic affairs, according to Hanlon’s e-mail. Davis-Blake also previously worked at Carnegie Mellon University as an assistant professor of industrial administration.
Davis-Blake said at the event that she is excited about her move to Ann Arbor.
“This looks like an amazingly fun college town,” Davis-Blake said. “and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”