March 28, 2008

Johnson School Appoints Dean After Two-Year Search

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After serving as interim dean of the Johnson School of Management for almost a year, Joseph Thomas was announced as the new dean of the business school yesterday. Speaking at an annual charity auction and weekly social event in Sage Atrium, Provost Biddy Martin publicized the decision to faculty, staff and students.
“We’ve been engaged in an almost two-year long search. … [We looked for] someone who represented the best of the Johnson School and the University,” Martin said.
Martin added that the new Johnson School dean had to be both a scholar and an agent of change.
“We are excited to see where Joe takes the school,” she said.
Thomas, a professor of manufacturing and operations management, took over as interim dean in June 2007 after the resignation of Robert Swieringa. Swieringa served as dean for 10 years and announced his resignation in April 2006.
Speaking briefly to the crowd, Thomas said, “I have enjoyed being the interim dean. … I look forward to working with all of you.”
When asked what the biggest obstacles facing the Johnson School are, Thomas said that getting the best faculty and staff — and a combination of academics and practitioners — was usually a challenge, but one the school had been “really successful” at in the past few years.
Thomas also said the Johnson School faced unique obstacles because their students, especially those in the executive education program, are of such varying ages. As a former director of executive education for the school, he has dealt with this matter directly.
Formerly the director of the Ph.D program, chair of the Academic Leadership Series and chair of the Financial Policies Committee, Thomas has also worked for several Fortune 100 companies, served as a board member and chair of the University Consortium for Executive Education and has written four books and more than 50 articles for business journals.