Interim Dean Kate Walsh MPS ’90 has been named the seventh dean of the School of Hotel Administration in the SC Johnson College of Business — the school’s first female and second alumnus dean, Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced on Friday.
“Kate demonstrated a magnificent capacity for leadership during a transformative time in the life of the university and its business education programs,” Kotlikoff said in the Cornell Chronicle. “I am confident she will continue to guide the Hotel School with her signature clarity of vision, administrative effectiveness and her passion for and dedication to the school’s academic excellence and its alumni, students and faculty.”
Walsh served as interim dean of the hotel school beginning July 1, 2016 and oversaw its integration into the College of Business in its first year. She will now serve a four-year appointment as dean, which was approved by the Executive Committee of the Cornell University Board of Trustees on June 15.
“As both an alumna and a faculty member, it is a special honor for me to lead the Hotel School through its first years as a vital part of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business,” Walsh said.
Walsh has served as an associate professor of organizational management in the hotel school since 2000 and is currently the E.M. Statler Professor. Walsh specializes in research about retention and development of professionals, especially women, in organizational roles.
Her professional background also includes experience as a New York state certified public accountant as well as director of training and development for Nikko Hotels International, corporate training manager for the former Bristol Hotels and senior auditor for Loews Corp.
She was appointed interim dean following Dean Emeritus Michael Johnson’s term, which ended in June 2016. As interim dean, Walsh reported to Dean of the College of Business, Soumitra Dutta, who said he is confident that “Kate will successfully lead the Hotel School into its next phase of excellence,” because of “both her scholarly and professional expertise in leadership with a focus on hospitality.”
While interim dean, Walsh led efforts in alumni engagement, the school’s industry connections and a curriculum review of both the undergraduate and graduate schools.
The curriculum review, led by Cathy Enz, associate dean of academic affairs, was enacted to help distinguish the areas of expertise in the school and should be completed by December 2017.
“With the engagement of our faculty, alumni and other hospitality industry leaders, we are moving toward the future with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to hospitality education and research,” Walsh told The Chronicle. “Our best years are ahead of us, and it’s wonderful to have this opportunity to help the school achieve greater industry relevance and global prominence, and contribute to the success of business education at Cornell.”