Recently the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business announced Alison Davis-Blake will become the first ever female dean of the school, effective August 22. The announcement marked the end of a ten-month-long search to find a replacement for Robert J. Dolan, who will step down on June 30 after serving as dean for the past decade.
For the past five years she has served as the dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, where she became the highest-ranking woman at any U.S. business school at the time of her appointment. There she made a name for herself by significantly improving the school’s fundraising efforts and improving the school’s overall national standing.
Ross professor Jerry Davis, who led Ross’s Dean Search Advisory Committee, said in an announcement released by the school:
“She impressed the committee with her grasp of the broad competitive landscape of business education, its future trends, and the factors that distinguish Ross from the other top schools,” he says. “She has had great success working with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors at Carlson, and the school’s reputation has risen accordingly. She also has great experience with globalizing the educational experience of students at Carlson, managing alliances with schools in Europe and Asia, and implementing a required overseas experience for undergraduates.”
Just as was the case with Sally Blount’s appointment at Kellogg last year, many news outlets led with the fact that Davis-Blake will be Ross’s first-ever female leader, but her track record stands on its own regardless of gender. She has moved up through the ranks relatively quickly, starting out as an assistant professor of industrial administration at Carnegie Mellon before moving to the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in 1990. There she moved up from an instructor to eventually serve as the school’s senior associate dean for academic affairs before leaving for Carlson in 2006.
While Dolan will be a tough act to follow — his legacy includes garnering a $100 million naming gift from Michigan alumnus Stephen M. Ross — Ross believes it has found a worthy successor in Davis-Blake.
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