Alison Davis-Blake Named Ross School of Business Dean

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has chosen Alison Davis-Blake as its new dean. Davis-Blake’s deanship will become effective August 22 of this year, pending the University of Michigan Board of Regents’ approval.

Davis-Blake has served as dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota since 2006. Previously, she was a management professor and associate dean at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.

Davis-Blake said in a Ross press release:

I am very excited for the opportunity to lead the Ross School of Business. Ross has long been among the top business schools in the country and the world. It has strong programs across the board and is housed within a great university. Its action-based learning approach is a unique niche that sets it apart from other business schools.

Davis-Blake will be the first female dean in Ross’ history. She was the Carlson School’s first female dean as well. Given that women make up a small minority of business school deans, Davis-Blake was asked last year in a Financial Times interview how she dealt with male-dominated environments.

“If I’m in the extreme minority I always assume I need to perform twice as well to get half the credit as a member of the majority group and I act accordingly,” she replied.

Clearly, Davis-Blake’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. Said Jerry Davis, who led the Ross School’s Dean Search Advisory Committee:

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. 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.

Davis-Blake’s commitment to global education may be one of top factors that attracted the committee. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ross has lagged behind other top business schools in establishing a global presence, and catching up is one of its highest priorities.

Image courtesy of The University of Minnesota.

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