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April 27, 2006

New Katz dean named

Pitt has named John T. Delaney of Michigan State University the new dean of the Katz Graduate School of Business and the College of Business Administration, effective Aug. 1.

Delaney replaces Frederick Winter, who stepped down last year to return to research and teaching at the University. Lawrence Feick, professor of business administration and director of Pitt’s International Business Center, has been serving as interim dean.

Delaney currently is associate dean for M.B.A. programs at Michigan State’s Eli Broad College of Business and Graduate School of Management. He also holds an appointment as professor of management. He is recognized for his scholarship in the fields of negotiation, dispute resolution and labor-management relations. Delaney’s publications include recent contributions to the Journal of Labor Research, The Ethics of Human Resources and Industrial Relations and the International Handbook of Trade Unions.

Delaney earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial relations at LeMoyne College and his master’s and doctoral degrees in labor and industrial relations at the University of Illinois. He was a business professor at Columbia University before moving to the University of Iowa, where he served as professor of management and organizations, director of the Industrial Relations Institute, faculty director of the M.B.A. IMPACT program, University ombudsperson, and professor and chair of marketing. He became associate dean at Michigan State in July 2000.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Delaney has no prior Pittsburgh ties, but plans to search for a home here with his wife and daughter this summer. “I’ve heard wonderful things about Pittsburgh and the University is a great university, so I’m looking forward to it,” he said of his appointment.

Delaney praised the faculty and the Katz school’s reputation.

“The school has an excellent faculty and it’s a Top 50 business school,” he said, noting it has been ranked highly in several discipline areas.

“That says when a new dean comes in, that you have great talent to work with,” he said. “You have excellent researchers who also are great teachers. That’s a great place to be starting from,” he said.

Rankings are a source of heightened attention in business schools in particular, because several sources assess business school programs, each using different criteria. In particular, M.B.A. program rankings are important in a school’s overall ratings.

“The fact that I’ve been focused on M.B.A. issues for the past six years at a top business school has allowed me to see the nature of the competition in that area,” he said. That experience, he added, gives him a leg up in assessing what can be done to make program improvements.

Rankings are important as an indicator of external perceptions of a program, Delaney said. “You can’t control the rankings, but you can control the actions you take to direct your program.”

Among the first issues to be tackled at Katz is enrollment, Delaney said. Citing declining M.B.A. enrollments in general, Delaney said he plans to talk with faculty about the nature of Pitt’s program and what adjustments may be made to increase enrollment at Katz.

Already under consideration, he said, is the addition of a Master of Science degree in accounting to accommodate prospective certified public accountants who must have 150 hours of college credit. “It would be an attractive program because of the strength of the teaching,” he said.

In addition, Delaney said he wants input from faculty and staff regarding the school’s pluses and minuses.

“I’m interested in hearing from people about what they think are the school’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m interested in hearing ideas on making the school stronger,” he said. “I’m interested in identifying traditions that we can be proud of and that can endure.

“Much of this is going to come from [faculty and staff],” Delaney said.

In an April 13 memorandum announcing the appointment, Provost James V. Maher stated, “During his time at Michigan State, he has been part of a team that is leading the school through the resource and market challenges that have recently been faced by all excellent business schools at public research universities. Such efforts have helped to create numerous curricular innovations, stimulate faculty research and generate positive external assessments of the Broad M.B.A. program.”

In his memo, Maher also stated, “I have great confidence that Dr. Delaney will provide the academic and organizational leadership and judgment needed to make our business programs as strong as they can possibly become. He shares my vision of strengthening our research and scholarship base, positioning the business faculty to influence the development of the field, and preparing students to succeed in a global, multicultural marketplace. He is known for his strengths in team building and strategic planning, and possesses the talent, energy and integrity needed to develop the school’s priorities.”

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg praised the appointment as well.

“The programs of our Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration are not only important to the strength of the University but also are critical to the progress of the region. Dean Delaney’s demonstrated abilities — combined with his experiences as an administrator and faculty member at Michigan State, Iowa and Columbia — make him an excellent choice to lead these key programs here at Pitt. His career has been characterized by creative thinking, high achievement and a commitment to excellence, the very qualities that should make him highly successful in this new role,” Nordenberg stated in a prepared release.

Delaney said he views his role as that of a facilitator, rather than a “lone ranger” moving in to impose change.

“I have ideas about direction, but it’s important for the dean and the faculty to talk and to work together to figure out the future,” he said. “If I see one future and they see another, if I see one thing and they say no, we’re not going to go there.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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