Joe Thomas, a noted scholar, dynamic teacher and proven academic administrator, has been named dean of Cornell's world-renowned Johnson School. Thomas has been serving as interim dean since June 2007. The Executive Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees will vote on the appointment at its April meeting.
Cornell President David J. Skorton welcomed the news of Thomas' appointment, saying, "Joe Thomas is a superb choice to lead the Johnson School, a school well known for its strong research faculty, its innovative and world-class educational programs and the success of its graduates."
"I am delighted to welcome Joe to Cornell's academic leadership," said Cornell Provost Carolyn Martin. "He is a distinguished scholar, award-winning teacher and generous citizen who brings experience in both business and academia to his work. He has already contributed significantly to the school's growth and enduring success with his broad experience and dedication, his vision and energy, his integrity and steady leadership," said Martin. "Over the past year, Joe has served as an interim dean in name only. He has a deep understanding of the school's strategy for the future and has worked with faculty, staff, students and alumni to implement a number of important initiatives. Those initiatives will set the Johnson School apart from its peers as the premier institution for quality research and education and for the preparation of future leaders."
Said Thomas: "Cornell's Johnson School is the place where tomorrow's business leaders are exposed to the theory and practice of business management that is required in today's world economy. Our students learn and work alongside a distinguished and growing faculty steeped in some of the most relevant research on the issues that shape today's business world. I am honored to assume this new responsibility at a time when the Johnson School is poised to lead the way."
Thomas will oversee a premier Ivy League graduate business school with 86 full, visiting and adjunct faculty members; 110 staff; more than 800 students and 12,000 alumni, with a budget of more than $60 million and an endowment of $154 million; and innovations such as the Parker Center for Investment Research.
The Johnson School's performance-learning approach sets it apart from other leading graduate schools of business. While most offer internships and other applied-learning experiences, the Johnson School requires students to deliver results in a real business setting as early as their second semester through the immersion program. These semester-long immersions offer students the opportunity to customize their MBA curriculum and focus on a key functional area so they enter their internships prepared to make a real impact. The Cayuga MBA fund, a student-managed hedge fund; BR Ventures, a student-run venture capital fund; BR Incubator, a student-run business incubator and consulting service; consulting projects, and countless treks to companies around the world ensure students gain the opportunity to apply the theoretical concepts they learn in the classroom to real-world situations.
Among the Johnson School's recent notable initiatives are the forward-thinking Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, founded in 2004; it is dedicated to building the next-generation management practices that enable growth and innovation strategies which address the world's environmental and social problems. The center's focus on innovation and enterprise development guides its work with companies around the world to effectively identify, understand and pursue competitive opportunities that solve those problems.
"Joe Thomas embodies what is great about the Johnson School and Cornell," said Johnson School Associate Dean Mark Nelson, the Eleanora and George Landew Professor of Management and professor of accounting. "Joe is a master teacher, distinguished scholar and dedicated administrator who has played a pivotal role in virtually every key initiative that defines us, including our immersion-focused residential MBA program, our accelerated MBA program, our executive MBA programs, our Ph.D. program and our ongoing research mission. Joe has had plenty of opportunities to be a dean at another top school. I am very excited that he will be dean of the Johnson School."
Another Johnson School faculty member, Robert Libby, the D.A. Thomas Professor of Management, has termed Thomas "one of the most extraordinary people I have had the honor to work with at the Johnson School, and the most broadly accomplished person I know."
Thomas, the Nicholas H. Noyes Professor of Manufacturing and professor of operations management at Cornell, has worked for several Fortune 100 companies and other organizations in consulting and executive education. He served as a board member for six years and as chair of UNICON, the University Consortium for Executive Education. He is the author of four books and more than 50 articles in such journals as Management Science, Operations Research, Manufacturing and Services Operations Management, Transactions of IIE, European Journal of Operational Research, International Journal of Production Research, Decision Sciences, and the Journal of Operations Management. He is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, of Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, of Production and Operations Management Society, the Decision Sciences Institute, the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and the Association for Operations Management. He was a departmental editor of Management Science for six years and has served on many editorial boards and committees for professional organizations.
Thomas has been instrumental in helping grow the Johnson School tenure and tenure-track faculty by 54 percent in the last decade, to meet growing demands for MBA and executive MBA programs and enhancing the school's functional strength in accounting and finance, marketing and management. He is a two-time winner of the Russell Distinguished Teaching Award (1996 and 2001), which recognizes a faculty member whose teaching and example continue to influence graduates five years out into their careers, and he has consulted for and been involved in management-education programs for several major companies. He has served the Johnson School as director of the doctoral program and of executive education and has served Cornell as the chair of the Academic Leadership Series and of the Financial Policies Committee, among other administrative assignments.
During his tenure at the Johnson School, in 1998, the school's Parker Center for Investment Research was launched, which combines three powerful concepts: a research center, where students and sponsors gain access to the latest academic research aimed at uncovering new ideas for equity valuation and financial analysis; the Cayuga Fund, one of the largest university-based hedge funds managed by a select group of student portfolio managers under the supervision of faculty, which outperforms the sector's benchmarks; and the Boas Trading Room, a state-of-the-art analytical classroom equipped with the best software and analytical tools available to investment professionals on Wall Street.
"I couldn't be more pleased to see Joe Thomas appointed dean," said Jeffrey P. Parker '65, M.Eng. '66, MBA '70, the noted business innovator and chair of the Advisory Council who endowed the Parker Center. "Joe's reputation is without blemish. He is both well respected and highly regarded by the students, the alumni and his colleagues. Joe's love of the Johnson School and clear vision of the future of management education will make his tenure an exciting chapter in our history."
The Johnson School is the most prominent hub in a network of business and management education programs at Cornell, which include undergraduate business degree programs in the School of Hotel Administration and in the Department of Applied Economics and Management (AEM), as well as collaborations with faculty members in economics and a number of other fields across campus.
"As director of the undergraduate business program in AEM, I am absolutely delighted at the choice of Joe Thomas as dean," said Edward W. McLaughlin, the R.G. Tobin Professor of Applied Economics and Management. "My colleagues and I look forward to a new era of collaboration between AEM and the Johnson School to build a stronger position in global management education for Cornell."