Joe Thomas named interim dean of Cornell SC Johnson

L. Joseph Thomas has been appointed interim dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

L. Joseph Thomas has been appointed interim dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, following the Jan. 30 resignation of Soumitra Dutta. Thomas, who was dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management 2007-12, will lead the college until a permanent dean is appointed.

Said Provost Michael Kotlikoff: “I look forward to working with Interim Dean Thomas and the entire faculty, staff and alumni of the Dyson School, the School of Hotel Administration and the Johnson School to build upon the college’s many accomplishments to date to the ongoing benefit of current and future students and the college’s business partners around the world. The college has achieved so much in the past year, and I am confident that it will continue to thrive.”

“I’m honored to be asked to take the helm during this transition for the college, and I am committed to working closely with the college leadership team and all of the talented faculty, staff and students in Johnson, Dyson and the Hotel School to ensure the continued success of all three schools and the college,” Thomas said.

The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business is operating from a position of particular strength, with experienced deans leading the component schools. The college has strong alumni support, including the naming gift of $150 million – the largest gift to the Ithaca campus. Also, collegewide alumni programs are being launched and leadership and advisory councils are active and supportive, he said.

The college has made key investments in infrastructure and technology in the past year, including the opening of the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education. The college also has substantial space at the Tata Innovation Center at Cornell Tech.

The college is committed to continued academic excellence, Thomas said. Twelve new faculty have joined the college in this academic year alone, and there are 23 faculty searches underway; the college is experiencing an increase in the number of applications for open faculty positions.

“Faculty want to come here, for all the benefits that our cross-college collaborations can bring to their teaching and scholarship; and faculty continue to excel in research and outreach, with a 20 percent increase in the publication of peer reviewed articles from 2016 to 2017,” he said.

The Hotel School has retained its No. 1 ranking globally, and Dyson has improved its U.S. News ranking to No. 7. Johnson has improved its BusinessWeek ranking to No. 13; its 2018 Financial Times ranking is up 10 places to No. 17 globally and up three places to No. 11 nationally, compared with 2017; and the Cornell Tech MBA was named MBA Program of the Year by Poets & Quants.

The college continues to innovate its programming. In fall 2017, Johnson launched a Master of Professional Studies in accounting and an executive MBA-M.S. degree in health care leadership in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine. In fall 2018, Johnson will launch a new universitywide minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Students are responding positively, Thomas said. Dyson saw a 120 percent jump in applications in the 2016-17 academic year. And one in three Cornell undergraduates have either a business major or minor.

“My goal is to continue to build on the college’s many successes, and carry out its mission of excellence in teaching and research,” he said. “Our course is set and we are full steam ahead.”

Thomas served as the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean of Johnson from 2007 to 2012, and became professor emeritus of operations, technology and information management in 2016. His areas of expertise include operations management and supply-chain management.

Thomas has won several teaching and research awards and has consulted with and led management-education programs for several Fortune 100 companies. As dean of Johnson, Thomas led the development of the school’s long-term strategic plan, updated the Johnson’s brand and oversaw growth of the executive MBA programs. Prior to his service as dean, his leadership roles included associate dean for academic affairs, director of the doctoral program and director of executive education.

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John Carberry