The dean of the UW-Madison School of Business is resigning after just one semester, which included a proposal — since reversed — to end the school’s Masters of Business Administration program.
Dean Anne Massey said Monday in an email to the school’s faculty and staff that she will join the faculty as a professor after her resignation takes effect Dec. 31. She said the move will allow Chancellor Rebecca Blank to pursue a different vision than Massey’s.
“My vision for the future of the WSB has not changed since I visited campus last March. Rather it was reinforced as (I) learned more about the school and its needs,” Massey wrote in the email. “However, I have realized that my vision for the school differs from Chancellor Blank’s.”
In October the school announced that it would consider halting admission to its 2-year, full-time Master of Business Administration program, which enrolls about 100 students per year.
An annual survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that applications for MBA programs declined for the fourth straight year in 2017.
The consideration was met with immediate backlash from students and alumni, who raised concerns that suspending the MBA program could affect the value of their own degrees and weaken efforts to increase diversity.
The school backed off from the plan one week later.
Massey said that by resigning, Blank will “have the opportunity to ensure that her vision is implemented.”
“Chancellor Blank and I have reiterated our commitment to developing a vision for the Wisconsin School of Business that will grow from the collaborative strategic planning process focused on expanding and building new programs and strengthening the full-time MBA program,” provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs Sarah Mangelsdorf said in a Monday email to students and faculty.
The suspension of MBA admissions would have made the school one of many high-profile business schools — including University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech — to drop its full-time MBA program. Closing the MBA program was one component of a greater overhaul of the business school to grow undergraduate programs and add specialized Master’s programs, Massey said in October.
UW-Madison announced in March that Massey, a former Indiana University professor and administrator, would take over duties as the school’s dean Aug. 7.
In a statement at the time, Mangelsdorf said, “Her passion for innovation and forward-thinking research will inspire students and build upon the school’s success.”
Massey succeeded Francois Ortalo-Magné, who was dean from 2011 until becoming dean of the London Business School over the summer.
Mangelsdorf told students in the email Monday that associate dean Barry Gerhart will lead the school beginning Dec. 31 until an interim dean is selected. The search for a permanent dean will start in fall 2018.