Search for the David J. Nolan Dean Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
Ithaca, New York
The Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management seeks a visionary and entrepreneurial dean with a collaborative spirit to continue its trajectory of growth while renewing its commitment to business for a better world. The Dyson School is uniquely anchored in the quality of its academic and outreach programs, preeminence of its research, and impact on the challenges facing the world today through its rich history with and connection to agricultural, environmental, and development economics. Upon this distinctive platform, the school is poised to move even higher in its ranking as a global business school with leading applied economics and management research and graduate programs. Reporting to the Dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, the next dean of Dyson will have the exciting chance to lead and shape this thriving enterprise, embedded within the SC Johnson College but born of and still connected to Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as it realizes its ambitious goals and further distinguishes itself as one of the top business schools in the nation.
As New York state’s land-grant institution, Cornell University is charged with advancing the lives and livelihoods of the state’s citizens through teaching, research, and public service. Its mission is rooted in ideals considered revolutionary when the federal Morrill Land Grant Acts were enacted in 1862 and 1890: that a land-grant university education should be open to all qualified students, regardless of class, ethnicity, race, or gender; and must merge practical scientific and technical education with classical studies in history, philosophy, and literature. A vital contributor to Cornell’s status as the flagship land-grant university for the state of New York, Dyson translates the expertise and research insights of its faculty into practical applications for New York, the nation, and the world. Originally founded in 1909, the Dyson School joined the Johnson Graduate School of Management and the School of Hotel Administration as the constituent schools of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, formed in 2016.
Dyson offers a robust and incredibly competitive four-year undergraduate program, joining a top-ranked business program with the applied learning that underscores the Dyson distinction. The School’s graduate programs pair students with internationally renowned faculty in the field of applied economics and management in pursuit of a particular mission: to promote inclusive and sustainable prosperity across the globe. In addition to its undergraduate degree, Dyson offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS), a research- based Master of Science (MS), and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Cornell has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national search firm, to assist with this recruitment. Confidential inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed to the firm as indicated at the end of this document.
Cornell University is a remarkable community of scholars, educators, students, staff, and alumni who are deeply influenced by proud traditions and a set of cherished founding principles. Unique among its Ivy League peers, Cornell, founded in 1865, is a private university with a land-grant mission, a world-class research institution known for the breadth and rigor of its curricula, and an academy dedicated to preparing young people to be well-educated and well-rounded citizens of the world. Its faculty and students believe in the critical importance of knowledge—both theoretical and applied—as a means of improving the human condition and solving the world’s problems. It embraces traditional liberal arts education, practical applications of knowledge, and interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to research and teaching. It champions free and open intellectual inquiry and expression, treats all individuals with dignity and respect, celebrates difference and diversity, and remains open and accessible to all who meet its high academic standards.
Today, Cornell University consists of 15 schools and colleges. Across the Ithaca campus, the Weill Cornell Medicine campuses in New York City and Qatar, and Cornell Tech in New York City, the University enrolls nearly 15,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional school students. Cornell employs some 8,100 staff and 1,600 professorial faculty members in Ithaca and at Cornell Tech, and an additional 5,000 staff and 1,700 faculty members at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.
The University’s operating budget is approximately $4.5 billion, and its investment portfolio’s value is close to $7.2 billion as of October 2020. Highly selective in its admissions criteria, Cornell is ranked 18th among national universities in the 2020 edition of the U.S. News & World Report.
The University plans to grow its undergraduate population by approximately 1,000 students over the next several years – growth from which the Dyson School expects to benefit as one of the most desired undergraduate programs at Cornell. The University’s commitment to student access is reflected in its generous financial aid programs. Eighty-eight percent of undergraduate students who applied for financial aid received it. Forty-four percent of enrolled undergraduate students receive grant-based financial aid, with 16 percent of students receiving Pell grants in 2020. The average Cornell grant award for a first-year student in the Class of 2024 was $45,080, and was as high as $76,997.
Cornell undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are intellectually engaged, and their success in and out of the classroom is reflected in the many prestigious fellowships they receive annually. The University has had 29 Rhodes Scholars and 31 Marshall Scholars in its history, among other national awards.
The Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
The Dyson School traces its roots back to 1909 with the establishment of an agricultural economics major. As a formal academic unit, the School was founded in 1911 when agricultural economics became a full-fledged discipline. Originally conceived of and named the Department of Agricultural Economics within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), it later came to be known as the Department of Applied Economics and Management.
Over the course of the next century, the department earned an international reputation as a leader in its field, in terms of both education—undergraduate and graduate—and research. By 2010, the department had become a named school, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, in CALS. In January 2016, the Cornell University trustees approved a bold new vision for business education, unifying three separately AACSB- accredited business schools—the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the School of Hotel Administration, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management—under a single administrative structure. Formally launched on July 1, 2016, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business boasts impressive intellectual capital— with a current composition of 156 tenure-track (and 321 total) faculty and more than 3,300 undergraduate, professional master’s, Master of Science, and doctoral students.
Today, the Dyson School is internationally renowned for its expertise in food and agricultural economics, management, environmental and resource economics, and international and development economics. Dyson is distinguished by its undergraduate business program and its graduate program in applied economics, both ranked solidly within the top ten nationally, and its distinguished faculty of recognized global leaders in their academic fields. Their reputation is further strengthened by excellent career placement with 95 percent of Dyson undergraduates seeking full-time employment finding it within three months of graduation doing so. It is one of the largest academic units at Cornell University, with 684 students pursuing the Applied Economics and Management major. With an acceptance rate of 8 percent, the undergraduate business major in Dyson is typically the most selective program in the Cornell system. It also provides graduate education to 200 master’s and doctoral students. In addition, the School educates and engages with a variety of stakeholders through its extension, outreach, and executive education activities.
Though now part of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Dyson retains its land-grant status through its CALS affiliation and is subject to general supervision by the trustees of the State University of New York, with concomitant mission-related and financial commitments to New York State such as reduced tuition for New York residents and agricultural extension research and outreach functions. The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business is Dyson’s lead college for defining strategic priorities in research and teaching, while CALS is the lead college for extension activities.
Dyson also leads in its focus on extension activities. Dyson’s outreach activities are aimed at sharing research outcomes and insights with practitioners and policymakers, leading to practical, applied outcomes through both direct implementation and the formulation of policy, guidelines, and best practices. Through extension activities—particularly those planned and implemented through the Cooperative Extension system—Dyson connects specific areas of expertise and guidance with relevant clientele to yield practical benefits that bolster livelihoods and benefit society as a whole. Through executive, continuing, and professional and adult education, Dyson offers programs at varying tiers of formality and structure to meet the evolving needs of specific types of professionals or, where applicable, members of the general public.
The Dyson School, with over 70 full-time faculty members and more than 60 professional and administrative staff, has grown significantly in recent years and is poised to continue
The new dean of the Dyson School will join the community at a time of tremendous momentum and possibility. Following Dyson’s joining with the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business five years ago, the School has an incredibly strong foundation on which to build as well as new opportunities for intra- and cross-unit collaboration to pursue.
The dean has the overall responsibility for the Dyson school, including setting the strategy and direction, ensuring the academic quality of degree programs and research, leading operations, and serving as a thought leader in the academy to advance the School’s reputation. The dean reports to the Dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Kevin Hallock, and is a member of his leadership team of the college, and also works closely with the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Benjamin Houlton. The dean also maintains strong working relationships with other deans of the College including the Dean of Academic Affairs, the Dean of the School of Hotel Administration, and the Dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Dyson is a tight-knit community that has seen significant growth in recent years with new faculty hires and its integration into the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. Working closely with both internal and external stakeholders, the dean sets the tone and nurtures the unique culture and climate in the School, balancing the undergraduate program’s excellent business education with much of the faculty and the School’s historical focus on agricultural and applied economics. External engagement is also a critical part of the dean’s responsibility. The dean will work to cultivate and steward relationships with alumni/ae of Dyson and Cornell, as well as with faculty, students, and staff. Additionally, along with the College’s Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs, the dean facilitates faculty hiring and the recruitment of individuals who are eager to contribute to Dyson’s academic excellence and its unique commitment to stakeholders in the state of New York.
Direct reports to the dean include the associate dean of academic affairs, the director of undergraduate studies, and the director of advising and student support. Additionally, the dean will have a dotted line from Dyson’s executive director of alumni affairs and development, Dyson’s director of career management, Dyson’s director of diversity and inclusion, and the director of graduate studies.
Opportunities and Challenges for the Dean
In its next dean, Dyson seeks an entrepreneurial and collaborative academic leader who furthers the School’s integration into the College of Business while preserving those unique strengths that allow Dyson to maintain a leadership role internationally. Given this overarching charge, the primary opportunities and challenges for the next dean will include the following:
With the School’s position between two Colleges firmly established, the new dean will move Dyson into its future by identifying and capitalizing upon its distinguishing excellences and unique history. With this in mind, the new dean will serve as the Dyson School’s top advocate, constructing a compelling narrative that firmly establishes its identity within the College and University and in the state of New York and internationally. The dean will lead this process by promoting strong and engaged leadership and providing clear direction.
The School has hired many faculty over the past several years and will have the opportunity to continue to recruit the faculty of the future. Growing the faculty ranks in the wake of retirements of renowned scholars and supporting junior faculty from a diverse range of disciplines will require the dean to be strategic and opportunistic to build up to a critical mass of research faculty in areas where Dyson can achieve prominence. Recruiting top faculty and enhancing the School’s research footprint in a competitive environment will require a commitment from a creative and forward-thinking dean, in collaboration with peers in the SC Johnson College and CALS, to raise and dedicate funds toward this effort.
The dean will provide visionary, experienced, informed leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion in business education to advance strategic policies, practices, and priorities that promote increased diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the School. The dean will ensure that the School’s services proactively support a growing array of community needs, serving as a thoughtful advocate and vocal leader in support of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Through personal leadership, ongoing attention, and strategic dedication of resources, the dean will work with the College’s Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging to ensure that the School continues to be a leader in fostering a welcoming and inclusive climate for all community members.
The dean will be the public face of the Dyson School, enthusiastically telling its story to alumni, corporate leaders, and high-potential supporters from other avenues. The dean will effectively communicate to diverse audiences, delivering a clear and concise message about the School’s programs and achievements. The dean will strategically engage with high-profile donors in discussions about how the School’s strategy and brand can serve the interests of corporate sponsors and instill a renewed sense of pride and commitment for alumni. The dean will work in partnership with the development team in the School, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, and Cornell University to garner large gifts, enhance existing relationships, and build new ones with alumni and external sources of support.
Given Dyson’s unique origin as a land-grant school within an Ivy League university, the dean will continue to build upon the established relationships that the University maintains in service of the betterment of New York State. In particular, the dean will look to work with the other two schools within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business to create partnerships and opportunities that will advance the School, the College, and the University. The dean will work closely with employers to promote career placement and experiential learning opportunities for students. Within Cornell, the dean will collaborate with University leaders to create opportunities for partnership that focus on student success, innovative research, and meaningful service, while furthering Dyson’s integration within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and maintaining its connections to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The Successful Candidate
The qualities sought in the next dean include unwavering integrity, deep appreciation of academic qualities, outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, strong administrative abilities, high energy, political astuteness, deep commitment to diversity, equity, and belonging, collegiality, and a personal style that engenders trust and respect. The dean will have a record of success in research, scholarship, or professional experience that would support an appointment to the rank of professor in the School and College. Dyson invites candidates from a range of professional backgrounds, internal and external to the Cornell community, who demonstrate these experiences, skills, and qualities:
An accomplished researcher and educator with world-class academic stature and experience in the field of business or applied economics.
Proven skills as a decisive leader and manager; demonstrated ability to mentor, develop, and support staff and provide oversight of a comparable scale of people, budget, and space responsibilities; a track record of inspiring colleagues with energy and a dedication to organizational mission.
The experience and wherewithal to effectively administer and manage faculty and other academic personnel, campus operations, and departments at the highest standards of the academy.
A true appreciation of the value of diversity; an inventor and enabler of programs and policies that result in increasing enrollment and retention of students and the hiring and promotion of faculty, administrators, and staff from historically underrepresented groups; a builder of structures that promote an inclusive and equitable climate.
A consensus-builder with charisma, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and public presence to work effectively with a broad range of external constituents; the ability to energize stakeholders and generate excitement around big ideas; demonstrated aptitude, enthusiasm for, and success in raising funds from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies.
An eagerness to listen and learn; intellectual curiosity and aptitude to engage with all the members of the Dyson community, within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, and across Cornell University; a record of supporting a truly interdisciplinary culture of innovation; a leadership style that is approachable and accessible; and the inclination and character to build relationships with others to develop exceptional programs.
How to Apply
Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be sent in strict confidence to: