Cornell University Johnson at Cornell University

Inside Johnson

Joe Thomas takes the helm

Joe Thomas, Johnson School Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean Joe Thomas, the Nicholas H. Noyes Professor of Manufacturing and professor of operations management, was named the Johnson School's new Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean March 27, 2008.

Joe Thomas, a noted scholar, dynamic teacher, and proven academic administrator, was named Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean of the Johnson School on March 27, 2008, having served with great success as interim dean since June 2007. The appointment was submitted for approval by the Executive Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees 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. 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."

Upon accepting the appointment, Thomas stated: 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."

As Thomas takes the helm, the Johnson School includes 86 full-time, visiting, and adjunct faculty, 110 staff members, more than 800 students, and 12,000 alumni. The school's budget is more than $60 million and it has an endowment of $154 million.

"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 PhD 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."

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 was a board member for six years and then chair of UNICON, the University Consortium for Executive Education. He is the author of four books and more than 50 articles in journals such 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. A member of numerous professional societies, 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 the Johnson School increase its tenure and tenure-track faculty positions by 54 percent in the last decade, in order to meet growing demands for MBA and executive MBA programs and enhance 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) – given to a faculty member whose teaching and example continue to influence graduates five years out into their careers – and has consulted for and been involved in management-education programs for several major companies. He has been associate dean for Academic Affairs, director of the doctoral program, and director of executive education at the Johnson School, and has served Cornell in a number of administrative assignments, including chair of the Academic Leadership Series and chair of the Financial Policies Committee.

"I couldn't be more pleased to see Joe Thomas appointed dean of the Johnson School," said Jeffrey P. Parker '65, MEng '66, MBA '70, managing director of the Parker Family Limited Partnership, noted business innovator, and chair of the Advisory Council, who endowed the school's Parker Center for Investment Research. "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."

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