Dean, Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Willamette University seeks a Dean, Atkinson Graduate School of Management
Click here to view position profile:
Location: Salem, Oregon

The Position:
The Dean will lead the School at a critical time in its development and will help to design and execute a strategy to strengthen its position in the market and ensure its long-term academic and financial success. The successful candidate will be an experienced, innovative leader with the intellectual and managerial skills to position this dynamic School as a destination that connects the most talented management students in the region with the best employers in the Northwest.

The Dean works closely with the Provost, the President, and the rest of the president’s senior administrative team, and serves on the Deans’ Council and the Provost's Academic Council, which helps to advance the University and to identify opportunities for interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial collaboration among the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, the College of Arts & Science (CAS), and the College of Law as well as Tokyo International University and the new partners of the institution. Currently reporting to the Dean are the School’s faculty; a Senior Associate Dean; Managers of Fiscal Affairs and Accreditation, Recruitment, Career Management, and Marketing Communications; an Executive Assistant; and the Manager of the Executive Development Center. A Director of Development also has a “dotted line” reporting relationship to the Dean.

Reporting to the Provost and the President, the next Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management will take a fresh look at the School’s strategy and opportunities and will work with the other deans to position Willamette as the premier private liberal arts University in the region.


  • Assist in the growth of a newly established undergraduate program in Business Administration and explore the potential for the development of other programs.
  • Continue to nurture the foundation programs which are focused on rigorous academics, experiential and consequential learning, entrepreneurial thinking, and the intersection of for-profit, non-profit, and public management.
  • Create opportunities for student access and success.
  • Build effective relationships with alumni, donors, and the communities of Salem and Portland.
  • Provide academic and administrative leadership for the Atkinson School.
  • Oversee the ongoing improvement, quality, and effectiveness of the Schools teaching, research, and service mission.
  • Direct and coordinate activities of the faculty in developing academic policy and programs for the School.
  • Oversee the personnel, budget, and curriculum for the School’s faculty and academic programs.
  • Advocate for the School among external constituents, including existing and potential business partners, prospective students, and alumni.

Key Opportunities and Challenges:
In addition to the broad responsibilities outlined above, the Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management will address the following key opportunities and challenges that will help define success in the next phase of the School’s development:

  • Position the Atkinson School for Long-term Success
  • Lead Atkinson’s development efforts to ensure the continuing viability and success of the School
  • Ensure that academic and operational resources are in place and optimally structured to support an ambitious agenda
  • Enhance the visibility of the Atkinson School across the University, in the region, and beyond

Candidates for the position should possess a reputation for integrity and visionary leadership in a complex institution. The ideal candidate will be recognized as a credible leader among the most competitive ranks of business education. Candidates must possess the academic and intellectual qualities to lead a distinguished school of management demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship. They should bring significant senior level experience in administration or management and experience in promoting research and excellence across disciplines. They should have understanding of and experience with AACSB and NASPAA accreditation. Candidates with an earned doctorate are preferred. For a complete list of qualifications please review the full Position Profile.

This is a full-time, year-round position. This position is eligible for the University’s generous benefits package.  

About the Atkinson Graduate School of Management:
For more than 40 years Willamette’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management’s (AGSM) raison d’etre has been, and continues to be, to prepare individuals for leadership and management roles in the business, government, and not-for-profit sectors. In keeping with this commitment, the Atkinson School’s approach to management education reflects the view that all organizations exist to serve and to satisfy customers, citizens or clients, and that there are essential management principles that transcend these sectors. These central overarching management principles, and the practices they imply, are the means by which value is added by the work of AGSM.

The Atkinson School provides a distinctive MBA education with academic programs designed to prepare students broadly for leadership in a range of settings. AGSM offers two versions of its MBA degree - The Early Career/Career Change MBA and the MBA for Professionals

The Atkinson School also offers two dual-degree options for completion of an MBA degree: the four-year MBA/JD Joint Degree program resulting in both the MBA and Doctor of Jurisprudence; and the five-year Willamette BA/MBA for a select group of students from Willamette’s College of Liberal Arts.

The Atkinson School’s innovative approach to the study of management employs a curriculum designed to provide experiences that compel students to integrate and apply what they learn via “learning by doing.” Since 2008, students of the Atkinson School have allocated tens of thousands of dollars in promising start-ups and new ventures as a part of the Willamette University Angel Investment Fund. Through a generous donation from Robert and Doris O’Neill, the Atkinson School established the O’Neill Student investment fund in which students manage a portfolio of investments throughout the calendar year gaining first-hand experience applying finance concepts in a high-stakes environment. The third fund, the Willamette University Atkinson School Grant Fund, established in 2016, focuses on granting money to not-for-profits looking to make an impact in the immediate region.

The Willamette MBA has been recognized by Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Princeton Review, CEO magazine, and the Poets & Quants news website to be among the best MBA programs in the country. It is also consistently the highest-ranked MBA program in Oregon, and one of the few ranked programs in the Northwest.

The School’s proximity to state government institutions based in Salem, as well as public authorities and federal agencies in Portland, has given it a tradition as a center for training in public administration; it offers one of only two MBA degree programs in the nation accredited for both business administration (AACSB International) and public administration (NASPAA — the global standard for public service education).

A decade ago, the Atkinson School established a presence in Portland and now runs a facility in the heart of the city’s downtown Pearl District. The Atkinson School also runs an Executive Development Center (EDC) to provide customized educational programs for managers and executives — programs that can be tailored to any length or subject to suit companies’ needs.

The Atkinson School’s faculty comprises a highly talented, collaborative group of teachers/scholars who have strong research credentials and many of whom also have years of management experience. Faculty members serve both as teachers and mentors to students and stress the practical application of management theory to real-world decisions. Atkinson’s current full-time faculty of 18 teaches in both the full-time and professional MBA programs, and their work is complemented by a strong cadre of adjunct (contributing) faculty who also bring both business and academic experience.

In 2020 AGSM received a full five-year reaffirmation report from the team. They provided a positive final report and commended the Atkinson culture. They were impressed with the strategic initiatives which included a new business minor, new MBA formats, and a master’s degree in data science and noted the high-performance level in both consequential learning and the assurance of learning.

Today, although international student enrollment has declined, Atkinson is committed to cultivating a truly global environment. Atkinson School alumni work in diverse settings around the world, including sole proprietorships, mid-market companies, Fortune 500 companies, government entities, and not-for-profit firms.

AGSM is accredited by the AACSB in business and by NASPAA for government and not for profit administration. For further information on rankings and distinctions, see:

About Willamette University:
Willamette is a nationally-renowned private liberal arts university in Salem, Oregon. Founded in 1842, Willamette is the first university established in the western U.S. and has become a national leader in service, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. Adjacent to downtown Salem, the 60-acre campus is an hour south of Portland.

Situated on a beautiful, historic campus located across the street from the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, and co-located with Tokyo International University of America, Willamette features a residential undergraduate College of Liberal Arts and two professional graduate schools: the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

To learn more about this treasured university, please see

Willamette University Values Diversity:
Employment at Willamette University means being part of a community that values education and its impact on the world, one that is friendly, supportive, and increasingly diverse. Believing that diversity contributes to academic excellence and to rich and rewarding communities, Willamette is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty, staff, and student body and seeks candidates whose work furthers diversity and who bring to the campus varied experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds. If you have questions, need assistance, or require special accommodations, please reach out to the Office of Human Resources at or 503-370-6210.

To Apply:
Applicants should submit a resume and cover letter describing their interest and professional qualifications, as well as how they have successfully supported and advanced the values and principles of diversity and inclusion in their prior professional experiences and places of work. All inquiries will be considered confidential. Submit materials to: by February 9, 2021 in order to be given first priority by the search committee.

For nominations or further information:
Kristen Farha
Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 316-650-0069