Erika Hayes James Becomes 1st Black Female Dean of Emory University’s Business School


Emory University has announced that Erika Hayes James will be the next dean of the Goizueta Business School, making her the first African-American female dean in the school’s history. She’s also the first among top business school programs. James will assume her role on July 15.

James is a former senior associate dean for executive education at the Darden Graduate School for Business at the University of Virginia. She earned her PhD. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, and her expertise is intersecting that knowledge with executive leadership. She has consulted numerous Fortune 500 companies and typically focuses on three key areas: crisis leadership, women in leadership, and commuter relationships. MBA students at Darden and Harvard Business School, where James taught as a visiting professor, gave her high praise, according to the Emory announcement.

Although there are three other minority women who are deans at American colleges of business, James will be the first at the helm of a full-time MBA program at a top-25 business school. Claire Sterk, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory, insisted that James’ race and gender did not impact their decision to hire her, although it is certainly an added bonus to make history. “Erika James has all of the qualities that we want for a leader at Goizueta,” says Sterk, who led the international search. “She brings a background of impressive scholarship and strong skills in academic administration, and she will work collaboratively with faculty, students, staff, alumni and supporters to take the school to the next level—all the while honoring the principled leadership of Mr. Goizueta’s legacy.”

James hopes to strengthen the connection between Goizueta and Atlanta’s business community, as well as, make use of Emory’s expertise in health care to create business solutions for the national challenge of health care delivery systems. “I believe that the Goizueta Business School is a world-renowned school that is on the verge of greatness,” she said. “And I want to be a part of helping the school reach that greatness.”

article by Natali Rivers via

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