Business school dean announced

By Dale Shoemaker and Elizabeth Lepro / The Pitt News Staff

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Arjang Assad is new to Pitt, but not to life as a college dean.

Pitt announced Wednesday that Assad, who is currently the dean of the School of Management at the State University of New York at Buffalo, will become the dean of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration. Assad officially begins the job on July 1, according to a University release, and he will succeed John Delaney, who is stepping down to assume a faculty position.

Pitt spokeswoman Cara Masset would not say specifically why Pitt chose Assad over the other candidates, but Provost Patricia Beeson said in the release that Assad’s vision for the Katz Graduate School and the College of Business Administration is well-matched to the University’s aspirations. Masset would not say how many other candidates Pitt had considered or identify them.

“He is committed to building the school in ways that will enhance the scholarly contributions of the faculty and enable our students to succeed in a global, multicultural marketplace,” she said in an email.

In his new role, Assad said he plans to work with faculty and staff at the University in “maintaining the momentum” of the business school.

Assad plans to take advantage of the “huge presence of the hospital” on campus by connecting students in the health care field with the MBA program, he said. Assad wouldn’t give specific details, but he said he wants to make it easier for individuals with health care backgrounds to get an MBA from Pitt. 

“There are great opportunities in Pittsburgh,” Assad said of the already well-developed research faculty at Pitt. “What I’ve built at Buffalo is about bringing business and health together.”

Assad has previously worked as a professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. He has served as the dean of the SUNY Buffalo’s business school since 2008. 

Assad’s salary as dean is confidential, according to Masset. 

Assad holds four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the release, including a doctorate in management science from its Sloan School of Management. The University of Maryland also recognized Assad for his teaching with the Kirwan Undergraduate Education Award, the University of Maryland’s highest campus recognition for contributions to undergraduate education, the release said.

Delaney, who has served as dean for the last nine years according to the release, announced his plans to retire in September. The Pitt News reported in September that Delaney was stepping down because he believes organizations need new leadership to remain “fresh and vital.”

“In light of the arrival of the new chancellor and all of the inevitable changes that will follow, the timing for change at Katz/CBA is appropriate,” Delaney said in a statement then.

Pitt formed a search committee to look for the new dean in November. Alongside higher education search firm Witt/Kieffer, University faculty, staff and alumni associated with the business school sat on the committee. Former Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, now chairman of the Institute of Politics, headed the committee.

Assad said he applied for the position because Pitt’s involvement with students attracted him.

“The first spark for me was an interest in working with the students,” Assad said. “I want to expand the experience students have.”

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