Cornell Dyson Swipes Dean From Michigan

Lynn Wooten will begin her deanship of Cornell’s Dyson School on July 1, 2017

The Cornell University Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management announced today (February 27) that Lynn Perry Wooten will be the school’s next dean, beginning July 1, 2017. Wooten, who has been at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business for nearly two decades, will replace Edward McLaughlin, who has served as the school’s interim dean since last June.

In making the move, Wooten will take the reins of a school whose undergraduate business program is ranked sixth in the country and is the most selective with just a 7% acceptance rate, less than half of Ross’ 16.5% admit rate. Ross is ranked four places behind Dyson at 10th (see Poets&Quants’ 2016 Undergraduate Business School Ranking).

Dyson has a unique — and controversial — structure and is shared between the SC Johnson College of Business and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Wooten will report to Soumitra Dutta, dean of the Johnson College, and Kathryn Boor, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Joining Cornell will be something of a family affair for Wooten, whose husband, David Wooten, will make the move from Ross with her, joining the Johnson College as a professor and associate dean. Meanwhile, the couple has a son graduating from Cornell’s Hotel School later this spring.

“For a while, I have been fond of Ezra Cornell’s ethos of ‘any person … any study,’ and now I have the honor to live this ethos by serving as dean of the Dyson School,” said Wooten in a statement.  “I am looking forward to working with Dyson’s faculty, staff, and students, and excited about how at Dyson education and research focus on business as a vehicle for making the world a better place.”


Associate dean of undergraduate programs at Michigan Ross from 2011 to 2016, she led the effort to roll out a completely revamped curriculum in 2014. From 2008 to 2011, she served as the co-faculty director at the school’s Center for Positive Organizations. That leadership and passion showed up in the new curriculum, which has a bent toward business being a positive force for change in the world.

“Our new sophomore class looks at business as a positive force, and we help students think about their own personal development and self-authorship incorporated into our new experience,” Wooten told Poets&Quants in 2014.

The school worked alongside the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society program two years before changing the curriculum. Wooten, who earned her Ph.D. from Michigan Ross in 1995, also told Poets&Quants that the “central tenet” of the redesign was to be “mindful” of integrating liberal arts and enhancing action-based experiences. Now each Ross senior is required to complete a capstone consulting project.

“In the global world, we wanted our students to be more global and more culturally intelligent,” Wooten said of the curriculum change. “The ability to work in diverse groups and to be collaborative and diverse in organizations and business situations was important.”

Wooten was also instrumental in moving the undergraduate program from a three- to a four-year structure for Ross undergrads starting this fall.


Cornell’s Dyson School is getting a package deal: Wooten’s husband, David Wooten, will join her as a professor of marketing and associate dean for diversity and inclusion at the Johnson College. David Wooten, who also will start July 1, was chair of the marketing department and faculty director of diversity and inclusion at Michigan Ross. His research has focused on the social influence of consumption.

After graduating with her Ph.D. from Michigan Ross, Wooten spent three years as an assistant professor of management at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business. Since 1998, she has worked her way up from a visiting assistant professor of corporate strategy and international business at Michigan Ross to a clinical professor of strategy, management, and organizations and dean of the undergraduate school. She has authored or co-authored 28 scholarly articles during her career.

“I am one of those people that just love undergraduates, and the opportunity to create transformational learning experiences for them is for me one of the best jobs,” Wooten told Poets&Quants in 2014.

“We are very excited to welcome Lynn to Cornell as we seek to further advance the excellence and reputation of the Dyson School at this pivotal moment in the history of the SC Johnson College of Business,” Dean Dutta said in a release from the school. “Lynn brings a strong background in business education, and is a proven leader in academic administration.”


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