Villanova School Of Business Dean To Step Down At End Of School Year

Bartley Hall at Villanova School of Business. Courtesy photo

Joyce E. A. Russell, the William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business, plans to step down in May at the end of this academic year, the school has announced. She will remain at VSB as dean emeritus and professor of management and operations.

Russell came to VSB in August 2016, and this will be her seventh year leading the school. Last month, she welcomed students back for the 100th First Day of classes.

She is the business school’s first female dean in its 100-year history. In 2018, she created the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and has made a special effort to hire and promote more women and underrepresented minorities into leadership positions during her tenure.

“When I first came, there were very few endowed professors or chairs who were women. We had a smaller percentage of women faculty, smaller percentage of women students. So we’ve really made concerted efforts to get more women into the business school as well as students of color,” she tells Poets&Quants.

“I have placed a number of women on my leadership team who were never leaders before, so I think the school certainly has transformed in that regard. We’ve really tried to say, “What are we doing to help you get yourself promoted?” We encourage women to look at their credentials, and put their name in if they’re qualified.”


In August, Russell told Poets&Quants that she loved and missed the classroom. This year, as dean, she will teach negotiations to undergraduate seniors. Her transition to professor of management and operations will allow her to focus on her professional passions—teaching students, working on research and writing projects.

Joyce E. A. Russell took over as dean of the Villanova School of Business on August 1, 2016. She is the first women to lead the school in its history. Courtesy photo

“I also absolutely love our teacher-scholar model. I take a lot of pride in the fact that at Villanova, I know the other leaders across campus, we’re all working collaboratively,” she tells P&Q. “We care so much about teaching, scholarship, and service, that it’s how we recruit people, as well as how we reward and promote people.”

Prior to VSB, Russell was senior associate dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland where she led both undergraduate and graduate business programs as well as corporate and global partnerships. Before that, she was full professor in the Department of Management at the University of Tennessee.

Villanova will conduct a national search for the new dean.


Russell will take a year-long sabbatical to work on several leadership books she is writing. She was recently elected chair of the Women Administrators in Management Education, an affinity group within the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) that seeks to transform business schools and business education. She serves on other important AACSB committees as well as on the boards of other business and leadership organizations.

“During Dr. Russell’s seven years as the Helen and William O’Toole Dean, VSB has experienced tremendous success,” says Villanova President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue in a statement. “From receiving top rankings for its undergraduate and graduate programs to building a strategic vision that has enabled the school to grow in prominence and reputation, VSB has flourished throughout Dr. Russell’s tenure. I am grateful for her service and contributions to Villanova and congratulate her as she transitions to her new role at the University.”

As VSB dean, Russell oversees an undergraduate program with about 1,700 students and graduate and executive programs with about 1,000. VSB has an undergraduate job placement rate of 98.9%, a 25% average salary increase for MBA students, and an alumni network of 31,550. The school recently refashioned its part-time MBA program,offering more flexibility as well as a modernized curriculum.

“It has been such an honor and blessing to serve as the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business. Working with such talented and dedicated colleagues, alumni, employers, families and students in VSB and across Villanova has been incredibly rewarding,” Russell says in a release.

“After this year, I am excited to continue this collaboration in my new role … I’m energized to spend more time teaching our undergraduate, graduate and executive students and working on research projects with companies and business boards. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished together and am excited to see what the future holds for VSB and Villanova.”


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