David L. Ikenberry announced today that he has reconsidered and will decline an offer to be reappointed as dean of the Leeds School of Business through 2021. Ikenberry will join the Leeds faculty.
Ikenberry, who led the faculty and staff team to raise the national rankings of the school since becoming dean in 2011, accepted the five-year reappointment in June. However, Ikenberry said, in recent months he has had more in-depth conversations with faculty and staff about the collegiality throughout the school. Ikenberry said it became apparent recently that a new leader would be best suited to address ongoing climate issues and further foster a core university priority of inclusive excellence.
“As we look to the future, it is clear to me that the climate within Leeds needs to improve if it is to meet its full potential to be a top business school,” Ikenberry wrote in a letter to Provost Russ Moore, declining the reappointment. “To continue to grow and move forward, Leeds must have among its top priorities the need to strengthen its collegiality and culture, something which is at the heart and soul of any academic community.”
Moore said he has had extensive conversations with Ikenberry about the climate issues and that within recent months, it has become evident that cultural change must become a central focus for the school.
“In all of our programs throughout the university, it’s important that we operate with a common understanding of respect and dignity for one another,” Moore said. “I accept Dave’s decision and admire his fortitude in making it.”
Moore praised Ikenberry for his leadership in raising the national profile of the school, adding more degree programs and improving diversity. Under Ikenberry, the school created a business minor now serving more than 870 students. Undergraduate job placement improved from 58 percent in 2012 to 94 percent last year. Furthermore, Ikenberry and his advancement team have increased annual donations from $3 million in 2011 to $16 million last year.
Moore has appointed Senior Vice Provost Bill Kaempfer as the interim dean while formulating plans for a national search. Kaempfer is an esteemed economist and in his current administrative role is very familiar with the Leeds School programs and faculty.
“I look forward to guiding Leeds during this transitional period and building on all of the success that Dave has had as dean,” said Kaempfer, who will assume his new role in mid-September. “One of my first goals is to meet with students, faculty and staff and hear their opinions on how we can best keep the momentum going for this great business school.”