New Dean For Penn State’s Smeal B-School

If at first you don’t succeed, try again–and again. That cliché seems to be keen advice for business school deans of late.

Yesterday, (April 9) Penn State’s Smeal College of Business named a new dean in Charles Whiteman, a senior associate dean at the University of Iowa’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

Whiteman had been a finalist in two recent dean searches completed just last month—for the deanship at his own school, which named its new dean March 13th, and at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business, which made its announcement on March 8th. Both of those deanships that Whiteman lost went to women: Tippie with Sarah Gardial, vice provost of the University of Tennessee  at Knoxville, and Carlson with an insider, Srilata A. Zaheer.

For Whiteman, three times was obviously the charm. He is expected his deanship of Smeal, whose MBA program is ranked 31st in the nation by PoetsandQuants, on July 1, pending approval by the Board of Trustees. Whiteman succeeds Jim Thomas, who had announced his desire to return to teaching and research in September of 2010. Thomas had served a combined 13 years as dean of both the Smeal College and, before that, the College of Information Sciences and Technology.

In his position as senior associate dean at Iowa, Whiteman has been responsible for undergraduate and graduate degree programs; faculty and staff recruitment; promotion and tenure; budgetary operations; college facilities; technology operations; and strategic planning for the business school whose programs are consistently ranked among the top nationally.

In a statement released with the announcement, Robert Pangborn, Penn State’s interim executive vice president and provost, said “We have found in Charles Whiteman a scholar, a seasoned teacher, a veteran of higher education administration and a strong leader with vast and varied experience that will continue to move our Smeal College of Business forward with exceptional vision. His past positions and his deep knowledge of economics and business constitute a valuable addition to the University’s leadership.”

Whiteman, who holds a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Minnesota, has more than 32 years of experience in higher education and business. He is a leading economist who advises the State of Iowa’s Department of Management, and he has served on dozens of collegiate and university committees.

With expertise in Bayesian econometrics; dynamic macroeconomics; and time series analysis and macroeconomic forecasting, Whiteman has conducted research which has been supported by a number of grants from the National Science Foundation. He has published dozens of papers and is the author of two books. He has served as associate editor of several economics journals, including Econometrica, The Journal of Econometrics, and The International Economic Review. He has held numerous faculty chair positions at Iowa and as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City, Atlanta, Cleveland and Minneapolis.

Whiteman moved through the teaching ranks at Iowa rising from instructor in 1980 to eventually serve as chair of the Department of Economics from 1997-2000. He was director of the Institute for Economic Research (1990-1997, 2003-2006, 2009-2012); interim dean of the Tippie College of Business in 2006, and has held his current position as senior associate dean of the college for the past six years.


“I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead the Smeal College of Business. The college has exceptional students, wonderful programs, great faculty and staff, and great support from alumni and friends,” Whiteman said in a statement. “Building on a great foundation, I will work diligently with the Smeal community to move the college forward to greater success and distinction.”

The Smeal College of Business educates more than 5,000 students at all levels and hasgraduated more than 70,000 students. Dean Thomas announced in 2010 his plans to step down from the post he has held since 2006 and return to the college as a professor, where he began his career as an assistant professor in 1987.


  • Simon

    According to my experience, the staff in this school is generally unfriendly and unhelpful. They seldom reply to inquiries in a timely manner and may scold students for their urgent contact.
    For example, when they send weekly e-mail for all enrolled students, they forgot and omitted some students in the e-mail list, which resulted in lost of important enrollment and career information for these students. When students have inquiries, they reply in just a few words which contain no real information at all.
    Some of the alumni, even those covered in the Smeal MBA program brochure (I do not want to name them here), are not helpful and are only good at playing “no-show” for prospective students.
    The only satisfactory point about this school the career service director. He is really a responsible person and replies to each inquiry with great detail and helpful information.
    If you only want to get full scholarship plus GA, you can choose this school. Otherwise, I do not recommend.