New Dean for Duke’s Fuqua School

With plans to open a new campus in China gathering opposition from faculty, Fuqua Dean Blair Sheppard has declined reappointment to a second term and will step down on Aug. 1, the school said today (July 25). Instead, he will assume a new role in getting the project in China off the ground, focusing on fundraising and business development.

Only last month the faculty at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business expressed “deep reservations” about the school’s plan to open what will be called Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China. Professors cited a report that projects a million first-year loss to launch a new master’s program in China. They are worried about the economic viability of the two programs Fuqua wants to launch in China—a one year master’s of management sciences and an executive MBA—as well as doubts that faculty would be willing to live in China long enough to deliver the program there.

In today’s announcement, the university said Deputy Dean William Boulding will succeed Sheppard for a two-year term to allow the university to conduct an international search.

“Blair Sheppard has led Fuqua through a period of great energy, innovation and excitement,” President Richard H.Brodhead said in a statement. “He created a compelling vision for a global business school of the 21st century and made significant progress in executing it during a time of great economic uncertainty.  I am confident that Bill Boulding, who has been a key partner and co-leader in the course of all these changes, will continue to advance Fuqua’s and Duke’s aspirations.”

In a statement, Sheppard said: “It is often the case that the person who drove significant change, especially through an extremely difficult economic time, is not the person to consolidate the change. I believe that is the case now. We need a new dean who can take what has been built, enhance it and integrate all of the essential changes into the ongoing operation of the school.”

Under Sheppard’s leadership, the university said, Fuqua has improved student quality, selectivity and placement along with the school’s rankings. The Cross Continent and Global Executive MBA programs, the first of their kind, have been completely redesigned, paving the way for new opportunities in China and elsewhere. A new Master of Management Studies (MMS) program proved to be successful and popular. And the faculty has secured a preeminent position with respect to research quality, impact and productivity.

“Much of what I set out to do has been accomplished,” Sheppard added. ‘Now we need to consolidate the gains the school has made in all these areas, even as we move forward with our international plans and other goals. It has been a great honor to serve as dean and I am grateful for the chance to work with colleagues at Fuqua and throughout Duke, and with our students, alumni, donors and friends, as we all take on new challenges.”

In addition to working on fundraising and business development for Duke Kunshan University, Sheppard will continue to teach in Fuqua’s Global Executive MBA program and to serve as chairman of Duke CE, the corporate education venture he created and led as CEO for seven years before his appointment as dean.

Boulding, who joined the Duke faculty in 1984, has held a number of leadership positions at Fuqua, including his current role as deputy dean and previous roles as senior associate dean for all programs and associate dean for the Daytime MBA program. As the school’s chief operating officer, Boulding oversees academic programs, student services, operational support, admissions, career management, information technology and Fuqua’s global teams (China, United Arab Emirates, India, Russia/Eastern Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States, and Western Europe). He has worked closely with faculty on research and teaching issues.

“Bill has been deeply engaged in everything that takes place in Fuqua and has worked with others to drive programs that keep pace with evolving market needs,” said Provost Peter Lange, the university’s chief academic officer. “As a gifted scholar and teacher as well, he has worked to ensure Fuqua is a place of excellence in education and the creation of new knowledge. He is respected and admired by his colleagues for his energy, wisdom and courage. We are grateful he has agreed to build on Blair’s success and step into this new role.”

Said Boulding, “What makes Fuqua special is the way the entire community connects to produce research and teaching that makes sense of what is an increasingly complex, and sometimes confusing, global environment. Our priority is, and must always be, the strength and quality of our students, faculty, staff and partner relationships. We remain committed to working together as a school to generate the knowledge that will create the best possible education and keep us on the path to being a great global business school.”

A graduate of Swarthmore College who earned a Ph.D. in marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Boulding’s research interests lie at the intersection of management, marketing and strategy. He has published research in marketing and management journals, including Marketing Science, Management Science, Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Harvard Business Review and the Journal of Marketing Research, and has served on a number of editorial boards.

Boulding is a past recipient of multiple teaching awards, and has been cited for teaching excellence in the Businessweek Guide to the Best Business Schools. He is also a recipient of the Bank of America Award, Fuqua’s highest faculty honor for excellence in teaching, research, leadership and service.


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