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Former Wisconsin Dean Lands In Amherst

Anne Massey spent 22 years at Indiana University and was a highly sought-after candidate for a deanship when she took the top job at the Wisconsin School of Business. A disastrous plan to shutter the school’s MBA program knee-capped her deanship and she resigned after only a few months, but now Massey has been appointed the dean of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Isenberg School of Management. File photo

Anne Massey is back in a dean’s chair. The former Wisconsin School of Business dean, whose tenure was cut short after a disastrous and aborted plan to shutter the MBA program, has been hired as dean of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management. She will succeed Mark Fuller, who stepped down earlier this year after nine years leading the Isenberg School. The news was announced December 21.

In Massachusetts, Massey will join a school whose MBA program is ranked much lower than Wisconsin’s: 55th compared to 37th in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking, and 75th compared with 33rd on Poets&Quants’ 2018 list. Isenberg’s online MBA, however, is ranked 36th by U.S. News and 13th by P&Q. The Isenberg School’s full-time MBA enrollment is just 51 students; they average five years’ work experience and a 639 GMAT score.

Massey, currently the Ruth L. Nelson Chair of Business at Wisconsin, will be the Isenberg School’s first female dean when she takes over in fall 2019. “I am very excited to be part of a school with so much momentum and energy, and to join a diverse and vibrant research campus like UMass Amherst,” she said in a statement.

A CONTROVERSIAL PROPOSAL FATALLY WOUNDS A DEANSHIP

Wisconsin was Massey’s first deanship. She came to the school in August 2017, a highly sought-after hire after 21 years as professor and vice provost at Indiana University. But in a move that came to define her tenure — and that ultimately was the cause of its brevity — the school announced that October an immediately controversial proposal to shut down its full-time, two-year MBA program in order to devote greater resources to potentially more lucrative specialized master’s degrees.

The backlash was swift, with hundreds signing a petition to stop the move and a vocal contingent of current and former students and faculty vociferously vowing to fight it. A week after news broke of the proposal, Massey announced that it was dead, and that the Wisconsin MBA program would live on.

But her deanship had been wounded, and in December the school announced that she would step down to take on a teaching role in the school’s Operations and Information Management Department.

LONG KNOWN FOR BREAKING BARRIERS

Massey is known as a trailblazer. At Indiana University she was founding co-chair of the Intelligent Systems Engineering Program in the School of Informatics & Computing. In 2012, she worked with colleagues across the school to create the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology, the nation’s first large interdisciplinary initiative to support students, faculty, staff, and alumni in embracing technology across the university. Nor was Massey’s time in Wisconsin without similar impact: As an operations and information management professor, she has been leading a cross-disciplinary collaboration to create a new master of science degree in design and innovation that will launch in 2020.

Now Massey is the first female dean at Massachusetts Amherst, an “excellent choice to lead the Isenberg School,” says Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John J. McCarthy, who made the appointment. Massey will assume her new duties in August 2019; Isenberg is currently led by interim Dean Tom Moliterno.

“Not only is she a leading scholar in information systems,” McCarthy says in a news release, “but her varied senior leadership experience at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington makes her uniquely qualified to take Isenberg into its next chapter.”