Dartmouth has their man, and they’re keeping him for four more years. The Tuck School of Business announced Monday (June 17) that Dean Matthew J. Slaughter has been appointed to a second four-year term.
In his first term as dean, Slaughter oversaw big changes at Tuck, particularly an overhaul of the MBA program’s foundational first-year core curriculum the included structural changes to the academic calendar and a new slate of data analytics courses. Slaughter also led the expansion of Tuck’s portfolio of non-degree programs and launched The Tuck Difference: The Campaign for Tomorrow’s Wise Leaders, a fundraising effort that has so far raised $181.5 million toward a goal of $250 million. Those funds will go toward student scholarships, the MBA program and non-degree business education offerings, and upgraded facilities.
That’s quite a lot — but it’s not all, and it represents a fraction of what Slaughter hopes to accomplish now that he has a fresh four-year term to work with.
“It has been an honor to lead this wonderful learning community and to work with our talented faculty, students, alumni, and staff, all of whom have contributed in ways both large and small to our current momentum,” says Slaughter, whose second four-year term as dean begins on July 1. “I look forward to building on that momentum in the next four years and to continuing our important work of educating wise, decisive leaders ready to take on the world’s most complex challenges.”
‘SO MANY GOOD IDEAS’
Under Slaughter, Dartmouth Tuck has held firm in the rankings, staying top 10 in P&Q‘s composite ranking: 9th in 2015, 7th in 2016, 7th in 2017, and back to 9th in 2018. In the most recent U.S. News ranking, Tuck slipped to 12th, tied with NYU Stern and Virginia Darden. But the school remains a pace-setter, despite being one of the smaller programs in the elite echelons. Under Slaughter, Tuck has launched the Next Step program for military veterans and elite athletes; TuckLAB, a startup-focused offering for Dartmouth undergraduates; and a new flagship program for senior executives, the Advanced Management Program. Slaughter has also led the way to a strengthening of “the fiscal outlook and impact of other longstanding Tuck Executive Education programs,” according to the school.
Most importantly, Slaughter tells P&Q, the work of his first term has laid the groundwork for a more rewarding MBA experience for students — and created a process for ongoing innovation in the Tuck curriculum. Of particular importance was a major curriculum review in early December 2018 that set in motion changes that haven’t been seen at Tuck in “decades at least,” Slaughter says.
“We realized that there were so many good ideas that we needed to dig into for what we teach and how we teach above and beyond when we teach, that we’ve had a curriculum implementation committee to follow on for that,” he says. “There’s 10 Tuck faculty that have been working in pairs in the five working groups that we came up with, based on the five main themes that came out of that curriculum review. They have been pulling together, talking to themselves, talking to faculty colleagues, having a conversation with students about how we can build more momentum around and have a process for ongoing learning about what seems to really be thriving, both in the classroom and outside the classroom.
“One example I’ll give is this spring we launched a new data analytic series, a co-curricular series, linked to our Center for Digital Strategies. We have these centers that provide pathways of learning and application here at Tuck. They’re terrific, and yet we realized in the curriculum view that the areas for innovation could be starting new co-curricular series that involve both faculty and students and staff, and even recruiters, to bring cutting-edge ideas into the learning environment. And then we can test them.”
LOSS OF A KEY ADVISER
In 2015, Slaughter, then just five months into his first term at Dartmouth, expounded to Poets&Quants about Tuck’s role in embracing and nourishing a group of faculty, staff, and students who are dedicated to bettering the world. “And the way we do it is by creating a community where you feel a strong sense of belonging. We empower students and instruct them to pursue their dreams. Our goal is to prepare wise leaders to better the world,” he said. He is particularly proud of a continued focus on Tuck’s people. Since becoming dean, Slaughter has actively worked to build a “faculty of the future,” adding globally recognized scholar-educators across the school’s academic groups and promoting leading members of the faculty. Slaughter has also strengthened the school’s academic and administrative leadership, with new appointments to the Deans’ Office and key additions to roles related to the student experience, including in Admissions and Career Services.
However, speaking to P&Q on Monday, Slaughter acknowledged the loss of a key member of his team: Associate Dean Gina des Cognets, who spent more than 13 years at Tuck and last served as chief of staff and executive director in the Office of the Dean. Des Cognets was a key adviser but is leaving the school to focus on her doctorate in leadership and leading organizational change at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College; among many hats at Tuck, she served as associate director and later director of alumni services as well as director of marketing and communications.
“I will miss Gina,” Slaughter says. “She has been an important and invigorating leader here at Tuck. I think at the same time, I respect the bittersweet decision that she came to, to recognize there may be a next professional chapter for her after 13 very successful years here at the Tuck School.
“I did not envision Gina not being part of my second term, and yet, at the same time, I think, as bittersweet as it is, the strongest organizations are the ones that are committed to their sense of mission. Gina will be missed by me and by a lot of people, but I have nothing but every good wish for her in this exciting chapter that’s going to come.”
‘BRINGING FRESH IDEAS TO TUCK FOR ANOTHER FOUR YEARS’
“The energy and optimism we feel about Tuck’s future is in every way a reflection of Matt’s leadership,” says Tuck Board of Advisors Chair Elyse Allan ’79, Tuck 84. “I look forward to working with Matt over the next four years and continuing the great progress Tuck has made under his deanship.”
A scholar of international economics and an expert in globalization, Slaughter has held leadership roles at Tuck since joining the faculty in 2002. Prior to assuming the deanship, Slaughter was associate dean for faculty and founding faculty director of Tuck’s Center for Global Business and Government. He had previously served as associate dean of the MBA program. From 2005 to 2007, he served on the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President of the United States. From 1994 to 2001, he taught Dartmouth undergraduates as a member of the faculty in the Department of Economics.
“I am pleased that Matt will continue to bring fresh ideas to Tuck for another four years,” Provost Joseph Helble says. “The Tuck community has been enriched by Matt’s inspiring leadership and the innovative ways he is making Tuck a stronger and even more vibrant school.”