Illinois Hires Isaacson, Miller Search Firm To Find A New Gies Dean

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagn has turned to a major search firm in higher education to assist in its search for a new dean for the Gies College of Business. The university hired Isaacson, Miller to search for a successor to Dean Jeffrey R. Brown who announced in September his intention to step down from the job a year early at the end of the academic year. Brown, who has served as dean since 2015, is expected to depart after his successor is found, a year short of his second term which would have ended in May of 2025. 

Candidates who are interested in the Gies deanship are being asked to contact one of five consultants: Partners Micah Pierce or John Muckle, Managing Associate Becky Piper. Senior Associate Kristen Andersen, or Search Coordinator Marlyn Desire.

According to the specs for the job, “The ideal candidate will be an outstanding, purpose-driven leader capable of bridging the academic and business communities that a top business school spans. They will have a track record of high achievement as a leader, including a demonstrated commitment to research, teaching, outreach, and equal opportunity; the ability to attract and retain a diverse and excellent faculty, student body, and staff; and the appetite and aptitude to generate resources for the College. The Dean will be committed to ensuring a healthy workplace environment where faculty and staff thrive and will bring experience in mentoring and empowering employees. The strongest candidates will likely hold a PhD, or a terminal degree, and have a strong record of scholarship, research, and teaching commensurate with an appointment at the rank of tenured full professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The search committee welcomes nominations of outstanding leaders with other backgrounds as well.”


Gies currently serves 9,000 degree-seeking learners from around the world, including 4,500 in online master’s programs. Priced at less than $24K, Gies’ innovative online MBA program has reached learners in more than 100 countries and was named 2022 MBA Program of the Year by Poets&Quants.

Whoever succeeds Brown in the job will have to fill some very big shoes. Brown was named the 2021 Dean of the Year by Poets&Quants for leading the way in spreading access to education.

According to Isaacson, Miller, the dean serves as the chief academic and executive officer of the business school. “The Dean will be responsible for the global reputation of Gies Business and its programs. They will assess and expand Gies Business’ portfolio of programs to strengthen its position as an innovative leader among the nation’s best business schools. They will lead the College in developing a compelling, strategic vision while continuing to build upon its distinctive brand and identity. They will continue philanthropic success by proactively engaging in external fundraising. The next Dean will foster interdisciplinary and collaborative partnerships with other schools and colleges across the university. They will be a collegial, transparent, and innovative partner with other deans, the Provost, and the Chancellor. They will oversee the recruitment, retention, and support of a world-class faculty and staff. The Dean must prioritize, embrace, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through communication and pioneering policies, programs, and structures that will achieve results and further a campus culture that values inclusive excellence. They will have primary responsibility for faculty and staff development, budgetary oversight and planning, academic and curricular issues, and facilities.”

The Gies assignment is the third business school search the firm is currently handling. Isaacson, Miller also has open searches for deans at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver and the Herbert Business School at the University of Miami.


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