Michigan State Hires Witt/Kieffer To Help Find A New Broad College Dean

Autumn leaves and textured sky frames the Broad College of Business on a fall morning.

Some 18 months after the forced ouster of the dean of Michigan State’s Broad College of Business, the university is finally looking for a successor. The university has announced that it has hired the search firm of WittKieffer to help it find a successor to former Dean Sanjay Gupta who maintains that he was pushed out of the job in a power struggle with then Provost Teresa Woodruff.

The controversy over Gupta’s departure still lingers partly due to his lawsuit against Woodruff and six other university officials. Gupta alleges Woodruff got rid of him as part of “a power scheme to ensure that Gupta would not be named successor to outgoing former President Samuel Stanley, Jr., and to enhance Woodruff’s personal ambition to become President.” He says he resigned as dean amid pressure to do so from Woodruff.

Woodruff, who served as interim MSU President for ten months, bowed out of the search process for a new president last August after a law firm probe found that her treatment of Gupta was considered “disproportionate,” ran counter to the university’s discipline policy and differed from others who violated the university’s mandatory reporting policies. The investigation, however, also found that Gupta violated policy by not reporting alleged sexual misconduct by a faculty member at a gala.

A new leadership team has since taken place at MSU. Kevin M. Guskiewicz, the former chancellor and CEO of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill began his tenure as president on March 4, while economics professor Thomas D. Jeitschko has been serving as the interim provost. Since Gupta’s ouster, supply chain professor Judith Whipple has been serving as the interim dean of Broad College.


Michigan State says it is looking for “a dynamic, collaborative, and forward-looking leader” to serve as the next dean of its business school.” Without a mention of the controversy at the school or Gupta’s litigation, the university claims that it is “an opportune time to partner with new university leadership and engage students, faculty, staff, alums, and other key constituents in helping the college reach new heights by further enhancing our brand, the reputation of our people, and the rankings of our programs.” The deadline for candidates is March 22.

It’s one of the biggest business school deanships currently open. Broad boasts a $52.7 million annual budget, with nearly 90 tenured faculty, 164 non-tenured profs, and 140 administrative staffers. It is the most sought-after college in the Michigan State system, with more than 20% of incoming freshmen wanting to join Broad. The school’s current endowment is $250 million and attracted $9.3 million from donors in annual giving during the 2023 fiscal year. Broad offers a vast portfolio of programs with seven undergraduate majors, 11 minors, and 22 graduate and doctoral programs. The school serves some 4,900 undergraduate students alone.

The specs for the job appear to rule out a nontraditional leader from the corporate world. The  “minimum requirements” for the job, acccording to Michigan State,  are a “demonstrated record of scholarship, fundraising, and strategic leadership in higher education, and the skills required to oversee a large, complex college. The candidate must possess a terminal degree and academic credentials that merit appointment with tenure at the rank of professor in one of the college’s departments.”


There’s also a long laundry list of “desired qualifications” for the ideal candidate:

  • Demonstrated experience in working collaboratively with others to identify strategic goals, in implementing a plan to achieve desired outcomes, and in engaging and empowering others
    to lead initiatives that advance a unit’s mission and vision.
  • A commitment to shared governance and to listening to the variety of constituents represented in the college, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and industry.
  • An appreciation for and understanding of academic excellence across all disciplines in the Broad College and its connections to the university broadly, to create an environment that encourages world-class academic research, high-quality teaching, and innovative initiatives.
  • Success in the creation of an environment that ensures the recruitment, development, and retention of top-notch tenure-track faculty, fixed-term faculty, academic specialists, and staff members.
  • A deep commitment to student success and an understanding of the curricular and co-curricular experiences that will prepare students to succeed after graduation.
  • A record of effectively utilizing existing resources and identifying new resources that will advance a unit’s strategic objectives.
  • The capacity to serve as the public face of the college, a record of engaging with external partners to gain insights and create mutually beneficial relationships, and the skills required to articulate the college’s vision to alumni and corporate partners.
  • A demonstrated commitment to fostering an environment where everyone is welcomed, valued, respected, and engaged.
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal skills and the ability to inspire others through authenticity and supportive relationships.
  • Impeccable personal and professional integrity, strength of character, ethical qualities of the highest order, and alignment with the university’s mission and values.
  • The ability to play a key role in university leadership, advocating for the college, forging strategic connections across colleges, and an ability to work collaboratively with other deans and campus units to further the goals and objectives of the college and Michigan State University.

In a lengthy and detailed 17-page brief on the school for dean candidates, Michigan State discloses nitty-gritty stats on every one of its degree programs. The largest is its supply chain management option, with 657 enrolled students, including 556 undergrads, 93 master’s, and eight doctoral candidates. That field of study, ranked highly for Broad, boasts 20 faculty, with eight endowed chairs and 13 tenure-track or tenured professors. The second most popular program is finance with 579 enrolled students, including 537 undergrads, 47 master’s students, and 1 doctoral candidate. The finance department at Broad consists of 23 faculty members, with seven endowed chairs and 13 tenured or tenure-track professors.

Handling the search for Broad are John K. Thornburgh, a senior partner at Witt/Kieffer based in Pittsburgh,   and Natalie Song, an associate based in Miami.

DON’T MISS: Former Broad College Of Business Dean: I Was Pushed Out In A Power Struggle or Worthy Of A Juicy ‘Succession’ Episode: The Ignominy Of A B-School Dean’s Ouster



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