An organizational psychology scholar who leads Emory University’s business school will become the newest dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Ivy League university announced Wednesday that Erika James will replace current Wharton Dean Geoff Garrett, who is leaving to become dean of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. James will step into the role on July 1.
The appointment makes James the first African-American and first woman to lead Wharton. After earning both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, James’ academic career has focused on leadership development, gender and racial diversity and crisis leadership. At Emory, she’s led faculty and student unconscious bias workshops and consulted on the issue for “some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious firms,” Penn Provost Wendell Pritchett said in a statement.
During her nearly six years leading Emory’s Goizueta Business School — where she also made history by being the first African-American woman to serve as dean — she spearheaded the creation of an innovation and entrepreneurship lab, expanded its corporate relationships with a new corporate think tank and grew the faculty by 25%. She also led a curriculum redesign that ramped up immersive learning, technology integrations and partnerships with the college’s liberal arts faculty. James also sits on the board of SurveyMonkey and the Graduate Management Admissions Council.
In a statement, Penn President Amy Gutmann said James “is an award-winning scholar and teacher and a strong, proven leader” and that she is “exceptionally well prepared to lead Wharton into the next exciting chapter of its storied history.”
Before going to Emory, James served as senior associate dean for executive education at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and taught at both Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business as an assistant professor and at Harvard Business School as a visiting professor.
James received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges in California.
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