Graduate School of Management Dean Nicole Woolsey Biggart has announced her intention to resign from her post in July and return to full time teaching and research in the fall of 2010 after a year-long sabbatical.
“I had several projects that I wanted to see put in place,” Biggart said in an e-mail interview. “When I saw that these were all coming to fruition I thought it was a good time to step down and to attract my successor.”
During her tenure as Dean – which began in 2003 – Biggart added a second MBA program to the school in the Bay Area, instituted an undergraduate technology minor and extensively expanded the school’s external relations and involvement in the Northern California community.
“[Biggart] stepped in at a time when the previous search for a dean was a difficult process,” said Frank Washington, a longtime member of the Graduate School of Management’s Dean’s Advisory Council.
“She stepped into a bit of a vacuum but did a magnificent job continuing the school’s momentum,” Washington said. “It’s one of the top schools in the country and the world, and things like the new facility that’s being built on campus reflect this constant growth.”
Biggart has been involved with the school since its doors opened in 1981 as The Graduate School of Administration, initially as an assistant professor.
Today, the UC Davis Graduate School of Business is one of only 35 business schools to be ranked in the top 50 for 13 consecutive years, according to the schools website.
“I think she would point to one of her biggest accomplishments during her period as dean being the construction of Gallagher Hall and securing 10 million to help outfit the new building and establish an endowment to help the school,” said Tim Akin, senior director of Marketing and Communications in the school.
The $34.5 million Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Hall, the Graduate School of Management’s new campus headquarters, is currently being constructed directly across from the Mondavi Center and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.
“The new dean will be walking into a brand new building which will be a major attraction for the types of candidates that we want to attract to the school,” Akin said.
A committee on campus is currently being finalized to begin the search for a new dean, who will ultimately be selected for a five year appointment at the discretion of Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef.
“I think it would be great if the school can recruit a dean that has the same qualities as Biggart,” Akin said. “These include her ability to be an effective chief executive of the graduate school of management by focusing on the quality of the MBA experience here, continuing to foster and make new connections in the business community and to be an effective leader on and off campus for grad school of management.”
During her one-year sabbatical Biggart intends to return to writing about the economy, specifically focusing on the movement toward a clean tech economy, and is looking forward to getting back into being a teacher and a researcher, she said.
“She’s got a lot of energy and lots of ideas,” Washington said. “She’s wonderful at attracting people, not just students but also outside investors, and its not just money either, its attention and ideas and energy that she brings to the school.”
CHARLES HINRIKSSON can be reached at email@example.com.