Dirks heads to Utah for deanship after 23 years at Olin

  • March 18, 2024
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 2 minute read

Kurt Dirks, a prolific researcher, a highly regarded teacher and a fixture on the WashU Olin faculty for nearly a quarter of a century, is leaving to become dean of the business school at the University of Utah.

Dirks begins his new role on July 1 at the Eccles School of Business in Utah after serving a variety of roles within Olin Business School and the university at large. Dirks' list of current titles includes vice chancellor for international affairs and director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

As Olin's Bank of America Professor of Managerial Leadership, he has also served as director of the school's Bauer Leadership Center. In 2016, he stepped in as WashU Olin's interim dean after Mahendra Gupta, Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management, stepped down from the role. Dirks joined Olin's faculty in 2001.

“I’m excited to join the University of Utah—one of the nation’s great public universities,” Dirks said in a news release from the University of Utah. “Public universities changed my life by launching me into a rewarding career that I could not have imagined or achieved otherwise."

Dirks also chaired the university committee leading the search for a new WashU Olin dean, resulting in the appointment of Mike Mazzeo, who began on September 1.

A prolific researcher into the role of trust in leadership—along with other leadership topics—Dirks' work has been cited nearly 27,000 times according to Google Scholar. Students have also recognized Dirks numerous times with WashU Olin's Reid Teaching Award for his work in MBA and PMBA classrooms.

"I look forward to helping students from all backgrounds have the potential to do the same as they attend the U and pursue their passions,” Dirks said in the University of Utah statement.

The statement also notes that Dirks has been a prolific fundraiser for Olin and WashU, helping to raise $30 million in gifts to support students and faculty research.

Eccles School of Business operates full-time, executive and online MBA programs, as well as a professional MBA ranked No. 5 in the West by U.S. News and World Report. The school also has an undergraduate business program and a suite of specialized master's degree programs. Its undergraduate entrepreneurship program is ranked No. 2 in the region by the Princeton Review.

In its statement, University of Utah Provost Mitzi M. Montoya praised Dirks' experience and his commitment to excellence in teaching and research.

“I look forward to working with him as he collaborates across campus and our community to help the U achieve its mission of supporting student success and positive societal impact,” Montoya said in the statement.

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