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People and Places: September 21, 2021

University of La Verne and United Arab Emirates University name new deans, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign secures NIH grant.


Emmeline de Pillis has taken up her post as dean of the College of Business and Public Management at the University of La Verne in California. She most recently served as interim dean of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. There, she founded the executive education program and established a new advising structure that halved the number of students who dropped out without a degree. She also led the college’s successful effort to earn reaccreditation from AACSB. De Pillis joined the University of La Verne on July 12, replacing Abe Helou, who had served as dean since 2008.

Mohamed Madi has become the new dean of the College of Business and Economics at the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain. Madi previously served the college as a faculty member in statistics and has held a variety of other roles, including acting dean, vice dean, director of the doctorate in business administration program, and assistant dean for research and graduate studies. In spring 2021, he was seconded to the UAE Ministry of Education as Commissioner at the Commission for Academic Accreditation.

Rachel Hayes has been named interim dean of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She took over from longtime dean Taylor Russell when he became president of the University of Utah last month. Hayes, the associate dean for faculty and research and the George and Dolores Eccles Presidential Chair at the Eccles School, has been with the school since 2005. She previously taught at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and the University of Chicago. Hayes serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Accounting Research and Journal of Accounting and Economics, and was formerly an editor at The Accounting Review.

New Programs

Alba Graduate Business School at the American College of Greece in Athens has announced a synchronous online graduate program in tourism management. Running under the motto “Upgrade to Business Class,” the program has been designed to meet the changes brought about by the pandemic. Students can complete the full-time program in 12 months or the part-time program in 24 months. In addition to the online courses, Alba’s tourism management program will provide networking opportunities by offering a series of in-person workshops that will run from November through March.

This month, Esade Business and Law School at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona, Spain, welcomed the first students to its Transformational Business and Social Impact (BITBASI) program. The three-year blended bachelor’s program aims to reach future business leaders who have a strong commitment to sustainability, the environment, and the well-being of people and society. Through online and on-campus courses, students will study business, technology, and the humanities. BITBASI’s online courses will be delivered via the learning platform of the Minerva Project, an educational organization that provides universities with technology and infrastructure. Students in the program can participate in a range of real-life projects, from developing digital prototypes to finding solutions for B Corp companies. They also will have the chance to start their own impact enterprises.


The University of New Haven in Connecticut is collaborating with computer company Dell Technologies to foster diversity and inclusion opportunities for students pursuing careers in the esports industry. The new course content, which will include material for remote learning, will use case studies, collaborative projects, and hands-on experiences to show students the importance of diversity as both a moral and business imperative. The program will launch in the spring 2022 semester. The university also plans to collaborate with Dell to develop complementary diversity programs and materials for middle, high school, and postsecondary students.

Grants and Donations

The Global Crossing Airlines Group (Global X) has made a gift to the University of Miami Herbert Business School in Florida to fund two full-tuition scholarships for Afghan evacuees. To be considered for these two scholarships, applicants must qualify for admission to one of Miami Herbert’s master’s programs, which include the Master’s in International Business and Master’s in Finance programs. GlobalX is a charter airline that serves the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin American markets. “As an international business school with a sense of global responsibility, we welcome the opportunity to offer tangible help and a new life in America to two qualified students displaced by the recent events in Afghanistan,” says John Quelch, dean of Miami Herbert. “My hope is that other higher education institutions will also open their doors to the Afghan evacuees.”

The National Institutes of Health have awarded more than 1.6 million USD to four finance faculty at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In their project, Tatyana Deryugina, Nolan Miller, David Molitor, and Julian Reif will study the long-term impacts that natural disasters have on the mortality and disease burdens of elderly and disabled adults. Deryugina and Molitor’s original paper “Does When You Die Depend on Where You Live? Evidence from Hurricane Katrina” used Medicare data to estimate Katrina’s effects on victims initially living in New Orleans. Their research, published in American Economic Review, found that the hurricane improved eight-year survival by more than two percentage points and credited that increase to migration to lower-mortality regions. The new project will use Medicare data to estimate how hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods affect healthcare and healthcare-related expenditures among the elderly. The project also will use a new machine learning approach to identify vulnerable subpopulations based on individual health characteristics, demographic traits, and local economic and public health circumstances.

Centers and Facilities

The University of La Verne in California has opened its new Randall Lewis Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Social Impact with the support of a 2 million USD gift from philanthropist Randall Lewis. The university will run the center and its programming in partnership with NEW Community Investments, an organization dedicated to providing capital to small businesses owned by members of traditionally underserved and financially marginalized groups. The Lewis Center will focus on providing entrepreneurial training, funding, and long-term career support primarily to Hispanic and other underrepresented communities. Its objective is to improve job creation, economic mobility, and wealth generation within underserved communities throughout the Inland Southern California region.

In August, the Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York broke ground on an expansion and renovation of its facility. School officials were joined by five of the six donors who have collectively committed nearly 12 million USD toward the school’s renovation. Additional funds were awarded by New York state’s Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program. The expansion will almost double the size of the business college, adding more than 35,000 square feet. The new building will include student team rooms, applied research and case analysis labs, an event space and reception hall, auditorium, café, and outdoor spaces. Existing classrooms will be renovated to facilitate student-centered pedagogy. The construction work will begin next spring and is scheduled to be completed by fall of 2023.

Other News

Last month, ESSEC Business School in Cergy, France, opened a vaccination center to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations for its international students. School officials noted that vaccination is a high priority because its classes will be offered completely in person at the start of the 2021 academic year. To provide the shots, ESSEC partnered with the ARS of Val d’Oise, a governmental agency, and International SOS, a health and security services company. The center will be open during half-day sessions through the end of September. The French government is covering the costs.

The University of Wisconsin–Whitewater has received the Program of Study Validation from the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cybersecurity. The recognition extends to the Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Technology program, which emphasizes networking and security. That program is offered by the College of Business and Economics. Students graduating from the program can receive certificates to show that they have completed the requirements of a CAE Program of Study. The CAE program sets standards for cybersecurity curricula and academic excellence and encourages integration across academic disciplines.

On September 6th, the business school at City, University of London, officially took its new name as Bayes Business School. In July 2020, the school committed to changing its previous name after it was discovered that namesake John Cass obtained some of his wealth through his links to the slave trade. To select the new name, administrators invited members of the City community to suggest options through an online platform. After 150 potential names were submitted and more than 8,000 stakeholders gave feedback, the name Bayes Business School emerged as the favorite. Thomas Bayes, an 18th-century theologian and mathematician, is known for a theorem suggesting we get closer to the truth by constantly updating our beliefs in proportion to the weight of new evidence. These ideas are central to many branches of business—including finance, actuarial science, and management—and form the core principles of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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