CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Jorge Haddock, dean of the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, is leaving the University of Richmond after four years to become dean at the George Mason School of Management.
The appointment is pending the approval from George Mason’s Board of Visitors and would be effective July 1, 2009. It was announced late Wednesday by provost Steve Allred in an e-mail to faculty, staff and students — ahead of an official statement from Fairfax, Va.-based George Mason.
Reached on his cell phone Wednesday night, Haddock said George Mason’s management school had tremendous opportunity for growth. He said he decided to accept the school’s offer late Tuesday, despite efforts from Allred and President Edward Ayers to retain him.
The announcement came somewhat unexpectedly because Haddock had — up until a few months ago — no intention of moving elsewhere, he said.
“It is attractive to take advantage of those opportunities,” Haddock said. “It was not an easy decision. I went back and forth every hour.”
The Robins School’s focus on undergraduate education limits its ability to considerably expand graduate programming opportunities — a major difference between Richmond and George Mason, where Haddock said there was opportunity for improving the quality of existing programs and offering new ones. The school’s proximity to Washington, D.C., also places it in a larger market for students, companies and government agencies, compared to Richmond’s.
“I think it’s the challenge of a new strategy and a new approach to doing things,” Haddock said of what he was looking forward to at George Mason. “I thrive on challenges. There’s a huge gap between performance and potential — where George Mason is and where it could be.”
George Mason is far larger than Richmond, with about 3,550 undergraduates and 480 graduates enrolled at the management school. At Richmond, 537 students as of fall 2008 are enrolled as undergraduates, and 124 students are graduate students.
“Although President Ayers and I deeply regret Dean Haddock’s decision to leave the University of Richmond, and made every effort to keep him here, we wish him well in this new endeavor,” Allred wrote in the e-mail announcement. “We look forward to working with Dean Haddock in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition, and we are committed to building upon his strong stewardship of the Robins School.”
It was not immediately clear when a search for Haddock’s replacement would begin.
Haddock was hired as the Robins School dean in July 2005. Under his watch, BusinessWeek ranked Richmond as the No. 20 undergraduate business school nationally, an improvement over the school’s No. 23 spot in 2007 and No. 25 ranking in 2006. The university’s MBA program was ranked No. 14 last year by BusinessWeek.
Allred credited him with raising funds needed for the Queally Hall addition, — set to break ground this spring — expanding the faculty and increasing student initiatives. Before coming to Richmond, he taught business operations management, modeling and optimization of business processes, and lean management, and his research focused on design and implementation of lean production and service systems and their effects on corporate culture.
For the immediate future, the Robins School’s most pressing difficulty is maintaining the program’s quality, especially during the slow U.S. economy, Haddock said. Until he leaves, Haddock will work to ensure a seamless transition, maintain the morale and quality of faculty and students, and improve in rankings, he said.
“I’m not leaving Richmond — I’m going to George Mason,” Haddock said. “This has nothing to do with the university, I am sad to go, and I would have loved to have retired here, but I am excited about the challenge at George Mason.”
This version of the story CLARIFIES that the Robins School is limited by expanding graduate programming and that Haddock taught the courses listed before coming to Richmond. Contact staff writer Dan Petty at firstname.lastname@example.org