03/12/2022

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UNC Kenan-Flagler Finds An Interim Dean In Long-Time Finance Prof

Jennifer Conrad, a long-time finance professor at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, will serve as interim dean amid the search for a successor to newly retired Doug Shackelford. UNC photo

The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina has named an interim dean to lead the school during the search for a replacement for Doug Shackelford, who resigned unexpectedly last week after eight years as dean.

Jennifer Conrad, a long-time finance professor and former associate dean for academic affairs, will serve as interim dean at Kenan-Flagler during the search for Shackelford’s successor. Conrad is the former chair of the school’s finance department and an award-winning teacher who — among many other achievements — designed one of the first courses in the school’s industry-leading online MBA program MBA@UNC.

Conrad takes over at a busy time. Not only has the new school year just begun, but Kenan-Flagler is preparing to break ground for its new building in October, and will wrap up a major fundraising campaign this winter.

INTERIM DEAN HAS NEARLY 40 YEARS’ TEACHING EXPERIENCE AT UNC

Jennifer Conrad: “I will work to maintain the considerable momentum that we have achieved together in so many areas across the school.”

“I will work to maintain the considerable momentum that we have achieved together in so many areas across the school,” Conrad writes in an email message to the Kenan-Flagler community on Monday (September 26), “including increasing the number of Undergraduate Business Program students, preparing to start construction on the new building, serving more students through our Charlotte Executive MBA Program, meeting our capital campaign goals, welcoming new faculty and staff, and returning to the vibrant campus life that students, staff and faculty all value.”

Conrad has taught in the undergraduate, MAC, MBA and Ph.D. programs since joining UNC as a faculty member in 1985, after receiving her Ph.D. and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She served as senior associate dean for academic affairs from 2011-2016, during which time she was integral to the launch of both MBA@UNC and the school’s online Master of Accounting. She has served two terms as area chair of finance.

Conrad has also served on the board of directors of the Financial Management Association, the Western Finance Association, and the American Finance Association, and she is a past president of the Financial Management Association and a former chair of its board of trustees.

‘A BUSY & EXCITING TIME AT UNC KENAN-FLAGLER’

Conrad, who currently teaches an elective class on derivatives, is recognized for her research on investments and finance, with a focus on asset pricing, capital markets, institutional investing and portfolio management. In 2016, she received the Roy W. Holsten Exceptional Service Award, the school’s highest honor for leadership and service given to faculty and staff.

UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Provost and Chief Academic Officer J. Christopher Clemens appointed Conrad. In a message to the B-school, they noted that she is “a highly respected leader” who is “well positioned to build on UNC Kenan-Flagler’s strong reputation and recent successes.”

“This is a busy and exciting time at UNC Kenan-Flagler, especially as we hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a new building next week and conclude a successful fundraising campaign later this year,” Guskiewicz and Clemens write. “We are grateful to Jennifer for her leadership during this interim period while we launch a search to identify a permanent dean.”

And in her message to the Kenan-Flagler community (see below), Conrad says her plans over the next six months include doing “what I can to advance the innovations — in processes, programs, Centers and areas — that are in early stages. Given the number of changes in leadership over the spring and summer, several significant activities are underway.”

JENNIFER CONRAD’S MESSAGE TO UNC KENAN-FLAGLER STUDENTS

Hi, all.

I hope that you are doing well and that your fall semester has gotten off to a good start.

Transitions can create uncertainty, and this last week — with a new interim dean announced and the search for a permanent dean just beginning—will have done just that for many people. I am emailing to provide you with some initial thoughts on what I hope to do over the next several months — my interim goals. They are straightforward.

First, I will work to maintain the considerable momentum that we have achieved together in so many areas across the school, including increasing the number of Undergraduate Business Program students, preparing to start construction on the new building, serving more students through our Charlotte Executive MBA Program, meeting our capital campaign goals, welcoming new faculty and staff, and returning to the vibrant campus life that students, staff and faculty all value.

Second, I want to do what I can to advance the innovations — in processes, programs, Centers and areas — that are in early stages. Given the number of changes in leadership over the spring and summer, several significant activities are underway.

Related to this last point, transitions also can bring potential opportunities. I do not have anything specific in mind here, but I’m sure many of you have ideas about new things we can do and things we can do better. I welcome discussions of those ideas. My final goal is to offer the incoming dean the best menu of thoughtful innovations that we can. The work we do now could enable them to hit the ground running.

In the short term, I have homework to do to come up to speed on the extensive portfolio of work and activities in which we (you!) are engaged. Following that, I intend to meet with large groups, small groups and individuals to ask about what you have going on. It might be a little while before you see me, but if any of you have something that you’d like to discuss sooner, please drop by or write me.

I would like to thank the many people who have offered support and help — I’ll need it. The good news is that we have an outstanding leadership team and deeply dedicated staff in place and they all deserve our thanks. Finally, I’d like to thank Doug for his long years of outstanding service and extraordinary contributions to the school.

Best,

Jennifer 

DON’T MISS KENAN-FLAGLER DEAN CALLS IT QUITS: ‘I’M VERY TIRED’

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