Mark Zupan will step down as dean of the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business next year, after 10 years at the helm.
In an e-mail message to Simon faculty, students, and staff, Zupan said he plans to “pass the baton of leadership” to the next Simon dean on July 1, 2014. University President Joel Seligman, who will chair the search committee for a new dean, said Zupan will take a year’s sabbatical. He will return to the Simon faculty as a professor of economics and public policy and as director of the Bradley Policy Research Center.
Seligman’s statement praised Zupan for his “magnificent” job as dean, citing Zupan’s creation of several new masters programs and successful faculty hires.
Zupan’s departure comes after Simon’s full-time MBA program suffered a precipitous drop in the Bloomberg Businessweek rankings, falling seven spots, to No. 50, late last year, with graduates giving the program poor marks in career services and overall satisfaction.
In Seligman’s report to the faculty senate the day before Zupan’s departure was announced, he noted that one “key area of focus” for the business school over the next five years would be “improving the rankings of the full-time MBA program.” In a statement from Simon spokesperson Charla Kucko, the school said the drop in the rankings were “not part of this decision.”
Under Zupan, the school struggled to find jobs for graduates, with fewer than half getting offers by graduation in 2010, even as many other schools began to bounce back from the post-crisis devastation in placement rates.
To his credit, Zupan implemented changes designed to reverse the damage—including prescreening students for recruiters and hiring industry specialists for the career services office—and three years later saw a marked improvement. In 2013, 68 percent had offers by graduation and 94 percent had offers within three months.
In addition to hiring nine new tenure-track faculty in the past five years, Zupan has raised $62 million toward Simon’s fundraising goal of $85 million, allowing the school to more than triple scholarship support, to more than $1.5 million a year. He also worked to develop a new branding campaign, expand undergraduate business offerings, and launch a second program for working professionals this summer at Simon’s Times Square location in New York City.