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22: Tom Gilligan with Perspectives on "Deaning" and Driving Change.

A peer-to-peer discussion with emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Driving change as a dean Tom Gilligan








Episode 22 of the Deans Counsel Podcast features economist and emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Dr. Tom Gilligan as he joins Deans Counsel panelists Jim Ellis and Ken Kring for a thought-provoking discussion on:

  • The role of interim dean at a school of business

  • Leveraging your advisory board

  • Driving change

  • Leading in public vs. private institutions

  • Interacting with government officials

  • Serving as a humble leader in higher education

Dr. Gilligan offers a masterful perspective on the unique challenges and opportunities for driving change in each of his former roles as Dean of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, interim Dean for the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and Director at the Hoover Institution. “Don't wait for unanimity on something new…find a couple champions,” said Gilligan.


Sharing his experience driving change at public and private institutions, Dr. Gilligan provides a variety of actionable takeaways and insights for current and future academic leaders. Listen to Episode 22 to find out more.


About Dr. Thomas W. Gilligan Thomas W. Gilligan is an emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.


Gilligan served as the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution from the fall of 2015 through the fall of 2020. He is a scholar in economics and political science. Gilligan has had a long–standing relationship with the Hoover Institution and Stanford University serving as a Hoover national fellow in 1989–90 and a visiting faculty member at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in 1989–90 and again in 1994.

Prior to joining the Hoover Institution, Gilligan was dean of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, one of the largest and most distinguished business schools in the United States. Before that, Gilligan held several key administrative roles at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Most notable positions included interim Dean, Vice Dean of Undergraduate Education, director of the Ph.D. program, and Chair of the Finance and Business Economics Department. Gilligan holds the Centennial Chair in Business Education Leadership.


https://www.hoover.org/profiles/thomas-w-gilligan


Show Transcript

Dave 0:13

Welcome to Dean's Council, a podcast aimed at supporting university leaders holding one of the more critical jobs on a university campus. Your panelists can Kring gemellus and Dave Ikenberry engage in conversation with highly accomplished Dean's and other academic leaders regarding the ever complex array of challenges that Dean's face and one of the loneliest and most unique jobs in the academy. Tom Gilligan had been on the faculty in various leadership roles at USC Marshall School for over two decades went on short notice in February of 2006. He was named interim dean. He stepped out of that role 15 months later, in April 2008, when our co host gmls took over as dean of Marshall. With that short interim experience under his belt, he became dean at the Macomb School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. And he stayed in that role until 2015, when he became director of the Hoover Institution, and economic think tank based at Stanford. In this episode of Dean's Council, we hear Tom's interesting perspectives on a wide variety of topics. Among these issues, we'll hear his views on being an effective Interim Dean, comparing and contrasting private versus public leadership styles, leveraging your advisory boards, effective approaches to leadership transitions, tips for driving change and stagnant institutions. And a reminder about how humility can help humanize the dean. We also hear his take on why business school deans are well positioned to become university presidents going forward.


Jim 1:49

So today, we're privileged to have with us, Tom Gilligan, who has been a very, very experienced academic and has had great experiences in leadership roles at a couple of different universities, as well as Hoover Institute at Stanford. First of all, thank you, Tom, for taking the time to join us. We really do appreciate it.


Tom Gilligan 2:07

My pleasure, Jim, great seeing you.


Jim 2:09

Good to see you. Let's start off with a role that a lot of people don't really get into, but you stepped into it. And that is one of being an interim dean, as a longtime faculty member at USC, the Dean was terminated, let go walked out the door, whatever it was, and you stepped into that role. Give us your thoughts. What's it like when you stepped into the role of an interim dean following a situation that may not have been ideal for the school?


Tom Gilligan 2:37

Yeah, so almost by definition, when you're an interim dean, you became so abruptly, someone left for personnel matters, but which was true in my case, or there could be a death or someone has another opportunity that they need to take. But it was an unplanned transition of authority or or position that you just have to deal with now. In my case, it was probably the best case scenario for me for a couple reasons. One, as you mentioned, I had been there a very long time I, I had been a faculty member at USC Marshall for about 21 years when that happened, or 20 years when that happened. So I knew everybody there. But it's also the case that Dean who had put me in the associate dean's office, it also put several other senior faculty members and key associated roles. So Kevin Murphy, was a senior associate dean Valerie Fox was, I believe the Associate Dean for the graduate program, the MBA program. So there was some really steady people and experienced people in those positions. It's also the case that when I became a associate, Interim Dean, we had this this Dean who had left had been there 14 months and he was a very energetic fellow. And we had gone through a pretty exhaustive strategic planning process that included almost all everybody, all the faculty, alumni, students, etc. We had developed some pretty good strategies and tactics and plans to go forward. So it wasn't as if, you know, there was a lurch there, there was a there was a plan in place. And it's also the case that the DNI replaced had replaced a long term Dean Randy Randy Westerfield and the Marshall School of Business wasn't in trouble. It was just a very strong business school looking for new opportunities to become better. So it was really good position. I felt that probably the most important thing I could do as Interim Dean and we could do was just keep the ship going in the direction it was going at that point in time. It really was the case that the Dean leftover personnel matters. It wasn't over matters having to do with the governance of the school. So it was very important for me at least I thought to keep the plan in place and to try to execute on the plan. So you'll remember this Jim, a big part of it was we had a big facilities component to the plan. So we tried to keep that going. We had some hiring strategies that we try to keep going. We had some, some kind of innovative curricular activity tried to keep going and also, it wasn't ideal like I had to slow the ship down or stop the ship, I felt that we were moving in a great direction. We had good people on the ground, and we just had to keep it going. I think a second imperative I had was that I was concerned that people would read too much into a sudden and abrupt change in a deed. And I think and this is probably not politic to say, but you guys will get this. I think a Dean's role is important in the long run. And I think it's not so important, the short run, if you know what I mean. And you know, if the Dean stays home, sick one day, really no one notices. You know, because I mean, a dean is in charge of longer strategic planning and execution for the for the business school for the for the school. So I just tried to get out as much as possible and make people understand that this was this was manageable. This is not anything that's catastrophic, that there's not a big hole in the fabric of time and space. That's going to cause the Marshall School of Business to circle the drain the tank, so just being out there and being around people was fine. So that's, that's the long and short of it.


Ken 6:03

Um, one of the things that's distinctive about your experience and career is it you both as an interim dean, within a school that you knew, and then as a permanent Dean within a school you were coming, you were coming to you apparently hit the ground running. Are there differentiation in terms of how you hit the ground running at Marshall versus how you did at McCombs? You know, it


Tom Gilligan 6:28

was it was very similar because, like Marshall, when I got them a combs, it's not a turnaround, right? It's it's not the messed up. They were still an orderly transition. He stepped out after a normal term as dean. And then like Marshall, the faculty at McCombs was very good for straight. The students were great. The programs were really, really good, just much bigger gym PCs. everything's bigger in Texas, right. And, and so that was kind of the funny part of it. But I think the transition, I think my Interim Dean time at Marshall served me well from a college because I knew the game plan for trying to take a really good school and just trying to bump it, nudge it a little bit better. You know, and a lot of that involve getting people together and listening, I actually made the biggest mistake I made as dean and McCombs was that I committed to talking to every faculty member at McCombs, before I looked at the faculty register, so I spent two months do nothing but go into people's offices and visiting everybody. I didn't recognize and realize what I'm up around. And I saw so everybody saw adjunct faculty, visiting faculty, I just, I was interested in what the experience of every teacher and researcher was at McCombs, and that was good. And also, you know, to be honest with you bought me time to get acquainted with the place, Texas is a much bigger grand public university, many more schools, many more Dean's to get to know, many more bureaucrats, you know, mid level, Associate Provost and things like that. So I just took the time to get to know people a lot. And then having done that, we just followed a similar process to what we did at USC, which was get together, try to think through where we wanted to be in the next 510 years as a school, and then go through that process. And then from it, you know, just like Marshall, we developed several plans, one around the facilities, one around faculty development and growth, one around new programming. Jim knows this, because he was a dean, at the same time, you know, business schools, I think, we're starting to become much more responsive to their curricular offerings. So we were wedded for a very long time to undergraduate and MBA programs and Executive MBA programs. I think over the past 10 years, you've seen a growth and especially your master's programs, you know, data analytics, and MS in finance, and all sorts of things like that. So that strategic planning process helped us understand that there was a Inkling amongst the faculty do something like this, and there was an M from our employers and from students for more specialized master's programs. So we came out of that process, which took a year to be honest with you with some very actionable plans that I spent the rest of my time at Macomb was trying to implement.


Jim 9:08

When you came to Macomb, had there been an interim dean between the previous Dean and knew or did you step right into that role?


Tom Gilligan 9:16

No, there, there was. George Gao had been the Dean prior to me, and he served out his term. So he served until I think, the end of August of 2008. And I just stepped right in. So he had gotten sideways with the president time Bill Powers over a couple of issues. And, and it was just it was, was not acrimonious. It was, I don't want to serve another term, his Dean and President power says, you know, it makes sense. Thank you for your service. And then George was a big help to me. The whole time I was nice and very supportive. You know, sometimes prior Dean's will not necessarily move into that role, but George did in Georgia is very helpful to me.


Jim 9:55

From the time you started at my combs until you really had Had your vision, your strategy? You know, your complete plan? How much time do you think that took between day one? And a lot of times we try and do something way too fast. And I'm kind of focused on that. And you know, how long did it take you to get it all together? Especially because of your listing to work?


Tom Gilligan 10:18

Yeah. So the honest answer, Jim is 18 months. And part of it is, you practically can't do it quick more quickly than that. The other part of that answer is you don't I was an outside knee. And I know you have a session on outside deans, and what's going on there, but I knew that you just can't walk in and push people around. And think that you know, something, and you're, you know, you're coming in there, change everything you have, like any strategic planning process, one of the chief objections is to just make sure that everybody understands that they invented it, that it wasn't invented from the outside or imposed from an external source. So I think the time was also necessary just to get by in and make sure that people understood the ownership and the plan was theirs, and that we're working on it that way.


Ken 11:07

You know, it's interesting, Tom, I imagine the soliciting the input from faculty may have had some unintended consequences in terms of duration, and the amount of FaceTime that you needed to provide a may have also had some some real benefits. What about other soliciting others perspectives? Or coaching either from President and Provost from the Advisory Board, senior staff? How do you go about that to get to get on board? Yeah,


Tom Gilligan 11:36

so my visiting tour included all the other Dean's, I had a very good provost and president to work for, they're very supportive. So that was very good. You know, this may be get to the difference between public and private to you know, Jim, at USC was a very, I always found USC a very hierarchical structure. You know, the very strong president, very strong provost. You know, as a dean, you knew what the chain of command is, I mean, you, you had to worry about alumni, and you had an advisory board, and you had major donors that were a big part of this. But it all kind of really worked through the presidents and Provost office coming down. At Texas, it's much more of a network, there is a nominal hierarchy. But you really, as a dean, you're out there on your own to kind of generate your own support from whatever areas you can get it. So Texas is blessed. I mean, you know, it's the University of Texas is loved by a lot of people in Texas, some people never even stepped on campus. Red McCombs is never a student at the University of Texas yet, we're gonna be naming gift for the University of Texas. And I spent as much time with alumni major donors, I had meetings with the lieutenant governor, this is another difference between public and private public institution, particularly one like University of Texas, you know, you're a public employee, all your emails are discoverable. All of your actions are basically subjected to scrutiny by people outside of the university and people outside of the education hierarchy. You're seeing that a lot now in red states, with governors who are very interested in what's going on with dei and curricular activities at universities. And so that can be a little bit more problematic. So I think that maybe maybe way to think about is USC, if you were gonna get shot, you knew the direction the bullet would come from. But at UT, you get a shot from any direct which is, which, which I didn't mind. But it also meant you could get support from all sorts of places. This like the Tom Sawyer story, you know, where you try to get other people to paint the fence and Texas you just just there's a lot of people paint the fence and a lot of people were willing to paint the fence as long as you don't have a rigid view of what their role should be at the place. So it was it was it was a really an interesting contrast to go from being Edina to a really tightly held in manage private university, to a rather open, chaotic, but very high quality and successful public university. Really, really interesting, intriguing.


Jim 14:06

How much interaction did you have to have with legislators or, you know, those who were passing on budgets and how much of that come into play?


Tom Gilligan 14:15

So you know, the Texas Legislature every other year, and me right now. So this time of year, February, March, President Powers would take all the deans, we go down there, and we visit the people and talk to legislators and try to ask questions, answer questions about what we're doing and how many students per dollar budget we had, and you know, what our plans were, etc. It was interesting, in a lot of ways, so you do spend some time with that. Also, I took advantage of it. I'm kind of a political junkie, and there's some famous political people in Texas and I would, I would just say, Well, look, I'm going to call somebody up and say I'm the Dean of the Macomb School of Business. Can I do a coffee with you? And they always say yes. Wow. So you know, I met with Barnes is a famous Lieutenant Governor and in Texas A long time ago or work for LBJ, and I just called him up for coffee. And he said, Yeah, tomorrow, we'll have coffee. So it was it was really you know, where it's USC is a famous school but it's it's insular and it's, it's about another school across town, UCLA. And I don't remember, Jim, maybe just the way I was, I don't know if we are interacting with politicians in California at all, in my role at USC. But at Texas, it was just more of a natural phenomenon, you know, the university was viewed as a public resource, it gathered the attention of people who are concerned about public outcomes. But I didn't mind it, I think it's just different. And I think it's important for a dean to recognize whether he's in a hierarchy or network, because it's, it's a big difference on how you operate. Like President power. I loved working with him, he was a really good president. But he didn't quite put it that way. But his view was, you know, he, he made it pretty clear wasn't to tell me what to do and how to do it. We're trying to get the four years, six year graduation rates, trying to make sure faculty productivity was up and high, trying to contribute as a business school, to the progress of the university in the States. So we did a lot of stuff in the entrepreneurial space, commercialization space, did some joint joint programs with engineering around those ideas. But that was all you could do that you didn't have to check with anybody you just had had to make sure you didn't step on too many toes. But you know, there was, there's enough room in Texas where you don't, you're not likely step on toes if you do something productive. I didn't run into any turf wars. In fact, I had adopted it. So for example, the dean of arts and sciences, arts and sciences is always the poor sister, right to the business school. So there and there's always a little bit of friction tension, but they had a group of faculty in the psychology department that wanted to offer a program develop a program in the psychology of management. So great idea. And I went to our management department who was heavily on psychology, and I thought they'd be a little bit jealous of and they said, no, they, you know, those guys over there are pretty good. And they're going to offer a different sticker angle than we will. And there's enough demand for people around this subject, that it's not going to affect us whatsoever. So a little bit of academic jealousy with, which is always there. Right, but nothing debilitating, nothing that prevented us from exploiting that innovative thought over there. You have


Ken 17:18

a sense of how the political and sort of network nature of the job and Macomb might have either influence sort of the arc of your experience, or the sequencing of events and sort of how you do your job until you're not doing your job.


Tom Gilligan 17:39

I'm not gonna answer directly, because I don't know what the direct answer is, I but I don't I do want to tell you that it was a big part of the focus of the leadership, the University of Texas, during the time I was here, there was something called the Board of Regents, which heads up the UT System. And they were had, they were members who were appointed by Governor Perry, who was a little bit hostile to the educational enterprise, generally and very hostile to the enterprise at UT because he was an Aggie, and that was that's the rivalry, right? Whether you UCLA run USC for a while, that's not. But they had a very hostile relationship with President Powers and what was going on at UT. And we, we had to take that tension into account in almost everything that we did, which didn't mean it stopped us from doing anything or causes us to do anything differently. We just had to take it into account in the way we framed goals and motivations and projects and the way we tried to move the university forward. It was mostly a problem that was born by the president's office, the dean's office, I think, got out of it. Mostly. This was the kind of crowd that would like a business school, though, generally. I mean, they it's a kind of crowd that wants everybody's study business, which is not a good option. But it was it was a big factor. You know, when I was the interim dean at USC, and then, you know, I'd been USC that long enough to see how it operates. It's just, there weren't those kinds of external forces, I knew several members of Board of Trustees and President sample was very clear, you know, that they're only input was to fire him, you know, that was kind of it. And if they had an idea, they could share it, but there wasn't, there wasn't much real authority other than who's going to be the president of USC. You know, that's, that's not the way it is that a big open network, public university, there are people who think they can influence and manage things from almost any venue, any perch.


Jim 19:31

The A lot of it was also how transparent the leadership of the university is with their board. I mean, usually you take a board and say, Hey, I have a problem. I need somebody to help. Well, they never would do that. They would just report and that's different, you know, and so people wouldn't impart their their thought process. It's sometimes you get good opinions and sometimes you get ones you want to go where that come from.


Tom Gilligan 19:55

No, that's exactly right. Jim, when I was we did a very big facility's master plan. resulted in us building a new NBA building and rolling Hall. I don't know if you've ever been out of your gym and


Jim 20:04

absolutely been there. Spectacular they call it Gilligan's building.


Tom Gilligan 20:08

Yeah. Well, it was, it's amazing. But the way we sold that is that we did a facility's master plan, we had a great architectural firm helping us. But you know, ordinarily, when you bring your advisory board in, Jim, you know, you've tried to find the most Tony spaces around campus to and I said, you know, we're gonna do it differently. This time, we're gonna, we're gonna take you to the spaces that our students enjoy in their classes. So we had some horrible buildings. So we took them in there, and they sat in the air squeaking. And it was clear that the walls were leaking fluids and, and one of the guys just had a lovely advisory board. After five minutes, the guy says, Tom, you when we're in here, just stop, get us out of here. But it was a You're right. Yeah. And that was the key, I think any business school worth his salt is going to be able to attract people that want to do nothing but help. And all you have to do is really frame the ask and frame the same problems and solution sets in ways that make people feel good about helping. It really is that simple. And that that instinct to not share information, even not share blemishes or weaknesses is a wrong instinct, you need to get over it, you need to be as transparent as you possibly can, mostly about the bad stuff with people because they want to work on it, too. They want to be part of something very successful. And they want to take credit for making it more successful.


Jim 21:30

Couldn't agree more with that? Well, Tom,


Ken 21:32

he took a successful career and then made yet another interesting move to Hoover Institution. And it'd be very interesting to hear sort of what you carried forward, what you learned and what you brought to the role,


Tom Gilligan 21:45

you know, very interesting place. So Hoover Institution is really a public policy think tank on Stanford University campus. It's huge. I mean, the budget is $80 million a year, and they have about a $600 million endowment, it's just a big operation. It's populated by some of the most brilliant minds in the world. Basically, Condi Rice is there. And Taylor of the Taylor rule famous there, Thomas Sol was there. Just some very prominent people. We had no curriculum, a lot of our fellows taught in various programs at at Stanford, but they did so on the side arrangement with Dean's, and things like that. So we had no curriculum whatsoever. Unlike the case at combs, and Marshall, I was replacing a longtime director, John raising had been there for over 30 years. In fact, he had been the director, when I was a national fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1989. We've been there a long time. So really, I was hired because they wanted, you know, Jonathan, great guy and this famous director, but if you do some for 30 years, there's bound to be a sense of stasis, you know, or or staleness to it. And everybody can, including John kind of agreed that was the case, and you kind of want to do so I was kind of, unlike martial in Macomb says kind of brought in to change things or to move things a little bit. And, and I found that extremely difficult, particularly with a faculty, they're called fellows, with a group of fellows who are very senior, very prominent, and do not think there's anything at all wrong with what they're doing and have been doing for three years. Now, the external people, the donors, and other things wanted to see a lot of change, they want to see much more programming for students, they want to see much more programming for social media, because, you know, it's a kind of a center, right, classical liberal place. And they, you know, a lot of the donors did not think those ideas were being promoted enough or, or, or, or given much credit in the current political milieu. And so they wanted to see a lot of that innovation take place, and it took it took a really hot effort to do that. So I spent six years doing that. Now, having said that, again, I found the same thing that I'd found the previous locate two cases is that you could always find a champion for something new, you know, amongst the fellows and amongst your donors. So don't wait for unanimity on something new. This, find a couple champions. Make sure it's not injurious to the existing programs, or other people that are there. But just let the champions run with it and support the champions and see what happens. And then you get a couple of those that are successful, and people who have other ideas start to see wow, this kind of place it actually will support new ideas as opposed to doing the same thing for the past 30 years. So it was a similar Tom Sawyer, paint fence type deal. It was a little bit different in the sense that I think the fellows faculty group was a lot more entrenched, if you will, and comfortable with their ways, but the same process that I'd used at Marshall accounts you work there, more or less, a different complication arose because pouvons to action is at Stanford University has been there since 19 1970. And I believe you know, so it's an over 100 year institution, you couldn't put something out on a university. Now you couldn't put something with an overtly right leaning or center right leaning or classical liberal thing. And so there was in so, you know, Stanford like any, any university was having organ rejection, with whoever. So that was a constant state, constant state of tension that you had to deal with. And the leadership, Stanford is very supportive, but they were clumsy. So every once in a while, they would get in a fair amount of trouble for the lack of intellectual diversity on campus. And they would point to Hoover and in fact, push Hoover to go even more right in some things, right. And what's it what's exacerbated the organ rejection deal? That was unique to, to my experience as an academic administrator, that didn't happen at Texas, or at USC, both of those places. The Business School is highly respected and considered to be a productive part of the academic community. And the faculty were selected in the same way in everything. I think the uniqueness of Hoover, both at Stanford and in the constellation of academic universities created some problems that you just had to deal with. And you couldn't you couldn't fix it. In other words, you know, there was nothing to fix it is what it is. Right? Like, I'd like to be able to wear a size 32 pants, but I wear 36 plans. So that's just the way to so you know, that was that was probably a one day a week challenge for me just dealing with some of those issues.


Jim 26:36

That's really interesting, interesting, a hierarchy that you had to deal with there similar to the bureaucracy of the universe. As a dean,


Tom Gilligan 26:45

yeah. So it was not as hierarchical as USC. Particularly Hoover wasn't because Hoover had a separate, a separate set of bylaws and charters. So we're technically responsible to the Board of Trustees of Stanford, and I had a dotted line connection to the president of Stanford University. And we operated like the provost ran the place, but she didn't. And we had an advisory board and we had an executive committee, the advisory board, to which I was technically responsible for answering. So it was a it was a dual reporting role. And Jim, I know you've seen the business world enough to know the dual reporting positions are difficult problem with Azur I don't work. I left after six years, and I just marveled at how John raising could have stayed there for 30 years or the or Glen Campbell before him for about the same amount of time. I just, I don't know if it's gotten worse, that university for Think Tank like Hoover or not, but it was that was tough is very difficult. Condoleezza Rice is the director now and you know, she's so prominent and has sufficient stature that I, I would imagine that some of the problems that I ran into are moot. It's at some level, but it's still it's still a difficult deal. I think the broader question is, Is there life for a business school dean after business school? Dini? I think there can be I, for example, think that business school deans are highly underappreciated. as candidates for presidency, say universities. I think business school Dean's are better with external audiences than Dean's around the campus. I think they're more used to finding support from different sources. And they're more comfortable with networks and messy situations, in many respects, they're more accountable to educational outcomes and programmatic goals. So it really surprises me that there aren't more presidents of universities that used to be the you know, Gandhi, you know, took that job at Tennessee. And she did her PhD at Texas and she's stunning and she's I think she's done it because the what she learned is a business school the news she's gets out there she's got good communication skills, achieve great values she she knows how to produce she's comfortable being held accountable to stuff and I think she's a model for what business school Dean's if they have that aspiration want to aspire to, I wouldn't ever take such a job. I mean, you guys know this is that the the funny thing about universities is that the more exalted your title is, the less authority you have, you know, it's kind of a pyramid. I mean, the person with the most authority is the troublesome undergraduate, you know, that person has to be made happy no matter what. And then he just goes down to the person at the tip of the pyramid that's at the bottom is the chancellor, the president, he's kind of like, all you can really do is cajole, beg, you know, replace people, I guess, but it's, it's it's universities, very interesting places.


Jim 29:41

And you know, it's interesting. I was doing some research on this, as I did talk the other day. The tenure of a university president today is about four years, whereas the tenure of a university president 10 years ago was seven plus years. So it's really a it's not a prestigious job like it was because there are so many constituencies that are firing at you, every single students got an opinion and they're not shy, they're going right into the President University. So I think you're right. And I think you're right about business school deans that have the ability to run a big institution very much. They've got a leg up on many other Dean's coming out of many other, many other disciplines. Really interesting point. But again, that's your wheelhouse. You're the guy that recruits


Ken 30:28

you know, business school dealing is much more complex with more diverse constituencies than ever before. So the training, but you know, interestingly, and, Tom, you know, we'd love to have you back for a follow on conversation, if not as a candidate as a, as a pundit, who, who really has some interesting insight, because there has been an interesting wave of new presidents who have come out of the business pain ranks, and I think you're exactly right. They've been galvanized by their experience, and have some positives to bring


Jim 31:01

in your successors. A good example, your successor is a good example.


Tom Gilligan 31:05

Yeah, exactly. I think and I also think, you know, and maybe this speaks to what the role of of a contemporary business school dean is, I remember Jim, in the, the lore, and you did you did it for 12 years. Right. And I think that will, I don't think anybody does that anymore. I think a business school needs job now is transformational, right. You come in, you get stuff going, and then you look for something new to do. I think you were such an established figure at USC, you had plenty to do. And I imagine you spent a lot of your time at Marshall doing University stuff. But I think now these jobs are almost transformational and move on. Yeah, I felt like a consultant a little bit, you know, both at Marshall and at Macomb. And at Hoover. Now we're just looking at the business model all the time, and trying to tweak it and change it and move it. And once you get it to where you've got it. I don't understand what the role is. Right. So it's kind of kind of hard to read what the role is. So maybe that's good. I mean, maybe it points to the fact that there's much more dynast dynamism in educational institutions than what we think there's much more moving on academic programs. I mean, and what research has been done and, and things like that than there used to be, which I think is good. You know, I think dynamism is good generally.


Jim 32:17

Yeah, I think you're right. I have to tell you, just as we finish up, I want to on a personal note, say and I never have the opportunity to say it. Thank you, for what you did for me. You're being an interim dean and taking some arrows that you took that were unnecessary to take. But you said that set the path and said that in the right way, and I couldn't appreciate it more. And I really do appreciate it. And think it means a lot.


Tom Gilligan 32:41

My pleasure given I've always enjoyed our association, too. And I look forward to playing golf sometime we


Jim 32:45

may do. I agree. I agree. I agree. I thought maybe when I was done doing that, Dini thing, I might have a shot to play a little more golf. I don't know why it's not working. But somehow, somebody I gotta make it work. But I've been I've been trying at least I've worked on that. Good. Good for you. So thanks. Thank you for the time really appreciate very much pleasure, guys.


Tom Gilligan 33:07

Let me know if I can help in any other way. I really enjoy what you guys are doing and good luck with it.


Jim 33:20

Can your thoughts


Ken 33:21

quite an interesting career and quite an interesting way of describing the career I mean, three very different roles that he was obviously masterful at each took a lot of his sort of common learning and took it took it forward. I mean, the the role at USC and you glad you acknowledged and thanked him for it. It sounds like he left things in really good shape and was not merely a caretaker, sometimes those interim roles can be and, frankly, his experience at McCombs is well known in the business school deeming industry as a successful role in a big complicated place.


Jim 34:10

He's a very clear thinker. He's a very clear thinker. And that showed up in every single position of responsibility that he held. He's very cut and dry in terms of his thought process. He knows how to put a plan together. And I will tell you what he did in a year as an interim dean was absolutely spectacular, and extremely meaningful to the Marshall School of Business. And then when he got to McCombs, he knocked it out of the park, and they loved him there and just thought the world of him so he's a very good professional leader, that has great, great instincts and I think is instincts are terrific, and that came out in today's conversation.


Ken 34:54

There was a humble pill and that was at the DEA. is not that important. And you know, of course, it's, of course the role is important and of course, doing the job well makes a difference. But the humility, that it's not that important, I think allowed him to be effective in ways across the aisle.


Jim 35:17

That's who he is. That's exactly what yes, there's, it's, there's no pretense here. It's just, he's the real deal. And he's really a very clear thinker. It was great for me to be an associate and to to work alongside him in the times that we did so. couldn't speak more highly of him. wonderful guy.


Dave 35:35

Thank you for listening to this episode of Dean's Council. This show is supported in part by Korn Ferry leaders in executive search. Dean's Council was produced in Boulder, Colorado by Joel Davis of analog digital arts. For a catalogue of previous shows, please visit our website at Dean's council.com If you have any feedback for us, please let us know by sending an email to feedback at Dean's council.com. And finally, please hit follow or subscribe on your favorite podcast player so you can automatically receive our latest show








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