Meet Wim Wiewel (pronounced Vim VEEV-ell)
"What better way to emphasize PSU's commitment to sustainability than bicycling," said a cheerful Wiewel. "And what better way to symbolize our partnership with the city than to do it with our new mayor-elect."
The event encapsulated Wiewel's approach: high energy, media-savvy, in touch with his environment, and oriented toward partnerships.
It was those same qualities that led to him taking on the interim deanship of the business school at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), even though he had no background in business. In 1999, Wiewel, the dean of the UIC's urban planning college, was asked to step in temporarily to head the business school. Its dean, a high-profile investment banking executive, was unable to make the transition from corporate to the academic culture and had left after just one year.
One of Wiewel's first tasks as acting head of the business school was to work with key faculty to refresh the school's strategic priorities, including an ambitious push to make it one of the top 10 comprehensive urban business schools in the country.
A year later, Wiewel won out in a national search to become the college's permanent dean, and was well on his way to achieving his goals for the school. During his first three years of leadership, the business college moved up from 94th to 49th in the U.S. News & World Report's undergraduate college of business national rankings. He increased full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty by almost 15 percent, which reduced class sizes and expanded course offerings. In the process, he infused the college with new energy and high expectations.
Wiewel served four years as the dean of UIC's College of Business Administration. His crowning achievement was landing a $5 million gift to establish the Liautaud Graduate School of Business.
"He was so successful that the faculty—economists, management, and information science professors—chose him to be their permanent dean," says David C. Perry, UIC colleague and scholarly collaborator. "That exemplifies Wim."
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