lsbe newsletter

Photo caption: Interim Associate Dean Dr.Praveen Aggarwal (l) and Dean Kjell R. Knudsen (r)
Interim Associate Dean Dr .Praveen Aggarwal (l) with Dean Kjell R. Knudsen


As Kjell R. Knudsen, Dean of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, prepares to retire this coming June, he is confident in the School’s strong position and in continued momentum under new leadership.

“LSBE is in good shape, and I think it is time for a new generation to take charge and lead the School forward,” said Knudsen.

Under Knudsen’s leadership, LSBE has seen remarkable achievements, from a beautiful new building to AACSB accreditation to innovative programs.

“We have a full complement of very qualified faculty. We have a good student body. We have an excellent staff. The school’s reputation is growing. We have exciting programs. We have all of the elements of a successful school of business and economics,” said Knudsen.

These elements will be key in attracting a new dean to the School, and the search for that person is well underway.

A committee, composed of faculty, staff, and a community member appointed by UMD Executive Vice Chancellor Andrea Schokker, is working with professional firm Korn/Ferry to advertise the position nationally. The committee will then help narrow the pool of candidates and share their recommendations with Schokker and Chancellor Lendley C. Black, who will ultimately select the new dean.

As Knudsen explained, the search for a new dean is very thorough and transparent to ensure all qualified candidates have the opportunity to apply. “As many of the search committee members are from LSBE, it also provides an opportunity for them to weigh in on the process.”

Jim Riehl, Dean of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering and chair of the search committee, said he is optimistic about the search process and the efforts made so far. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity for someone. With the new building and supportive faculty and staff, it is going to be easy to find really good candidates.”

Measures are in place to assure continuity during the transition between deans. Dr. Praveen Aggarwal, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Marketing, is serving as interim associate dean for a two-year period for just this purpose. This academic year, he is learning about the School’s administration from Knudsen, and in year two, he will serve as a resource person for the new dean as she or he becomes familiar with the School’s culture and functioning. In this role, he is also responsible for the day-to-day internal management of the School’s degree programs, majors, and curriculum.

Knudsen is confident all of the faculty and staff at LSBE will help provide continuity because they have been an integral part of the mission and vision of the School.

“I am looking forward to another chapter in my life,” said Knudsen. “I’m glad I made the choice to come to UMD, and I have really enjoyed my time as dean. I will miss it, but it is time.”

While Knudsen retires from his position as dean in June, he will most likely be at UMD for two more years in a reduced appointment working on special projects. He is also considering teaching some courses.

"It has been an honor to work with Dean Knudsen,” said Schokker. “The more I talk with students, alumni, faculty, and area business leaders, the clearer it is to me what an amazing impact he has had on UMD. LSBE is now extremely well-positioned to attract an excellent leader for the next phase of our journey, building on the foundation and clear vision that Kjell has put in place."


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