CHAPEL HILL – The UNC Board of Trustees approved the joint recommendation of Chancellor Holden Thorp and Chancellor-elect Carol Folt to select James “Jim” W. Dean, Jr. as UNC’s next Provost, effective July 1.

Dean is the dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School as well as a Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Organizational Behavior.

In an email to his colleagues, he announced that a formal announcement would be made later in the day and that he was honored to take the role.

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp made the announcement official through an email to the campus community just before 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. In his message he stated, “Jim has performed with distinction since joining the faculty in 1997.”

He also included a quote from Dr. Folt that stated, “Jim is an accomplished scholar and outstanding educator. He is respected widely for his visionary leadership of Kenan-FlaglerBusinessSchool and for the innovative and interdisciplinary approaches he takes to ensure excellence in research, education and public service.


***Read the Official Announcement from UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp***

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Chancellor-Elect Carol Folt and I have exciting news to share about the University’s leadership transition. James (Jim) W. Dean, Jr., dean of Kenan-Flagler Business School and a longtime faculty member, will serve as the next executive vice chancellor and provost starting July 1. The University’s Board of Trustees approved our joint recommendation earlier today.

The excellent work of the campus search committee led by Kristen Swanson, dean of the School of Nursing and Alumni Distinguished Professor, was a critical factor in bringing the selection process to a successful conclusion on schedule. The committee conducted a thorough national search that attracted a strong candidate pool.

Jim will succeed Bruce Carney, who has been provost since 2009 and is preparing for a well-deserved return to the faculty and his research.

The executive vice chancellor and provost is the University’s chief academic officer and oversees the professional schools, the College of Arts and Sciences, the University Library, and a number of other academic-related units.

Chancellor-Elect Folt asked me to share this statement about Jim’s

“Jim is an accomplished scholar and outstanding educator. He is respected widely for his visionary leadership of Kenan-Flagler Business School and for the innovative and interdisciplinary approaches he takes to ensure excellence in research, education and public service. As the chief academic officer, his deep knowledge of the University’s strengths across schools and commitment to providing an outstanding education for our undergraduate, graduate and professional students will assist me in engaging the entire community in building a bright future.”

Jim has performed with distinction since joining the faculty in 1997. He was appointed dean in 2008, and he has successfully positioned Kenan-Flagler as a leading global business school that is a valued member of our campus community and a major contributor to the welfare of North Carolina, the nation and the world. He previously served in Kenan-Flagler’s top academic position, senior associate dean for academic affairs, for a year. He was associate dean of Executive Development from 2002 to 2007 and associate dean of the MBA Program from
1998 to 2002.

Jim is a professor of organizational behavior and a Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Scholar. His other experience included serving as program director of the National Science Foundation research program, Transformations to Quality Organizations, jointly sponsored by the government and the private sector. He was an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for six years. Leadership, organizational change, strategic decision making, international management, and organizational performance improvement are the focus of his research, teaching and consulting. He has published in many of the top academic and business journals. Jim lives in Chapel Hill with his wife Janet Babilon Dean.

An interim dean will be announced in the near future, along with plans for a search committee to identify Jim’s successor. We are working together toward a seamless leadership transition in South Building and the start of the Folt administration in July.

Please join me in congratulating Jim on his appointment.

Holden Thorp


***Read the Letter from Jim Dean to Kenan-Flagler Faculty and Staff***

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I want you to be among the first to know that I was nominated for the role of Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at UNC. Today the Board of Trustees approved a joint recommendation by Chancellor Holden Thorp and Chancellor-Elect Carol Folt to appoint me to that position, effective July 1.

I am honored to take on this important leadership role at UNC, and I am excited about the contributions that I believe I can make to our great university. A public announcement will be made later today, but I want to share the news with you now.

Collaborating with you has been a true privilege, and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together. I especially want to thank you for your partnership in helping me achieve my vision for UNC Kenan-Flagler as a top global business school whose graduates are known for their effective and principled leadership as well as their technical and managerial skills and that produces research with impact, serves as a valued member of the UNC community, and contributes to the welfare of North Carolina and the world beyond its borders.

After 16 years at UNC Kenan-Flagler, I remain deeply committed to and passionate about our School. This new opportunity is bittersweet in that my new role will mean that I will work with you less directly and less frequently in the future. Please know that my commitment to you and UNC Kenan-Flagler remains unchanged. As provost, I will remain involved with UNC Kenan-Flagler – including the selection of our next dean.

In terms of a transition, we will move quickly to:

Name an interim dean

Form a search committee to identify our next dean

Develop a transition plan for both the interim dean and our new dean

I will share more information in the days to come. For now, I want to thank you for your continued dedication to our students, our programs and our School. It has been a joy to work with you.



James W. Dean, Jr.

Dean, Kenan-Flagler Business School

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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