Erika H. James will be the next dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1, according to a statement Wednesday by Penn president Amy Gutmann and provost Wendell Pritchett.
“Erika is an award-winning scholar and teacher and a strong, proven leader who serves as dean of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University,” Gutmann said in the statement.
James will succeed Geoff Garrett, who is leaving to become dean of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. She is the first woman and first person of color to lead the 139-year-old business school.
Since becoming dean of Goizueta Business School in 2014, James led an effort to build an innovation and entrepreneurship lab open to all students on campus. The Goizueta faculty grew by 25% by the end of her first term, the release said.
“Erika has consistently and constructively drawn upon her own scholarship in the areas of leadership development, organizational behavior, gender and racial diversity, and crisis leadership,” Pritchett said.
“This is an exciting time to be in business education,” James said in the statement. “The scope and platform of the Wharton School provides an opportunity to create far-reaching impact for students, scholars, and the business community.”
At Emory, James undertook a significant redesign of the undergraduate business curriculum, integrating immersive learning, technology, and partnerships with Emory College’s liberal arts curriculum.
Before that, she served as the senior associate dean for executive education at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
James is a member of the SurveyMonkey board and the Graduate Management Admissions Council and previously served on the board of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the accrediting body in business education.
She has also been named one of the Top 10 Women of Power in Education by Black Enterprise and one of the Power 100 by Ebony Magazine.
James holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges, in California. In addition to her roles at Emory and Virginia, she served as an assistant professor at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business and a visiting professor at Harvard Business School.
Founded in 1881 as the world’s first collegiate business school, Wharton has a faculty of more than 235 professors and 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students.