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Wharton Business School Names Erika James As Its New Dean

JUL 10, 2020 • 3 min read

As of July 1st, Erika James is officially the Dean of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania! Erika James is well known in the realm of higher education for her dedication to cross-disciplinary studies, innovative teaching, and commitment diversity and inclusion. Dean James is the first woman and the first Black leader of the business school.

An alumna of Pomona College and the University of Michigan, James has committed her education and career to the betterment of higher education and humanity all together. Earning a MA and Ph.D. in organizational psychology, Erika James has the understanding and expertise necessary to lead such a diverse, unique, and successful institution.

Prior to accepting her new position at Wharton, Dean James has worked as an assistant professor at Tulane University's Freeman School of Business, a visiting professor at Harvard Business School, dean of Emory University's Goizueta Business School, and senior associate dean for executive education at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. While at Darden, not only did she lead the University of Virginia’s business school, but she also introduced the Women's Leadership Program, and was the first-ever associate dean of diversity. Talk about a leader!

UPenn’s President, Amy Gutmann 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. . . She has led faculty and student workshops on such topics as unconscious bias and building trust across divides and has been engaged as a consultant by some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious firms.”

And in response to her offer, James stated, “This is an exciting time to be in business education. The scope and platform of the Wharton School provides an opportunity to create far-reaching impact for students, scholars, and the business community.”

As if all of her achievements aren’t impressive enough, Erika James was also named one of the Top 10 Women of Power in Education by Black Enterprise and as one of the Power 100 by Ebony Magazine.

Crimson’s very own Anjali Bhatia, Country Manager of the USA and Canada shared: "As an active Wharton alumna, I am proud of our school's choice to bring on Erika James as our Dean. Her track record demonstrates a unique ability to translate academia into action. She is a phenomenal role model of leadership and also represents progress for gender and racial equality. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does to take Wharton to the next level!"

Shannon F.

Written by

Shannon F.

Shannon completed her Bachelors at Franklin University Switzerland where she majored in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies & minored in Social Justice and Sustainability. Shannon has a passion for learning new languages, environmental and social justice, and immersing herself in new cultures. Shannon has worked in higher education and now works as an Education Coordinator with Crimson. Shannon currently lives in Denver, Colorado, and enjoys reading, hiking, practicing yoga, and traveling.