Linda Salchenberger’s academic resume is impressive. She most recently served as associate dean of academics at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies, and before that she was associate dean of the School of Business Administration at Loyola University Chicago where she also taught.
So, why would she leave the bright lights of the Windy City to become Marquette University’s new James H. Keyes Dean of Business Administration?
“A lot of people have asked me why. My simple answer is that it’s Marquette,” she said. “Folks in Chicago really respect both Marquette University and its fine academic reputation, and I think just the general positive attitude for the city of Milwaukee and my love for Wisconsin brought me here.”
Salchenberger succeeds David Shrock, who had been dean of Marquette’s College of Business Administration since 1999 and became interim provost starting January 2008, for one semester. Upon the completion of his interim term as provost, Shrock retired and was replaced by John Pauly who became provost of the university in July.
The dean of business administration position is funded by James Keyes, retired chief executive officer and chairman of the board at Johnson Controls, and a 1962 graduate of Marquette. Keyes announced the gift of $7.2 million last December.
Mark Eppli, professor of finance and Bell Chair of Real Estate at Marquette University, led the 12-member search committee to find the new dean. The Korn Ferry search firm out of Boston assisted in the national search.
“Korn Ferry reviewed two slates of 125 potential candidates and then narrowed it to a group of around 40 that we spent some significant time reviewing,” Eppli said. “We then brought in 12 candidates for a two-hour ‘airport’ (off campus) interview to decide which three we would bring in for a full on-campus interview.”
Marquette was able to attract several qualified candidates, in part because of the budget associated with the position, Eppli said.
“That clearly gave us an edge when we went out into the market. If you have a budget to promote research, teaching and outreach innovation, it gives the dean leverage. That kind of money is really helpful,” Eppli said.
According to Eppli, Salchenberger’s superior education stature, her leadership background, including a term as vice provost at another Jesuit based institution, and her consensus-building and vision made her a good fit for the position.
“Linda is also the first woman dean in Business Administration, which I think presents a brand new image as well,” he said.
Marquette’s incoming freshman class is around 54-percent female, Eppli said.
Salchenberger cited several reasons for accepting the position.
“In order to do anything innovative and creative for a school and faculty, you have to have some sort of resources that are at the discretion of the dean,” she said. “So, the ability to give my faculty the opportunity to continue to be creative in their research and in their teaching and their outreach activities through this gift was a great opportunity for me.”
As dean, she will primarily act as the facilitator and be responsible for crafting and implementing, along with the faculty, a strategic direction for the school, she said.
“I picture my position to be a little more external then internal. Things internally are functioning well, so that gives me the luxury of spending my time connecting with the business community in the area and looking for projects that businesses want to engage the university with, and how we can help to give back to the business community as well.”
Salchenberger intends to focus on three key things in her first year as dean:
1. Ensuring the university continues along the path of academic excellence in both research and teaching.
2. Ensuring the faculty and administration work together to build the theme of corporate and social responsibility into their teaching and research.
3. Challenging students to become globally and culturally aware through their studies, in order to create leaders ready to do business in a global economy.
“One of the things that is already in place here, and that I intend to grow, are Marquette’s applied learning programs,” she said. “We are really interested in creating opportunities for our students to not just learn the theories and best practices of a business, but actually have the opportunity while they are still in college to work with a company to apply what they learn so by the time they are hired they can really hit the ground running.”
Marquette has applied learning programs in real estate, applied investment theory and supply chain management.
Salchenberger received her undergraduate degree from Mundelein College, Chicago, and her master’s degree in mathematics from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She received her M.B.A and Ph.D. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Salchenberger also founded the Center for Information Management and Technology at Loyola University, where she served as assistant vice president for academic affairs and faculty administration.
“I can think back to as early as kindergarten, and knowing that I just really liked to solve problems, and I always wanted to be in education,” she said. “I like the idea that there can be a right and a wrong answer, and in mathematics I was always intrigued by the complexity of the process and the reasoning behind achieving that correct answer.”
Salchenberger and her husband, Sam, have purchased a summer home in the Village of Fontana on Lake Geneva.
“I’m delighted to begin meeting people, I felt very welcome by both the Marquette community and the Milwaukee business community, and I am looking forward to working with them on other projects and initiatives,” she said.
Title: James H. Keyes Dean of Business Administration at Marquette University
Education: Undergraduate degree in mathematics from Mundelein College; master’s degree in mathematics from Illinois Institute of Technology; M.B.A and Ph.D. from Northwestern University
Family: Husband, Sam; son, Chris, 22, recently graduated from University of Illinois with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Residence: Grew up in Chicago, lives in Elmhurst, Ill., and Fontana, Wis.
Interests: Loves the outdoors, spends summers camping in various national parks.