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New WSB Dean Brings Plans for Collaboration, Innovative Technologies

By Clare Becker

August 14, 2017

Anne P. Massey Shares Vision for School

WSB Dean Anne P. Massey
Anne P. Massey, WSB Albert O. Nicholas Dean. PHOTO: PAUL L. NEWBY II

As a scholar, she recently ranked in the top 2.5 percent of researchers published in the most prestigious information systems journals and has received more than a million dollars of grant funding from organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a leader, she founded a center to encourage women in technology, and holds advanced degrees in industrial engineering and decision sciences and engineering systems.

So it might come as a surprise to discover that Anne P. Massey, Wisconsin School of Business’s new Albert O. Nicholas Dean, carries a three-year-old phone that keeps alerting her the storage is full.

“People seem to find it amusing that I’m a bit of a technology laggard,” Massey says with a laugh. “I’m very intrigued by how things work, but I don’t feel any need to be a lead adopter.”

Massey took the helm at the Wisconsin School of Business on August 14, following the departure of former dean François Ortalo-Magné for the London Business School. Prior to WSB, she spent more than 20 years at Indiana University and its Kelley School of Business as an administrator, professor, researcher, and innovator. Most recently, Massey was the Dean’s Research Professor of Information Systems and the associate vice president in the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs.

“We are thrilled to welcome Anne P. Massey as our new dean of the Wisconsin School of Business,” says University of Wisconsin–Madison Provost Sarah C. Mangelsdorf. “Her passion for innovation and forward-thinking research will inspire students and faculty and help us build upon the School’s past successes.”

Massey had been with Indiana since 1996, achieving a top position there, but was drawn to the WSB deanship based on the School’s outstanding reputation as an innovator in business education and research.

Vertical portrait of Dean Anne P. Massey

“What attracted me was the real commitment to excellence, and I mean that across the board, from the teaching and student environment to the research environment to the engagement with the campus and the community,” Massey says.

“That sets the foundation for everything else that we do.”

Cross-disciplinary collaboration

As dean, Massey intends to take a cross-disciplinary approach that focuses on building partnerships with other entities on the UW–Madison campus.

“It centers on working across, as I like to call it, different thought worlds,” she says. “I’m really excited about this. I want to see us become a catalyst for innovation through these collaborations—working with engineering, computer science, the medical school, and others.”

“Anne’s cross-disciplinary leadership experience will be a major asset to our School,” says Ella Mae Matsumura, senior associate dean for academic programs at WSB. “Her ability to inspire students to tackle learning challenges, her focus on teaching excellence, and her aptitude for collaboration will give WSB a fantastic educational foundation.”

Intracampus partnerships benefit students as much as they do the university. As Massey notes, students entering the workforce need to be prepared to work in a team environment, to communicate well with others, and to be technically conversant. Cross-disciplinary collaborations help teach and build those vital skills.

“Our business students don’t need to have extensive programming knowledge to be successful,” Massey says. “What they need is a degree of fluency when talking about technology, particularly in teams with members representing different disciplines. If I’m a finance major, for example, I still need to be technically conversant in order to communicate with my team and help make strategic decisions.”

‘Extending the classroom experience’

Massey received her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and worked for General Electric and IBM before joining higher education, all experiences that have informed her approach toward teaching, research, and leadership.

“I am impressed by Anne’s record of accomplishments as a scholar, teacher, and leader,” says Barry Gerhart, senior associate dean for faculty and research at WSB. “Her research on how to improve the effectiveness of teams, including both global and virtual teams, is fundamentally important and widely cited. I’m energized by Anne as our dean and we’re eager to work with her as she leads the School into the future.”

Dean Anne P. Massey talks with WSB faculty
Massey brings a collaborative approach to her deanship. Pictured above: faculty members Sarada and Jon Eckhardt. PHOTO: PAUL L. NEWBY II

As dean, she wants to explore ways to use technology to open new learning opportunities to nonresidential students, “extending the classroom experience,” as she describes it.

WSB’s programs are top notch, Massey says, and she believes that we need to find ways to build on that success in order to reach more people. WSB can form a lasting relationship with our students and alumni if we create innovative offerings that go beyond the years they are working toward their degree, according to Massey.

“There are many opportunities to engage our alumni and support lifelong learning through technology, whether it be hybrid or fully online environments,” she says. Her own research examines virtual work environments, a possibility she’s open to for the School.

Pairing the right opportunities with the right technologies is key. As someone who studies technology and the user interface, she’s not about to throw technology at a project just for its own sake.

“How we do things matters,” Massey says. “How we do things is as important as what we do.”

She also has extensive experience using technology on a system-wide scale, having helped lead two large faculty-facing IT implementations while at Indiana University.

“Anne took on the IT and other projects in a very thoughtful, systematic way,” says John Applegate, Indiana University’s executive vice president for academic affairs. “It is no mean feat to map complex academic procedures, match them to an automated system, and make it user friendly. It was always such a pleasure to work with her, both personally and professionally. She’ll be a terrific dean.”

Standing out from the crowd

Massey believes investing in unique educational opportunities will be a differentiator for WSB.

“We are not going to be like every other business school,” Massey says. “We have to identify and find the unique opportunities where we can add value in different ways that other schools aren’t able to do. With students, the notion of a tran
sformational experience is essential.”

Massey says she’s a firm believer in the Wisconsin Idea as well, upholding the premise that the university’s impact should extend well beyond the boundaries of campus.

“We have a responsibility to our students, and we have a responsibility to our community, industry, and businesses. We give back both through the educational opportunities we create and through the exemplary research our faculty members produce.”

Vijay Khatri, an associate professor of operations and decision technologies at Kelley, said he benefited from two faculty-facing technology-based initiatives Massey led.

“Anne used her understanding of the university to improve how we as faculty work,” Khatri says, reflecting on Massey’s commitment to faculty needs. “She was a change agent in those projects where she needed to successfully engage a diverse group of faculty. She created a plan and followed through.”Quote from Anne P. Massey on differentiationDiversity in business education

As institutions across the nation are turning their focus to diversity and inclusion initiatives, Massey observes that business schools in particular “should play a very significant role in this space.”

“Diversity is an imperative. It’s not something that we are just checking off. All of our industry partners are committed to diversity and inclusion, so we need to prepare our students, and we need to lead by example,” she says.

While at Indiana, she helped found The Center of Excellence for Women in Technology (CEWiT) to attract and retain more women and underrepresented minorities in technology fields, as well as engage faculty and staff across disciplines. Massey was one of four leaders who conceptualized the project from start to finish, which launched in 2013 and now has more than 5,000 affiliate members.

“Anne is an amazing, high energy, positive, and strategic visionary thinker who is both results-oriented and a technical powerhouse,” says Maureen Biggers, director of CEWiT at Indiana University. “Her commitment to broadening participation in the field of technology reflects an overarching mindset of inclusion and opportunity.”

Becoming a Badger 

Massey says she’s excited to take advantage of all that the university and city of Madison have to offer: basketball, hockey, sailing, and exploring the community’s art museums and history. An avid cyclist, she’s also looking forward to hitting Dane County’s many trails on one of her eight bicycles.

As Massey begins her tenure at WSB, she’ll lead milestone events such as the tenth anniversary of the Wisconsin Naming Gift and the transformative renovation in Grainger Hall that will create the Learning Commons. She’ll shepherd this forward momentum, creating a new chapter in the School’s story and strongly upholding the WSB brand.

“The Wisconsin School of Business brand, Together Forward, is very powerful,” Massey says. “It’s about working together within the School, but also working together across campus and industry. If we can do that, then we’ll continue to move forward. I’m very enthusiastic about the brand, both in our ability to leverage it and to actually live it.”