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Villanova University Appoints Joyce E. A. Russell, PhD, as The Helen and William O'Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business

Villanova University Appoints Joyce E.A. Russell, PhD, as The Helen and William O'Toole  Dean of the Villanova School of Business

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, today announced the appointment of Joyce E. A. Russell, PhD, as The Helen and William O'Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business (VSB), effective August 1. A leader in business education recognized for her commitment to teaching and research, Russell currently serves as Senior Associate Dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at The University of Maryland at College Park (UMD). This key appointment is the result of a rigorous national search led by a committee of faculty, administrators, students and alumni.

“Dr. Russell’s proven track record as a visionary leader makes her a perfect fit to lead the Villanova School of Business into its next great chapter,” said Father Donohue. “Dr. Russell is a true teacher-scholar, who has been recognized for her teaching and research, as well as her commitment to service. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Russell to the Villanova community and look forward to continuing to see the School of Business thrive under her leadership.”

Prior to being named Senior Associate Dean at UMD’s Smith School in 2015, Russell served as Vice Dean for three years. In these roles, her responsibilities included leading both undergraduate and graduate business programs, overseeing corporate and global partnerships, assisting with management of the school’s $90 million budget, and working to create and implement its strategic plan. Russell also served as the Director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program for the Smith School’s nationally ranked EMBA program and its corporate clients.

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege for me to be named The Helen and William O'Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business,” said Dr. Russell. “The Villanova School of Business is highly regarded for its academic rigor based on a strong liberal arts foundation and firm grounding in ethics, as well as for its hands-on experiential learning opportunities and impressive commitment to creativity and innovation. I look forward to working with VSB faculty, students, staff, alumni and many others across the University community to continue to move the School of Business forward as one of the most prestigious in the country.”

“Our search for a new Dean for the School of Business centered on finding an individual with proven leadership skills, an eye for innovation and a collaborative style,” said Villanova University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD. “Dr. Russell brings all these qualities, plus an outstanding record of research and teaching to this role and I am confident that she will be a wonderful addition to the School of Business and our University community.”

At UMD, Russell worked collaboratively with leadership and other constituencies at the Smith School—including faculty, students, staff, alumni and donors—to build a strategic vision that has enabled the school to grow in both prominence and reputation. She spearheaded the creation of innovative programs across the School, launching new graduate programs and the Office of Transformational Learning, which promotes cutting-edge ideas in business pedagogy and curriculum. Russell is also a strong advocate for engagement and inclusiveness, having created, and currently chairing, the Smith School’s Diversity Council, and serving as a member of the Provost’s Task Force on Diversity.

Russell has received numerous awards for her excellence in instruction and research. Known as an outstanding professor and advisor, she specializes in the areas of leadership, negotiations, management and career development. In addition, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to strengthening the role of research and actively supporting and promoting faculty and student success.

An accomplished author who has been widely published in scholarly journals and books, Russell is currently a weekly columnist for The Washington Post. She also serves as a member of several professional boards and non-profit organizations and is highly sought after as a keynote speaker and panelist for summits and conferences held by national and international corporations and organizations.

Before coming to UMD, Russell served as Full Professor in the Department of Management at the University of Tennessee. She earned her PhD and MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The University of Akron and her BA from Loyola University of Maryland.

As Dean of the Villanova School of Business, Russell will serve as chief administrator of the School, overseeing an annual budget of more than $30 million and leading the School’s long-term strategic and academic planning, curricular initiatives, faculty research support, student services, fundraising and alumni relations. 

The Villanova School of Business (VSB) undergraduate program is ranked #1 in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek and has been at the forefront of business education since it was founded in 1922. Serving over 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students, VSB is home to six Centers or Institutes of Excellence (the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate, the Center for Business Analytics, the Center for Global Leadership, the Center for Marketing & Consumer Insights, the Center for Church Management & Business Ethics and the Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Institute) with each center and institute designed to foster innovative, cross-disciplinary research and teaching opportunities for business faculty. VSB is known for academic rigor; creativity and innovation; hands-on and service learning opportunities; a firm grounding in ethics; and an applied education that prepares students to become outstanding leaders and global citizens within the ever-changing, complex, and fast-paced world of business. For more, visit

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit