Interim dean proves to be best pick | The Triangle

Interim dean proves to be best pick

President John A. Fry announced in an email Feb. 12 that Frank Linnehan will serve as the permanent dean of the LeBow College of Business. Linnehan has been serving as the interim dean of the college for the past 18 months while the University searched for a new dean.

In his email, Fry wrote, “We came to the conclusion that we had the perfect candidate already in place, and we are pleased that Frank has accepted the position. LeBow College now has all the pieces in place to be a national leader in business education, and a local force for innovation in the business community.”

Linnehan was named interim dean in September 2012 after former dean George P. Tsetsekos stepped down. Roger Dennis, the dean of the Drexel University School of Law, chaired the committee in charge of searching for Tsetsekos’s permanent replacement.

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According to Provost Mark Greenberg, Linnehan was a finalist during the initial search but hadn’t been interim dean long enough to prove his wide range of talents and abilities in the position.

In spring 2013, the committee offered the position to G. “Anand” Anandalingam, but he rejected the offer in order to take another from Imperial College London. This forced the committee to restart their search on a global scale. Linnehan was chosen over a finalist from another country.

“The search committee did a marvelous job over a long period of time, providing excellent candidates for consideration. They recommended [Linnehan] early on in the search and their knowledge was proved right, and I just want to thank them for that,” Greenberg said.

“The committee is utterly supportive of [Linnehan] and was impressed with the passion he expressed when he talked with us about his vision for the school. … [Linnehan] as interim dean acted no different than a permanent dean would act. He took a short and long term view of the school. He was doing everything that he should do as a permanent dean — raising money, hiring faculty and speaking with students,” Dennis said.

Linnehan became interim dean while LeBow was experiencing critical changes. Under his leadership, the Gerri C. LeBow Hall opened, the School of Economics launched, the Drexel C-Suite Co-op program for Master of Business Administration students launched, and much more.

Greenberg said he believes Linnehan is responsible for LeBow’s major success in the past 18 months and that none of it may have happened without him.

“When you take over in an interim role you have to look ahead, you can’t keep the status quo. It’s not fair to the students and faculty. Drexel moves quickly and we have to keep up with that,” Linnehan said. Linnehan also said he did not want to work in the interim position under “maintenance mode,” and now wants to continue to actively contribute to the college as the permanent dean.

This past summer, Linnehan worked to rewrite the college’s strategic plan, which he will continue to implement as dean. The plan focuses on enhancing the quality of programs within the college, increasing graduation rates at the undergraduate level, growing the Master of Sciences program, and working closely with businesses in the area.

“He’s particularly strong and so conversant and sensitive to the goals of the school. He nurtures students and develops faculty — those are two big things a dean should do,” Dennis said.

“There [are] such good students and faculty here and we all have the same goal: to provide high quality education. Students, faculty, staff and alumni, that’s the priority,” Linnehan said.

Linnehan wants students to be able to work on consulting projects with businesses across the Delaware Valley to bridge the connection between the classroom and the real world.

Greenberg noted that during last year’s commencement ceremony, there were a number of LeBow students whom Linnehan knew by name and who not only shook Linnehan’s hand, but also hugged him. Linnehan had only been dean for nine months at that time.

“It’s his concern for students and their education — that is one of the things that distinguished him over and above any other candidate we interviewed,” Greenberg said.

Murugan Anandarajan, a member of the dean’s council and department head of management information systems, said, “To be perfectly honest [Linnehan] has transformed the college and created an atmosphere of trust, openness and transparency.”

Anandarajan recognized Linnehan as a terrific leader and stated that people in the LeBow community are excited to have him officially named as dean.

“I have worked with Frank Linnehan for 15 or 20 years now, and he is a person of rare insight into situations, a person of rare integrity and somebody who the community has come to respect and admire because he is a real leader. … [He] puts the welfare of the whole, of the organization — meaning the University — ahead of himself or even his college at times. Those are the kind of leaders we want to attract in senior positions at Drexel,” Greenberg said.

Linnehan started at Drexel in 1997 as an assistant professor and began taking on administrative roles in 2006.

“I have matured academically here at Drexel, first as a scholar, then as a teacher, now as an administrator. Drexel showed me what good scholarship and teaching is all about,” Linnehan said.

Before joining the University, Linnehan spent 17 years working in financial services. He spent 11 of those years working at General Electric.