College picks former dean to lead School of Business after removal of previous manager

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Stacey Robertson announced the appointment of Mary Ellen Zuckerman as Dean of the School of Business on Wednesday April 25. Zuckerman will fill the position former Dean of the School of Business Denise Rotondo had before President Denise Battles removed her. 

Zuckerman, who previously worked at Geneseo in this position from 1999 to 2008, was the only candidate in the hiring process for the position, according to an email Robertson sent to all students on Wednesday April 25. 

After Rotondo was removed, the college sought an interim replacement for the 2018-19 academic year and reached out to Zuckerman, according to an April 5 article from The Lamron. Zuckerman indicated that she would only be able to accept the position on a permanent basis, The Lamron said. 

To allow for Zuckerman to potentially fill the dean position on a permanent basis, the administration forwent the procedure of holding a national search and assessed Zuckerman alone, according to The Lamron article. 

Some faculty in the School of Business expressed positive feedback toward the decision and hold Zuckerman in high regard.

“We’re very excited for Zuckerman to be joining us as she has an excellent track record,” lecturer of management and School of Business Internship Director Robert Boyd said. “She has been here before and helped bring the school along, and I’m tremendously excited to be working with her.” 

The quick turn-around has left some individuals wondering what the process entailed, after concerns were raised regarding this topic on-campus over the last few months.

“It took about a month for the university to try to decide how to process that,” assistant professor Lei Gao said. “Originally, we thought there might be a need for a national search, but then we got the good news that the previous dean might be available to take this position, so then we had a meeting within the school to talk about it.”

A group of students were selected to meet and ask her questions during her visit on-campus, according to business administration major senior Christopher Callery.

“She got [asked] questions about [her] experience with the School of Business, working with professors [and] extracurricular [activities held] through the School of Business,” Callery said. “Generally, she responded pleasantly. She’s clearly familiar with the school. She seemed like a great candidate.”

Despite her apparent qualifications, however, Callery voiced concerns over immediately allowing Zuckerman to become permanent dean, similar to the position of robbie routenberg. 

“The School of Business [was probably] wanting to put an end to the issue as quickly as possible,” Callery said.

Students and faculty have shown generally positive reactions, anticipating what the future of the School of Business will look like with this transition.

“[Mary Ellen] is experienced.  and well-liked. She really lead the School of Business into its current era,” accounting professor Harry Howe said. “I anticipate the same kind of dynamic leadership we experienced under Rotondo. There will be style differences, but I know that Mary Ellen has a passion for student success, for faculty development and for academic excellence.”

Callery hopes that Zuckerman will continue initiatives that Rotondo was known for while at Geneseo.

“The work that Denise Rotondo did has really put our finance program in a different place. [That is] very exciting, and I think there are possibilities of developing other academic programs,” Callery said.

Rotondo was removed from her position as dean on Jan. 3. This decision originally caused distress from School of Business faculty and members of the college community, according to an article from The Lamron published on Jan. 25. 

Battles allegedly tried to remove Rotondo previously partly due to the belief that Rotondo attempted a vote-of-no-confidence. Some School of Business faculty members denied that Rotondo attempted to stage a vote, according to a Feb. 15 article in The Lamron

Zuckerman expressed no concerns about the way Rotondo was removed as it pertains to her employment, according to the April 5 article from The Lamron.