New Dean Plans to Connect with the Community

Ira Solomon

New Dean Ira Solomon believes strongly that business schools should do more to address societal issues.

Ira Solomon thinks business schools should do more to address societal issues, and the newly appointed dean of the Freeman School thinks Tulane University is just the place to take on that challenge.

“The way in which Tulane has repositioned itself in terms of strong connections to the community is something that I find very interesting and intriguing,” says Solomon. “I like the strategic direction I see the campus going, and I think the Freeman School is well positioned to move in that direction.”

On July 1, Solomon officially began his tenure as the 13th dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business, succeeding Angelo DeNisi, who had served as dean since 2005. DeNisi will remain at the Freeman School as a professor of organizational behavior.

Tulane President Scott Cowen announced Solomon’s appointment in March, culminating a nine-month national search led by Professor of Finance Sheri Tice and Tulane Provost Michael Bernstein.

A native of Roosevelt, N.Y., Solomon comes to the Freeman School from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was the R. C. Evans Endowed Chair in Business and head of the Department of Accountancy, widely regarded as one of the finest accountancy programs in the country.

Solomon received his PhD in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and taught at the University of Arizona before joining the faculty at Illinois in 1983.

Throughout a distinguished career, Solomon has focused his research and teaching on external auditing and attestation. He has published more than 35 scholarly articles, monographs and books, and his writings have appeared in publications including The Wall Street Journal. He has served as an associate editor and on the editorial boards of a number of prestigious scholarly journals, and he is currently a vice president of the American Accounting Association and a member of the governing council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Solomon has been recognized for outstanding teaching, research and service numerous times. He received the AAA Outstanding Auditing Educator Award in 1997 and is the only scholar to be recognized by the AAA Auditing Section for Outstanding Dissertation Supervision on three occasions, in 1997, 2000 and 2003. In 2009, Solomon received the Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award from the AICPA and the Special Award of Merit from the Illinois CPA Society. Most recently, in February 2011, Solomon served as Visiting Distinguished Scholar & Lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

Based on what he’s seen so far, Solomon says energy and accounting are two areas with potential for growth, but before making any decisions, he plans to actively involve faculty members in the strategic planning process.

“It’s not my style to sit here in the dean’s suite and make decisions in isolation,” he says. “My style is to engage my colleagues to systematically discover what makes sense in terms of investment areas.”

In the short term, however, Solomon says one thing is clear: The business school needs to grow its faculty.

“We have 37 tenure-track faculty in the whole business school,” Solomon says. “That needs to be about 50. We’re going to need to hire a large number of faculty, and that’s something that I think is an exciting opportunity for the Freeman School.”

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