Tuck School of Business restructures administration

by Blake McGill | 10/23/18 3:00am

Earlier this summer, Tuck School of Business dean Matthew Slaughter announced several new administrative positions at the school that current Tuck employees have been selected to fill.

The new roles include new deputy dean Punam Amand Keller and three associate dean positions held by former Office of the Dean chief of staff and executive director Gina des Cognets Tu’01, technology and strategy professor Connie Helfat and former assistant dean and director of the MBA program Sally Jaeger.

For Slaughter, the process of restructuring Tuck’s administration started three years ago in the summer of 2015 when he began his new position as dean, he said. Slaughter said he and his colleagues “wanted to be really intentional about thinking about the proper structure and roles in the dean’s office and bringing new people into new and different roles.”

He noted that since Helfat and Keller’s roles focus particularly on enhancing Tuck’s faculty research, it made the most sense to promote faculty members from within Tuck who already have an understanding of the school and have fostered relationships with other faculty members.

In all four new administrative positions, the focus is on both faculty research and student engagement, Slaughter said.

“To me ... teaching and research are two sides of the same coin,” Slaughter said. “I think there are way too many colleges and universities in the world that think about the great research and scholarship that faculty do as being somehow in opposition to the time they spend in the classroom. We have a different view at Dartmouth, which is the best teachers in the world are those who are connected to rigorous and real world-relevant research.”

In her new role as associate dean for research innovation, Helfat will be tasked with facilitating new faculty research efforts and drawing attention to the research currently being conducted.

Helfat said her new duties will include helping faculty with ideas for collaborative research and faculty who want access to data. She added that she is also charged with notifying faculty of the research and faculty seminars being held at Tuck.

Helfat’s own research “deals a lot with technology in companies ... and thinking about how the knowledge of individuals can benefit firms,” she said.

She noted that one of the best ways to bolster the research of current Tuck faculty members and to draw in new innovative faculty is to spread the word about Tuck faculty research. Helfat said she hopes the faculty will be able to more effectively use the school’s website and that she plans to encourage faculty to use other such electronic mediums to publicize their work.

Helfat, who has also been an editor in one of the world’s leading academic journals on strategic management, said she believes both her research and former position as an editor have prepared her to act in an administrative role with Tuck’s faculty.

des Cognets, who is now associate dean of planning and operations, works to align day-to-day operations with the Tuck mission and strategy, communicates with the school’s senior leaders to plan board meetings and is also the lead liaison with Tuck’s five advisory boards. She said she works with the facilities team, information technology team, marketing and communications and campus planning.

des Cognets and her team, who are also tasked with supporting new faculty, recently conducted a design thinking workshop that focused on the experience of becoming a new employee at Tuck.

“We interviewed people who had recently been hired about their experience ... then we went through a whole design thinking exercise to think about how [we can] re-imagine the experience of becoming a new employee at Tuck to make it the best it can be,” she said.

Having spent the last 13 years as a member of the administrative team at Tuck, des Cognets said “I have such great care and investment in what we do here and how it helps people be their best selves and how they will bring this to the organizations they will go on to lead.”