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Dean's Biography

Alison Davis-Blake
Edward J. Frey Dean
Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business

Alison Davis-Blake is the Edward J. Frey Dean of the
Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
She is also the Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business.

Davis-Blake seeks to establish Ross as the most innovative provider of lifelong business education. Her strategic priorities for the Ross School are to build on its tradition of excellence and define it as the:

  • leading center of excellence in positive business
  • most collaborative and boundaryless business school in the world
  • most prolific and influential institution of business research and a hub of practice-oriented, research-based knowledge
  • global leader in action-based learning

Since her arrival at Ross on July 1, 2011, she has:

  • positioned the school globally for its new mission to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world
  • brought the Executive MBA Program to Los Angeles
  • introduced the Master of Management and Minor in Business programs
  • launched the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program, offered jointly with the College of Engineering
  • expanded the number of students in the BBA Program by 20 percent
  • increased global study opportunities for MBA and BBA students and formed new partnerships with universities around the world
  • expanded Ross activities in India and Southeast Asia
  • enhanced and expanded the Ross Leadership Initiative and made it accessible to all Ross graduate and undergraduate students
  • increased involvement of Ross students in addressing pressing business and social problems in Detroit
  • hired 21 new faculty members (tenured or tenure-track), including two senior faculty, in addition to 18 lecturers, who are bringing their unique research and teaching expertise to the Ross School. These new hires constitute more than 20 percent of the teaching faculty at the school and are a major source of innovation.

As part of implementing the School's strategic priorities, Davis-Blake facilitated an historic philanthropic gift to the Ross School. On September 4, 2013, Stephen M. Ross announced his intention to give an additional $200 million to the University of Michigan, with $100 million allocated for the Ross School.

Davis-Blake is an expert on strategic human resource management and organizational design for effective management of human capital. Her research interests include the effects of outsourcing on organizations and employees, organizational employment, salary and promotion systems, and the determinants and consequences of using contingent workers. She has taught courses in organization theory, organizational behavior, fundamentals of management, and strategic human resource management for undergraduate, MBA, doctoral, and executive education students.

Prior to joining Ross in 2011, Davis-Blake was dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota from 2006 to 2011. She was the first female dean at both Carlson and Ross.

At Carlson, Davis-Blake revamped the MBA program curriculum, implemented a new curriculum for its BBA program, initiated a requirement that all undergraduates complete an international experience, grew undergraduate enrollment from 1,600 to 2,300, and led fundraising efforts during the development and opening of the school's $50-million Hanson Hall. At Carlson, she also held the Investors in Leadership Distinguished Chair in Organizational Behavior.

From 1990 to 2006, Davis-Blake was a member of the faculty at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas (Austin). She joined McCombs as an assistant professor of management and rose through the ranks to become the Eddy C. Scurlock Centennial Professor of Management. She also held the following administrative positions at McCombs:

  • 2003-06: Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
  • 2002-03: Chair of the Department of Management
  • 19952001: Co-founder and co-director of the Executive Master's Degree in Human Resource Development Leadership

From 1986 to 1990, Davis-Blake served as assistant professor of industrial administration at Carnegie Mellon University. Early in her career, she worked as an auditor at Touche Ross and Co. in New York.

Davis-Blake obtained her PhD in organizational behavior from Stanford University and her undergraduate and master's degrees from Brigham Young University.

Davis-Blake has held editorial positions with Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, and Journal of Management. She also has served as a board member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the premier accrediting body for business schools worldwide.

Davis-Blake is married and has two sons. She and her family have a great passion for travel, art, and theater. Davis-Blake is a native of St. Paul, Minn., and was inspired to pursue a career in higher education by her father, Gordon Davis, a Carlson School emeritus professor in information systems.

Stay in touch with Davis-Blake through her blog.