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Prof. Michele Villinski Named Director of the McDermond Center; Commission Launched to Strengthen Management Fellows Program

April 14, 2014

DePauw University’s vice president for academic affairs Larry Stimpert announced today that Michele T. Villinski, DePauw’s Hiram L. Jome Professor of Economics and Management, will assume the leadership of the Robert C. McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship and direct the University’s Management Fellows Program effective July 1, 2014.

Coincident to today’s announcement about the appointment of Villinski, President Brian W. Casey also called on Vice President Stimpert to convene a commission charged to consider how DePauw can ensure that it offers the nation’s finest undergraduate program in business and entrepreneurial education within a liberal arts setting.  The commission -- to be staffed by Vice President Stimpert and Professor Villinski, will be composed of members of the University’s Board of Trustees, University faculty members, Management Fellows alumni and national business leaders -- will present the findings of their review, along with a funding plan to support any proposed recommendations, to the University President and the Board of Trustees no later than the May 2015 Board of Trustees Meeting.

“The McDermond Center and the Management Fellows Program have long been signature programs for the University,” noted President Casey.  “Through the Management DSC 4740Fellows Program we have attracted some of the nation’s strongest students to DePauw and we have graduated legions of students who have gone on to extraordinary careers. We must make sure that the McDermond Center is a significant asset for the University and its alumni. We also must make sure that the Management Fellows Program obtains a leadership position in management education in the nation. I expect the recommendations of the committee to be bold, specific, and immediately actionable.”

“As we focus our efforts to enrich one of DePauw’s signature programs, it is my honor to appoint Michele to this new role,” added Stimpert.  “She is highly-regarded for her work with students, and brings experience and a sense of energy that makes her particularly well-equipped to assume this position at this time.  I look forward to working with her as we ensure that DePauw remains a leader in connecting the liberal arts to undergraduate training in business, management and entrepreneurship.”

In addition to teaching coursework focused in environmental economics and policy, game theory, and international economics, Villinski is currently serving as co-director of DePauw’s Environmental Fellows Program.  Jim Benedix, the Winona H. Welch LGL 4572Professor of Biology, will remain as co-director, and will be joined by Jen Everett, Associate Professor of Philosophy.

“I feel fortunate to be asked to lead this program again now,” said Villinski, who led the program on an interim basis in 2007-2008.  “I am eager to work with our students, our faculty, our strong alumni network, and the McDermond Center Advisory Board as we seek to design and implement new ways to educate aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs.  DePauw’s legacy of preparing students in management and entrepreneurship is unquestioned, and it is my hope -- and goal -- to build on these strong foundations, partner with colleagues on and off-campus, branch out in new directions, and equip even greater numbers of DePauw students for lives of purpose and accomplishment as entrepreneurs and leaders in business and management.”

Villinski’s primary research area is environmental and natural resource economics. In 2012, she was named Indiana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).  She was also the recipient of a Fulbright Award for the 2008-09 academic year, partEast College Tulips KOApr2011 of which she spent teaching environmental and natural resource economics and policy at Universitas Surabaya (UBAYA) in Surabaya, Indonesia.

In addition to staffing the new commission reviewing the Management Fellows Program and the McDermond Center, Villinski will lead a review of the Management Fellows curriculum, with a focus on strengthening first-year and senior seminars.  She will also be charged to place renewed emphasis on expanding the number and range of internship opportunities through new partnerships with the University’s alumni.

Established as an honors program in 1980, the Management Fellows Program is open to students in any major who are interested in pursuing careers in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. In addition to completing coursework and a major in the liberal arts, Management Fellows complete a semester-long, paid internship in top national and international settings. Management Fellows graduates have gone on to distinguished careers in top companies and organizations throughout the country and world. They also have been accepted for graduate and professional study at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, University of Michigan and M.I.T.

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