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Investing in Success

John Delaney joins AU as Dean of Kogod School of Business

By Jamie McCrary

John Delaney, Kogod's new Dean.

For John Delaney, Kogod School of Business’ new dean, it’s all about the students. His daily work is a heartfelt investment in their success—whether they are currently enrolled, or are emerging professionals. “This is why I get up and go to work every morning,” Delaney says. “I’ve always been someone who feels great satisfaction when I see others do well.”

Delaney believes this commitment to students’ futures is essential to Kogod’s success. Prioritizing student outcomes means that graduates secure better jobs, eventually generating more opportunities for their peers. This positively affects employers’ perceptions of the school, which elevates Kogod’s reputation as a leader in collegiate business education.

“Kogod graduates need to have strong career outcomes when they finish their programs,” Delaney says. “Improving this actually generates stronger long-term results for the school. When you emphasize student success, my experience is everything else that’s good will follow.”

A self-described “long-time academic,” Delaney joined the Kogod School of Business on July 18, 2016, as the school’s dean. Delaney’s resume is brimming with experience in nearly every area of academia—from former dean positions to teaching as a professor. The past decade he served as Dean of University of Pittsburgh’s business school, capitalizing on his experience at other institutions as an associate dean, faculty member, and department chair.

“We are thrilled that John Delaney is our new dean,” says Ajay Adhikari, Kogod’s Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “Delaney has deep and varied administrative experience, and a record of achievements in transforming business education. He is a visionary leader who is committed to working with Kogod to help us reach our full potential.”

Delaney is excited to guide Kogod towards generating better career outcomes for students. Focusing on this goal also helps him meet another: uniting the school with a strong and motivating vision.

He knows that in an organization, success does not depend on one person’s agenda; it is contingent on the commitment of the entire group. He is a fervent advocate for teamwork, especially when working towards a complex, big-picture goal like improving students’ futures. “Our success rests on the work that we all do. We’ve got to collaborate to get better,” Delaney says.

What, then, is the motivating factor? “Passion,” Delaney says emphatically. “Working for Kogod isn’t just a job; you’ve got to live it. You have to believe in the school—and yourself—before you can really commit to making this happen.”

Having passion for his job is not difficult for Delaney. He started as Kogod’s dean just a month ago, and has already assembled a long list of attributes detailing what makes the school a distinctive place to study. One of the most compelling characteristics is Kogod’s focus on experiential learning, an approach to education rooted in practice rather than academic theory.

“This is a key part of students’ education because it is so effective,” Delaney says. “They must learn their craft through practice. One can’t fully internalize a subject’s material just by listening to a lecture.”

Kogod students have the added benefit of practicing what they learn in the vibrant, progressive environment that is Washington, DC. Studying in the nation’s capital means they have access to leading institutions where they can apply their knowledge through internships, projects and full-time jobs. “For students interested in the intersection of business and government, public service, or international affairs, this is an ideal place for them,” says Delaney.

Despite Kogod’s offerings and Delaney’s strong ambitions, he admits that leading the school will not be easy. Higher business education is a tough market, especially in an area with so many other well-established universities.

He is definitely up for the challenge, though. “I’m confident that we can compete with anyone out there,” Delaney says assuredly. “For some students we’re a better match than any other school. For others, they might be happier somewhere else. It’s a competitive market, but I know we can hold our own.”

As Delaney settles into his new role, he is looking forward to learning more about Kogod and how to best support the school. He is sincere in his convictions to better students’ futures and unite faculty and staff in pursuit of this common goal. His deanship promises to be one of hard work, growth and unity.

Most of all, Delaney is thrilled for the chance to help shape students’ futures—a purpose he finds fulfilling like no other. “The best part of all of this is that we’re doing it for our students. We get to use our skills to help others and make a difference,” he says. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”