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Fairfield University Announces New Dean of Nationally Ranked Dolan School of Business

Fairfield University is pleased to announce that Zhan Li, DBA, currently professor and dean of the School of Economics and Business Administration at St. Mary’s College of California, has been appointed as dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business and professor of marketing, following a national search. Dr. Li, who previously served as associate dean for Graduate Programs and Research, and associate dean for Academic Affairs at the University of San Francisco (USF), will formally assume the position on July 1, 2018.

“Dr. Li comes to Fairfield with deep acumen for lifelong learning, strong industry partnership experience, and scholarly expertise and understanding of the interconnected global economy that will continue to propel the Dolan School at a critical moment in our history, and as the Dolan School prepares to move into a new, modern facility,” said University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD. “I am delighted that Dr. Li will be joining Fairfield.”

During his tenure as dean at St. Mary’s, Dr. Li developed innovative and integrative curricula, student success, and career development programs that resulted in the highest enrollments and revenues in the college’s history at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Under his leadership, student retention, graduation, and employment rates improved significantly. He also built strong connections within business and local communities that produced resources, internships, and jobs for students and the school.

Dr. Li led Saint Mary's College of School of Economics and Business Administration to co-found the Visionary of the Year Award with San Francisco Chronicle to honor Bay Area leaders. He also helped to elevate St. Mary’s reputation and profile, which rose to top national rankings for MBA and undergraduate business programs, with the best Return on Investment (Business Insider, PayScale, Social Finance), the largest EMBA program in the San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco Business Times), and the Best online MBA program (U.S. News & World Report; CEO Magazine).

“The Charles F. Dolan School of Business is a nationally ranked business school with a long history of tremendous achievements and successes,” said Zhan Li, DBA. “I am truly honored to be part of the Dolan School and Fairfield University communities and am looking forward to working with the faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends, and supporters to further the Dolan School’s mission and build upon its successes.”

Dr. Li received a DBA and an MBA from Boston University’s School of Management, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology, China. Prior to becoming associate dean he was chair of USF School of Business and Management, a visiting professor at the University of California Berkeley, and a visiting professor of Marketing at Peking University. From 2005 to 2008 he served as editor in chief of the Journal of Asia Business Studies. During his time at the USF School of Business and Management he received five Outstanding Research Awards, two Outstanding Teaching Awards, and the Outstanding Service Award.

Dr. Li joins the Dolan School as it prepares to relocate to a new, state-of-the-art academic building scheduled to open fall 2019. Currently under construction, the 80,500 square foot, $40 million facility will feature a simulated financial trading room, large data analytics lab, entrepreneurship center with ideation lab space, visualization and simulation lab, and active learning and case-based classrooms. It will also be home to innovative spaces like a one-button studio and behavioral research lab, as well as the University’s Center for Applied Ethics. These amenities will support the School’s exceptional faculty and strong internship and professional development programs — all backed by an engaged alumni network — that have resulted in 96.7% placement rate for graduates within six months of graduation.

The Dolan School of Business is one of the highest ranked schools in the nation, named by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as one of the United States’ best undergraduate business schools. U.S. News and World Report and College Factual have also ranked it as a top 25 school nationwide for its accounting, finance, and marketing disciplines, and it is one of only 5% of schools nationally that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). 

Last modified: Wed, 06 Jun 2018 16:27:35 EDT