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Kurt Dirks takes helm at David Eccles School of Business

Business scholar Kurt Dirks officially started his role as dean of the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business on July 1, succeeding accounting professor Rachel Hayes, who held the dean’s post since 2021.

Kurt Dirks

Prior to coming to the U, Dirks was the Bank of America Professor of Leadership at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to serving as a faculty member, Dirks served in multiple senior leadership roles at WashU, including stints as acting provost, senior advisor to the chancellor for leadership, vice chancellor of international affairs, and at the business school as senior associate dean and interim dean.

“I’m excited to get to work helping students of all backgrounds reach their full potential,” said Dirks, who holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Management. “President [Taylor] Randall has a bold vision for making the U a top-10 public university with unsurpassed societal impact, and I am committed to having the Eccles School play a key role in achieving that.”

A first-generation college student, Dirks earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State University, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. Based on this personal experience, Dirks advocates for the role public universities, like the University of Utah, play in providing a transformative education for students who seek opportunity.

Most important to Dirks was his work on student success, helping them grow as leaders, who operate with according to their values. At WashU, he founded the Bauer Leaders Academy for the university, the Bauer Leadership Center at the business school, and led the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. In the classroom, he received multiple teaching awards from MBA students.

Throughout his career, Dirks has focused on values-based leadership, which in turn has spurred work to boost access and success for all students. Across his various roles, he helped raise more than $30 million in gifts to support students and faculty research.

Dirks’ research on trust has been published in leading scholarly outlets such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and the Academy of Management Review, and has been covered in popular media such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Business Week, Fortune and According to Google Scholar, Dirks’ work has been cited nearly 27,000 times, which is among the top 2% of scholars in the field.

As dean of the Eccles School, Dirks will oversee myriad high-ranking programs, with eight receiving top-10 rankings among public universities in the United States from various publications, including: MSBA (No. 1, TFE Times); MSF (No. 3, TFE Times); Executive Education (No. 3, Financial Times); Undergraduate Entrepreneurship (No. 4, U.S. News & World Report); MBA Entrepreneurship (No. 5, U.S. News & World Report); Graduate Entrepreneurship (No. 9, Princeton Review); Online MBA (No. 9, U.S. News & World Report); and EMBA (No. 10, Financial Times).