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Hall positions leadership team for continued growth, trajectory of success in Reynolds Hall

A record-breaking 3,700 business students are taking their first classes in Reynolds Hall this week, and Milan Puskar Dean Josh Hall has positioned his team in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics to continue to break records and set the bar high for the future of business education.

“Higher education demands bold and courageous leadership more than ever,” said Hall, who is entering his second year as Milan Puskar Dean. “The Chambers College is leading the way with strong champions in each area with great passion for our student mission – a mission that is amplified in a big way by our innovative new home, Reynolds Hall. Our enrollment, retention and placement numbers continue to grow, our alumni and corporate partners are creating innovative opportunities for our students with their generosity, and our faculty are tackling complex research pursuits and creating new experiential learning opportunities to give our students a competitive edge in the marketplace.”

Associate Deans

Hall has strategically aligned his associate deans to provide focus to three core areas: the undergraduate and graduate student experience, the faculty mission of academic affairs and research, and measurement in terms of program assessment and assurances of learning. To operationalize this vision, Rebel Smith and Brad Humphreys will join Michael Walsh as part of the new associate dean team.

Smith will champion all aspects of the business student experience as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs. She will be responsible for leading student services and operations for both the Undergraduate and Graduate Programs teams, including recruitment, retention, and advising. She will serve as a conduit to partner units within WVU to shape policies and guide strategies related to these areas. 

Smith served as Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the College since 2016. Under her leadership, her team increased undergraduate enrollment by 30 percent, including bringing in a record class of 700 freshmen this fall. They also built out the College’s student success and retention resources, achieving a record retention rate of 84 percent in 2020. Smith brings a decade of experience in Graduate Programs of Business and Online Programs from the University of Arkansas to her new role. Her strengths in these core areas, combined with her record of success, will bring consistency and natural synergies to the Chambers College student mission.

Humphreys will be responsible for providing leadership and strategic alignment to the faculty research mission that supports WVU’s R1 designation as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research. He will oversee all aspects of academic affairs and doctoral programs, including the annual merit review and promotion and tenure review processes. He will serve as the primary administrative lead for faculty evaluation and promotion and tenure committees, and will manage the oversight and maintenance of the college’s Digital Measures implementation.

Championing the cultivation and growth of research activities in the College will be a natural fit for Humphreys, a professor of Economics and accomplished researcher who has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals on economics and public policy. He is the co-editor of the three volume  The Business of Sport, a comprehensive examination of sports business, economics, and finance which was named an Outstanding Business Reference Source by the Business Reference Sources Committee of the American Library Association. Humphreys was recognized as the 2016-17  Benedum Distinguished Scholar in Social and Behavioral Sciences at WVU and the recipient of the 2022  Peter Sloane Award for his research contributions to European sports economics. He served as the President of the Eastern Economic Association in 2021-2022. He has twice testified before the United States Congress on the economic impact of professional sports teams and facilities.

Walsh will serve in dual leadership roles, guiding the academic operations of the College as Associate Dean for Assessment and Assurance Learning and serving as Chair of the newly-formed General Business department. He will guide the processes for all areas of assessment of Chambers College programs, from reviews to accreditation, as part of his associate dean role.

As the previous Chair of Marketing, Walsh brings an understanding of academic processes and policies and will provide support to faculty in these areas. Walsh is also an accomplished researcher in consumer resistance to change, marketing, public policy and professional sales. His research has been published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of the Association for Consumer Research and the Journal of Product and Brand Management.

New Department Chairs

Three new academic chairs will join existing chairs Graham Peace (Management Information Systems), Feng Yao (Economics), and Abhishek Srivastava (Management).

In addition to leading the faculty for each department, the 14 outreach centers that are part of the College will report to the academic chair that closely aligns with the academic mission of that center.

Annie Peng Cui  will provide leadership to the Marketing department as Chair as Walsh transitions his focus to his new responsibilities. Cui brings extensive experience to the role from her 14 years at WVU. During that time, she has served as the Kmart Chair and Professor of Marketing. Her research is focused on the branding, pricing and international marketing strategies of firms, and her research been published in respected publications such as the  Journal of International MarketingJournal of Business Research, and  Industrial Marketing Management, to name a few. She has developed and taught a number of experiential learning classes, including the export management course. 

Ann Marie Hibbert  will provide leadership to the Finance department as Interim Chair with a two-year appointment. Hibbert replaces Naomi Boyd, who transitioned to the dean’s role at VCU’s School of Business in July. She brings a wealth of experience to her role, most recently serving as the coordinator for the Finance Ph.D. program and as an executive committee member of WVU’s Faculty Senate. She also currently chairs the Faculty Senate’s Research Integrity Committee and is immediate past chair of the Committee on Committees, Membership and Constituencies. She was the recipient of the 2019 Chambers College Dean’s Award of Distinction in Service. Her research is primarily focused in the area of behavioral finance, and she’s been published in top finance journals, including the  Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Finance, Journal of Banking and Finance, and others. She was an elected member of the Board of the Eastern Finance Association from 2017-2020 and was recently appointed as an associate editor for the International Journal of Finance and Economics.

In addition to his associate dean role, Walsh will also lead the General Business department as Chair, which will include the Hospitality and Tourism, Organizational Leadership, Global Supply Chain Management, Business Communications and Business Law faculty, where he will focus on bridging the faculty teaching core business classes to better serve business students, while allowing other academic departments to focus on core competencies.

New Assistant Deans

Two new assistant deans will join the existing team, which includes Abby Esguerra (Development), Heather Richardson (Strategic Communications), John Deskins (Outreach) and Elizabeth Vitullo (Strategic Initiatives).

Susan Catanzarite will step into Smith’s former role as Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs, where she will be responsible for undergraduate degree programs. She will oversee all recruitment, enrollment, retention, and advising functions, as well as other strategic initiatives pertaining to undergraduate studies. Catanzarite has been with the College since 2014, growing from an academic advisor to Director of Undergraduate Programs and Advising in 2018. She serves on the Academic Advising Council’s Executive Committee. She spent 13 years as an educator at the elementary, junior high school, and college levels and earned her J.D. from WVU’s College of Law.

John Lympany will lead the finance, administration, facilities and information technology units as Assistant Dean for Administration and Planning. Lympany brings progressive experience supervising technology operations, and has served as a chief information officer in higher education for 14 years.

All associate deans, department chairs, and assistant deans will report directly to Hall, in addition to the Bureau for Business and Economic Research, the Center for Career Development, and the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

All operational changes are effective immediately.



CONTACT: Heather Richardson
Assistant Dean for Strategic Communications
WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics

Chambers College