Kate Walsh is interim dean of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration

ITHACA, N.Y. – Kate Walsh, MPS ’90, associate professor of organizational management, has been named interim dean of the School of Hotel Administration (SHA), Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced today.

Walsh will begin a two-year term July 1. She succeeds Michael Johnson, the Bradley H. Stone Dean of SHA, whose term ends June 30.

“Kate has been an important member of the faculty during a transformational period that has positioned the School of Hotel Administration at the top of its field,” Kotlikoff said. “The many contributions she has made as an advocate for students, faculty, alumni and staff alike also demonstrate her understanding of the Cornell community and will distinguish her successful leadership.” SHA faculty had a significant voice in choosing Walsh as interim dean, he added.

Walsh will report to Soumitra Dutta, dean of the College of Business, who said she brings a depth of experience in industry and academia that is perfectly suited to SHA’s mission.

“Kate’s distinct combination of passion for hospitality, knowledge of Cornell and leadership instincts will contribute to her ability to expand opportunities for students and extend the reputation of SHA as a critical part of Cornell’s College of Business,” Dutta said.

A SHA faculty member since 2000, Walsh said she was interested in the interim dean position because she wants to help SHA focus on its key strengths to hone its identity as the premier school for hospitality education, while successfully integrating into the College of Business. “I’m very drawn to supporting what we do so well at SHA in ways that act as a bridge to what we can become. It’s not about protecting SHA; it’s about enhancing and strengthening it.”

Walsh said with her “tremendous colleagues and staff and deeply caring alumni,” SHA is poised to solidify how it educates future hospitality leaders, while addressing the industry’s most pressing concerns through research. She plans to more fully engage with alumni and other industry leaders and work with the faculty to refine SHA’s vision, mission and curriculum.

“My vision for the school is to maintain our role as the world leader in hospitality education, rooted in our exceptional teaching, reflected in our meaningful research and continuously enhanced based on our deep understanding of this exciting and evolving industry,” she said. “We have the opportunity to understand the different career paths our alumni have taken throughout the industry, as well as more fully understand what they’re most concerned about in their leadership roles, and we can use this information to shape what we teach our students and inform what we study.”

She intends to fully support faculty in their discipline-based research; this will include forging ties with faculty at SHA’s partner schools in the College of Business, she said.

“My goal is to find opportunities to support our faculty’s research through collaborations among the three schools. We have faculty working in similar disciplines, and in related industries, across the street and across campus,” she said. “Collaborations will only enhance our own work.”

An expert in the intersection of career theory, identity and organizational relationships, Walsh in recent years has pursued a research agenda examining how to retain and develop professionals, especially women, in organizational leadership roles. She also conducts research examining the role of knowledge investments in the value of a firm.

Walsh earned a Ph.D. in organization studies from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management in 2000 and a Master of Professional Studies degree with a concentration in financial and human resource management from SHA in 1990. From Fairfield University, she received a bachelor of science degree in accounting in 1985.

Walsh’s previous professional experience includes serving as director of training and development for Nikko Hotels International, corporate training manager for the former Bristol Hotels and senior auditor for Loews Corp. She is also a former New York state certified public accountant.

 

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