Oliver Yao named dean of UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics

Oliver Yao head shot

Editor’s note: This article, written by the UDaily staff, originally appeared in the June 27 edition of UDaily and is reprinted with permission.

Oliver Yao, interim deputy provost for graduate education and associate dean for graduate programs of the College of Business at Lehigh University and esteemed business faculty member, has been appointed dean of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, University President Dennis Assanis and Provost Laura Carlson announced on Tuesday, June 27.

“I am delighted to welcome Oliver Yao to UD as the next dean of the Lerner College of Business and Economics,” Assanis said. “As a recognized scholar with extensive administrative experience at the department, college and university levels, his demonstrated vision for academic excellence integrating research, education and impact will be an enormous asset to UD. I look forward to our work together as we continue strengthening the identity of the Lerner College while embracing partnership and interdisciplinary opportunities across the University, including ongoing development of the Fintech ecosystem.”

Yao will begin his tenure as dean on Aug. 1. Reporting directly to UD Provost Laura Carlson, Yao will be a key member of the University’s senior administrative team, responsible for leadership of the college, including the development, operation and sustained excellence of all academic programs across its five academic departments (Accounting and Management Information Systems, Business Administration, Economics, Finance, and Hospitality and Sport Business Management); centers and institutes.

“I know Oliver will bring great leadership to continue the momentum of UD’s Lerner College,” Carlson said. “For more than two decades, across faculty and administrative leadership roles, he has shepherded curricular innovation, championed faculty research, and contributed to strategic enrollment growth at both graduate and undergraduate levels. I am confident in Oliver’s ability to build upon the success of our faculty, staff and students to advance Lerner College to even greater heights.”

Assanis and Carlson both thanked the search advisory committee, led by College of Earth, Ocean and Environment Dean Fabrice Veron and Donald J. Puglisi Professor of Finance Laura Field, for its time and effort over the past several months to identify the next leader who will play a vital role in advancing the Lerner College.

“I am honored and thrilled to be appointed as the dean of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics,” Yao said. “The Lerner College has demonstrated excellence in both research and education with great achievements over the past decade. I look forward to working with President Assanis and Provost Carlson to continue this progress. Together with the exceptional faculty, dedicated staff, talented students, and accomplished alumni, along with the support from the broader University of Delaware communities, we will nurture future business leaders who will take on the world’s most pressing challenges, empowered by a UD education that embraces and values a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.”

In the fall of 2022, Bruce Weber, who served as dean of the Lerner College since 2011, announced his plans to step down as dean when his current term ended.  In March 2023, Weber was named the Willem Kooyker Dean of the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, City University of New York.

Lerner College Deputy Dean Sheryl Kline will serve as acting dean in July upon the departure of Weber until Yao’s arrival on campus in August.

About Oliver Yao

Oliver Yao arrives at UD following 20 years at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he served in numerous faculty and administrative appointments. Yao was the George N. Beckwith ’32 Professor in the Lehigh College of Business and, most recently, supported Lehigh as its interim deputy provost for graduate education since February 2020. In the latter role, Yao had oversight of all issues related to graduate programs and graduate students, charged also with developing strategies to grow graduate enrollment and enhance the graduate student experience. Simultaneously, beginning in July 2018, Yao served as the College of Business associate dean for graduate programs. In this role, he managed graduate recruitment, operations, student services, career services, marketing and communications, and curriculum development.

For three years, from 2015-2018, Yao also chaired Lehigh’s Department of Management, responsible for recruiting and retaining faculty; overseeing research and all undergraduate programs; establishing funding support for faculty workshops and research; and growing enrollment.

His research interests are focused on the interdisciplinary fields of information systems and operations management, and Yao’s research has been published in such journals as Management Science, Information Systems Research, and MIS Quarterly. He also holds editorial appointments with Productions and Operations Management and Information Systems Research.

Yao earned his doctorate from the University of Maryland, received an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and completed his undergraduate studies at China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

About UD’s Lerner College

The University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics currently offers 17 undergraduate majors and 16 minors, nine master’s programs, and four doctoral programs (Economics, Economic Education, Hospitality Business Analytics, and Financial Services Analytics), with plans to grow its offerings under the guidance of the next dean. The Financial Services Analytics doctoral program is an interdisciplinary program reflecting an innovative collaboration among the Lerner College, the College of Engineering, and JP Morgan Chase. Additionally, Lerner College is a key stakeholder in the SWUFE-UD Institute of Data Science, a joint venture between the University and the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE), a highly-ranked university in China. Lerner College is AACSB accredited both at the college level and in accounting.

Lerner College’s faculty members are leaders in their fields, innovators in education, and noted advisers to business and governmental agencies at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The faculty comprises 163 members across five departments (Accounting and MIS, Business Administration, Economics, Finance, and Hospitality and Sport Business Management), serving nearly 3,300 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students.

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