Download Full Image
“We’re going to keep advancing what we do to help our students achieve career and life successes,” says Hillman, who has played a key role in the growth of the school in her four years as second-in-command/executive dean. “Our world-class faculty is full of researchers who teach cutting-edge skills. We want to use this knowledge and our excellent position in a major metropolitan area (the Phoenix area) to help support the business world. We plan to broaden and deepen our business partnerships to become a ‘go-to’ place for firms to come to advance their work force and get help with real-life projects. We’re also going to focus on providing even more value and connections throughout the world for our vast 80,000-plus alumni network.”
Hillman never had dreams of academia when she was younger. She actually got her MBA on evenings and weekends, while striving to improve as general manager of a small retail and manufacturing business. However, several of her professors had such a profound influence on her that she realized she’d rather teach others about business than stay in her current job.
“As both an undergraduate and graduate student, I had individual faculty members who had a huge influence on my life,” says Hillman, who has been recognized with outstanding teaching awards every place she has worked. “I felt a sense that if I could make a difference for one student, like these faculty members did for me, then I would personally feel more accomplished than I did in the corporate world.”
Hillman has already made a clear mark on the W. P. Carey School in her decade-plus on the faculty as a management professor. She has championed entrepreneurship projects through the school’s Spirit of Enterprise Center and helped to expand the school’s degree offerings to allow access to more students. (The school’s current total is more than 10,000 students). Recently, she was instrumental in the school introducing several new specialized master’s degrees to help undergraduates from other fields combine their passions with a solid business foundation. These include nine-month master’s programs in management and business analytics.
“I love ASU, and this opportunity to be a leader here, at a place that I love, is a real privilege,” says Hillman. “This is especially significant, since this year is the 10th anniversary of the gift from businessman/philanthropist Wm. Polk Carey that led to the school’s renaming in his honor. We’ve come so far, thanks to this transformative gift, and we plan to go even further over the next 10 years.”
Hillman will preside over the opening of the new 129,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art McCord Hall this summer. The building will complement the two existing business-school structures, providing more classrooms for graduate and undergraduate honors students, technologically advanced team study rooms, a new career center, world-class conference facilities and outdoor assembly areas.
“This is a chance for us to really advance the science and culture of learning business,” says Hillman. “The way the building is set up, it will actually help our students to develop teamwork, communication and critical thinking skills.”
Hillman is also a strong supporter of the school’s research efforts. She is a renowned researcher in management, focusing on boards of directors, corporate political strategies, and how links between firms and their external contingencies improve financial performance. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report, among other venues. The journal Technovation recently ranked the W. P. Carey School No. 1 among all business schools worldwide for authoring research in the Top 45 academic business journals with the most global impact.
“What makes this school special, though, is the people,” says Hillman. “The faculty, staff and students are so amazing, supportive and encouraging of each other. At some older, established schools, there is a sense of complacency. The W. P. Carey School is like a nimble entrepreneur, seeking to constantly improve. That feeling permeates our culture, helping us to transform and advance lives, the school and the business world.”
Hillman takes over for current dean, Robert Mittelstaedt, who is semi-retiring after 40 years in academia, including various leadership positions at the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an experienced business co-founder, a board member of three public companies and author of two business books. He will continue to serve at ASU as an adviser to the president and provost, as well as work on a project focused on the business and technical issues facing electric utilities in the future.
For more information about the W. P. Carey School of Business and its programs, visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu.