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Columbia Dean to Step Down After 15 Years

It’s the end of an era at Columbia Business School. After 15 years on the job, dean Glenn Hubbard will step down in July 2019 and return to teaching.

Announcing Hubbard’s departure, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger hailed the dean’s tenure as “an historic period during which Columbia Business School was strengthened on every meaningful front.”

Indeed, Hubbard oversaw many accomplishments during his 15 years as dean. On his watch, for example, the school expanded its Executive MBA program and added four new master’s degree programs.

One of the themes Hubbard consistently returned to was “bridging theory and practice.” In this vein, he oversaw the creation of Immersion Seminars, in which students learn in hands-on settings, and Master Classes, in which students tackle real-world problems.

Hubbard also kept Columbia Business School’s fundraising machine running smoothly in his time as dean. The school is approaching the $1 billion mark in money raised under Hubbard’s guidance.

As the school points out, its strong financial position has allowed it to increase financial aid offerings by 600 percent since Hubbard took the helm in 2004. The school is also preparing for a move to a new campus, with two new major buildings under construction.

Hubbard, who became dean after serving for two year’s on George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, also worked to advance collaboration between the business school and the wider university.

During his time on the job, the school launched joint initiatives that included centers for public policy and social enterprise, as well as multiple programs focused on entrepreneurship.

Recently, however, Columbia Business School has been in the news not for its new initiatives as much as for a high-profile trial in which a professor was accused of retaliating against a colleague after sexually harassing her.

Responding to an inquiry from the Wall Street Journal, the school said that Hubbard’s departure was not a result of that lawsuit.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, the timing of Hubbard’s departure is notable for another reason: several prominent business schools, including Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Yale School of Management are also searching for new deans.

Columbia says that its search process will begin immediately.

In the meantime, Hubbard’s impending departure doesn’t necessarily change much for potential applicants. Although Columbia Business School was one of several top B-schools that saw a drop in applicants this year, the admissions process remains highly competitive.