Irvine, Calif., March 6, 2014 – Eric R. Spangenberg, a proven academic leader with strengths in developing students, faculty and community support, has been chosen as new dean of UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. His appointment is effective as of June 1.
Currently serving in his ninth year as dean of Washington State University’s College of Business, Spangenberg is a recognized international scholar and committed fundraiser. He has established entrepreneurial initiatives now generating multimillion-dollar revenue streams. In addition, Spangenberg oversaw historic increases in MBA and Ph.D. enrollments while strategically revising curricula. He led a team in developing and launching online MBA programs that were ranked No. 1 last year by U.S. News & World Report, and online undergraduate degree programs have grown by more than 50 percent during his tenure.
“We’re excited to welcome a leader with Eric Spangenberg’s academic qualifications, administrative abilities and energy to The Paul Merage School of Business,” said UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake. “His experience and leadership will help secure our position on the global stage as we celebrate our 50th anniversary and look forward to the future.”
Spangenberg said he has been impressed by the aspirational philosophy, strategic thinking and energy of UC Irvine and welcomes the chance to become a part of the team. “Growing up in the West, the University of California system has been my gold standard with regard to public higher education,” he said. “Accepting this position is an exciting opportunity. I look forward to working with faculty, students, alumni, administration, regents and the many others who invest in the research, educational and outreach objectives of the Merage School.”
Spangenberg, 54, earned a Ph.D. at the University of Washington, with a major in marketing and a minor in social psychology. He began his career at WSU in 1990 as an assistant professor in the marketing department. He served in leadership positions on faculty senate and faculty affairs committees before entering administration and is an active volunteer for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the largest and most prestigious international accrediting body for business schools.
An award-winning teacher and accomplished researcher, he’s particularly well known for his work on the effects of olfactory and musical cues in the retail environment and the effects of self-prediction on people’s behavior. His research has been published in the field’s top journals and covered in the The Economist, Fast Company, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, and on the BBC, CBS, Yahoo News, Salon and Boing, as well as numerous other international print, television and online media outlets.
Using his expertise in external relations, Spangenberg led a WSU team that introduced new community engagement initiatives – including a CEO speaker series, regional corporate and residential firesides chats, and an annual Dean’s Leadership Celebration. These and other development activities ultimately yielded more than $68 million as part of a current fundraising campaign and a nearly 100 percent increase in the endowment value at the WSU College of Business.
Spangenberg’s commitment to globalization has resulted in many more WSU business students studying abroad as well as the initiation of collaborative international dual-degree programs, among other programmatic innovations. He has developed and nurtured institutional partnerships in Asia, Europe and Africa, which has led to board and visiting scholar appointments. Over several years, the WSU College of Business has consistently been ranked among the top 25 in international business by U.S. News & World Report.
“The Merage School is well known around the world for its outstanding academic programs, world-class faculty and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Howard Gillman, provost & executive vice chancellor at UC Irvine. “Eric Spangenberg’s proven track record as a leader, academic innovator, fundraiser and community partner will accelerate the school’s ascendency among globally preeminent programs.”
To find the new dean, Kerry Vandell, professor of real estate at the Merage School, chaired a 13-member search committee comprising faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the business community. They were charged with identifying candidates who could build on current strengths, foster creativity and innovation, and help secure resources to move the school forward. Paul Merage, the business school’s namesake, advised the committee and met with final candidates.
“Eric has demonstrated a talent for strategic innovation and has a solid track record of program implementation,” Merage said. “He is focused on outreach to the business community and will bring energetic leadership to the business school. I believe Eric will ably navigate the business school through the next stage of excellence and recognition on the global stage.”
Spangenberg and his wife of more than 30 years, Judy, have four children. In addition to his passion for education and family, he enjoys reading, cycling, golf and skiing.
About the University of California, Irvine: Located in coastal Orange County, near a thriving employment hub in one of the nation’s safest cities, UC Irvine was founded in 1965. One of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities, it’s ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UC Irvine has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.
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