Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Brian Lehrer Show and the New Isenberg School of Management Dean

Today I had the pleasure of joining Iain Couzin of Princeton University for the Traffic Jam interview segment of the Brian Lehrer Show in New York City. I especially appreciated how Lehrer interwove our expertise into the interview and conversation. Couzin is a mathematical biologist who researches animal behavior, including herding. He has also studied human pedestrians. The segment was motivated by Mayor Bloomberg's closure of Broadway from 42nd to 47st Streets. Yesterday, we checked out this part of Broadway, which was filled with happy pedestrians.

First, I was picked up by a black vehicle in front of my hotel and then driven to the WNYC Studio on Varick Street where the Brian Lehrer Show is broadcast from. I had to present a photo ID to get in and was then escorted to a waiting area. I got to meet another guest that Lehrer was interviewing that morning (about student loans), whose mother, coincidentally, went to the same high school as I did -- Yonkers High!

Tomorrow morning we will be rehearsing the Traffic segment for the World Science Festival. It is terrific to see so many banners and posted around NYU publicizing this 5 day festival, which began yesterday evening with a magnificent gala at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. Our Traffic panel will be at the Kimmel Center at NYU. There is seating for 500 with 100 seats available on the balcony.

Today is a very important day for another reason as well. After, literally, months of searching, conducting interviews with finalists, and negotiations, UMass Amherst made the official announcement. Dr. Mark Fuller of Washington State University will be the new Dean of the Isenberg School of Management. He will be holding an endowed chair in honor of our former dean, Dr. Tom O'Brien, who served as our dean for an amazing 19 years! Given the amount of time that the search committee and the UMass Amherst administration spent on this critically important search, we are delighted to have it come to a positive ending.

As a member of the ISOM Dean search committee, I thank my wonderful colleagues and fellow search committee members, as well as those who applied for and interviewed for this position.