Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU College of Business dean featured in Business Week

March 4, 2009

Women are increasingly taking on leadership roles in business schools, a trend that is expected to continue its upward progression. Nancy J. Merritt, dean of the College of Business at Indiana State University, is part of that trend and was recently profiled in Business Week. Merritt is included a slideshow of 12 female deans at top U.S. business schools.

The slideshow is in conjunction with a Feb. 20 article about women shattering the "glass ceiling" by assuming leadership roles at business schools, which have historically been led by men. Merritt's profile includes her thoughts on the challenges and rewards of serving as dean of the ISU College of Business, a position she has held since 2007.

"While there are always style differences among leaders, the expectations for a dean in a business school have been set with predecessors who are male. The low numbers of females in business academic disciplines and dean positions has led to few female role models or mentors," she said, as quoted in profile. "Deans often interact with academic and business community members, as well as alumni, who have limited experience with female leaders in business and/or academics. The most difficult and the most rewarding aspects of the job for me are to connect well with business people, alumni, and academics on the basis of my experiences and insights for advancing the college's programs."

The article cites data from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), an accreditation agency which reports that nearly 17 percent of deans at AACSB-member schools are women. Female faculty members at business schools make up more than 27 percent of the faculty, marking a 21 percent increase in the past 10 years.

A former retail business co-owner and manager, Merritt holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Montana State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. She is a member of the Academy of Marketing Science and the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Prior to coming to Indiana State, Merritt served as interim dean of the College of Business Administration at Bowling Green State University.

The slideshow featuring Merritt is available online at

The article is available at


Photo: Nancy Merritt