College of Business names ASU’s Beth Walker new dean

photo of Beth Walker
Beth Walker is the new dean of CSU’s College of Business. (Click to enlarge.)

Beth Walker, chair of the marketing department at Arizona State University and an accomplished scholar and leader, has been named dean of the Colorado State University College of Business.

“I am deeply honored to have been chosen to become dean of the College of Business,” said Walker, who will be joining CSU from Arizona State University, where she is chair of the marketing department at the W.P. Carey School of Business. “CSU has built an exceptional business school that may be the best-kept secret in the American West. The staff is first-rate and the students are truly inspiring.”

Walker, the first female dean of college in its 50-year history, will replace Ajay Menon, who is returning to the classroom after a dozen years as dean. She starts July 1.

“I am tremendously pleased to welcome Dr. Walker to Colorado State University,” said Rick Miranda, CSU provost and executive vice president. “She comes to us with very impressive credentials, and faculty, staff and students are looking forward to working with her in moving the college ahead.”

Early inspiration

For Walker, a New Jersey native, becoming dean of the CSU College of Business is the next step in a career journey that began in a high school marketing class, where students were charged with developing a product to sell.

“We worked with a local chocolatier to create Santa Claus lollipops,” she recalled with a laugh.

Walker went on to do her undergraduate work at Virginia Tech and received both her master’s and Ph.D. from Penn State. She joined the ASU faculty in 1988, and has served as chair of the marketing department since 2011, where she has won accolades for her teaching and oversees 27 full-time faculty. During her time at ASU, she also served as faculty director of the Evening MBA Program and associate dean for MBA Programs at the school.

Working closely with business partners, she places a priority on research that has important implications for business practice.

“My best ideas come from learning what’s on the minds of managers,” Walker said.

Such collaborations have led to award-winning articles on profiling the social ingredients of successful alliances and on designing profitable customer portfolios.

Accomplishments at ASU

While at Arizona State, Walker launched a number of interdisciplinary concentrations and new specializations within the marketing department, both online and in the classroom, including a “hybrid” delivery model for the professional MBA programs and a renewed emphasis on leadership in the curriculum. She also strengthened relationships with local and national industry partners. Under her tenure, the ASU Evening MBA was ranked in the top 20 in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and for the first time, its executive MBA program was ranked 13th in the country by The Wall Street Journal.

She said what impresses her most about the CSU College of Business is the faculty, who are committed to teaching and research that matters; the strength of its online graduate education and part-time MBA programs; its emphasis on social responsibility; and its innovative and entrepreneurial culture.

She also lauded Menon’s contributions to the college.

“Ajay Menon created a strong foundation and special culture in the College of Business,” Walker said. “That’s why I see nothing but upside for the future of the college. I’m delighted to join the leadership team and family at CSU.”

Leadership style

She described her leadership style as collaborative.

“What I like to do is work with others to create a vision and then engage the broader organization to execute the vision,” Walker said. “I truly enjoy working with the faculty, students and business partners. They inspire me and inspire new ideas. The best ideas come from collaborating with others.”

She added that many of her ASU colleagues have collaborated with faculty at CSU’s College of Business, and she got to meet some of those collaborators during her interviews on campus.

“It was nice to put names with faces,” Walker said. “I’m thrilled about my appointment and can’t wait to get started.”

She has two children with her husband, Dave Rackoski. Her son Sean is 19 and plays baseball at the University of Kansas. Her daughter Shannon is 17 and is graduating from high school this spring.

About the college

The College of Business at Colorado State enrolls more than 2,200 undergraduate majors, more than 300 MBA candidates, and more than 800 undergraduate and graduate secondary majors from the other seven colleges in the University. Graduate enrollment has grown 116 percent in the past decade.

In the 2015 listings, CSU’s online graduate business programs were ranked No. 31 by U.S. News and World Report, climbing an astounding 44 spots in just two years. On the first-ever separate online MBA ranking, the College of Business appears at No. 57 out of 195 schools ranked. Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranked the College of Business as one of the top undergraduate business programs in the country — No. 73 in this year’s rankings, up from No. 89 last year.