When it comes to Robert E. Widing II, the Case Western Reserve University community has ample incentive to embrace Shakespeare’s maxim about past as prologue.
Ten days ago, the incoming dean at the Weatherhead School of Management received a remarkable going-away present from the place he previously led, the Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney, Australia: The educational institution climbed a dozen slots in The Economist’s annual ranking of full-time MBA programs, moving from 73rd to 61st. More, the magazine ranked Macquarie second in the world for the quality of its students and the salary those students earn after graduation.
As impressive as the gains are, you’re unlikely to hear much about them from Widing. He’s focused squarely on his new assignment—in particular, learning as much as he can about the school, the university, Weatherhead School alumni and the region’s businesses.
“Recent visits have provided ample opportunity to observe the excitement and momentum at our school and in our community more broadly,” Widing said. “I’m eager to be a part of moving Weatherhead forward within that inspiring context.”
The new dean plans to do a great deal of listening to constituent groups in his first weeks on campus, but his recent leadership record indicates that initial conversations ultimately will inform concepts that later become concrete initiatives. At Macquarie, for example, Widing worked to extend global offerings and develop a degree program in social entrepreneurship, Macquarie’s first interdisciplinary degree.
As provost and senior vice president of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, he helped launch three new degree programs and updated the MBA curriculum. And earlier, at the University of Melbourne in Australia, he helped marketing course enrollment climb and grew the number of full-time PhD marketing faculty from one to 10.
“Rob comes to Case Western Reserve with extensive leadership experience and a proven ability to nurture collaborative progress,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “We are delighted to welcome him to our campus today.”
A native of southwestern Pennsylvania, Widing earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the Ohio State University. He served as an assistant professor at the Weatherhead School from 1988 to 1993. While in Australia, he received the highest marketing research honor in Australasia, The Distinguished Marketing Researcher Award, from the Australia-New Zealand Marketing Academy. He also was recognized as a “Top-Ten” marketing researcher in Australasia and Asia by the Journal of Marketing Education.