“Erika is an award-winning scholar and teacher and a strong, proven leader who serves as dean of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “A passionate and visible champion of the power of business and business education to positively transform communities locally, nationally, and globally, she is exceptionally well prepared to lead Wharton into the next exciting chapter of its storied history.”
James’ career has been notable for her commitment to meaningful cross-disciplinary collaboration, superb scholarship, passionate teaching, and excellence through diversity and inclusion. Since becoming dean of the Goizueta Business School in 2014, she has introduced and led an effort to build an innovation and entrepreneurship lab open to all students on campus. She grew the Goizueta faculty by 25 percent by the end of her first term, building a critical mass of junior faculty and seasoned scholars in key academic areas such as behavioral and decision-based research, business analytics, and health care innovation. With strong faculty input and support, she also expanded corporate engagement with the creation of a research- based corporate think tank.
“Erika has consistently and constructively drawn upon her own scholarship in the areas of leadership development, organizational behavior, gender and racial diversity, and crisis leadership,” Provost Wendell Pritchett said, “applying her own insights into human behavior to foster a work culture that allows people to thrive personally and professionally. She has led faculty and student workshops on such topics as unconscious bias and building trust across divides and has been engaged as a consultant by some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious firms.”
“This is an exciting time to be in business education,” James said. “The scope and platform of the Wharton School provides an opportunity to create far reaching impact for students, scholars, and the business community.”
At Emory, James undertook a significant redesign of the undergraduate business curriculum, integrating immersive learning, technology, and partnerships with Emory College’s liberal arts curriculum.
James is an active member of the SurveyMonkey Board and the Graduate Management Admissions Council, and previously served on the board of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the foremost accrediting body in business education.
She holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges, in California.