May 23, 2022

Virginia Kleist named dean of Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business

Virginia Franke Kleist comes to Wayne State from West Virginia University. She takes over her new role as dean of WSU's Mike Ilitch School of Business on July 11.

Virginia Franke Kleist has been selected to serve as the next dean of the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business, ending a seven-month national search. The Wayne State University Board of Governors approved the appointment which was announced by Provost Mark Kornbluh. She will begin at Wayne State on July 11, 2022.

Kleist comes to Wayne State from West Virginia University where she serves as the associate dean of Graduate Programs, Research and Academic Affairs and Professor of Management Information Systems at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. Her responsibilities include oversight of the Graduate Programs at the Chambers College, responsibility for the promotion and tenure process, and administration of the faculty research function, including working to develop and implement strategies and plans to promote faculty research. Kleist teaches strategic technology management, data communications and network security.   

WSU Provost Mark Kornbluh

“We had a number of outstanding candidates for this highly-coveted position, but Virginia’s extensive leadership experience and her preparedness stood out,” Mark Kornbluh, WSU provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “She also has a proven track record in supporting faculty research, creating innovative programs and growing graduate and undergraduate enrollments. And perhaps most important, she has a passion for students like ours with limited resources, but lots of grit.”

In her roles at West Virginia University, Kleist has spearheaded the development and delivery of six new, entrepreneurial online graduate degrees and grown graduate student enrollment by 77 percent between Fall 2018 and Fall 2021. She also has extensive international experience, including oversight of the Robbins Center for Global Business and Strategy and the Center for Chinese Business.

In her 23 years at West Virginia University, Kleist has also held leadership positions including chair of the University Faculty Senate, 11 year member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and chair of the Department of Management and Information Systems.

Previously, Kleist served as director of the MBA/MoIS dual degree program at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to becoming an academic, she spent 10 years in industry in telecommunications network management at PNC, Allegheny Health Education and Research Foundation, Joy Technologies, and GTE (now Verizon).

She is a three-time Fulbright Specialist award winner, having taught in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine and Ufa, Russia for two of those awards. Her research publications include work on the economics of information technologies, information systems data security and IT auditing issues. Kleist won West Virginia University’s Board of Governors Outstanding Teaching Award and her field’s best dissertation award. She has been awarded many externally funded grants.  

She is a long-time member of the Association for Information Systems (AIS), was a track chair for the International Conference of Information Systems, is the book review editor of the Journal of Global Information Technology Management and is a member of AIS's Special Interest Groups in Security and Accounting Information Systems.

She holds a PhD and master’s degree in MIS and a master’s in economics from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Marquette University, and did her undergraduate work in economics and history at Duke University.

Kleist succeeds Robert Forsythe, who has served as dean since 2014. Under Forsythe’s leadership, the school was renamed in 2015 in recognition of an historic $40 million gift from the Ilitch family, which allowed the school to build its state-of-the-art new home in The District Detroit. Forsythe’s tenure also included the development of several new academic programs, including those in entrepreneurship and innovation and sport and entertainment management, and student success and mentoring initiatives. Forsythe will remain as dean until Kleist’s arrival.


Matt Lockwood
Phone: 248-622-8060

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