R. Duane Ireland, the new interim dean of Mays Business School, has a proven track record for stepping up to serve his beloved university. Since joining the faculty at Texas A&M University as a Professor of Management nearly 20 years ago, Ireland has served in several other leadership roles at Mays Business School – including department head, interim department head, interim executive associate dean, executive associate dean, associate dean of research and scholarship, and acting dean.
With his trademark quick wit, Ireland humbly quips that “I’m still trying to decide what to be when I grow up.” Like most entrepreneurs and CEOs, he is accustomed to wearing many different hats to serve Mays, which educates nearly 6,300 students in accounting, finance, information systems and operations management, management, and marketing. Ireland is also a University Distinguished Professor of Management and holds the Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business.
Ireland exemplifies an important aspect of the school’s mission, which is to “Create Impactful Knowledge.” Ireland’s research focuses on the intersection between entrepreneurship and innovation, strategic entrepreneurship, and effective strategic leadership practices. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 books, has multiple publications in major journals, and is recognized among the most frequently cited economics and business researchers. In 2017, Ireland received the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award given to a Mays faculty member for sustained and outstanding scholarly contributions. He is also a recipient of The Association of Former Students’ Award for Research, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Management and of the Strategic Management Society.
“We are grateful to Dr. Ireland for his willingness to serve Mays Business School as interim dean,” said Mark H. Weichold, interim provost and executive vice president, in this recent announcement. “He is well-positioned to help transition Mays Business School to its next chapter of success.”
Ireland considers it “an honor” to help build on the achievements of several former Mays Business School deans including Eli Jones who, after six years of service as dean, returned to the faculty in the Department of Marketing as a full professor and as a holder of an endowed chair. Under Jones’ leadership, the school worked together to create and implement a strategic plan that is elevating the school across multiple dimensions. As part of this plan, Mays Business School’s vision became “Advancing the World’s Prosperity,” which means providing a better future for generations who follow, including quality of life, the environment, and economic systems.
An avid runner in his free time (with over 65,000 miles logged so far), Ireland knows that adapting to new situations is an important skill for going the distance. “This is a very exciting time at Mays Business School,” Ireland said. “One of the reasons for a high level of excitement is that we are launching the design and construction phase of the Business Education Complex (BEC), a proposed 75,000 square-foot expansion with expected occupancy in the Summer of 2024 or the Spring of 2025.”
With an eye to the future, Ireland identifies ‘synergy’ as the word that captures what he aims to accomplish in his new role. “In this sense, we seek to achieve a greater combined impact through our collaborations compared to the sum of what we would derive from individual actions,” said Ireland. “These efforts include fostering collaborative partnerships among faculty, staff, students, our alumni network of over 64,000 former students, and the broader university to create communities in which all members feel a sense of belonging and support.”
A native of Lima, Ohio, Ireland is the first in his family to earn a college degree and wholeheartedly supports first-generation students at Texas A&M, which make up close to 25 percent of the undergraduate population. He earned his Ph.D. and MBA from Texas Tech University, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Rawls College of Business.
Ireland and his wife Mary Ann have two adult children. “Texas A&M University means a lot to us,” Ireland said. “We feel very blessed to be here. It’s a university with a great vision and mission, and Mays Business School is such a positive community of which to be a part.”