Report: Walton College Dean Matt Waller is resigning

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 2,724 views 

Matt Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, is leaving the job later this year.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday (March 6) that Waller intends to return to a teaching position at the UA. He will make that transition on Aug. 14. A UA spokesman told the newspaper that Waller sent a letter to Walton College faculty and staff last week notifying them of his plans.

Waller became Walton College dean in 2016 and started a second five-year term on July 1, 2021.

“I am excited to continue the work we have started in my first five years as dean and want to thank Provost Robinson for giving me opportunity to do so,” Waller said at the tie of his reappointment. “We are growing our presence in Northwest Arkansas and the rest of the state, creating partnerships and innovative programs that benefit our students and business and industry throughout Arkansas and the region. I am fortunate to have the backing of an outstanding leadership team at the Walton College and the support of the entire Walton College family of students, faculty and staff as we build the future of this great business school together.”

Waller was not immediately available for comment.

In Waller’s letter to the Walton College, he said he would begin teaching in the supply chain management department on Aug. 14. Terry Martin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, will gather input from Walton College faculty, staff and students regarding the process and timeline for hiring a new dean.

“Dean Waller has shown exceptional leadership over the past eight years as dean of the Walton College of Business,” Martin said in a statement. “Under his guidance, the college has experienced immense growth and great success. Dean Waller established seven new master’s degree programs, named multiple endowments, launched online degree programs, and developed initiatives that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. I’m grateful to Dean Waller for serving the university as dean for nearly a decade, and I’m grateful he will continue serving the university as a professor later this year.”

Martin said the UA would name an interim dean later this spring.

“Reflecting on my eight years in this role — one as Interim Dean and seven as Dean — fills me with immense gratitude,” Waller wrote in his letter to faculty and staff. “I am proud of the remarkable progress we have made in establishing a dynamic and creative learning and research environment.

“I am in awe of the tremendous growth of the Walton College of Business, which is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of our students, faculty, and staff. The EPIC group of leaders I work with have been instrumental in the college’s successes, and I am confident that the Walton College of Business will continue to be a leading force in business education and research. It is a privilege to have been a part of this journey and to help our students achieve their academic and professional goals. I am certain that the college will continue to reach new heights.”

The list of Walton College achievements under Waller’s leadership is lengthy. They include:

  • Established seven new master programs, including Professional Accounting, Applied Business Analytics, Supply Chain Management, Economic Analytics, Finance, Product Innovation and Healthcare Business Analytics (joint program with the College of Education and Health Professions).
  • Established the Robert Shoptaw Healthcare Business Analytics program.
  • Named endowment of the William Dillard Department of Accounting.
  • Named endowment of the J.B. Hunt Transport Department of Supply Chain Management.
  • Established a new academic department, the Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Venture Innovation (SEVI).
  • Launched online bachelor’s degree programs in human resources management, marketing, accounting, and supply chain management.
  • Received the #1 program ranking by Gartner for the Walton College of Business’ Supply Chain Management undergraduate program in 2020 and 2022.
  • Created the Business Integrity Leadership Initiative.
  • Created the Customer Centric Leadership Initiative.
  • Transformed the Tyson Center for Faith-Friendly Workplaces.
  • Oversaw the Walton College of Business through successful AACSB reviews in 2017 and 2021.
  • Formed the Kelly and Steve Barnes Health and Wellbeing Innovation Fund.
  • Established the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub to establish a co-working space for training new entrepreneurs.
  • Established the McMillon Innovation Studio.
  • Improved College communications, business community involvement, and overall philanthropy processes.
  • Reengineered the marketing strategy and processes of the Walton College.
  • Established Walton College at Second & Main in Little Rock.
  • Established the Fleischer Scholars Program.
  • Established the Walton College Students Achieving Milestones program.
  • Created Walton Insights.
  • Recognized as part of Arkansas Business Publishing Group’s 250 Most Influential Leaders of 2020 and 2022 in the State of Arkansas.
  • Received the Whitney M. Young Award from the Urban League of Arkansas for my work to improve the lives of underserved Arkansans.

“I am grateful for Dean Waller’s service to the Sam M. Walton College of Business, which is stronger than ever thanks to his leadership and the faculty and staff in the college,” Chancellor Charles Robinson said in a statement. “His influence on students, faculty and staff has helped the Walton College grow to epic proportions, not only driving our university forward, but also supporting the state of Arkansas as a leading force for business education and research.”