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Auburn, Ala. — Jennifer Mueller-Phillips, KPMG professor and associate dean for academic affairs, has been named interim dean for the Harbert College of Business effective Sept. 15. Mueller-Phillips assumes the position from Joe Hanna, who will return to the faculty after serving as interim dean since April 2022.
Jennifer Mueller-Phillips, Harbert College of Business interim dean
An accomplished scholar and faculty member in the School of Accountancy, Mueller-Phillips brings more than 20 years of experience as a faculty member and administrator to the role, including extensive experience overseeing academic initiatives for Harbert College’s six academic departments and more than 6,900 students and nearly 300 faculty and staff. Working with campus partners, Mueller-Phillips has overseen several of the college’s strategic efforts to enhance student success and improve its rankings, including advancing its campus-wide entrepreneurship initiatives, expanding global programs, strengthening student recruitment and placement, and growing its $1.5 million scholarship program.
“With her experience and knowledge of the college’s stakeholders, I am confident Dr. Mueller-Phillips will provide critical transitional leadership as we commence the search for a permanent dean,” said Vini Nathan, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “I am grateful to Dr. Hanna for his leadership of the college and his dedication and advocacy for its people and programs.”
As associate dean, Mueller-Phillips led the development of new programs focused on cultivating professional opportunities for students and shifted the strategic direction of the college’s employer and corporate relations approach. As part of this effort, Mueller-Phillips led reorganization efforts focused on strengthening student services, improving retention, increasing internship and full-time placement rates, and achieving above-average starting salaries for graduates. In addition, Mueller-Phillips successfully guided the college through its Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation review in 2022.
“I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to lead Harbert College toward our next permanent dean,” said Mueller-Phillips. “I am deeply passionate about keeping the college’s strong momentum, which includes bolstering our dedicated faculty and staff, inspiring our students to achieve their highest potential, building and nurturing alumni and partner relationships and telling our story on the national stage.”
Mueller-Phillips joined the university in 2000 as an assistant professor of accounting. In 2016, she was appointed as director of the School of Accountancy, where she worked with faculty and staff to strengthen the School’s top-ranked accounting programs, raise the School’s research and scholarship stature, and further invest in historically strong ties to the accounting profession. In 2017, she successfully led the School through its 2017 AACSB accreditation review.
Mueller-Phillips’ appointment succeeds Joe Hanna, who has served the college in various administrative positions since 2007, including two terms as interim dean and associate dean for research and outreach, where he helped grow the college’s research enterprise by expanding its research centers of excellence. Before transitioning to the dean’s office, Hanna served as chair of the department that housed the college’s highly-ranked supply chain management programs.
Transitioning back to a scholarly role, Hanna will serve as director of industry research for the Center for Supply Chain Innovation, where he will focus on cultivating relationships with industry partners and resume research on methods to evaluate and enhance supply chain performance. A national search for a new dean will commence this fall.
Mueller-Phillips holds degrees in accounting from Jacksonville State University and Virginia Tech. Her scholarly work and teaching emphasis focus on auditor judgment and liability. In addition to publications in premier accounting journals and competitive research grants, Mueller-Phillips has been recognized numerous times for outstanding teaching at Virginia Tech and Auburn University, including the college’s prestigious McCartney Award.
Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.
The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.