Karen Sedatole./Courtesy of Emory Photo

Goizueta Advisory Board Term Professor of Accounting Karen Sedatole has been appointed as the interim dean of the Goizueta Business School, according to a May 1 campus-wide announcement from Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Jan Love. Sedatole will step into her role on May 30.

Sedatole, who joined Emory as a faculty member in 2017, will replace outgoing Dean Erika H. James who will become the dean of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania at the end of the month.

Sedatole said she wants the University to do more than “hunker down” during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the health crisis is also an opportunity to identify areas of improvement.

Through her membership of the business school’s executive and personnel committees, Sedatole said she has gained valuable insights into the faculty body and the challenges that school deans may face during their tenure.

“The personnel committee is responsible for making tenure promotion decisions,” Sedatole said. “I learned to see the kind of research being conducted and have a better sense of what the faculty expertise is.”

Sedatole said that an exact timeline of her tenure is unknown, since the University will welcome a new president and will appoint a new provost in the near future.

“It’s more of a decision of the provost,” Sedatole said. “My role is to help our transition. The provost’s office will begin a search for a permanent dean. It’s possible I remain longer than a year, depending on the new administration’s preferences.”

As a part of her onboarding process, Sedatole plans to shadow James for the next month to better understand the dean’s role and the challenges she will face.

“It’s a huge learning curve,” Sedatole saad. “Learning about school finances, making connections to external constituents. Dean James has an extensive network.”

Sedatole said that while she would welcome a decision to continue in-person instruction in the fall, she stressed the importance of health and safety.

“It is a University-level decision,” Sedatole said. “I don’t suspect any schools will have a lot of autonomy on these kinds of matters. I hope we are face to face. My guess is we’d have to make allowances for the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. I welcome that.”

Prior to joining the University, Sedatole was the Russell E. Palmer Endowed Professor of Accounting at Michigan State University.