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Marshall's Hai-yang Chen selected as next College of Business dean

Hai-yang Chen, former dean of the Lewis College of Business at Marshall University, has been named the next dean of the College of Business at Western Carolina University, effective Feb. 1.

Chen is filling a vacancy created by the departure of Darrell Parker, dean of WCU’s College of Business from July 2012 until December 2017, when he left to become president of Limestone College. The WCU Board of Trustees approved Chen’s appointment during a special called meeting Dec. 18, pending final contract negotiations that since have been completed.

Hai-yang Chen

Chen served as dean of the Lewis College of Business at Marshall from July 2013 until returning to the faculty in July 2016. He previously held administrative positions as the founding managing director of the Global Financial Services Institute, founding director of E*TRADE Financial Learning Center and founding director of the Financial Planning Program, all within the Cotsakos College of Business at William Paterson University of New Jersey.

He was a full professor in the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University, where he began his career in higher education as an assistant professor in 1988. He has more than 30 years of experience as faculty and administrator in AACSB-accredited public universities.

The selection of Chen follows a national search led by a campus committee chaired by Jeff Ray, dean of WCU’s College of Engineering and Technology, and completed with the assistance of the Buffkin-Baker executive search firm.

“Dr. Chen brings with him many years of experience as a leader and faculty member in business higher education,” Ray said. “I extend my appreciation to the members of the search committee for their hard work in filling this important campus leadership position.”

During his career in public education, Chen has led and worked with faculty and staff to develop more than 50 interdisciplinary and international programs, including degree programs in doctor of pharmacy/master of business administration, entrepreneurship, financial planning and others. He also developed an extensive series of international education programs, including a sister university relationship and an international cooperation degree program, and he has played key roles in developing external relations with alumni and friends and in fundraising.

Chen has taught courses in finance, personal financial planning, international financial management and other business programs in the U.S. and abroad. He has published numerous papers in top journals such as Journal of International Business Studies, International Business Review, Journal of Business Research, Management International Review and Financial Management. His research has received more than 3,200 citations.

Chen earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing; master’s degrees in international management at Thunderbird School of Global Management, currently a unit of Arizona State University, and in economics at Kent State University; and a doctorate in finance at Kent State. He also received an executive program certificate at the University of Southern California.

“I would like to thank the search committee, administration, faculty, staff, students, members of the advisory board and others who participated in the dean’s search. They have shown their commitment and dedication, represented WCU well and got the job done,” Chen said. “I am honored and grateful to the WCU community for allowing me to join this group of dedicated colleagues. I look forward to working with them to move the College of Business to the next level of greatness.”

Carol Burton, WCU acting provost, said she is eager to have Chen as a member of the campus community. “The College of Business will reap the benefits of a seasoned, passionate and highly qualified academic officer to lead it into the next exciting stages of growth and excellence,” Burton said.

Those next stages are already in progress under the leadership of Hollye Moss, director of the college’s School of Economics, Management and Project Management, who has served as interim dean of the college since January 2018, Burton said. “Hollye Moss embodies ‘the Western way.’ She has guided the College of Business selflessly for the past year, placing the needs of our students, faculty and staff above her own, including remaining in the dean’s role six months beyond her original commitment while we concluded the search for a new permanent dean,” she said.

“We owe Dr. Moss a debt of gratitude for her willingness to serve our WCU community. She is a true university citizen and we are the better for her efforts,” Burton said. “Our exceptional faculty and staff in the College of Business have shown that they are committed to student success, as well as academic excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Dr. Chen will find an established community of collegiality and quality.”

The College of Business at WCU, which is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, has more than 56 full-time faculty members and offers 17 undergraduate and graduate degrees in 10 disciplines at the main campus in Cullowhee and in Asheville at Biltmore Park, as well as online. The college also is home to the Corporation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise. For more information, visit the website

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