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Angela 'AJ' Grube named as next College of Business dean

By Bill Studenc

Angela “A.J.” Grube, a member of the faculty in Western Carolina University’s College of Business for more than 20 years, has been named to lead the college as its next permanent dean, effective Jan. 1.

Provost Richard D. Starnes announced the appointment of Grube today (Friday, Oct. 16), following approval of the selection earlier in the week by the WCU Board of Trustees.

“In a nationwide search that attracted an extraordinary pool of applicants, Dr. A.J. Grube impressed all constituencies with her passion for WCU, her commitment to the success of our students and her vision for the College of Business,” Starnes said. “Her experience as a faculty member, as a school director and as associate dean have prepared her to lead the college in the exciting and challenging times ahead.”

A professor of sport management, Grube has held numerous leadership positions in the College of Business, including acting dean and interim associate dean. She served as director of the School of Accounting, Finance, Information Systems and Business Law from January 2015 through August 2019 and head of the Department of Business Administration and Law, and Sport Management from June 2010 through December 2014.

AJ Grube

AJ Grube

Grube also has held administrative appointments outside of the College of Business, serving as assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs from June 2005 through June 2010 and as assistant to the chancellor for equal opportunity programs from March 2003 until June 2005.

“Jackson County and WCU have been my home for more than 20 years, and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d like to live and work,” Grube said. “I couldn’t be more honored and excited to partner with the students, faculty, staff, advisory boards and the community as dean of the College of Business. I’m immensely proud of the students and faculty in the college. They are talented, innovative and engaged – and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish!”

Prior to joining the WCU faculty in August 1999, Grube served as NCAA compliance coordinator for the Cape Cod Baseball League and general manager of the Wareham Gatemen baseball organization. She taught previously at Daniel Webster College.

Grube earned a doctorate in sport management from Florida State University, a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia College, a master’s degree in sport management from Georgia Southern University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from Georgia College.

Grube was selected by a search committee chaired by Jon Marvel, director of the School of Economics, Management and Project Management, to fill a vacancy created by the December 2019 departure of Hai-yang Chen.

“Following a national search for the College of Business’s next leader, the faculty- and staff-led search committee identified numerous highly qualified candidates. After an exhaustive interview and vetting process, the College of Business faculty and staff recognized that the person best able to take on the role of dean already had ties to WCU and the local business community,” Marvel said.

Grube served as acting dean of the college in December 2019. Debra Burke, professor of business administration and law, assumed the role of interim dean of the college effective Jan. 1, 2020, and will continue in that capacity until Grube takes over at the beginning of the calendar year.

“I want to thank the members of the search committee, especially chair Dr. Jon Marvel, for their hard work during very challenging times and for crafting an excellent search process,” Starnes said. “I also am very grateful for Dr. Debra Burke’s willingness to step into the role of interim dean. Her leadership, devotion to students, and long experience in the College of Business helped the college continue to move forward on many fronts – including the AACSB reaccreditation process – amid the vast challenges we have faced this past year.”

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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