Leadership history

A walk with the deans and directors of the School of Business

1994-1996: Dr. Ken Walters, Executive Director

The School of Business received its start with Dr. Ken Walters at the helm. He helped create the foundation that the school still exists on.

Dr. Walters was the executive director of UW Bothell’s Business Program, the forerunner of the school, from 1994-96. He was among the founding professors of the program when it began in Bothell’s original Canyon Park location.

When he arrived, Dr. Walters was already well known in academic circles. He had written two books and had published research in numerous journals. He gave the new business program immediate credibility but was working hard from his arrival to get it operational in its limited space.

From the start, Dr. Walters was out promoting the new program. He was a regular at the region’s community colleges, talking about the new opportunities the program would give to students and faculty. He also knew the location of the program, the home of companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Boeing and Paccar, which would give its students opportunities for starting and growing their careers. He went all out to promote the new program, and it worked.

The growth of the program under Dr. Walters was immediate. Within two years, the program had gone from 30 students to more than 200 with night classes. That quick success confirmed that the program would be viable.

Dr. Walters hopes that the current faculty and students know how lucky they are to be at a highly respected, dynamic business school. They get to lead, innovate and inspire everyone at UW Bothell now and in the future.

Along with his time at UW Bothell, Dr. Walters was also the dean of the College of Business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and at the University of New Mexico’s School of Management in Albuquerque. He also served administrative roles at the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Washington in Seattle.

1996-1998 & 2000-2002: Dr. Stanley Slater, Director

Dr. Stanley Slater’s impact on the future School of Business was strong. He led the program through substantial changes during his time at UW Bothell.

Dr. Slater was director of the then Business Program from 1996-98 and 2000-02 when he was also a marketing professor at the university. He arrived in Bothell after a time as a professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Dr. Slater was not unfamiliar with the region when he moved here, as he had earned his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle.

He was also the interim chancellor for UW Bothell from 1998-99, leading the university as it prepared to move from Canyon Park to a new campus east of downtown Bothell. He also served as the university’s vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The times that Dr. Slater was program director coincided with times of major change. In his first stint, he helped create the first graduate degree for the program, a Master of Management and Technology, which started after he became interim chancellor. He also started moving the program from an evening-only program while connecting with community colleges around the region, promoting the program to prospective transfer students and faculty.

New evening classes in the business program were offered at a satellite campus in Bellevue.

His second tenure as program director was the first two years on the new campus, formerly the Boone Farm. He oversaw the program’s continued growth, including the new evening classes being taught in Bellevue. Dr. Slater’s expertise in marketing came in handy during his time in Bothell, not just in his administrative positions but also as a professor. He became a tireless promoter of the Business Program and of UW Bothell.

Dr. Slater became a major figure at UW Bothell, all while fighting a battle of his own. He didn’t let multiple sclerosis slow him down, as he not only kept a full academic schedule but also was highly active in the outdoors as a skier and with a fishing pole. He also used voice-to-text technology to help author papers and textbooks when MS took some of his functions.

In 2002, Dr. Slater went back to his beloved Colorado, accepting a marketing professor position at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He quickly became a beloved figure on the CSU campus, and his death in 2016 hit many at the university hard. In his honor, CSU set up the Stanley Slater Memorial Scholarship, given to a Colorado State student who is facing significant challenges in their lives while attending the university.

Dr. Slater was also the recipient of the American Marketing Association’s Vijay Mahajan Award for Lifetime Contributions to Marketing Strategy in 2011. It was recognition for the extensive research he had done as a professor, including his time at Colorado State and at UW Bothell.

In all, Dr. Slater had more than 60 research articles published, mainly in his focus of marketing strategy. His articles and other work have been cited more than 30,000 times and still get cited in the present day.

Through the School of Business at UW Bothell, his memorial scholarship at CSU and his extensive marketing strategy research, Dr. Stanley Slater still has a major impact on students, professors and anyone studying the world of marketing.

1998-2000: Dr. P.V. (Sundar) Balakrishnan, Director

Dr. P.V. (Sundar) Balakrishnan and UW Bothell’s School of Business have been together since the beginning. His time as director coincided with major changes happening in what was then the business program.

He served as director of the Business Program from 1998-2000, the last years that the program was based at Canyon Park. He oversaw the transition from the crowded building the program was using to the new campus east of downtown Bothell. Dr. Balakrishnan is a founding faculty of the program, which started in 1994.

Dr. Balakrishnan became the third director and jumped quickly into the administrative side. He took over from Dr. Stanley Slater who was appointed as UW Bothell’s interim chancellor. He was among those pushing for the program to get its own master’s degree program, and it was in his tenure that the Master of Management and Technology (M.Mgt.) was established over the objections of some who wanted all UW business graduate programs only in Seattle. He was also influential in eventually changing that into a Master of Business Administration (MBA), which has become the foundation of the school’s graduate programs.

Establishing the graduate program also meant picking up recruiting and starting traditions. Many of the graduation week events started in his tenure, along with the annual graduate student lunch.

Expanded recruiting also meant exploring new ways to reach students. The Business Program was the first to have a banner advertisement on the Seattle Times website when web ads were still being figured out. He hosted faculty from around the region to promote the program’s offerings, building connections with local colleges. He also learned from then part-time lecturer Bill Knight (a long-time sportswriter for the Seattle P-I and Seattle Times) that the best way to get people to events was to feed them. It clearly worked, as faculty from community colleges, especially Bellevue, attended the lunch event to learn more about the new school in their region.

A big change in scheduling undergraduate classes also happened, as the business program started offering morning classes along with the popular evening offerings. That led to a significant drop in the average age of the program’s students, as juniors and seniors no longer had to wait for the evening to take needed classes. It also led to another jump in enrollment in the business program.

The Business Program first gained major accreditation in 2000.

Concomitantly, to provide access to excellence, a major accomplishment of his was building a faculty research culture. He was able to free up his faculty time to be more engaged in research and scholarship. He was able to get approval for faculty to stack their courses so that those who wished could get a dedicated time of an entire quarter to work on their research projects.

A lot of Dr. Balakrishnan’s time as program director was preparing to move to the current UW Bothell campus. Planning for needed classrooms, offices, common areas and a campus base all had to be done. It was busy to the end, and Dr. Balakrishnan remembers packing up for his last day as director.

It was also under Dr. Balakrishnan that the Business Program gained its first major AACSB accreditation in 2000. His efforts, along with the program staff, helped not only recognize the progress and strength of the business program but also created a template that other parts of UW use when it is time for renewing accreditations.

Dr. Balakrishnan resigned as business program director in 2000, replaced by a returning Dr. Slater (whose time as UW Bothell’s interim chancellor has ended), but he has become an institution at UW Bothell and the School of Business. His impact is on every aspect of the school, and he is the encyclopedia of the school. If it has happened since the program started in 1994, Dr. Balakrishnan knows the who, what and why of it.

The two years Dr. Balakrishnan was program director were full of changes, new challenges and continued growth as the move to the new campus was happening. He readied the program for its next phase and made sure it became a strength of not just UW Bothell but the entire region.

2002-2009: Dr. Steve Holland, Director

Once on the new UW Bothell campus, the Business Program continued its strong growth. Dr. Steve Holland was a big reason why.

Dr. Holland was director of the Business Program from 2002-09 and was also associate dean for Graduate Programs from 2013-14. He served as professor of Business until his retirement in 2020, with expertise in macroeconomics, monetary policy and financial economics.

During his time as director, Dr. Holland oversaw much change and growth. The program added a concentration in Management Information Systems in 2004, an accounting option in 2008 and expanded its MBA program to Bellevue in 2009.

He also expanded the program’s reach into the regional business community and brought on local business leaders to help advise the program. Dr. Holland created the Business Program Advisory Council in 2004 and launched the Business Development Center in 2006.

The MBA program was the first UW Bothell program to be nationally ranked.

The national reputation of the program started to grow quickly under Dr. Holland. By 2009, the MBA program was nationally ranked for the first time by Business Week. It was also the first UW Bothell program in any department to gain a national ranking.

Dr. Holland believed that the strong connection between the school and the community is vital to its success, and expanding that was a major part of his tenure as director. That link to the community also helps the school attract and retain students, faculty and staff.

The vision of Dr. Holland was to be the best resource for the region’s working professionals. He wanted UW Bothell’s Business Program, and the current School of Business, to offer the best undergraduate and master’s-level business education in the Pacific Northwest.

Before his time at UW Bothell, Dr. Holland taught at the University of Kentucky, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, Texas State University, Michigan State University and Pittsburg State University. He also served as economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Chair of the Department of Economics and Business for the Economics Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University in 1983. He previously received his master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Holland’s research has been published in numerous journals over the years. These include American Economic Review; Review of Economics and Statistics; Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking; Economic Inquiry; and Real Estate Economics.

2009 – 2023: Dr. Sandeep Krishnamurthy, Dean

The school’s journey under Dr. Krishnamurthy’s leadership will be shared soon.