Blount leaves behind a transformed curriculum and campus
By Amy Trang
Evidence of Dean Sally Blount's golden touch is apparent throughout New York University's Stern School of Business.
During her six-year tenure as dean of NYU's undergraduate business college, Blount put into place a series of innovations that transformed the school. From leading a $40 million renovation of the facilities to initiating new global and social-impact curricular requirements, Blount built one of the nation's leading undergraduate business programs.
With an eye toward preparing future business leaders, Blount led the charge for a more globally focused curriculum, overseeing the development of a World Studies Track and a business and political economy degree program that sends students to Shanghai, London
and Latin America over several semesters. Stern undergraduates also have ample opportunity to study abroad through exchange programs, community service treks and a required one-week overseas trip in their junior year.
Those programs have sent student Ben Funk to four continents in the three years he has been at NYU. Blount is "very passionate about making sure we're ready to enter the global business world of the 21st century," Funk says. "She wants us to experience and learn from it and connect it to our other classes. She believes in our potential as future leaders, and she wants to foster that through these experiences."
Blount was also a prominent member of the university's international team. NYU Provost David W. McLaughlin named Blount a special adviser on global integration, and she played a leading role in developing the curriculum and recruiting social sciences faculty for NYU's Abu Dhabi campus.
An advocate for corporate social responsibility, Blount initiated a four-course social impact series at Stern that provides students with a deeper understanding of how businesses and business leaders impact society. Among the topics covered in the series are personal ethics, professional responsibility, stakeholder theory, and the interconnections between the legal, government, arts and culture, not-for-profit and private sectors. Blount taught sections in two of the required courses — leading students in conversations that explored the relationships between commerce, culture, politics and philosophy.
Blount also helped foster a stronger NYU undergraduate community, founding the Cohorts program, where freshmen work together in groups on a leadership project and maintain those connections throughout their four years at Stern.
The changes in Stern's curriculum are reflected physically in the school's facilities. Blount helped spearhead the college's first major renovation in more than 20 years and secured an unprecedented $15 million gift toward the project, which links three of the school's buildings and updates 84,500 square feet of classrooms and an undergraduate learning center.
The building is a reflection of the school's collaborative and innovative spirit — a spirit that Blount embodies as well, says Batia Wiesenfeld, professor of management at NYU.
"Sally really believes in the power of education to transform people's lives," Wiesenfeld says. "In turn, they go on to transform the world."