ECU names Michael Harris new College of Business dean

The East Carolina University Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Dr. Michael Harris as dean of the College of Business during its June 18 meeting. Harris served as interim dean of the COB since July 2022, replacing Dr. Paul Schwager, who was dean from 2019-2022.

“The opportunity to lead the College of Business, an institution that’s given me and others so much, is both humbling and exciting at the same time,” said Harris. “I’m excited to continue working with colleagues who share the same vision and drive to be the best. It’s our duty to build leaders who will impact eastern North Carolina and beyond, and students who look to us must know they have 30,000-plus alumni who are lifting them up and supporting them.

“We’re raising the bar at the College of Business. I’m thankful to be a part of it.”

As interim dean, Harris continued to advance the COB and its role in serving the region and its students. He helped lead efforts in the naming of the Twilley Academy of Sales Leadership, which was made possible by a $4.5 million commitment by Richard G. Twilley. The Twilley Academy focuses on advancing world-class sales education and providing executive educational programs.

Harris also continued efforts to re-engage COB Pirate Nation. Since 2022, he traveled more than 20,000 miles and visited eight states to meet with alumni, industry partners and friends of the COB. Working with COB leadership, he helped structure the Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business and the recently launched Office of Expert Services. He also worked to complete the building and the grand opening of the Isley Innovation Hub.

To give COB students real-life experiences extending beyond Greenville and North Carolina, Harris worked with the College’s Business Advisory Council to provide travel opportunities for students, complementing the classroom experience and allowing students to meet with alumni and learn more about exciting career pathways.

Dr. Michael Harris

Dr. Michael Harris

“Dr. Harris is committed to continuing to propel our College of Business forward,” said ECU Provost Robin Coger. “I am confident of his ability to lead with vision and also collaborate well with key stakeholders in ensuring the college’s bright future.”

Harris received his Bachelor of Science in business administration and Master of Business Administration from the COB. He earned his doctorate at N.C. State University then moved into the role of assistant professor in ECU’s Department of Management in 2004. He was named associate professor in 2010 and full professor in 2015. He served as chair of the Department of Management from 2014 until 2017, when he was named director of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship, North Carolina’s first named school of entrepreneurship.

Dr. Michael Harris, left, speaks with Tom Arthur, center, and former COB Dean Dr. James Bearden, right, at the opening of the Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business

Dr. Michael Harris, left, speaks with Tom Arthur, center, and former COB Dean Dr. James Bearden, right, at the opening of the Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business.

As director of the COB’s Small Business Institute from 2000-2019, Harris worked with student teams to complete consulting projects for small business clients. He also served as editor of the Small Business Institute Journal and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Small Business Strategy. Harris is a Fellow in the National Small Business Institute and the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Under his leadership, the Miller School launched the nationally-ranked Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, the Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship degree, the Crisp Small Business Resource Center, and the Isley Innovation Hub.

As dean, Harris will also hold the W. Howard Rooks Distinguished Professorship in the College of Business.

“COB leaders such as Joe Tomkiewicz and Stan Eakins helped shape my career,” said Harris. “I’m honored to be a part of a passionate COB team that will move the college forward to new heights.”