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Interim Dean keeping the Harbert College of Business moving forward

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Dr. Jennifer Mueller-Phillips has been named interim dean for the Harbert College of Business. 

For Dr. Mueller-Phillips, Auburn University was her first faculty appointment after finishing her Ph.D., beginning a career at Auburn in the fall of 2000. Mueller-Phillips is a tenured full professor in the School of Accountancy, and after being a faculty member for nearly 15 years, became the Director of the School of Accountancy. 

Her leadership journey did not stop there; she later became Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and now becoming the interim dean for the Harbert College of Business. 

Notably, Mueller-Phillips holds the KPMG professorship and was previously awarded the McCartney Award for Outstanding Teaching, a prestigious award given by the Harbert College for outstanding faculty. The college selects the recipient by evaluating a professor’s instructional portfolio. This includes everything from teaching philosophy, student impact, course materials and syllabuses, to student and peer evaluations. 

“I think that is why [the McCartney Award for Outstanding Teaching] is so special to me because so many different groups of people have input into who the recipient is, including students. I always value students' feedback on any course that I teach.” 

As interim dean, Dr. Mueller-Phillips’s job is to pave the way for the next permanent dean of the college, likely to start in the fall of 2024. She does this by focusing her talents on keeping everyone in the college motivated and keeping their projects and initiatives moving forward. Mueller-Phillips is highly aware of the steps she can take to make the future, permanent dean’s transition easier. 

She spent her first week as interim dean connecting with students and calling alumni to ensure they continue to feel immersed in the college.

“Sometimes, in a transition period, people are less sure about who’s in charge and they can lose the connection to the college. I want to make sure alumni and employers feel connected so that they continue to invest in the college  and recruit our talented students.”

And connected they are, with 1,100 College of Business students attending a recent career fair with 82 companies and potential employers. 

“We want those employers to know that they’re getting highly prepared students from Harbert College,” Mueller-Phillips says. “All of these things are on my radar for this next year.” 

Dr. Mueller-Phillips had an exciting first week as dean and is ready for what’s to come. She describes herself as a  “people-person,” and has felt incredible support and motivation from those around her. This list includes Dr. Joe Hanna, who previously assumed the role. “He’s a beloved faculty member in this college,” she says. “I really appreciate him being out there, rallying the troops around me. I benefit from his support too.”

With nearly 6,000 undergraduate and 1000 graduate students studying in this college and incredibly high placement rates, it is safe to assume that with Dr. Mueller-Phillips taking the reigns, the Harbert College of Business is in great hands and will continue to thrive. 

“I am beyond proud of what the college is accomplishing,” she says. “And I intend to do everything I can to make sure all that good continues.” 


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