Suffolk University Names Amy Zeng, Dean of Sawyer Business School

Amy Zeng, an accomplished educator and leader in experiential and project-based learning and a recognized scholar in the fields of supply chain management and global logistics, has been named dean of Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School, the University announced Tuesday.

Zeng will join Suffolk in late July from the University of Hartford, where she is the dean of the Barney School of Business. She will report to Suffolk Provost Julie Sandell. 

Zeng brings to the Sawyer Business School a passion for experience-based learning, cross-disciplinary collaboration and global engagement—all of which are central to Suffolk and the Business School’s approach to education.  

As dean of the Barney School, Zeng spearheaded an initiative to start an Experiential Learning Alliance focused on deepening the school’s collaborations with corporate and community partners and the wider University of Hartford campus. She helped establish dozens of new partnerships with companies, professional organizations, individuals and educational institutions locally, nationally and internationally to expand the school’s visibility, global footprint and resources. She upgraded the school’s Career Ready program at the undergraduate level and expanded the online graduate curriculum. She also led a yearlong effort in revising the school’s five-year strategic plan and setting new directions for its future growth. 

“I am delighted that Dr. Amy Zeng will lead the Sawyer Business School as its sixth dean,” Sandell said. “She is an accomplished educator and scholar as well as a team builder with an entrepreneurial and collaborative mindset. She will bring great energy to the position. Her strong focus on connecting students and industry through corporate, community, educational and alumni partnerships will create even deeper learning and career-building opportunities for our students and graduates.” 

As dean of the Sawyer Business School, Zeng will lead a career-focused institution with more than 70 cutting edge, industry-relevant majors and programs and more than 100 faculty members committed to supporting its students. The Business School has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 30,000 alumni around the world.  

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Sawyer Business School,” Zeng said. “My own passions align extremely well with the school. Because of Suffolk’s location in downtown Boston, there are abundant opportunities to collaborate with the business and other communities. Experiential learning is really a way to bridge the classroom with the real world. The Sawyer Business School creates that bridge, and great partners create meaningful opportunities and long-lasting impacts for students. Those opportunities help ensure that students have the skill sets, knowledge, and competencies they need when they launch their careers.” 

Zeng’s educational background includes both engineering and business—training that informs her approach to leadership and gives her a distinct skill set in developing solutions to challenges. She holds a PhD in Business Administration from Pennsylvania State University, an MS in Engineering with a concentration in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington – Seattle, and a BS in Engineering with a major in Management Engineering from Beihang University, Beijing. She also has enhanced her executive leadership abilities through the Harvard Graduate School of Education Management Development Program and the HERS Wellesley Leadership Institute’s Women Leaders in Higher Education program.

Before leading the Barney School of Business, Zeng spent 19 years at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Foisie School of Business, where she held numerous faculty and leadership roles and where she was a three-time grant recipient from the US Department of Education, the results of which enabled her and her multi-disciplinary faculty team to start the China Hub @WPI, a global engagement initiative. She began her academic career as an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Cameron School of Business. 

As a scholar recognized in the fields of supply chain management and global logistics, Zeng is the award-winning author of more than 100 publications, including journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, and teaching cases. She has been successful in attracting external grants for teaching innovations and research projects as well as corporate sponsorship for student projects.  

“Amy Zeng is an innovative thinker in ways important to Suffolk,” said Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly. “Throughout her academic career she has focused on creating community connections, career and service-learning opportunities, and interdisciplinary collaborations—these are areas that are key to Suffolk’s and the Business School’s success.”                

Last September, Sawyer Business School Dean William J. O’Neill, Jr., announced he would step down after the recently completed academic year and transition to the faculty after a sabbatical. Over nearly two decades of leadership, O’Neill took the Business School’s robust academic and practical programming to new levels through a focus on preparing students to succeed in a global economy.  

“I am deeply grateful to Dean Bill O’Neill for his outstanding leadership over nineteen years,” Kelly said. “And I am excited about the Sawyer Business School’s future under the leadership of Amy Zeng.”  

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