Dean Shook accepts dean position at UAB’s business college

Christopher Shook, dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business

Western Kentucky University

Christopher Shook, dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business

Michael Crimmins, Adminstration reporter

Christopher Shook, Dean of Western Kentucky University’s Gordon Ford College of Business, has accepted a position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as the new dean for the Collat School of Business.

“My time as Dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business is coming to an end,” Shook said. “I have resigned my position as of June 30, 2023 to assume the position of Dean and Wells Fargo Professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Thank you all for your support and hard work. Leaving here is bittersweet.” 

Shook will begin in his new position beginning July 1. Jace Lux, university spokesperson, said no interim dean decision has been made.

“Since Dr. Shook just announced his departure from WKU a few days ago, and since he is still here until June 30, there have not yet been any decisions made regarding an interim dean,” Lux said in an email. “Rest assured that the positive momentum of the Gordon Ford College of Business will continue, and the university will look for someone who can build on the success of the college to serve as the next dean.”

The position at UAB opened in fall of last year, according to Shook. He said he was nominated for the position by “an anonymous colleague,” as is “standard practice not [to] tell candidates who nominate them.” 

Shook said he did not decide to leave the university for any negative reasons, but because Alabama was “home” for him. He has a daughter who lives in Alabama and numerous friends as well. He is excited to be closer to them, Shook said.

“I did not take the job at UAB because I am unhappy here at WKU,” Shook said. “I have loved my time at WKU. I enjoy working with Provost Fischer  tremendously as well as other administrators and colleagues. [I]t is a move that makes sense for me both personally and professionally. I was on the faculty at Auburn for many years and am well acquainted with Birmingham.”

As a first generation college graduate, Shook said he is excited to work at UAB doing all the good works he has done for GFCB “but on a bigger scale.”

Lux said Shook “demonstrated the ability to approach challenges strategically” and had a “willingness to employ innovative techniques” that advanced the business college while at WKU and that he will be missed.

“We are thankful for Dean Shook’s contributions not only to the Gordon Ford College of Business, but to the university as a whole,” Lux said in an email. “We wish him the best in his new role.”

While leaving the university is difficult, Shook said, he is happy with the good condition of the GFCB and is confident it will be left in good hands.

“The last four years serving as Dean for the Gordon Ford College of Business have been the highlight of my professional career,” Shook said in an email. “I am so proud of the progress we have made together. The future for GFCB is indeed bright. We survived a global pandemic and came out stronger. We have revamped our curriculum to modernize it and allow for further specialization in the majors and masters programs, have worked to enroll a record number of students, hosted an accreditation reaffirmation visit, and have designed a beautiful, functional building that will be transformational to the College.”