In a landmark move, the University of Arkansas has tapped Matthew A. Waller, a long-time supply chain management educator, as dean of the school's Sam M. Walton College of Business, the first time a major university has reached within the supply chain ranks for the head of its business school.
Waller, a teacher, researcher, and administrator at the Walton College for more than 20 years, had been serving as interim dean of the college. He holds the prestigious Sam M. Walton Leadership Chair in Business along with his position as dean. He was named to the dean's position May 1.
Waller, 51, joined the university as a visiting assistant professor in 1994. He became a full professor in 2007, and chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management when it was established in 2011. He served as interim associate dean for executive education before taking over as interim dean in July 2015. He also held the Garrison Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Management.
Under Waller's leadership, the Walton College has expanded its relationship with supply chain-focused businesses in northwest Arkansas, including carriers, third-party logistics providers (3PLs), and manufacturers. Currently, there are about 450 students in the school's supply chain management program.
Waller also leads an initiative for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business that brings educators from other colleges and universities to the University of Arkansas to learn how to develop and implement supply chain curricula.
The university and business school feed off of an active region for transportation and logistics services. Besides Bentonville-based Wal-Mart, which became a global phenomenon on the back of its formidable supply chain, the state's northwest quadrant is home to, among others, Lowell-based truckload and logistics giant J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Ft. Smith-based less-than-truckload (LTL) and logistics provider ArcBest Corp., and Springdale-based poultry producer Tyson Foods Inc., which has long taken a keen interest in supply chain issues and trends.
Waller received a B.S.B.A. from the University of Missouri, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Penn State University. His research and teaching focus on retail supply chain management, and he is co-owner of a patent for optimizing inventory and merchandising shelf-space utilization. Waller, the author or co-author of numerous research papers, is co-editor-in-chief of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' Journal of Business Logistics, and co-author of the textbook The Definitive Guide to Inventory Management: Principles and Strategies for the Efficient Flow of Inventory across the Supply Chain.