Amy Dittmar, a distinguished scholar with an extensive background in economics, finance and university administration, was named provost of Rice University in June. She will take office on Aug. 1.
Dittmar comes to Rice from the University of Michigan where she has held a series of top-level administrative roles. In 2019, she served as acting provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, the chief academic and budgetary officer with direct reporting relationships for 19 schools and colleges as well as other units and key staff. Since 2020, she has served as senior vice provost, a position in which she has overseen policy decisions and implemented a wide range of strategic, academic and budgetary areas of the university. Dittmar has been responsible for setting budgetary policy and allocating resources, including the university’s general fund budget, totaling $2.6 billion, and major capital projects. From 2016 to 2020, she served as the vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs.
During her tenure in the provost’s office, Dittmar was instrumental in establishing the Go Blue Guarantee in 2017, one of the first guarantees of free tuition for lower-income students at a public institution. She also planned and led the development of a new classroom building centered around enhancing engaged learning, and she was one of the leaders of a shift to a more holistic approach in the university’s support for student mental health and well-being. She also played a key role in the university’s decision-making process during the COVID-19 pandemic, including serving as the academic representative on the COVID health response committee and maintaining a balanced budget that prioritized people’s needs throughout the crisis.
Dittmar also served as the University of Michigan Ross School of Business’ senior associate dean for graduate programs. In that role, she was primarily responsible for all graduate programs, the office of student life and finalizing the school’s diversity strategic plan. She also directed curriculum review, admissions, strategic planning and budgets for graduate programs, including full-time and part-time MBA, global MBA, executive MBA, master’s of management, master’s of accounting and master’s of supply chain management.
Dittmar held a number of other administrative and academic roles in Michigan, including as a board member and secretary of the Michigan Health Corp., chair of a behavioral science research initiative task force, co-chair of the Student Mental Health and Well-being Implementation committee, member of the CFO search committee and board member of the Michigan Mobility Transportation Center.
Dittmar earned her bachelor’s degree in finance and business economics from Indiana University and Ph.D. in finance from the University of North Carolina. She is a scholar of corporate finance, governance and gender economics. Her research centers around studying the complex interactions between ownership, governance, individual preferences and financial structure in public and private organizations to understand the role of incentives in decision-making and performance.
She served as an associate editor at the Journal of Financial Economics, one of the top journals in the field, and a councilor for the Society for Financial Studies, the organization that oversees three top finance journals including the Review of Financial Studies. She also served on selection committees and provided service to numerous journals and academic associations in finance, economics and accounting.
Dittmar was appointed the prestigious Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow at Michigan from 2012-2015. She was a finalist for the Brattle Prize, awarded for the best paper in corporate finance in Journal of Finance 2007, won the Law and Economics Consulting Group Award for Best Paper in Corporate Finance at the 2007 European Finance Association Conference and won Best Paper at the 2001 Financial Management Association European Conference. She has published numerous papers in top journals and her work has been cited more than 10,000 times.
Before her career at the University of Michigan, Dittmar was an assistant professor at Indiana University and a financial analyst and real estate officer at First Chicago Corp. (now part of JPMorgan Chase).